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Lost Laurel and Hardy snap from Italy goes viral

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A lost photo of Stan Laurel (R) and Oliver Hardy (L) in Rome has come to light in Italy. Photo: Stefan Schubert/Wikimedia
11:33 CET+01:00
A long-lost photo depicting the comedic duo, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in Rome has delighted film buffs after coming to light and getting thousands of shares online.

The picture shows Stan Laurel, played by British actor Arthur Stanley Jefferson and his American sidekick Oliver Hardy, played by Norvell Hardy, being mobbed by fans at Rome's Termini station in July 1950.

Stan Laurel was hoisted up onto the shoulders of his fans who are carrying him along the platform in a 'king's chair', as his comedy sidekick walks ahead of the group grinning broadly, while an amused Italian police officer looks on.

The snap was found by 65-year-old book seller Giuseppe Casetti, who lives outside Rome and uploaded it on the internet just before Christmas. 

Casetti collects old photos as a hobby and discovered the picture among negatives that once belonged to a defunct Roman newspaper.

“I managed to get hold of the picture archives of an old Rome-based paper,” Casetti told Corriere della Sera.

“I've been developing some negatives and there are incredible stories from 50 or even 70 years ago, I try to upload some of them online when I get the chance.”

The picture provides a snapshot of post-war Italy and shows a middle-aged Laurel and Hardy still enjoying their status as a global phenomenon.

It is thought the snap was taken when the pair were in Italy to drum-up publicity ahead of the release of what would be their final film together, Atoll K, which was released in 1951. The film, a Franco-Italian production, was beset by problems and widely panned by critics.

Following the box office flop, the duo's popularity waned and they both experienced a number of health and personal problems in the years that followed. Hardy passed away just five years later and Jefferson followed in 1965, factors which add a poignancy to the image.

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Casetti admits that he didn't expect the old snap to be seen by so many people after being put online.

“Then it became viral? I don't know what that means,” he joked. “But if it makes people feel good I'm happy! 

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