The Tree in a Test Tube

The Tree in a Test Tube (1942) is a short film produced by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and distributed by the U.S. Forest Service, featuring Laurel and Hardy, with narration read by MGM announcer and producer Pete Smith.


To Pete Smith's voice over commentary, Stan and Ollie-seemingly picked at random in the street, and professing not to have any wood in their possession at the time, produce various props - the contents of a suitcase and their wallets - all manufactured from wood, or containing wood byproducts. (At one point Ollie even indicates that Stan's head is made of wood, to Stan's annoyance.) The props demonstrate the omnipresence of wood products in the American economy, including paper, cellulose-based artificial leather, rayon, witch hazel, and bioplastics in consumer items (this was in the early days of mass-produced plastic, before petrochemical plastics became widespread).