Retracing Laurel and Hardy's Steps

Scott Simon hauls an imaginary piano. i i

Scott Simon hauls an imaginary piano. Peter Breslow, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Peter Breslow, NPR
Scott Simon hauls an imaginary piano.

Scott Simon hauls an imaginary piano.

Peter Breslow, NPR

NPR's Scott Simon hauls an imaginary piano up the steep set of steps where Laurel and Hardy had to haul one in their movie The Music Box.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

Los Angeles abounds with the kind of landmarks that people don't recall from history so much as memory and imagination. In their 1932 film "The Music Box," which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject Comedy, Laurel and Hardy very memorably struggled to maneuver a piano up 131 steps.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MUSIC BOX")

OLIVER HARDY: (As Oliver Hardy) Pardon me, Mr. Postman.

CHARLIE HALL: (As postman) Yes?

HARDY: (As Oliver Hardy) Could you tell me where 1127 Walnut Avenue is?

HALL: (As postman) 1127 Walnut Avenue?

HARDY: (As Oliver Hardy) Yes, sir.

HALL: (As postman) That's the house up there, right on top of the stoop.

SIMON: Well, there is no 1127 Walnut Street - the address in the film - but "The Music Box" steps, as they're called now - all 131 of them - still run up a hill here on Vendome Street in the Silver Lake neighborhood. Now, these days, the steps are hemmed in by houses and trees and Ivy. Now, of course, because of the writers strike over the past few weeks, the best known actors in Hollywood have been rendered mute because there's been no one to write their lines.

So we're joined now bit Kiefer Sutherland and Dame Helen Mirren, who are actually going to help me heft the piano up and down these steps. Okay.

We're ready? Heave ho. Heave ho. Heave ho. Heave ho. Heave ho.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MUSIC BOX")

HARDY: Heave ho. Heave ho. Heave ho.

SIMON: I can't do it all by myself. Heave ho. Helen, Helen, Helen. Right, little more. Come on, Jack Bauer. You ought to heave ho. Wait, wait. Don't loose your bucket(ph). Jeff(ph), Jeff, Dame Helen, Kiefer. No, no.

Ms. Lilyan Irene (Actor): (As nursemaid) Of all the dumb things.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MUSIC BOX")

(SOUNDBITE OF PIANO CRASHING)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION's "Snakes in a Studio" in Culver City, California. Thanks to everyone who helped us here this week.

I'm Scott Simon.

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