Gaumont Animation has picked up the exclusive worldwide option to develop and produce an animated 2D series based on the iconic comic duo Laurel & Hardy. The LA-based animation unit of the French mini-major acquired the rights from Larry Harmon Pictures Corporation.

It is nearly half a century since Larry Harmon Pictures and Hanna-Barbera teamed up to produce the original animated cartoon series. The announcement was made today by Gaumont Animation MD Pierre Belaïsch. Gaumont will finance, produce and distribute 78 new episodes targeted at 5-8 year old kids.

“In 1966 Hanna-Barbera produced 156 animated episodes and fans everywhere fell in the love with the animated duo,” commented Belaïsch. “We want to bring the world a totally new series with an updated look, design and feel while maintaining the slapstick humor that made this twosome world famous.”

Founded in 1997, Gaumont Animation, which acquired LA-based Alphanim in 2013, is a producer and distributors of children’s entertainment, with a catalogue of over 30 kids’ television series and 800 half-hours of animation broadcast in over 130 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.  It is also in production on a remake of the British kids classic Noddy. Gaumont will be developing a merchandising campaign to support the project.

Larry Harmon Pictures first acquired the ownership rights to Laurel & Hardy in the early 1960’s. It is also the exclusive owner and licensor of Bozo The Clown.