Laurel & Hardy Museum | Exit 1 Mile

Laurel & Hardy Museum in Harlem

Traveling to Myrtle Beach with friends was a long drive from Louisiana. During a lengthy stretch of Georgia highway, we spied a highway sign that read “LAUREL & HARDY MUSEUM, EXIT 1 MILE.”  The guys insisted that this was a “can’t miss” opportunity.  Without a formal vote, our driver took the exit and we were off on a side journey.

Unexpected side trip!  Let’s check this out!!

Visit the Laurel & Hardy Museum

After a short drive, Hwy 221 took us through downtown Harlem, Georgia, the birthplace of Oliver Hardy.  The town itself was quaint and picturesque, sort of like Mayberry!  Arriving on a Sunday morning, there was very little traffic and we quickly found ourselves in the parking lot of the Laurel & Hardy Museum.

Sign for Laurel & Hardy museum
Sign in front of the museum, recognizing Harlem as the birthplace of Oliver Hardy

Dang!! The Laurel & Hardy Museum is closed on Sunday

No surprise that the museum was closed on Sunday, so all we could do was peer through the windows.  We couldn’t see much (and we looked like peeping tourists), so we spent a few minutes looking around the town.  As Oliver Hardy’s face looked down at us from the water tower, we were Oliver Hardy on Harlem GA water toweradmiring the town and taking pictures of the outside of the museum when a man rode up on a bicycle and asked us if we wanted to go inside.  Of course!!  It was definitely a Mayberry moment!

Laurel & Hardy historical markeer
Historical marker sits in front of the museum recognizing the birthplace of Oliver Hardy

Even though we’re closed on Sunday, come on in

The man was a volunteer for the museum, and he let us in and talked to us about the comedy duo, Laurel & Hardy.  If you are not familiar with “The Boys,” they were a world-famous movie comedy team in the 1920s-1940s.  Together they starred in 106 slapstick comedies, beginning with silent films, and won an Academy Award for Best Short Film in 1932.

Laurel & Hardy museum

I found this silly skit from their feature film BLOCK-HEAD.  Their most famous catchphrase in many of their movies was Ollie Hardy’s “well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten us into!”  It’s less well known that

Homer Simpson’s “DOH” was inspired by a recurring character in Laurel & Hardy movies who originally coined the phrase. (There’s your cultural trivia for the day.  You’re welcome!)

Laurel & Hardy museum in Harlem GA

The museum has free admission and operates on sales from the Gift Shop and from donations from visitors.  Since 1988, the small town of Harlem has been promoting its connection to Oliver Hardy and hosting an annual Laurel & Hardy Festival in October to help support the museum.  I hear that it’s well attended every year.

The museum occupies the old post office and is filled with movie-inspired memorabilia, posters, bowler hats, and collectibles that have been donated through the years by fans from around the world.

Laurel & Hardy museum

Harlem GA Laurel & Hardy museum
Laurel & Hardy Museum in Harlem has a small theatre for guests to enjoy the duo’s classic movies

Laurel & Hardy movie time!

There’s also a small theatre room in the back of the museum showing movies from the comedy duo.  Select your free movie and refreshments, and you and your friends can enjoy the show!

Laurel & Hardy museum flyers

Keep an eye out for an unexpected surprise!

We were glad we had seen the highway sign and took the side trip to the Laurel & Hardy Museum.  (Here’s another surprise discovery that I’ve blogged about.)  It was a great reminder to be ready for the surprises that pop up along the way as you travel.  Watch out!  It might be at the next exit!!

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