STAN and OLLIDAY 2013
BLACKPOOL

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OLLIDAY 2008
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OLLIDAY 2008
Report

The 'Stan & Olliday 2013' was held over the August Bank Holiday weekend - with the theme being:

LAUREL and HARDY in BLACKPOOL

Blackpool Metropole Hotel and Beach

Metropole Hotel Blackpool

Our hotel, the Metropole, on the seafront adjacent to the North Pier.

After evening meal together, our small but select party made its way to the Grand Theatre, to see Britain's favourite comedy double act - Cannon & Ball, who have been together now for fifty one years. After the show they were kind enough to come and come out and say 'Hello' to us, and pose for photos.

GRAND THEATRE BLACKPOOL

BOBBY BALL Grand Theatre BLACKPOOL

GRAND THEATRE, Church Street

Denise Tomlinson with Bobby Ball

Saturday morning was 'The Laurel and Hardy Locations Tour.' First stop was the Winter Gardens complex, where we taken on a guided tour by the Duty Manager. My original request had been to view the Baronial Hall, where Stan and Babe had been guests at a banquet in 1932, but our host, Gregor, kindly showed us around ALL the major venues in this massive complex.

Baronial Hall Blackpool

LAUREL HARDY Baronial Hall BLACKPOOL 1932

LAUREL HARDY Baronial Hall BLACKPOOL 1932

The ornate fireplace in the Baronial Hall ...

... where, in 1932, the Boys attended a banquet

... with the top table postioned here.

Next on the tour was the vast Empress Ballroom, where nine thousand fans had raised the roof with cheering and clapping when Laurel and Hardy made a brief appearance on stage there, in 1932.

Empress Ballroom Blackpool 1932

Empress Ballroom Blackpool 2013

As it looked when Laurel and Hardy made an appearance.

As it looked when WE made an appearance.

A hundred photographs later, the next locations shoot came on the seafront, facing the Tower and Complex. The Palace Theatre, scene of appearances by the boys in 1932 and 1947, used to stand adjacent to the Tower Complex so, using contemporary photos, we were able to take present day images to compare "Then and Now."

Palace Theatre Blackpool 1947

Palace Theatre Blackpool 2013

The Palace Theatre, facing the beach.

Howard Parker lining up the site of the Palace Theatre

One short hop later, and we found ourselves sitting in the near-one hundred and twenty year old Tower Circus. All the animal acts which used to be the stock in trade of the circus, have been replaced by acrobatic and aerial acts, and what a talented cosmopolitan company they proved to be. Between acts we were treated to comical breaks by the funny and very talented Mooky, a clown who spends not more than one ounce of unnecessary energy, but makes every action count. He has been established at the Tower Circus for some twenty years, and looks like remaining there for many more.

Blackpool Tower Circus 1932

BLACKPOOL TOWER CIRCUS 2013 RING

Artist's impression from the 1930s.

Little changed in 2013

BLACKPOOL TOWER CIRCUS 2013 A.J Marriot

Not all the clowns were in the circus ring.

Next came the obligatory trip up Blackpool Tower. Beforehand we had been complaining about the costs of admission to the newly refurbished tower, but our gripe gradually diminished as we got to see the many changes and additions. After viewing a short but spectacular film in the new 4-D cinema, we were treated to a panoramic view of Blackpool and the surrounding suburbs, from the Tower's observation decks - 500 feet up.

Metropole Hotel from Blackpool Tower

Winter Gardens from Blackpool Tower

The Metropole ...

... and the Winter Gardens, as viewed from Backpool Tower.

Tired feet were then rested as we surveyed the beautiful décor of the Tower Ballroom - another venue Stan and Babe had visited.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom 1900

Blackpool Tower Ballroom 2013

Early artist's impression of the Tower Ballroom.

And still magnificent, over one hundred years later.

Saturday night found us all on the end of the North Pier, watching the setting sun, followed by more socialising and free-time.

The theme of the weekend was brought to the fore when, on Sunday morning, we watched the screen version of 'The Boys in Blackpool,' which included every known photo of Stan and Babe in Blackpool, accompanied by contemporary news reports, and Blackpool footage to set the atmosphere of those days. The illustrated talk also included details of The Boys' week-long stay in Morecambe which, by no coincidence, was our next port of call.

Following a car ride through some very pleasant countryside, and a welcome ice-cream to combat the heat of this gloriously sunny Bank Holiday Sunday, we were swallowed up in the cool of the Victoria Pavilion Theatre, in the Winter Gardens.

Morecambe Winter Gardens facade

The newly refurbished facade of the Winter Gardens.

Our hosts, the Friends of the Winter Gardens, treated us to complimentary drinks, before taking us on a personal tour of this grand, historic building, which is currently undergoing a major refurbishment to bring it back to a working theatre.

morecambe winter gardens stage

MORECAMBE WINTERS GARDEN 2013 AUDITORIUM

In 1947 Laurel and Hardy were seen here - 'live' on stage.

A view of the auditorium from the stage. 2013

Our very knowledgeable guide, armed with a photo-album of old shots of the building, took us over every square inch of the building, and pointed out the various places where Laurel and Hardy were photographed during their appearances.

LAUREL HARDY MORECAMBE 1947

The doors separating backstage from the auditorium have been removed,
but this is still the very spot where Stan and Ollie posed for the photo on the left.

morecambe outdoor swimming pool

Our guide, Stephen, pointing out where the pool used to be.

And here is how the pool looked in its heyday.

Another hundred photographs later we emerged into the afternoon heat, and spent the rest of our time mingling with thousands of day-trippers, and enjoying other attractions Morecambe still has to offer - such as the Midland Hotel, the fairground, the Eric Morecambe statue, and the former site of the Elms Hotel, in Bare, where Laurel and Hardy had stayed the week.

MIDLAND HOTEL MORECAMBE 2013

ERIC MORECAMBE STATUE Morecambe

The Midland Hotel 2013,
following its recent multi-million pound refurbishment.

Dave Tomlinson mirroring the statue of
Morecambe's favourite son - Eric Morecambe.

Back in Blackpool, it was the Central Pier which kept our party occupied on the Sunday evening, with its many attractions marking it as a mini Coney Island.

BLACKPOOL TOWER BY NIGHT 2013

BLACKPOOL CENTRAL PIER BY NIGHT 2013

Too early for Blackpool Illuminations,
but still plenty of coloured lights to brighten up the dark nights.

Monday morning arrived all too quickly, but there was still lots to do. Again, all the cameras were out, as we recreated photographs of Laurel and Hardy on the balcony of the Metropole Hotel.

Laurel and Hardy Metropole Hotel Blackpool 1932

Metropole Hotel Blackpool 1992

The Boys on the balcony.
1932

This 1992 photo shows the two balconies running below the Metropole lettering.
Stan and Babe are standing by the door, on the first-floor balcony.

BLACKPOOL NORTH PIER FROM METROPOLE 2013

BLACKPOOL NORTH BEACH FROM METROPOLE 2013

In 1932 Laurel and Hardy appeared on a second balcony, so they could wave to the dense crowds occupying the beach and car park.
This is the view from that balcony.

Come noon, our packed entertainment programme came to a stop. We had achieved all we set out to do regarding the Laurel and Hardy connection, and had a great holiday to boot. The great pity of it, is that more didn't attend. Not only did we get a great discount off the hotel tariff, but were actually UPGRADED to Premiere class, which meant that all of us had a sea-view suite, and ate in the Premiere restaurant.

Blackpool Metropole Hotel Worral Suite

Blackpool Metropole Hotel regency Suite

The Worral Suite dining room.

The impressive decor of the Regency Suite

SONS at the SEASIDE

I simply have to say a really big 'Thank You' to those Sons who came along, for making it such a fun and memorable Olliday.

When you add in the free tours we were given to the whole of the Blackpool attractions, plus the ones related to Laurel & Hardy, and the generous discounts we received, this turned out to be an unbeatable package at an unbeatable price - for which our sincere thanks goes to our hosts at all the venues we visited.

Happy Days!

"A.J" Marriot

o-o-0-o-o

Our grateful thanks go to Dave Tomlinson, Terry Baxter, and Howard Parker for the 2013 photos.

o-o-o-0-o-o-o

METROPOLE HOTEL, BLACKPOOL

BLACKPOOL GRAND THEATRE

BLACKPOOL TOWER and CIRCUS

BLACKPOOL WINTER GARDENS

MORECAMBE WINTER GARDENS

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