Lost Media Archive

One of the original 1927 Hats Off posters.

Another still from the movie..jpg
Hats Off.jpg
Still from the movie..jpg

Hats Off is a silent two-reel short film starring American comedy double act Laurel and Hardy, the tenth in order of production. While other previously lost Laurel and Hardy movies such as Duck Soup and Why Girls Love Sailors were re-discovered in past decades, Hats Off, to this day, remains entirely missing.

The movie involved Laurel and Hardy as salesman attempting to sell a washing machine, but failing each time. The two running gags of the short are Stan and Oliver always falling down a large flight of steps and having to carry back the machine to the top and the two switching their hats, a gag which was retrained for other shorts as well.

The movie was remade by Laurel and Hardy as a talkie called The Music Box, utilizing the same flight of steps, with a piano instead of a washing machine. The same director, Hal Yates, remade it another time in 1945, as a movie starring Edgar Kennedy, called It's Your Move, but using a different (although similar) flight of steps.

Even though the movie was a great success among critics and public, after being last publicly shown in Germany in 1930, Hats Off vanished without a trace, although there have been several unconfirmed rumors of sightings of the movie in the 50s. Laurel and Hardy historian Randy Skretvedt dubbed Hats Off "The Holy Grail of Laurel and Hardy movies".

Lake, an early TV film distributor, listed Hats Off as available for TV bookings, but since there were many other silent movies that nowadays are considered lost, rather than cataloguing the movies in their possession, they copied titles from old releases charts under the assumption that the prints were available.

The original script, several frames and posters of the film survive, but as of 2015, there is no video footage available to the public, whatsoever.