Did you know that before he became famous, Stan Laurel had a solo vaudeville act here in Seattle?
It’s true! Beginning on March 18, 1917, Stan Laurel did a rollicking skit called “Raffles the Dentist” with his common-law wife, Mae, at the Palace Hip theatre. “For those who like the comedy style of Charlie Chaplin,” noted the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “the offer of Stan and May [sic] Laurel comes as a real treat.” It was no surprise that the critic mentioned Chaplin. Laurel was his roommate when they toured the U.S. with the Fred Karno Comedy Company. The films with Oliver Hardy starting in the 1920s would give Stan Laurel worldwide and lasting fame. •
Illustration by Regina Volpi Baerwalde for City Arts.