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Brandon hosts silent comedies with live music

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Posted on August 9, 2018 |
By Addison Independent



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Christmas tree salesmen Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy battle an irate customer in “Big Business” (1929), one of a quartet of Laurel & Hardy silent comedies to be screened with live music on Saturday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m. at Brandon Town Hall and Community Center. Admission is free; donations are encouraged.

Laughter for the whole family is on tap at Brandon Town Hall, where classic silent comedies starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy will be screened with live music on Saturday, Aug. 11. The show starts at 7 p.m.; admission is free, donations are encouraged.

The program, the latest in the Brandon Town Hall's summer silent film series, will feature short comedies made by the iconic comedy team prior to the advent of talkies. Music will be provided by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in improvising live accompaniment for silent films.

Laurel and Hardy were already successful comic actors when they teamed up in 1927 during the twilight years of the silent film era. The pair, sporting derby hats and a unique gift for slapstick incompetence, began starring in a series of short comedies that quickly rocketed them to worldwide fame.

Four of the duo’s best early films are on the Aug. 11 program in Brandon, which will be highlighted by “Big Business” (1929), recognized as one of the best short comedies ever produced.

In “Big Business,” while selling Christmas trees door to door in sunny California, Stan and Ollie do battle with an irate customer, producing mayhem that’s quite the opposite of “Peace on Earth.”

“The Laurel and Hardy silent comedies are fun to revive because they’re so simple and basic,” said Rapsis. “Audiences still love them, and it’s refreshing, because their style of comedy is so timeless, and also so different from what's on television and in today’s movies.”

“All of these films were designed to be seen in theaters by large audiences, not on a small television screen by people sitting at home," Rapsis continued. “In showing silent films at Brandon Town Hall, we aim to recreate the lost magic of early cinema comedy by bringing together crucial elements for its success — the best available prints, projection on the big screen, a live audience, and, in the case of silent films, live music.”

For more information, visit brandontownhall.org. For more info on the music, visit jeffrapsis.com.

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