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A clean pair of heels
#1
Stan was not just the "brains" behind the great team of Laurel and Hardy, he was also a highly original comedy creator. In the "Living Famously" documentary, Tony Robinson (now Sir Tony) said that all modern comedy originates with Stan Laurel. A case in point is the "funny walk" that Stan originated and on which Chaplin built a phenomenal career, having taken up Stan's ingenuity.

As with so many great ideas, it emerged unintentionally.
As a boy in Ulverston, Stan was fascinated by his grandfather's shoemaking/repairing business in Newland Bottom. George Metcalfe and his wife Sarah had moved west from Yorkshire to Ulverston, first to Oxford Street and later to Foundry Cottages, which became Argyle Street. (Among the many astonishing coincidences between Stan and Babe are the facts that the origins of both families are in Yorkshire, and that they were both born in their grandmothers' homes....however)...
Before the days of sophisticated machinery, shoe making and mending was entirely dependent upon manual skill and dexterity. Stan's boyhood was also long before man-made materials like plastic, and leather was the only principal material in a shoemender's shop. The smell of leather being worked, cut, stitched and polished can only be imagined at this distance of time.
George Metcalfe's workshop was full of shoes at all stages of manufacture or repair, and Stan wondered how it would feel to walk in some of the partial shoes, and he thought it was hilarious to waddle around in shoes awaiting new heels. Shoes with no heels present a very different way of walking from "normal" and Stan knew that variations from normality can be amusing.
In later life, Stan made good use of this childhood experience, imitating the heel-less waddling, particularly during his time with Karno. Chaplin was also in Karno's troupe The London Comedians (or Komedians) and as Stan joined later and had so little experience, he was appointed Chaplin''s understudy.
Heel-less walking was one technique that Chaplin also realised had comedy potential, and he adopted it in his own act. Stan would have been flattered by this, although Chaplin's fortune outclassed his own substantially after the "Little Tramp" character won audiences of millions all over the world, and is still enjoyed.
We also know that Stan's showbiz idol Dan Leno ("The King's Jester") wore flat shoes, but these were of the normal theatrical kind for a clown, long and pointed at the front and not regarded as abnormal. Leno also tended to shuffle rather than stride, so it was less noticeable. This may have influenced Stan, but nothing like as much as his grandfather's shoemending shop, the smell of leather and the shoes in part-manufacture and repair.
But leather has other uses and grandfather made a "disciplinary" strap for young Stan's improvement, but the boy purloined it one day and threw it out of the window of a train on the way to Flookburgh,
 
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