45 minutes from Hollywood 1926
Filmed December 1925 through 6th April 1926, Released 26th December 1926 • 2 Reels
Produced Hal Roach, Directed Fred Guiol, Titles H.M. Walker
Main Cast: Glenn Tryon, Charlotte Mineau, Rube Clifford, Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel
After The Lucky Dog (1921), it was another five years before Stan and Babe appeared again in front of the cameras together. In the intervening years, though, neither comedian was idle.
In August of 1926, Stan and Babe were finally cast to appear in the same film together once again. This time, however, unlike The Lucky Dog, this new film, entitled 45 Minutes From Hollywood, was not a ‘Stan Laurel Comedy’ but had an actor named Glenn Tryon in the lead role. Tryon was being championed by Hal Roach in the hopes that he would one day take the place of his old star, Harold Lloyd, who’d left Roach in 1924 to produce his own pictures. Unfortunately for Roach, Tryon’s celebrity star didn’t quite hit the heights that they’d hoped, but at least his films did provide an opportunity to bring Roach’s two future megastars together, even if they were only used as supporting players.
Stan has a very minor, blink-and-you’ll-miss-him type role in the picture, playing a hotel guest and looking fairly unrecognisable, with a nightcap and a huge, bushy moustache. Babe, on the other hand, also sporting equally bushy facial hair, had a larger part to play as a hotel detective who spent most of his scenes in a state of undress, with only a shower curtain wrapped around him to preserve his modesty. There was a good and quite interesting reason for Stan to be hiding behind a huge moustache, for hiding he was. The reason for this was simply that he was still under contract with producer Joe Rock and for legal reasons, he wasn’t allowed to appear in front of the camera until his contract was up – hence the disguise.
As mentioned above, Rock had been happy for Stan to work for Roach behind the cameras, writing and directing, but for whatever reason, Stan found himself back in the frame. It was risky, and Laurel and Rock ended up suing each other, even though they had been and continued afterwards to be very good friends.
The film was a Hal Roach ‘All-Stars’ comedy, and as such, it features very small cameos by other stars from the studio, such as Theda Bara, Our Gang, and there’s even a quick glimpse of L&H regular Tiny Sandford as a railway guard towards the start. The basic premise is that Glenn Tryon’s character travels to Hollywood to pay a bill. Whilst in town, Tryon spots what he thinks is a movie about a bank robbery being filmed, but it’s actually a cover for a real bank robbery. Tryon approaches a lady from the “film” who turns out to be a bank robber in drag, and the pair get chased down the street by the police. They run into a hotel to hide out, and there follows a number of scenes of cross-dressing mix-ups and plenty of running up and down frantically. Babe Hardy’s appearance is very welcome as the hotel detective and adds an undeniable quality sadly lacking from the film up until this point. Despite Stan and Babe appearing in another film together, the boys weren’t cast as a team – far from it! In fact, they don’t even share a scene, being kept apart by a bedroom door.
On the whole, it’s a pretty forgettable affair; as Randy Skretvedt accurately puts it, “45 Minutes From Hollywood is interesting for about 45 seconds”.