LAUREL & HARDY

...Now at Planet Wallywood!

At the Son of Monsterpalooza convention in October 2012, Wally met up with a guy named Evil Wilhelm, of Midi-Evil Studios. Awhile back, Evil purchased 60 molds of celebrity likenesses from the Movieland Wax Museum in Niagara Falls! From those molds, Evil creates latex "pulls" for customers. Each head is filled with foam rubber so they're durable.

The first purchase Wally made was a Sean Connery head. You can read all about the creation of his Sean Connery/James Bond figure here in "Forging A Bond." As preparations began for the Connery figure, Wally kept remembering back to Evil's table, and the two Laurel and Hardy heads he had there. Once Wally figured out where he would put two new figures in his rapidly diminishing floorspace, he called Evil and had him deliver two fresh Laurel and Hardy heads to NBC.

While Wally's Special Effects guy Jim Ojala worked feverishly on the Connery figure, Wally set about designing the L&H figures. He combed through hundreds of photos, and the greatest resource book of all, "The Films of Laurel and Hardy." He chose photos that exhibited the physicalities he was trying to capture in the figures. It was decided that Stan would strike his famous pose...his arms out in front with his dim-witted smile. Then it was settled that Ollie would have his fists on his hips while shooting Stan an angry look. These were typical Laurel and Hardy poses from their films which would resonate with fans.

Finding a mannequin for Stan was easy. This particular model has poseable arms with jointed elbows. Wally also used this model of mannequin for his Barnabas Collins, Elvis Presley and Tony Clifton figures and was quite happy with it.

The Ollie mannequin was a bit more difficult. One mannequin had the perfect leg pose, but the top half wasn't exactly what he wanted. While the mannequin had his hands on his hips, it didn't convey the anger that was necessary for the Ollie figure. Wally found the top half of a different mannequin that featured closed fists on the hips. Since the Ollie figure would need to be padded out considerably, the seam between the top and bottom half of the mannequin could be mismatched. So he purchased two separate mannequins and would let Jim sort out the details of the construction.


This mannequin has the right leg position for Ollie, but the wrong hands.


A mannequin with the correct torso, arms and hands is found, and a photo mock-up is made to see how they'll look together.


This photo will be used as reference for the head position.


Here's a rough mock-up of how the two figures will look together.


The Stan-nequin is placed in the vintage gray tweed suit, and Stan's unpainted head is added digitally to get an idea of how everything will look together.


Wally ordered a pair of blue and brown glass eyes from another guy he met at Son of Monsterpalooza. Daniel from Eyes-Only dropped both pair off at Wally's house, and got a quick tour of Planet Wallywood while he was there. All the materials were picked up my Jim and the work began as soon as he was finished with the Connery mannequin.

Next came the search for costumes. Stan would need a gray tweed suit jacket and pants, but nothing Wally found on eBay seemed to fit the bill. A search through his costume closet yielded gold! Back when he was 16, he "borrowed" a suit from his dad to use in his Andy Kaufman act in high school. It was a vintage-looking gray tween suit. He also used the suit in the play "Charlie's Aunt" in high school, and years later in the E! True Hollywood Story as Andy Kaufman. It had been sitting in his closet since then. It had the perfect look for Stan! But Stan normally wore a vest (when he wasn't wearing a double breasted suit) so the search continued for an appropriate vest. It would be absolutely impossible to find a vest in the same fabric as the gray tweed suit (considering the suit is most likely about 55 years old!), so a slightly darker wool, vintage-looking British waistcoat (vest) was purchased on eBay. It complimented the gray tween suit nicely. Wally already had an off-white dress shirt with wing-tip collar in his collection. The blue polka-dotted bowtie would have to be purchased on eBay. The cufflinks were Wally's old Phantom of the Opera cufflinks, which were basically two silver buttons sewn together with elastic (a trick he learned from the L.A. "Phantom" company back in 1990!). For the shoes, the "Stan-nequin" inherited the beat-up black shoes Wally used to wear when he wore his Lon Chaney "Man In the Beaver Hat" costume. The shoes were old fashioned in style, and fit Stan perfectly! A suitable derby was purchased on eBay from someone who was selling it for a former Stan Laurel impersonator. Hat, shirt, vest, tie, cufflinks, jacket, pants and shoes were all taken care of!

Ollie's costume was a little more difficult. A woman who worked at a vintage clothing store told Wally that an actual suit from the 30's in the size necessary for Ollie would be almost impossible to find. She said in that era most men were small. She suggested finding a more modern suit that looked vintage. One thing about Ollie's costumes, which differed from Stan's, was that it wasn't uncommon for Ollie to wear a different colored pair of pants with a different style of jacket. Stan's suits almost always matched. Ebay struck again! A black wool tweed suit jacket (size 50R!) was purchased, and a pair of black 54 inch waist pants were bought at It's A Wrap in Burbank. A pair of black vintage-looking shoes (size 14) were purchased there as well! Across the street from IAW is a great store called Junk For Joy. If you can't find it there, it most likely doesn't exist. A size 2XL dress shirt with wing tip collar and a vintage yellow tie with white polka dots were purchased there. A size 7 3/8 derby was bought on eBay, and the costume was complete! Again, Wally had a pair of cufflinks in his collection that will be used for the shirt.

It was important for Jim to get the size ratios between the two of them correct, so he took the derbies with him to see how tall they were with their hats on. He actually had to shorten the Stan-nequin a few inches to be in proportion. He placed the Stan Laurel head on the mannequin, and tilted it forward slightly. The Oliver Hardy head was placed on the mannequin carefully, with the head tilted left, but looking right toward Stan. These poses would add that little extra touch to the figures to make them even more lifelike.


Stan's head position is secured



and Stan's eyes are added in.


Jim begins padding the Ollie mannequin


The height ratio between the two figures is finalized.

Jim brought over the newly padded Ollie mannequin to see if the chosen costume would fit. It fits like a glove!

Jim has been busy painting Stan and Ollie and getting them ready for their eyebrows (and Ollie's mustache)! They're looking awesome! When Sergio finishes their hair, they'll be ready to go!

Just before the Christmas break, Jim finalizes the paintjob and eyebrow work on Stan and Ollie. They're perfect, and they'll be coming to Planet Wallywood soon to get dressed and haired!

 


Stan is dressed and readied for his hair application.


Then he's joined by Ollie, who could also use some time with Sergio. But the figures have really come together. Jim Ojala's artistry is unsurpassed!

Ollie is finished by Sergio's talented brush, comb and scissors, and his hat is placed askew on his head (just like the REAL Ollie used to wear it!). Then he's buttoned up and placed on the base in his signature stance.

Stan's hair is almost completed, as Sergio used one of Wally's old Austin Powers wigs for Laurel's locks! The color was perfect, as many reports stated that Stan had reddish brown hair. Next, Sergio will add a few more rows of hair to Stan's hairline, and cut, frizz and style to the appropriate degree.

The styling of Stan's hair is completed and the figures are ready for display! Thanks to Evil Wilhelm, Jim Ojala, and Sergio Lopez for helping to put together these amazing works of art!