THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE
L&H footage filmed November 29, 1941. Directed by Charles McDonald. 10 mins.
Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Pete Smith (voice only), Lee Vickers (voice only).
STORY: The wonders of wood in wartime. You'ww weawwy wearn a wot!
THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE, a low-budget one-reeler produced by the Department of Agriculture, was a forgotten film until Richard Bann discovered its existence in 1967. For many years, published sources stated that the film was made and distributed in 1943; Bann's later research, however, determined that Laurel and Hardy's footage was filmed on November 29, 1941, eight days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The purpose of the short was to promote all the wonderful products made from wood, which was easily adapted into a plea for wartime conservation when the film was assembled for distribution.
Shot on 16mm Kodachrome stock, THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE is notable for being the only extant footage of Stan and Babe in color, save for some home movies from the '50s and a few short clips from the long-lost THE ROGUE SONG. Laurel and Hardy's contributions are silent, as they rummage through their belongings to find wood-based products while narrator Pete Smith makes wisecracks