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The Music Box

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Genre  Comedy, Short
Language  English
8/10 IMDb

Director  James Parrott
Country  United States
The Music Box movie poster
Writer  H.M. Walker (dialogue)
Release date  April 16, 1932 (1932-04-16TUS)
Tagline  Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy decided to reorganize and resupervise their entire financial structure- so they took the $3.80 and went into business.

In this acclaimed comedy short, the popular duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy attempt a new business venture as movers. Their primary challenge is carrying a player piano up an incredibly long and steep flight of stairs, a task that gravity makes quite difficult. Continually running into problems, most notably the pompous Professor von Schwarzenhoffen (Billy Gilbert), Stan and Ollie are bound and determined to make their delivery, one way or another.


The Music Box movie scenes

The Music Box is a Laurel and Hardy short film comedy released in 1932. It was directed by James Parrott, produced by Hal Roach and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film, which depicts the pair attempting to move a piano up a large flight of steps, won the first Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (Comedy) in 1932. In 1997, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

The Music Box (film) movie scenes The Sobaire Show Presnts Music Box Steps

The Laurel & Hardy Moving Co. have a challenging job on their hands (and backs): hauling a player piano up a monumental flight of stairs to Prof. von Schwarzenhoffen's house. Their task is complicated by a sassy nursemaid and, unbeknownst to them, the impatient Prof. von Schwarzenhoffen himself. But the biggest problem is the force of gravity, which repeatedly pulls the piano back down to the bottom of the stairs. Finally, the irate Professor explodes in fury to discover the "mechanical blunderbuss" in his home, not knowing it was a surprise birthday present from his wife.


The Music Box (film) movie scenes Favourite bit

In a music store, Mrs. Theodore von Schwartzenhoffen orders a player piano as a surprise birthday gift for her husband, Professor Theodore von Schwartzenhoffen, M.D., A.D., D.D.S., F.L.D., F-F-F-and-F. She tells the manager her address — 1127 Walnut Avenue — and he hires the Laurel and Hardy Transfer Company to deliver the piano in their freight wagon.

The Music Box (film) movie scenes The quot Music Box Steps quot are pictured alongside houses in the Silverlake section of

The duo soon find out from a postman that the home is at the top of a very long stairway. Their attempts to carry the piano up the stairs result in it rolling and crashing into the street below several times, twice with Ollie in tow. During their first attempt, they encounter a lady with a baby carriage trying to go down the steps; in trying to let her pass, they knock the piano back down the stairs. After the lady laughs at them, Stan kicks her in her backside, causing her to punch him back and hit Ollie over the head with a milk bottle. Stan and Ollie then heft the piano back up the stairs. The angry lady tells a policeman on the corner, who kicks Ollie twice and hits Stan with his truncheon after the latter suggests the officer is "bounding over his steps" (i.e. "overstepping his bounds"). Meanwhile, the piano has rolled down the steps again. Yet the two doggedly persist in carrying the piano up the stairs for a third time. Halfway up, they encounter the short-tempered and pompous Professor von Schwartzenhoffen, who impatiently tells them to take the piano out of his way; he should like to pass. Ollie very reasonably and sensibly suggests he walk around, and that sets off the Professor in a fit of German rage. He screams at Stan and Ollie to get the piano out of his way, and Stan knocks the Professors top hat down the stairs and into the street, where it is crushed by a passing vehicle. The outraged professor goes off, loudly threatening to have the two arrested.

Finally, Stan and Ollie get the piano to the top, where Ollie falls into a fountain. As they ring the houses bell, the box rolls back down to the street again. They wearily drag the piano back up the stairs, and meet the postman by the house, who informs them they did not have to lift the piano up the stairs; they could have driven up the hill and stopped in front of the house. Stan and Ollie promptly carry the piano back down the stairs, put it back in their wagon and drive it up the hill to the house.

Finding no one home, they finally succeed in getting the piano in the house, making shambles of the living room while unpacking it. Meanwhile, the owner of 1127 Walnut Avenue — Professor von Schwartzenhoffen — returns and is outraged at what he finds, as he hates pianos. He attacks the piano with an axe, destroying it, but regrets his actions when Mrs. Von Schwartzenhoffen returns home and tearfully tells her husband it had been a surprise birthday present. To apologize for his actions, the Professor signs the check, but the pen Stan and Ollie give him squirts ink over his face. Furious, Schwartzenhoffen blows his temper again and makes the duo run away.

Filming location the music box 1932 laurel and hardy 2015 version


  • Stan Laurel as Stan
  • Oliver Hardy as Ollie
  • Billy Gilbert as Professor Theodore Von Schwarzenhoffen, M.D., A.D., D.D.S., F.L.D., F-F-F-and-F
  • Gladys Gale as Mrs. Von Schwarzenhoffen
  • Sam Lufkin as police officer
  • Lilyan Irene as nursemaid
  • Charlie Hall as postman
  • William Gillespie as piano salesman
  • Location

    The steps, which were the focal point of The Music Box, still exist in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles, near the Laurel and Hardy Park. The steps are a public staircase which connects Vendome Street (at the base of the hill) with Descanso Drive (at the top of the hill), and are located at 923-925 Vendome Street near the intersection of Del Monte Street. A plaque commemorating the film was set into one of the lower steps in the 1990s at 34°4?59?N 118°16?30.50?W.

    The steps can also be seen in the Charley Chase silent comedy, Isnt Life Terrible? (1925), during a scene in which Chase is trying to sell fountain pens to Fay Wray. The steps are also used, for a gag similar to Hats Off and The Music Box, in Ice Cold Cocos (1926), a Billy Bevan comedy short directed by Del Lord.

    Contrary to popular belief, the long staircase is not the same one used by The Three Stooges in their 1941 film An Ache in Every Stake. Those stairs (147 steps in length) are approximately two miles northeast, located at 2212 Edendale Place in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.


    The film is a partial remake of their silent short Hats Off (1927), which was filmed at the same location and is today considered a lost film. Hats Off was itself remade by Edgar Kennedy in 1945 as Its Your Move, but utilizing a different staircase although located in the same vicinity where the "Music Box Steps" are in Silver Lake (known as the Descanso Stairs, they are situated at the intersection of Descanso and Larissa Drives, specifically between the residences of 3217 Descanso Dr. and 3200-3206 Larissa Dr., and one block from Sunset Blvd. which can be seen in the background in several long shots).

    Hal Roach Studios colorized The Music Box in 1986 with a remastered stereo soundtrack featuring the Hal Roach Studios incidental stock music score conducted by Ronnie Hazelhurst. The film was later released on VHS along with a colorized version of Helpmates.

  • A series of TV ads for Aamco windshield wipers featured character actors Jim McGeorge and Chuck McCann as Laurel & Hardy. One of the ads in question referred to this film by portraying them trying to safely deliver a piano.
  • Ray Bradburys short story The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair from the collection The Toynbee Convector features the stairs prominently as the catalyst for the beginning of a love affair between a couple who affectionately refer to each other as Stan and Ollie. His short story Another Fine Mess from the collection Quicker Than the Eye features the ghosts of Laurel and Hardy haunting the staircase by replaying the scene.
  • Phineas and Ferb: The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension features a musical number that briefly pays tribute to The Music Box.
  • The scene in the comedy film, MouseHunt where Ernie (Nathan Lane) and Lars Smutz (Lee Evans) carry a Jacuzzi tub up the stairs and slid outside was inspired by The Music Box.
  • In the 7th episode of season one of The Comedians, Billy Crystal takes Josh Gad to the stairs and tells him The Music Box was filmed there. When Gad confesses he hasnt heard of the film, Crystal explains it won the 1932 Academy Award for best short film, to which Gad replies "Did people used to care about that category back then or was it like it is now?
  • References

    The Music Box Wikipedia
    The Music Box IMDb The Music Box