Laurel and Hardy

A future ‘Laurel and Hardy’ film comes to life in Syracuse when a piano crashes to the ground

Laurel and Hardy’s 1932 short film “The Music Box” is considered the iconic comedic duo’s masterpiece.

The premise is simple.

Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel play a pair of bumbling furniture movers who are tasked with delivering a player-piano to a wealthy man’s house, which, they believe, is only accessible by climbing a very long stairway.

(The piano was a surprise birthday present for the homeowner, Professor Theodore von Schwartzenhoffen, M.D., A.D., D.D.S., F.L.D., F-F-F-and-F.)

The ensuing 30 minutes of slapstick earned the duo their first Academy Award.
The film made its debut on April 16, 1932, almost 32 years to the day when a pair of Syracuse deliverymen had a similar experience to Stan and Ollie when they tried to deliver a piano to a home on Seymour Street.
The following is taken from the April 22, 1900 Post-Standard.


A Thousand Bricks, More or Less, Awoke the Echoes of Seymour Street
The downfall of a piano and a brick chimney created a tumult in Seymour Street at 6 o’clock yesterday afternoon.
Thomas Klering lives at No. 340 Seymour Street. Recently he purchased a piano. It was delivered yesterday afternoon, and it was when the musical instrument was being hoisted to the upper flat of his house that the people of the neighborhood were thrown into a state of unusual excitement.

The hoisting paraphernalia was attached to the chimney. The hoisting was successful until the piano was raised within a foot of the window, the chimney was unable to endure the strain any longer and gave way.

An Awful Crash

The piano struck earth first. The chimney came after. The bricks went in nearly every direction, and after leaving the inclined roof struck porches and sides of neighboring houses and finally landed on the sidewalk.

The crash was of short duration, but a big fire would not have caused Seymour street to go more amiss than it did yesterday afternoon. There were 200 people from Gifford, Shonnard, Oswego and Seymour streets on the scene in an exceptionally short time.

The piano movers took the broken instrument to the store, and in a short time had returned with another. This time the pulley ropes were wound around the entire house and the piano was raised successfully, with a crowd of witnesses present.

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