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A completely revised, greatly expanded Limited Collectors Edition of the greatest book ever on the world's favorite comedy team
A completely revised, greatly expanded Limited Collectors Edition of the greatest book ever on the world's favorite comedy team
A completely revised, greatly expanded Limited Collectors Edition of the greatest book ever on the world's favorite comedy team
437 backers pledged $47,206 to help bring this project to life.

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Laurel & Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies–Special Edition

$47,206

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Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies by Randy Skretvedt is universally acclaimed as the greatest book ever written about the world’s greatest comedy team. It draws upon decades of research and exclusive interviews by the foremost L&H authority, Randy Skretvedt, and it’s written in his humorous, inimitable style.

But author Skretvedt is a restless soul. Once the first edition was published in 1987, he continued his research. And when the book went back to print in 1994, he updated it, as he did again when it returned to print in 1996. At that point the manuscript had grown to 300,000 words and 250 photos. Child’s play!

Skretvedt has devoted the last 20 years to creating the ultimate edition of his Laurel and Hardy masterpiece—with nearly 500,000 scintillating words and 1,000 rare photos. 

On location at the Music Box Steps, Randy Skretvedt begins the 133-climb first, with fellow L&H authors Dick Bann and Leonard Maltin
On location at the Music Box Steps, Randy Skretvedt begins the 133-climb first, with fellow L&H authors Dick Bann and Leonard Maltin

This new edition includes:

  • Nearly 50% more text and quadruple the number of photographs of previous editions. Close to 800 of the images are new to this edition, and include many never-before-published, one-of-a-kind photographs culled from Babe Hardy's personal collection.
  • Exclusive quotes and fascinating anecdotes from interviews with more than 60 of the team's co-workers, including producer Hal Roach, film editors Richard Currier and Bert Jordan, musical director Marvin Hatley, actors Henry Brandon and Richard Lane, and actresses Anita Garvin and Dorothy Granger.
  • Detailed accounts of hilarious unused scenes, culled from the original scripts.
  • Full information about the musical scores, including the titles of all cues and names of composers.
  • Details about the locations where the team filmed many of their most famous scenes.
  • Full cast and credit information for each film, providing the names of all the players and their roles as well as previously unknown members of the technical crews.
  • An expanded "Who's Who," providing full biographies and photographs of the people who worked with Stan and Babe on either side of the camera.
  • A listing and full description of 50 more films in which Laurel and Hardy appear—newsreels, promotional films, home movies.
  • Full information about the many films which are still missing, as well as a section about the "new" short subjects created for television.
Author Randy Skretvedt conducts early research with L&H film editor Richard Currier
Author Randy Skretvedt conducts early research with L&H film editor Richard Currier

In fact, the entire book has been revised. And to celebrate this momentous release, Bonaventure Press would finally like to give this seminal book the first class production it deserves: releasing it an an oversized hardcover, with glossy art book paper and all the trimmings.

Our challenge is that manufacturing a beautiful, 8.5 by 11-inch, Smyth-sewn hardcover with full-color dust jacket and 632 pages on thick, glossy paper stock, is expensive. Consequently, we will be limiting the size of the print run and printing this gorgeous special edition only once. So, we need to make sure we produce the right number of copies. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. And the last thing we’d want to do is run off 500 copies and quickly discover there were 501 readers desperate for a copy. (Actually, the last thing we’d want to do is run off 500 copies and quickly discover there were only 8 readers desperate for a copy, but that’s another story.)

Enter KickStarter. This pre-sale campaign will tell us how many copies we need to produce and allow you to make sure you get one of those copies (autographed, numbered, and shipped at a slight discount and several months early, to boot!). For this project to be a go, we need to raise at least $16,000, which will cover KickStarter’s cut, taxes, shipping and the majority of our bill to print the minimum number of copies. We anticipate printing between 400 and 1,000, based on KickStarter demand.

And, if we can raise more than $16,000, we can offer all supporters a little something extra...

Level One: $16,000

The Limited Collectors Edition of Laurel & Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies will go to press in early January 2016. Anyone pre-ordering a copy through KickStarter will receive theirs as soon as it's off the press, in late March or April 2016. Any remaining copies will go on sale to the public June 16, 2016.

Level Two: $17,000

To make this elaborate coffee table edition even more glorious, with this little extra funding we will include upgraded end sheets featuring rare Laurel and Hardy artwork.

Level Three: $20,000

As an encouragement to tell your friends and boost sales on KickStarter, if we reach this milestone, any KickStarter supporters who provide their email address will receive a special, lushly illustrated PDF article by Randy Skretvedt, sharing his personal memories of meeting and befriending L&H legends such as T. Marvin Hatley, Anita Garvin, and Hal Roach. The piece will be emailed in early 2016 to all supporters who provide their email addresses.

Level Four: $30,000

If we can raise $30,000, we can increase our print run above 500, thereby reducing our printing costs per book. With the savings, we will produce a professional hour-long CD featuring excerpts from Skretvedt's interviews with Hal Roach and other L&H co-workers. This CD will be shipped along with the book at NO EXTRA CHARGE to all supporters at all pledge levels. Those purchasing more than one copy of the new book will receive a like number of CDs.

Level Five: $40,000

If we can raise this ridiculous amount of money, we will host an incredible launch party in June 2016 in Southern California to celebrate the release of the new book. Randy Skretvedt and other authors and marginal celebrities will appear for an evening of L&H fun. All KickStarter supporters are invited and those out of the area will be emailed an exclusive recap of the festivities.

All Reward packages are priced less than the cover price of the books included. We will also be covering the sales tax for books purchased in California, and we will be subsidizing a portion of the shipping costs. However, because this volume is absurdly heavy (estimated at more than 5 pounds a book!), supporters will have to add in a portion of the expedited shipping costs as well, ranging from $5 to $8 per book domestic, and approximately $25 to $50 per book international (depending on number of books purchased and country).

Let's make this Ultimate Edition a reality. Purchase your copies on KickStarter before midnight December 31, 2015.

Author Randy Skretvedt with "Ku-Ku" theme song composer T. Marvin Hatley, showing off their 1982 album
Author Randy Skretvedt with "Ku-Ku" theme song composer T. Marvin Hatley, showing off their 1982 album

Risks and challenges

Bonaventure Press has been publishing high-quality hardcover and trade paperback books on pop culture since 1994. The company is financially stable, well respected in its niches, and engages only the top commercial book printers to manufacture its products.

Consequently, the only risk associated with this project is one intrinsic to all KickStarter projects: if we can't reach the minimum level of funding, this special edition will not be produced. Of course, in that event, the only risk to you is extreme disappointment; your credit card will not be charged.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    THE LUCKY DOG
    Special Limited Collectors Edition of "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies," personally autographed and numbered by author Randy Skretvedt. Price includes any applicable sales taxes. Expedited, discounted shipping charges added at checkout for US buyers. International buyers see the CHUMP AT OXFORD package.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    A CHUMP AT OXFORD
    It's the Not-So-Lucky-Dog package for those of you living outside the US and forced to pay outrageous shipping fees. You'll get the Special Limited Collectors Edition of "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies," personally autographed and numbered by author Randy Skretvedt. Expedited, discounted shipping charges added at checkout. If you don't see your country listed, email us for rates and we can add a link for your country for this or any of the other packages. International rates for most countries will be $50 for the first book, but charges rise only marginally for multiple copies, so round up your neighbors and pool your purchases!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $94 or more About $94

    ME AND MY PAL
    Special Limited Collectors Edition of "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies," personally autographed and numbered by author Randy Skretvedt. PLUS a 1st edition copy of Bonaventure Press's recent release, "Danny Kaye: King of Jesters," personally autographed by the author, which studies the life and work of Stan Laurel's friend and fellow comedian. Price includes any applicable sales taxes. Expedited, discounted shipping charges—domestic or international—added at checkout. Both books must be shipped to the same address. Email for international rates.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $149 or more About $149

    DOUBLE WHOOPEE
    Two copies of the Special Limited Collectors Edition of "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies," personally autographed and numbered by author Randy Skretvedt. Price includes any applicable sales taxes. Expedited, discounted shipping charges—domestic or international—added at checkout. Both books must be shipped to the same address. Email for international rates.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $219 or more About $219

    TRIPLE WHOOPEE
    Three copies of the Special Limited Collectors Edition of "Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies," personally autographed and numbered by author Randy Skretvedt. Price includes any applicable sales taxes. Expedited, discounted shipping charges—domestic or international—added at checkout. All books must be shipped to the same address. Email for international rates.
    For those interested in more than three copies, please order some combination of Double Whoopee and Triple Whoopee packages.

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Funding period

- (30 days)