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Hal Roach
Harold Eugene Roach, Sr. [1892-1992]

short profile

movies & TV of Hal Roach

The Hal Roach Studios
Hal Roach's stars

works about Hal Roach

friends & family
Hal Roach, Jr.

Hal Roach links

         Hal Roach, Sr. portrait

Studio head Hal Roach produced & wrote & directed nearly 1,200 silent & sound films (mostly comedies), and made stars
of Harold Lloyd, Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, and the Our Gang / Little Rascals kids.

"In those days, there was one secret to making good comedy.
If it made the audience laugh, it was a good comedy." — Hal Roach

"Harold Lloyd was not a comedian. But he was the finest actor to play a comedian that I ever saw."
— Hal Roach

     s h o r t
     B I O
     h e r e

Hal Roach and his wife had been living at 1624 So. Van Ness before paying $45,000 for #22 Berkeley Square in August 1920; sold house at a loss in 1939 to members of the Ralphs Grocery dynasty. The gated community was torn down for a freeway.

Hancock Park oil heiress Dolly Brewer chose Hal Roach, Jr. for her second husband.

Obituaries said Roach died at his home in Bel Air; other websites give Roach's address as 610 No. Maple Drive on the flats of Beverly Hills.

Hal Roach, Sr. entry at Wikipedia
Hal Roach, Sr. credits {1200+ as producer 1915-66} at Internet Movie Database

First Motion Picture Unit of the U.S.A.A.F. (at the 'Fort Roach' Studio during WWII)

Magic Lantern's Charley Chase Page
Magic Lantern's Harry Langdon Page
Magic Lantern's Laurel & Hardy Page
Magic Lantern's Little Rascals / Our Gang Page
Magic Lantern's Harold Lloyd Page
Magic Lantern's Thelma Todd Page

star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame  Oscar statuette is a trademark of A.M.P.A.S.   Oscar statuette is a trademark of A.M.P.A.S.   Oscar statuette is a trademark of A.M.P.A.S.       Hal Roach won Oscars
for "The Music Box" [1932] {Best Comedy Short},
for "Bored of Education" [1936] {Best Short Subject},
and an Honorary Oscar in 1984

He also received
the P.G.A Lifetime Achievement Award [1990]
and a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Movies  &  TV  of  Hal  Roach
Hal Roach, Sr. credits {1200+ as producer 1915-66} at Internet Movie Database
RD's Hal Roach filmography ('Our Gang' on connected pages) - last update 2006

movie pioneer Hal Roach in 1992, at age 100  
"The Films of Hal Roach" [1971]
by William K. Everson

New York Museum of Modern Art hardcover [4/71] out of print/used
Complete Films of Laurel & Hardy book by William K. Everson  "The Complete Films of Laurel & Hardy" [1974]
by William K. Everson

Citadel Press 11x8½ pb [6/2000] out of print/many used
Citadel Press hardcover [4/74] out of print/used
Little Rascals & Our Gang book by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann  "The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang - A Nostalgic Look At The Careers & The 221 Films of America's Most-Beloved Mischief-Makers"
[orig 1977] by Leonard Maltin & Richard W. Bann

Three Rivers Press 10¾x8½ pb [rev 11/92] for $16.46
Crown Books pb [4/84] out of print/used
Crown Books hardcover [7/80] out of print/used
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"Just Rambling Along" [Rolin/Pathι Nov 1918]
Directed by Hal Roach, starring Stan Laurel & James Parrott

"The Pajama Party" [1931] starring Zasu Pitts & Thelma Todd /tt0022245/

won an Oscar for Best Comedy Short  famous "The Music Box" [1932] short with Laurel & Hardy  "The Music Box" short subject [Hal Roach/M.G.M. April 1932]
A woman buys a player piano as a surprise for her husband and asks the Laurel & Hardy Transfer Co. to deliver it. The location used for filming (the 131 steps) is today a tourist attraction in the Silver Lake district of Hollywood. Produced by Hal Roach, directed by James Parrott; starring Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, with Billy Gilbert & Gladys Gale; won the first Oscar for Best Comedy Short, listed at National Film Registry (1997)
available as part of several Laurel & Hardy video/DVD compilations
full credits from IMDb • movie entry at KG • movie entry at Wikipedia

Speak Easily  "Speak Easily" [Hal Roach/M.G.M. Aug 1932]
a sendup of 'The Blue Angel'; directed by Edward Sedgwick;
starring Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante & Thelma Todd
Alpha Video b&w DVD [6/2004] for $7.98
Warner b&w VHS [1/93] for $19.99
full credits from IMDb

"Our Gang Follies of 1936" [1935] /tt0026834/

won an Oscar for Best Comedy Short  "Bored of Education" [1936] {Best Short Subject} /tt0027385/

"Topper" [1937] /tt0029682/

"Our Gang Follies of 1938" [1937] /tt0029358/

"Topper Takes A Trip" [1938] /tt0032043/

Zenobia solo feature starring Oliver Hardy  "Zenobia" [Hal Roach / United Artists April 1939]
A circus owner asks a country doctor to heal a sick elephant; the animal is so grateful that it follows the doctor everywhere.Directed by Gordon Douglas; starring Oliver Hardy {without Stan Laurel}, Harry Langdon, Billie Burke, Alice Brady, Jean Parker, Stepin Fetchit & Hattie McDaniel
Starz / Anchor Bay b&w VHS [10/97] out of prodn/used
full credits from IMDb
Of Mice & Men 1939  "Of  Mice  &  Men" [Hal Roach/United Artists Dec 1939]
Presented by Hal Roach; directed by Lewis Milestone; based on the novel by John Steinbeck; starring Burgess Meredith, Betty Field, Lon Chaney Jr., Charles Bickford, Roman Bohnen, Bob Steele & Noah Beery Jr.; nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Music (Aaron Copland), Best Sound
Image Ent b&w DVD [3/2001] for $17.99
Image Ent b&w VHS [3/2001] for $29.98
full credits from IMDb

"One Million B.C." [1940] /tt0032871/

"Turnabout" [1940] /tt0033190/

"Topper Returns" [1941] /tt0034303/

Road Show comedy film starring Adolphe Menjou  "Road Show" [Hal Roach/United Artists Feb 1941]
A groom gets cold feet and pretends to be insane; he is admitted to an asylum, where he meets a con-man, and together they escape and join a traveling carnival. Produced & directed by Hal Roach; based on a novel by Eric Hatch; starring John Hubbard, Adolphe Menjou, Carole Landis, Charles Butterworth, Patsy Kelly, George E. Stone & Willie Best
Alpha Home Ent. b&w DVD [12/2006] for $7.98
Image Ent. b&w DVD [5/2004] for $17.99
full credits from IMDb

"Broadway Limited"  [Hal Roach / United Artists June 1941]
Produced by Hal Roach; directed by Gordon Douglas; starring Victor McLaglen, Marjorie Woodworth,
Dennis O'Keefe, Patsy Kelly & Zasu Pitts; full credits at IMDb

Hispanic Hollywood & Fiesta   "Fiesta" musical film [Hal Roach/United Artists Nov 1941]
Produced, directed & choreographed by LeRoy Prinz; starring Anne Ayars, Jorge Negrete, George Givot, Armida, Antonio Moreno, Josι Arias & the Guadalajara Trio
full credits at IMDb
packaged on DVD with "Hispanic Hollywood" docu feature [2000]
Passport color DVD [5/2000] for $9.98
Passport color VHS [5/2000] 2 tapes / out of prodn/used
documentary not listed at IMDb

"The Hal Roach Comedy Carnival" [1947] /tt0039443/

"The Magnavox Theatre" TV series [CBS-TV 1950] /tt0959862/
Produced by Hal Roach {uncredited} & Hal Roach, Jr.; seven hour-long b&w episodes from September to December of 1950

"The Hurricane At Pilgrim Hill" TV episode [CBS-TV Dec 1950] /tt0216820/
watch full show [50:43] online at Internet Archive

"Racket Squad" TV series [1952-1953] /tt0042139/

"My Little Margie" TV series [1953-1955] /tt0044283/

"Screen Directors Playhouse" TV series [NBC-TV Oct 1955-Sept 56]
35-episode anthology TV series co-produced by Hal Roach & Hal Roach, Jr. • series credits at IMDb

"Rookie of The Year" TV episode [NBC-TV 7 Dec 1955]
Directed by John Ford; written by Frank S. Nugent, based on a story by W.R. Burnett; starring John Wayne,
Vera Miles, Ward Bond, James Gleason & Patrick Wayne; kinescope/video/DVD not available • episode credits at IMDb

"The Silent Partner" TV episode [NBC-TV 21 Dec 1955]
Co-written & directed by George Marshall; starring Buster Keaton, Zasu Pitts, Joe E. Brown,
Jack Kruschen & Jack Elam; kinescope/video/DVD not available • episode credits at IMDb

"Topper" TV series []

"Little Rascals Varieties" [1959] /tt1196772/

"One Million Years B.C." [1966] /tt0060782/

"The Laurel and Hardy Show" TV series [Hal Roach Studios 1986]
syndicated 1-hour TV series • not available on video/DVD • credits from IMDb

main administration building of The Hal Roach Studios (circa 1920)          Hal Roach Studios (circa 1925) from the air, looking south; the dark patch at rear is the Forty-Acre Backlot
The  Hal Roach  Studios
[1919-1963] in Culver City, California
          The company was founded in 1919 with partner Harold Lloyd. They purchased land in Culver City for a studio – ten acres for front lot & offices, and later 40 acres for a backlot. They set up a distribution deal with Pathι (until 1927), then M.G.M. (1927-38), and lastly with United Artists (from 1938). Harold Lloyd left in 1923; the 'Our Gang' shorts ran from 1922-38; the team of Laurel & Hardy was officially formed in 1927. Roach broke with Laurel & Hardy in 1940 and sold the rights to 'Our Gang' to M.G.M. also in 1940.
          The studio was in decline, but Roach got lucky: The U.S. Army wanted the property to make training & propaganda films. Roach was drafted into the Army (at age 50) to help the First Motion Picture Unit of the U.S.A.A.F. run the leased facility, which was nicknamed 'Fort Roach'. (This was an excellent deal for Roach: Though the rent was only a dollar, the Army spent a lot of money to upgrade the facilities, and left that gear behind at war's end.)
          The Roach lot was converted to TV production in 1948, and sold to Hal Roach, Jr. in 1955. Junior went bankrupt by 1962, and sold to creditors who developed the land as an industrial park.
          The Roach Studios film library and rights changed hands several times, eventually being absorbed into Robert Halmi's R.H.I. Entertainment. The Hal Roach Trust formed a new company (circa 1994) with the intention of releasing movies on DVD from archival prints & negatives.
Jerry L. Schneider's history of the Hal Roach Studios backlot
Hal Roach Studios history page on Culver City website

History of Hal Roach Studios  
"A History of The Hal Roach Studios" [2005]
by Richard Lewis Ward

S.I.U. Press 9x6 pb [8/2006] for $16.88
S.I.U. Press 9¼x6¼ hardcover [3/2005] out of print/used
Movie Studios of Culver City book by Julie Lugo Cerra & Marc Wanamaker  "Movie Studios of Culver City (Images of America)" [2011]
by Julie Lugo Cerra & Marc Wanamaker

Arcadia Publng 9¼x6½ pb [3/2011] for $14.95

studio publicity photo of Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer and George 'Spanky' McFarland taking a picture of playful Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy
The Stars  at  Hal  Roach  Studios

Harold Lloyd [on board 1915-23] Page

Charley Chase [on board 1920-36] Page

Little Rascals / Our Gang [on board 1922-38] Page

Laurel & Hardy [on board 1926-40] Page

Harry Langdon [on board 1929-30 & 1939] Page

Thelma Todd [on board 1929-35] Page

James Parrott
Zasu Pitts
Jobina Ralston

Works  about  Hal Roach

Hal Roach obituary in the Los Angeles Times

100 Years of Brodies with Hal Roach book by Craig Calman  "100 Years of Brodies With Hal Roach: The Jaunty Journeys of A Hollywood
Motion Picture and Television Pioneer" [2014] by Craig Calman

Over-hyped biography from author who worked for a time with Roach at the latter's home
in the hills of Bel Air; new edition includes a full index.

BearManor Media 9x6 pb [4/2014] for $26.95

Friends  &  Family
Hal Roach, Sr. was born in Elmira, New York in 1892; he died at home in Bel Air, California at the age of 100.

first wife Marguerite Nichols Roach [d. 1941], married 1915-1941

daughter Margaret Roach [1921-64]
credits listing [1938-49] at Internet Movie Database

Hal Roach, Jr. [1918-72] {see just below}

second wife Lucille Prin [1913-81] - married in September 1942 at Wright-Patterson Airfield in Dayton, Ohio, died 1981
infant daughter Elizabeth Carson Roach [12/1945-9/1946]
daughter Maria May Roach [b. 1947
daughter Jeanne Alice Roach [b. 1949]
daughter Kathleen Bridget Roach [b. 1951]

Hal Roach, Jr. and Hal Roach, Sr. at the train station (circa 1942)
Hal Roach, Jr.  [1918-72]
Hal Roach, Jr. credits listing [1924-72] at Internet Movie Database
Hancock Park oil heiress Dolly Brewer chose Hal Roach, Jr. for her second husband.

"Tales of Robin Hood" [Lippert Pictures May 1951]
'Tales of Robin Hood' 1951 TV pilot / B-movie  60-minute b&w TV pilot that never made it to broadcast but was released as a B-movie
Produced by Hal Roach, Jr.; directed by James Tinling [1889-1967]; starring Robert Clarke {as Robin Hood}, Mary Hatcher, Paul Cavanagh, Wade Crosby, Whit Bissell, Ben Welden, Robert Bice, Keith Richards, Bruce Lester, Tiny Stowe, Lester Matthews, John Vosper, John Doucette
DVD/Blu-ray not available • Burbank Video b&w VHS [undated] for $7.00
full credits at IMDb • movie entry at Wikipedia

L i n k s

Hal Roach, Sr. entry at Wikipedia
Hal Roach, Sr. credits {1,200+ as producer 1915-66} at Internet Movie Database

search Hal Roach DVDs at Amazon

Hal Roach article at Silents Are Golden
Hal Roach page at the Laurel & Hardy Museum in Solingen, Germany
Hal Roach entry on the Film Reference website

movie pioneer Hal Roach in 1992, at age 100

here on the Hal Roach [1892-1992] Page at Magic Lantern Video & Book Store

top of page • short profile • movies & TV • The Hal Roach Studios • Hal Roach's stars • friends & family • links

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