|Season Hal Roach Talking Short Films, Episode 15|
|Air date||September 6, 1930|
|Directed by||James Parrott|
Feu mon Oncle
But what they don't understand is, that Ebenezer Laurel didn't die a natural death. He was murdered...
Trapped in a haunted-like house, they are forced to sleep over night until somebody of relation to Ebenezer cracks about killing him. Its the Laurel and Hardy murder case.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are sitting on the side of a dock, Laurel fishing, while Hardy tries to get some sleep. Hardy suddenly finds something on a newspaper (which was thrown by Laurel and blew into his face). Its an article on a fortune estate ($3,000,000) owned by the late Ebenezer Laurel and the will is being read tonight. After asking Laurel about his family, who says that his uncle was killed falling through a trapdoor ("They were hanging him"), they decide to be present.
The reading of the will is during a thunderstorm, which lights up a rather gloomy living room filled with relatives, who are waiting patiently. One asks why the reading hasn't begun and the Sheriff replies that there will be no reading because they are investigating who murdered Ebenezer Laurel. A gasp resounds through the room. The Sheriff explains that no one will leave the house until they confess for killing Ebenezer. Everyone is escorted to their rooms by the widow and detectives.
Suddenly, the doorbell rings and the housekeepr answers to find Laurel and Hardy. Hardy asks whether this is the estate of Ebenezer Laurel and then explains that Laurel is the heir to the estate. Upon entering the house, Laurel wonders why Hardy has taken for granted that he will get half of the fortune, deciding that he is the rightful owner. Hardy is insulted and threatens to leave, Laurel is oblivious. They are finally introduced to the Sheriff who explains that they are both forced to stay in the house until someone confesses. They sheepishly follow orders and are escorted to their room.
Ironically, they are given, by the Housekeeper, the room where Ebenezer's body was found. Hardy quickly takes the candle from the old man before saying goodnight. They decide it is best if they get ready for bed and forget about their presence in a scary mansion. While undressing, Laurel tells Hardy that he can have the whole fortune instead of having none, obviously avoiding the awkward position of gaining a haunted house. Hardy is unsure. They eventually try and get some sleep, but more frightening events develop. The first is the sound of scratching, followed by an unearthly howling. The cupboard where Ebenezer's body was found, creaks open and a cat jumps onto their bed. They breathe a sigh of relief. Then, there's a large flash of lightning, and Laurel drops the candle, plunging them into darkness except for a streak of light that reveals a horrific picture, showing a skeleton. They soon relise that it is not alive.
Outside, the Housekeeper tells one of the guests that there's someone on the phone for them. They head down into a pitch black room and answer, but this is followed by a scream.
Laurel and Hardy hear this and follow suit, both jumping out of bed. They decide to investigate. Hardy heads out into the corridor while Laurel puts on his trousers (actually Hardy's), which are accidentally attached to a lampthat's covered in a white sheet. Following Hardy out into the corridor and then investiagting through an adjoining door, he notices the lamp, and only realises he is attached to it when pulling on the cord. The lamp is pulled out into the corridor, where Hardy turns around and pounces on top of it, believing its a ghost. Scared by the outburst, Laurel tumbles down the stairs, still attached to the lamp, pulling hardy with him. Landing at the very bottom of the staircase, they are greeted by the angry faces of the Sheriff and his men who tell them to return to their room.
Back in their room, Laurel and Hardy are unaware of a bat that has entered underneath their sheet. It lifts over their heads like a ghost, causing them to scream out once more. They are chased back down the staircase, this time spotted by the Sheriff and his men, who shout out and run away too. Hardy enters a cupboard and is followed by the bat and Laurel shuts the door behind them both. The bat finally exits and Hardy too, now covered with the sheet. There's another scream as the last two guests (Except for Laurel and Hardy) are taken.
The Sheriff answers the phone this time and is taken as well. Laurel and Hardy decide that they should do something about it and head into the drawing room. Laurel lifts the phone from its holder and Hardy is sent along with the chair underground. Because he was holding onto the arm rests, he managed to stay on the chair instead of the other guests. Unknown to them, a secret panel opens behind, and a man dressed as the widow appears with a dagger. He lunges for Hardy, who manages to block him and release the dagger from his grip.
The scene changes to back at the dock, where Hardy is wrestling with Laurel. They suddenly roll of the edge and plunge into the water. Hardy was dreaming...
- Oliver Hardy - himself
- Stan Laurel - himself
- Sheriff - Fred Kelsey
- Housekeeper - Frank Austin
- Boyd - Stanley Blystone
- Murderer - Dell Henderson
- Policeman - Tiny Sandford
- Ebenezer Laurel - unfeatured
"Ra-Ra-Ra, Ra-Ra-Ra, Sis-Boom-Ra!" - Hardy
"This was the room...where the old man was murdered!" - Housekeeper
"Septober, Octember, No-Wonder..." - Laurel
- This story has some resemblance to the 1934, Oliver the Eighth film, which was in the same series.
- This episode features recurring actor Tiny Sandford who has appeared in many Laurel & Hardy films including all famous Way Out West .
- This film is a parody of the horror movie The Cat and the Canary
- It is also a parody of the mystery movie The Bat
- It is also a parody of the detective novel The Canary Murder Case
- The animation Who Killed Who? is based on this movie.
- Stan Laurels wife Laois Laurel gave birth during the filming of this movie. The baby died 9 days later
- This episode was reproduced on DVD (with improved sound and picture) along with other episodes including Berth Marks, Oliver the Eighth and Noche du duendes. This DVD case held the name 'Murder in the Air'.
- Forced to stay over night, Laurel and Hardy now prepare for bed. Somehow they have gained pyjamas, which fit them perfectly, and did not enter the mansion with a bag or a suitcase to carry them in. They must be magicians!
- The killers knife is made of rubber.
- After Hardy crumples up the newspaper twice, the camera is positioned at such an angle, that it looks like the newspaper was not crumpled up at all!