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Monday, 22 December 2014

Stan at Queen’s first Royal Variety Show

WHEN the Royal Variety Show appears on our TV screens on December 3 it will be the 100th to have been staged since 1912.

The first of them to have been attended by Queen Elizabeth came in 1947, when she was still a princess, and among the stars there to entertain her was Ulverston-born comic actor Stan Laurel.

The Royal Variety Performance must have been one of the major highlights of a 1947 theatre tour with his comedy partner Oliver hardy.

Right up there with it must have been Stan’s homecoming to Ulverston in May 1947 when the movie duo were greeted by thousands of fans outside the Coronation Hall.

Stan was presented with a copy of his birth certificate showing him to have been born at Argyle Street as Arthur Stanley Jefferson on June 16 in 1890.

The 1947 Evening Mail noted: “Oliver Hardy remarked to our reporter that Stan had talked about Ulverston for the past 22 years and he thought he had to see it.”

The Queen had more to remember than Stan and Ollie’s performance in 1947 as this was also the year she married the Duke of Edinburgh.

Princess Elizabeth’s First Royal Variety Performance was at the Palladium, London, on November 3 in 1947.

She was there with her sister Margaret and parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother.

Sharing the night with Laurel and hardy was Bobbie Tranter, the Three Astaires and the Tobagyi Troupe.

Big names included Tommy Trinder and Gracie Fields.

The 1947 tour also saw Laurel and hardy judge a “Holiday Lovelies” contest at the Butlin’s camp in Skegness and visit North Shields, where Stan Laurel used to live after moving from Ulverston.

They played the Glasgow Empire in kilts and officially re-opened the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch miniature railway line in Kent.

Stan and Ollie also made a live radio broadcast for Morecambe Night Out, during a week performing at the resort’s Winter Gardens.

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