Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Music Box (1932) (short)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Music Box (1932) (short)

In this 29-minute Oscar-winning Best Short film from director James Parrott:

  • the introduction of the Transfer Company deliverymen Stan (Stan Laurel) and Ollie (Oliver Hardy), who were contracted to transport merchandise (in large crates) in a horse-drawn cart, with the logo: "TALL OAKS FROM LITTLE ACORNS GROW"
Laurel & Hardy Transfer Co.
  • their consternation and reaction when told by a helpful postman (Charlie Hall) that the address of a house they were looking for was up a steep set of stairs ("right on top of the stoop")
  • the sequence of their laborious moving of an uncooperative crated upright piano up the stairs - purchased as a birthday gift; "the music box" continually wanted to find its way to the bottom of the steps; as they pushed the crate, they alternately repeated: "Heave!" "Ho!" "Heave!" "Ho!"
  • their first encounter was with a sassy Nursemaid (Lilyan Irene) pushing a baby carriage who asked to pass by: ("Will you please let me pass?"); when the two obliged and moved aside, the piano bounced back down the steps
  • at the bottom of the stairs, Stan kicked the Nursemaid's backside after she chuckled at them insultingly and exclaimed: ("Of all the dumb things"); she retaliated with a punch to Stan's face - and when Ollie laughed uproariously, the Nursemaid smashed a large glass baby bottle over his head
  • further encounters were with an irate cop (Sam Lufkin) who reprimanded the movers for hitting the Nursemaid during her "daily duty": ("What do you mean by molesting that girl?"); the officer kicked Ollie in the rear and then went on his way ("Now let that be a lesson to ya!"), but returned for a second kick (or "lesson") to Ollie; he also gave a third "lesson" to Stan by poking him with his night-stick
Irate Cop
The Professor
  • they also had to deal with an angry, distinguished and pompous customer Professor Theodore von Schwartzenhoffen (Billy Gilbert) who wanted them to remove the obstacle on the stairs: ("I should like to pass") and refused to walk around ("Walk around? Me? Professor Theodore Von Schwarzenhoffen? M.D., A.D, D.D.S, F.L.D, F.F.F und F should walk around? Get that thing out of my way! Get out of my way, come on, get out of the way!"); when Stan slapped his hat down the stairs, it bounded down the steps into the street where it was flattened by a passing truck; he made more threats: "I'll have you arrested for this! I'll have you thrown in jail! I'm professor T.D.A!"
  • after finally getting the crate to the top of the stairs (where Ollie was dunked in a small fountain), the forces of gravity pulled the crate back down to the bottom of the stairs; once they were able to get it back to the home's front door, the helpful postman suggested to the two: ("You didn't have to do that. You see that road down there?...All you had to do was to drive around that road to the top here"); amazingly, they took the postman's advice and returned the piano to the street, and then drove it around to the entrance; when no one answered the door, Stan suggested taking the crate back to the store, but Ollie disagreed and insisted: "Where there's a will, there's a way"
  • the absurd sequence of the implementation of Ollie's suggestion to use a block and tackle to hoist the piano crate into the second story window, resulting in further disasters when they lost control of the crate on the indoor stairs and it crashed through a balcony window into an outdoor fountain; when the crate was opened inside the house, a flood of water cascaded from inside the crate
2nd Story Window Hoist With a Block and Tackle
Bringing the Crate Down the Indoor Flight of Stairs
Losing Control of the Crate
  • after destroying the floor (water damage), the chandelier, and shorting out the electrical plug, the two tested the player piano by playing a 'medley of patriotic songs', when the Professor arrived back inside his wrecked home, he was flabbergasted to see the two workmen there: "What is the meaning of this?...This is my home! What are you doing here?"; when told the delivery was for a piano, he became irate: "Piano? Piano? I hate and detest pianos, they are mechanical blunderbusses! Take it out of here before I commit murder! Take it out! Take it out! Take it all out!"; as further items were broken in his home, the Professor threatened them and the piano with an axe as the piano began to play: "The Star Spangled Banner" (Ollie and Stan stopped everything and saluted); he chopped the piano into pieces and shouted out: "I'll kill you! I hate pianos!"
  • in the short's conclusion, the Professor's wife (Gladys Gale) entered and reprimanded her husband for thinking the delivery (by the two "blundering idiots") was a mistake: "Why, it wasn't a mistake, darling! I bought the piano to surprise you on your birthday!" - (in the brief opening scene, the wife was seen purchasing the piano in a showroom); the Professor changed his tune, telling his wife: "What, me hate pianos? Why, I'm nuts about them!"; he apologized to the delivery men, and was about to sign the papers when Stan's ink pen squirted him in the face - he yelled after them: "Why, you...! Out of my house! Out of my house!"
The Arrival of the Professor's Wife
Signing the Papers

(l to r): Stan and Ollie

Removal of Crate From Wagon

Up the Narrow, Steep Set of Stairs

The Runaway Crated Piano

Encounter with Nursemaid

The Helpful Postman: "You didn't have to do that"

The Professor After Returning Home: "What is the meaning of this?"

Stan and Ollie During Playing of "The Star Spangled Banner"

The Professor's Destruction of Piano with an Axe


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