Laurel and Hardy movie Stan & Ollie salutes Scots links of comedy icons

THE red-carpet kilts worn by the stars of Stan & Ollie might have been a nod to the legendary duo’s turn at the Empire.

But Scotland’s leading Laurel and Hardy aficionado Ross Owen, who acted as a consultant on their big-screen return, explained why it made perfect sense.

He said: “The kilt Stan wears in that famous photo at the Empire – and which he also wore in earlier film Bonnie Scotland – was given to him by Harry Lauder.

“Stan used to stay with Harry when he came over here.

“Of course, Stan made his stage debut in Glasgow when he was 16. Within six years he was in America with Charlie Chaplin. Stan’s mother died while they were in Glasgow and is buried in Cathcart Cemetery.

“Also, James Finlayson, who acted as Laurel and Hardy’s foil in the movies, was from Larbert. He was the man who came up with D’oh, later adopted by Homer Simpson.”

John C. Reilly, Jon S.Baird and Steve Coogan on the red carpet (PA)

Ross, from Airdrie, is a lifelong fan of the duo and runs a popular forum and Twitter page dedicated to the double act. He was working on a screenplay about them when he read that Jeff Pope had already completed a script.

“I got in touch with him and told him what I did, and he asked me to come on board as a consultant,” Ross said. “There were a few of us, each with a different area of expertise. I was there for detail, like the kilts and what Stan used as cufflinks.

“I did most of it by email or phone, but I was on set for a few days and was given a little background cameo part, which was great, and met Steve and John a number of times.”

Ross is hosting a special preview screening of Stan & Ollie at Showcase cinema in Coatbridge tonight and hopes the film sparks a renewed interest in the comedy stars.

Meanwhile, he revealed, the overgrown Glasgow grave of Stan Laurel’s mum, Margaret Jefferson, is getting a makeover.

Stan’s great-granddaughter, Cassidy Cook, is to come over and unveil a new headstone in honour of her great-great-grandmother, who passed away in 1908 aged 48.