Stan’s Obligatory Blog


T. Marvin Hatley, or Another Mystery of the Ages Falls

Filed under: — stan @ 12:42 pm

Since we went on the Tour of Laurel and Hardy last weekend, I was reading a bit about them today, and I ran across this:

“Trivia: The composer of the famous Laurel and Hardy theme song was T. Marvin Hatley.”

Years ago, I used to ride a lot in the Hollywood Hills. I would go down Mulholland Drive to Cahuenga Pass and then make a loop by going up Woodrow Wilson Drive. This was a steep hill, and by the time I got to the top, I was usually seeing stars. And at the top, there was a house with a wall in front with large letters spelling out “The T. Marvin Hatley Estate”. For fifteen years, I’ve wondered who T. Marvin Hatley was, and now I know. Here is his biography from

Of course this means another bike ride. I need to go back there and do the climb up Woodrow Wilson to see his house again, even though it probably doesn’t have the letters on the wall any more.

One Response to “T. Marvin Hatley, or Another Mystery of the Ages Falls”

  1. Don Says:

    That’s a wonderful story about the little man with the cheshire cat grin.
    I have a story or two also…

    I met Marvin Hatley in person at the Old Time Silent Movie Theater in Hollywood in 1976 at its old location on La Brea across from the old Chaplin Studios which of course at that time was the headquarters of A&M Records, before it was relocated to Fairfax.

    I went to see a Charley Chase film festival and at intermission time I went out to the lobby to the snack bar and began a lively and animated conversation with a kindly little man with a cheshire cat smile. I told him I
    especially loved the old time comedies made by Hal Roach at his fun factory in Culver City, and I really loved the music in the Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase and Our Gang Little Rascals comedy shorts.
    I had done my own research even at that early time in the 1970s, and said that there were two composers at the Roach Studio whose music I absolutely adored.
    One was Leroy Shield, and the other was Marvin Hatley.
    He replied “You’re looking at him, kid, I’m Marvin Hatley!”
    I was speechless. He began whistling the Laurel & Hardy “Ku-Ku” theme and I joined in humming it, and a few curious onlookers gathered around. I’m sure if he had a banjo and I had a ukelele, we would have had a little impromptu concert right there! We had a great time talking about the good old time comedies, and how much fun they are, and he said the reason he came was that one of the Charley Chase films they showed was the very first one he ever composed music for, a silent film made in 1928, titled “Safety Thirst” which was retitled “Is Everybody Happy?” to get away from sounding too much like Harold Lloyd’s film “Safety Last”. I was flabbergasted. Here I was with one of the legends of Hollywood history, way before my time, talking to me!

    Two years later, in 1978, I read about a special Laurel & Hardy soundtrack record album which was being sold by mail order only, all copies numbered & signed by Mr. Hatley. It was produced by a gentleman named Randy Skredvedt. (an odd name which I have oddly remembered!)
    I sent for it in the mail and it has remained one of my most treasured possessions as a record collector.
    Two years after that, in 1980, I was invited by some friends in the movie business to attend a special gala evening tribute to Marvin Hatley at the Fine Arts Center in Los Angeles, sponsored by the Way Out West Tent of the Laurel & Hardy Fan Club. I had a wonderful time and met Mr. Hatley again, along with Stan Laurel’s daughter, Lois Laurel Hewes, and her husband, Mr. Hewes, who was President of the L&H Fan Club WOW Tent of L.A.
    That was a real treat! Mr. Hatley signed a cocktail napkin for me, and I stuck it into my record album signed by him. He was a lot of fun, and played the “Ku-Ku” theme on the piano for everyone.
    I saw him one last time in the spring of 1986, just a few months before he left this Earth in August of that year.
    He was being honored by a civic organization in North Hollywood and was the guest of honor once again, and played the piano and got a standing ovation from the crowd.
    Precious memories!

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