Until the rediscovery of Duck Soup in the 1970s, this comic short was thought to be the first time that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy appeared together in something akin to their now-familiar personas (before teaming up, Laurel and Hardy appeared in quite a few of the same films at the Hal Roach studios -- just not as a duo). It isn't quite yet a Laurel and Hardy film -- the boys are given silly names (Stan is Ferdinand Finkleberry and Ollie is Sherlock Pinkham) instead of using their given names. In addition, as Judge Foozle, James Finlayson's role is as important as the boys'. There are also smaller details which indicate that the duo was still a ways off from refining their act -- the titles refer to Laurel as "the world's second worst detective" and Ollie is the worst. The way we know Laurel and Hardy now, it would be the other way around. But there is a lot that is familiar -- the bowler hats which get switched around (although Stan's isn't exactly the same as he would wear in later films), and many of the pair's mannerisms here would become part of the act. While this was a funny picture, it would still be a few more films before the team was considered official. Which picture signals this is still up for debate -- many (including Hal Roach and Stan Laurel himself) claimed it was Putting Pants on Phillip, others say it was The Second Hundred Years.
by Janiss Garza synopsis