Series: Laurel and Hardy

Director: James Parrott
Producer: Hal Roach
Story editor: H.M. Walker
Photography: Art Lloyd
Editor: Richard C. Currier
Sound: Elmer Raguse

Stars: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Hall
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 21 September 1929
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: L-27
Filming dates: June 26 - July 11, 1929
Rating: 6/10

They Go Boom!

Available on DVD:

Ollie has a cold but he is denied a good night's sleep when Stan's continuous snoring wakes him up. The snoring, however is countered by Ollie's violent sneezing; so much so that it knocks the pull-down blind off its runner. Stan pulls the blind back down (twice) before getting back into bed. But it's no use, Ollie's next sneeze blows the blind completely off its track and onto the floor. One sneeze later and a picture which is hanging above the bed falls down over Ollie's head. Using his shoe as a hammer, Stan nails the picture back to the wall unaware that the nail has pierced a water pipe on the other side. When the water starts filling the bed Ollie naturally assumes Stan has had an 'accident' and accepts it, but it soon becomes apparent it isn't Stan at all when he investigates the dampness on the sheets. Ollie eventually realises where the water is coming from when he turns over and gets a face full.
Afraid he has now caught 'ammonia' he instructs Stan to run him a foot bath. Stan dutifully obliges and goes into the kitchen to prepare the necessary measures but gets all stickied up from a plaster which has fallen onto the floor and attached itsself to his sock. After having a fight with his footwear he comes up with the novel idea that if he turned the sock inside-out he would avoid getting his foot stuck to everything he walks across! Stan brings in a large metal tin and mixes mustard powder into it, but still Ollie complains. So the downtrodden Stan takes another trip into the kitchen to get a plaster for Ollie's back and something for his throat, catching his face on the cupboard door in the process.
Things go from bad to worse (as they so often tend to do) when 'Doctor' Stan mixes a kettle full of hot water with the excessive amount of mustard powder in the metal container but again Ollie complains that the mixture is too hot and orders Stan to fetch a bucket of cold water. Stan dutifully obliges, but slips on a rug and loses the bucket and its contents over Ollie's head, along with the picture coming back off the wall and the water pouring out onto the bed again. Ollie flips out, threatens to break Stan's neck, then twice steps into the scolding hot water in the metal container. He chases Stan and gets a door slammed in his face just for good measure. Not wanting to give up Stan continues to 'help', first by adding the cold water into the container, which turns the mixture into a soft porridge-like goo and then handing him a plaster for his chesty cough (which Ollie manages to sit on).
Stan peels off the plaster, ripping off half of Ollie's nightgown with it, exposing his rear end to the open window! Ollie puts on a dressing gown and instructs Stan to again assist (seriously, after all the hassle he still insists on Stan helping him!) with some sore throat gargle. Stan douses the syrup-like mixture onto some cotton wool and puts it on a stick before shoving it down Ollie's throat. It doesn't take much guessing to know that by the time he pulls the stick out of Ollie's mouth the cotton ball is missing. Once again Ollie makes idle threats as Stan retreats into the closet before he gets the door pushed into his face again. A shoving match ensues and it results in the air mattress getting deflated. A lot of commotion follows and the landlord (Charlie Hall) enters the room and warns Ollie to stop making so much noise. Ollie bids him a good night but his wishes are met with deaf ears. Stan echoes Ollie's sentiments and gets a polite "Goodnight, Mr. Laurel". Ollie accuses Stan of being a double-crosser and calls the landlord a bonehead. The landlord pokes his head around the door, daring Ollie to repeat the remark.
Ollie uses the gas line to inflate the mattress just enough to make them comfortable, but as he gets into the now-bouncy bed Stan springs off it and onto the floor. Stan gets back in to the bed, which in turn causes Ollie to fall out. Furious, Ollie launches a pillow at Stan's head, misses and strikes poor Charlie Hall square in the face as he re-enters the room at precisely the wrong moment. Covered in feathers, the landlord kicks Ollie but Ollie retaliates by shoving the landlord backwards before falling over and getting covered in the mustard-mix left by Stan in the bowl from earlier. He threatens to fix Ollie - and Stan too before running out of the room. Ollie gets back into bed but hasn't noticed his dressing gown has accidentally knocked the gas switch back to the 'on' position. The mattress slowly fills with gas as the boys get comfy. Soon, Ollie notices their elevated position due to the over-inflated mattress as they are now inches away from the ceiling. The landlord enters with the cops, but witnesses the situation and leaves just as quickly as he entered, fearing for his life.  Ollie sneezes and we then get the reference of the title of the film...

Favourite bit
It has to be the scene where Ollie is trying to blow up the mattress through blowing air through the tube.  As it starts to inflate Stan does the one thing you really don't expect your best friend to do to make life more difficult - he jumps onto the mattress, blowing all the air back down the tube and right back into Ollie's lungs.  This is followed by some great facial expressions from Hardy and culminates into a chase around the room for it.

Copyrighted August 26, 1929.
This was one of only a small handful of the shorts which was not available in a colorized version on the Universal DVD set.
This was the fifth Laurel and Hardy sound short released.
During the making of this film, Oliver Hardy's wife Myrtle filed for divorce from him.
The audio during the opening scene with Stan and Ollie in bed really amplifies how primitive the new experiment (sound recording) is. During Stan's scene the audio almost resembles a drum roll, and when the p[icture turns to Hardy there is a noticable hum on the soundtrack.
There is a tapestry above the bed which reads "Smile All The While".
The entire first minute of the film is Stan in bed snoring.
The opening intertitle claims it is 3am. However, during the opening scene the alarm clock on the cabinet says it is five minutes to 2.
When Stan attempts to peel the plaster from Ollie's rear end Ollie gets the wrong idea. It's a subtle moment which has a homosexual reference in it.
Stan and Ollie sleep on a "Restwell Air Mattress".
It's odd that Stan and Ollie presume to fall asleep with the light on after the landlord has run out of the room covered in feathers.
The guy in the hotel who is clinging on for dear life at the end looks like it is Bobby Burns, but a reliable source has convinced me otherwise that it is Jack O'Brien.
The entire twenty minutes takes place in the bedroom and kitchen with no other cut-away shots.
My opinion
Static twenty minutes with the occasional mild laugh.

Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Charlie Hall
Jack O'Brien
Tenant falling through ceiling


CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

(click any image to enlarge)

Laurel And Hardy: The Magic Behind The Movies by Randy Skretvedt (book)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Jack O'Brien)

This page was last updated on: 21 September 2023