Unaccustomed As We Are

Unaccustomed As We Are

Theatrical poster
Directed by Lewis R. Foster
Hal Roach
Produced by Hal Roach
Written by Leo McCarey (story)
H. M. Walker
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Edgar Kennedy
Mae Busch
Thelma Todd
Cinematography John MacBurnie
Len Powers
Jack Roach
George Stevens
Edited by Richard C. Currier
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • May 4, 1929 (1929-05-04)
Running time
18' (silent)
20' 58" (sound)
Country United States
Language English
Also silent version with English intertitles

Unaccustomed As We Are is the first sound comedy short film starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy released on May 4, 1929.


Ollie brings Stan home for dinner, a very unwelcome surprise for Mrs. Hardy (Mae Busch) who storms out in a huff. Mrs. Kennedy (Thelma Todd), a neighbor from across the hall, offers to help the boys cook dinner; they, in turn, help to set her dress on fire. Mr. Kennedy (Edgar Kennedy), a cop, returns home and the boys hide the slip-clad Mrs. K. in a trunk. Unaware that his wife is within earshot, Mr. Kennedy starts bragging to the boys about his extramarital liaisons. His furious wife then confronts him about it before giving him a bit of her technique; in other words, throw everything within range at him. Next door, Stan, Ollie and Mrs Hardy continue eating while ignoring the crashing, banging and shouting coming from the Kennedys apartment. When it eventually stops, Mr Kennedy shows up, battered, bruised and in a terrible state. He brings Ollie out and beats him up. He then prepares to do the same to Stan, but his wife has evidently not finished with him yet, as she comes out of their apartment wielding a gigantic green vase and, despite Mr. Kennedy's efforts to protect himself, crashes it over his head and puts him out for the count. Stan then leaves as though nothing has happened, but falls down the stairs as Ollie watches and flinches with every thump and loud crash as he reaches the bottom.

Production notes

Unaccustomed As We Are is notable for being Laurel and Hardy's first sound film (the title was drawn from the popular cliché "Unaccustomed as we are to public speaking ..."). The soundtrack was lost for 50 years until it was traced on disc in the late 1970s. A silent version, with intertitles, was also released, as well as a Victor disc International Sound Version (featuring a synchronized music score and sound effects).[1]

This is the first film in which Hardy says to Laurel, "Why don't you do something to help me!" which became a catchphrase, repeated in numerous subsequent films. Also heard for the first time is Stan's distinctive, high-pitched whimper of distress.[1]

The plot of Unaccustomed As We Are was expanded into the feature film Block-Heads in 1938. In addition, the gag of the spaghetti ending on Ollie's lap was originally conceived for their 1928 silent film Habeas Corpus, but was left unfilmed.[1]



  1. 1 2 3 Skretvedt, Randy (1996). Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies. (2nd ed.) Anaheim, California: Past Times Publishing Co. ISBN 0-940410-29-X.

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