Dick Van Dyke idolized Stan Laurel. They met in the early sixties. Stan declined to be on The Dick Van Dyke Show but watched the episode wherein Van Dyke impersonated him. He later told Van Dyke that it was the best impersonation of him he’d ever seen, but there were a few things he noticed. In the movies, Stan Laurel used paper clips as cuff links. He took the heels off his shoes to alter his walk. And “The hat was a little off.”
“I knew it. Yours and Ollie’s had flat brims. Mine curled slightly. I tried to find one like yours. I even tried ironing the brim on my derby.”
Stan Laurel laughed gently and said, “Young man, why didn’t you just ask me? You could have used mine.”
That’s the kind of guys they were.
PS: I learned all this today while I was reading Dick Van Dyke: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke. My Steady Girl, Joy, owns the book and has graciously lent it to me. It’s a good read, the more so because the writing seems to be pure, unedited Dick Van Dyke, except, of course, for the Foreword by Carl Reiner.