Plug/Review ‘The Charlie Hall Picture Archive’


DISCLAIMER: My name is listed in the acknowledgments section of this book and the author is a friend of mine. Nevertheless I believe my review would be equally as favourable if this were not the case.

Despite a list of acting credits as long as your arm, Charlie Hall is not a name that is instantly recognisable to any but the most ardent classic film fans. Born in Birmingham, England in 1899, Hall emigrated to America in his twentieth year. As a trained carpenter he found work behind the scene in New York film studios before eventually finding himself in front of the camera. Today he is best remembered for his appearences as a foil to the ever popular Laurel and Hardy during their hayday at the Hal Roach film studios in the 1930s.

It is to Laurel and Hardy fan Dean McKeown’s credit that, when he purchased a batch of photographs from the personal collection of 1930s character actor and comedian Charlie Hall, he felt no desire to horde historic artefacts to himself.  Instead he immeadiatley set to work assembling this book as a means of sharing the images with interested parties world wide. Hundreds of photos are presented uncropped in this 170-page, large format soft-back book and are given context by Dean’s well researched text. 


Beyond simply collecting film stills (although there are many fine examples of these), The Charlie Hall Picture Archive delves into the actors personal snaps. Many of the photographs were taken during a visit from his mother, who still lived in England. Mother Hall was given a full tour of her son’s new home and fans of classic Hollywood film making are bound to pleased with the visual record of the city that has been preserved in these informal snaps. The fact that Hall kept such a detailed record of her visit perhaps hints to the fact that he regretted not seeing her more during his adult life and the book is all the more worthwhile for this kind of insight. 

 You can order The Charlie Hall Picture Archive at this website along with a range of attractive postcards that present a selection of the images from the book in a higher print quality suitable for framing. If you’re at all interested and can afford to then I urge you to invest in a copy as such a worthy venture as this deserves to succeed in not only reaching as many people as possible but also in rewarding it’s creator.


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