Sunday, April 24, 2011

Forgotten Movie Songs #5: "At The Ball" from WAY OUT WEST

Who doesn't love Laurel and Hardy? Even with their often acrimonious doings on-screen, the audience instantly gets that these two are great friends, no matter what Stan accidentally drops on Ollie's round head. Never was this more apparent than with the little dance they do together when, in 1937's Way Out West, they enter a gold prospecting town and come upon The Avalon Boys (with a later Oscar-nominated actor, Chill Wills, as the lead yodeller). Right there, outside of Mickey Finn's saloon, Stan and Ollie cannot help but launch into some of the sweetest hoofing ever committed to celluloid. It's just the best, this scene, topped off by the silky smooth vocal stylings of the Avalon Boys. The music and lyrics to "At The Ball" were deftly written by producer Hal Roach's house composer Marvin Hatley (who also wrote the team's famous "cuckoo" theme, and who won an Oscar nomination for his score to Way Out West).

The British Stan Laurel and the southern American Oliver Hardy have never felt so perfect together as they do here. I adore how much they tell me about themselves through their magnificent dancing.

Commence to dancin'
Commence to prancin'
Commence advancin'
Right and left a-glancin'
A-smoochy dancin'
Slide and glide entrancin'
You do the tango jiggle
With a Texas Tommy wiggle
Take your partner and you hold her
Slightly enfold her
A little bolder
Just work your shoulder
Snap your fingers one and all
In the hall at the ball
That's all
Some more

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