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Day 10 – Tuesday May 8: Laurel, Hardy & Wood Cars

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<– Day 9 – Mon. May 7: Jeeps, Rest & Laundry | Day 11- Wed. May 9th: Exploring the Palmetto State –>

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This collection of wood cars owned by Gary and Jean was just stunning!

Day 10: On Tuesday we drove from Suwanee, Georgia, to Harlem Georgia, then on to Charleston.

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Our drive from Suwanee, Georgia, to Charleston, South Carolina.

We didn’t expect any surprises today when we left Tuesday morning for the Laurel & Hardy Museum (or on Facebook) in Harlem, Georgia. The drive took a couple hours.

We arrived to find a modest building with signage starting at the Interstate making the museum easy to find.

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Inside the museum we met Gary, a long-time Laurel and Hardy fan originally from Minnesota. The move to Harlem, Georgia, was specifically due to the museum. To say he’s a big fan might be an understatement; I’d wager he’s there number one fan.

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Given the volumes of Oliver & Hardy merchandise, it wasn’t too surprising that I even found a couple jeeps in the mix:

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The museum also had a theatre room in the back. Just ask Gary and he’ll show you any Laurel and Hardy films you’d like to see (the two close friends made 107 together over the years).

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I don’t think anyone will ever confuse us with either man:

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“A Perfect Day” for a drive with Laurel & Hardy

All-in-all, the Laurel and Hardy Museum is a fun diversion for those mildly interested in the two comedians and a big treat for fans. In fact, the town of Harlem holds a Laurel and Hardy festival every year. October 6, 2018, will mark the 30th year the festival has been held.

As we were readying to leave, Gary mentioned that there was another museum he knew about in Harlem. Would we like to go? At first I mentioned that we really had to get going, but when Gary asked again, I got this feeling that this was something to pursue. Then he mentioned the ‘museum’ was in a building at his house and his wife would be happy to show it to us. A little odd, yes, but Ann and I both felt it was worth a shot, especially when he said there were vehicles he’d made of wood there, along with a wood train, all of which he had a few pictures he then shared.

Just two minutes later, as we approached the house, we saw his wife Jean waving us down and inviting us to drive to a garage in the back of the property. We were unprepared for just how cool this was going to be!

As we hopped out of the jeep, Jean welcomed us to “The Ollie Also and Stanie Too: FINE MESS OLD CAR MUSEUM of Harlem, Georgia”. Now that’s a mouthful!

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After a short tour of their version of Mount Rushmore, with Laurel and Hardy “carved” into rock, we had our photos taken with the two comedians:

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Then we walked inside to begin our tour. Without trying to go into everything, let me start by saying Jean’s husband Gary is very creative and has spent countless hours creating some beautiful wood cars with basic things, like wood, sawdust and glue, rubber forms, neighbor’s tossed out cardboard tubes, and anything else he could use. He’s tried to made the cars as exact as he could. Again, these are 99% wood, sawdust, and cardboard (most seats also use real material). The tires are wood as well (see the detail shot in one of the pics below):

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One car was done in varnish to highlight the fact that it is built from wood.

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In 2016, Gary completed this wood train. It does have metal bearing so that it rolls. It’s a half-scale of the real General train. He built it from schematics sent to him by the Smithsonian.

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Gary’s biographer:
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It was a real joy to see all of Gary’s work and have Jean explain it. Their passions are obvious and infectious. If you have the chance, drop by and see the Laurel and Hardy Museum and then GO see this unique collection while you still can!!

Wednesday we’ll spend some time strolling in Charleston’s downtown market, then we’ll head back to Aiken to spend the night.

<– Day 9 – Mon. May 7: Jeeps, Rest & Laundry | Day 11- Wed. May 9th: Exploring the Palmetto State –>

 

3 Comments on “Day 10 – Tuesday May 8: Laurel, Hardy & Wood Cars

  1. SteveK

    Not only are that couple “dedicated”, there are “skills in them there woods”… What talent! and it was great you took the side trip, and shared it. Thanks!.

  2. CraigInPA

    If you’re a fan of Laurel and Hardy, you’re likely a fan of the Three Stooges. Their museum is located in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The museum is named The Stoogeum.

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