Thousands turned out to welcome comedy pairing Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy when they arrived in the Capital in 1932, flooding the platform as their train screeched to a halt as well as the streets wherever they went.
Englishman Stan Laurel and American Oliver Hardy – repleat in their emblematic bowler hats – became icons of the Vaudeville scene with their slapstick comedy routines. Together they made 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films, and 23 full-length feature films from the early 1920s to the mid-1940s.
Rare black and white archive footage captured the duo’s flying visit to Edinburgh; from their arrival by train to the tour they took at Edinburgh Castle while out sightseeing.
Still living under the black cloud of the Great Depression – with its widespread unemployment and deprivation – the city’s residents came out in force to see the comedy stars as they arrived for an appearance at the Playhouse Cinema (now the Playhouse Theatre on Picardy Place).
At the time of their evening performance, the Playhouse was billed as Scotland’s “super cinema”, accommodating 3,000 film-goers.
They also stayed at the North British Station Hotel – now the Balmoral – for the duration of their visit.
The crackling newsreel footage finishes with the message “Farewell, Auld Reekie!”
Of course, the pair were no strangers to Scotland. Born in Lancashire, Stan Laurel’s family moved north to Glasgow when he was a child. The pair also performed in Edinburgh and Glasgow on UK tours in 1932, 1947, 1952 and in 1954.