IT was years in the planning, months in the making and its launch delayed since the spring by technical problems.
But last night the folk of Wigan were privileged to be the first to see a new movie about the early years of comedy genius Stan Laurel.
The thin half of the world’s most famous comic double act, Laurel and Hardy, is the subject of the movie by Worsley Mesnes’s Brian Worthington.
And last night the Empire multiplex cinema at Robin Park screened the premiere of Stan’s Childhood before an audience of film buffs, members of the duo’s international fan club The Sons of the Desert and several Laurel and Hardy impersonators.
The film, which had already attracted international attention, was shot last year in Stan’s home town of Ulverston, Cumbria, and Wigan, with a cast including Brian’s young relative Connor Wood in the title role.
Local location scenes for the 90-minute movie include Holy Family Church hall in New Springs and Park Lane Chapel in Bryn.
The premiere of the film was originally planned for January this year, then postponed until March. But then on the eve of the big day it had to be pulled again because of technical difficulties which were not of the cinema’s doing.
However there were no such problems last night as the film, recently promoted at the Sons of the Desert’s annnual Wigan festival and with a backing track by local band Beautiful Losers, came to the big screen at last.
Although not a local man, Stan Laurel was no stranger to Wigan.
He appeared at least once (along with fellow rising star Charlie Chaplin) at the former Wigan Hippodrome before they found Hollywood fame. And Stan and Ollie made a star appearance at Poolstock greyhound track in 1947 during a UK tour.