Volume 30, Number 1
This is an old issue of the Brushwood Gulch Gazette, which has been archived for reference purposes. Although some links have been updated, the text of this archived newsletter remains unchanged. Please keep in mind that these articles have NOT been updated to reflect changes that may have occurred since they were originally printed. Return to the index of archived issues.
Ask a fellow Son what their favorite film is, and more often than not, they will tell you that it is Way Out West. This argument is certainly justifiable, when you realize the many elements this film has to offer; the boys are portraying the roles that they are best at, as outwitted do-gooders determined to even the score; James Finlayson is present as their sharp tempered adversary; the comedy is germane to the plot and is carefully interwoven throughout the film; the musical numbers are some of their best and do not feel tacked on as in other films of the day. Because this film was set in the old west, the film has always felt nostalgic. All of which makes this film timeless...it really looks as good today as it did when it first premiered, which makes it all the more difficult to believe that this film is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
We love this film, not only because it is a favorite, but also because it is our namesake. Bill Patterson started our tent in 1967, as the fifth tent in the Sons of the Desert. Prior to our founding, the tent furthest west was located in Minneapolis...so at that time we really were way out west! Little did we know that thirty years later there would be over 200 tents in the Sons of the Desert, over 150 of which remain active. Maybe we'd be more aptly named the Hollywood Party Tent or the Pick a Star Tent, but we like our association with such an accomplished film. The Way Out West tent has also been associated with a few accomplishments of its own over the years.
In 1968, the first issue of Pratfall was published by our tent. Billed as "The Way Out West Periodical Tribute to Stan and Ollie," Pratfall became the first regularly printed journal about the boys. The staff back then did some amazing things; from first-hand interviews to intensely researched articles, it was a first class publication, even by today's standards. The original artwork alone was some of the finest ever produced. Each issue took a great deal of time and effort from a small, dedicated, and unpaid staff. In many ways, it has set the standard by which many of today's publications strive to live up to.
On June 11, 1971, the Way Out West tent held its first annual banquet. In addition to Hal Roach, Babe London, T. Marvin Hatley, and Lois Laurel, one of the honored guests was Billy Gilbert himself. Although he died just a few months later, he helped to start a long tradition of celebrity members joining us in our activities as we honored the boys. There have been hundreds of honorary members at our meetings and banquets over the years. This includes many of the spouses, siblings, and children of those stars who are no longer with us. It has really given our members and guests a chance to find out first hand about the things we loved so much; it's the next best thing to have been there ourselves. Sometimes, we seem to take it all for granted, but that's because many of the celebrities seem so dear to us, we see them simply as friends rather than living legends.
The stars were really out in 1980, when we hosted the Second International Convention of the Sons of the Desert. Known as Hollywood '80, this was simply the largest gathering of Laurel and Hardy's co-stars and technical staff since the films were first made. There were some 50 celebrities in attendance who were all readily available for questions and answers. In addition, this was the first large scale Our Gang reunion since the year their last film was made. It was also a chance to pay tribute to the boss himself...Hal E. Roach. At a ceremony in Culver City, an 88 year old Hal Roach was present among hundreds of fans and members of the media for the dedication of a plaque at the former site of his studios.
Another notable achievement by members of our tent was the discovery of many original film locations used in Laurel and Hardy films. Some appeared in early Pratfalls and all appeared in the final, quadruple issue of Pratfall. But it was during Hollywood '80 that fans were first able to visit these sites first hand. The tour was revised several years later and has been offered on a periodic basis to our members ever since. It has really been a great way for those of us who live in Los Angeles to appreciate our city better...anywhere you go you don't seem to be too far from a Laurel and Hardy location.
The Sons of the Desert has allowed fans around the world to join forces to learn more about their heroes, as well as to have a good time honoring these heroes as they watch and re-watch each film. We are proud to have been part of it for so long. Throughout the year we will continue to share the people and the moments that are so special to us all. We feel it is important for our newer members to know about our past and the traditions that have been established, so that they may continue on into the next millennium and on for the next 30 years.
The Way Out West Tent will celebrate its 30th Anniversary in the city where the boys did their finest work...Culver City. Our salute to Culver City will begin with our anniversary banquet on Saturday evening, June 28, 1997. The program will include celebrity guests, awards, a raffle, and some special tributes. A walking and bus tour of Laurel and Hardy movie locations in Culver City will be held the following afternoon. At the time of this writing plans are being finalized as to the location and the cost of the banquet; the next newsletter will have banquet information and registration forms for both events. Celebrity guests will also be announced in the near future.
Our totally revised tour will be very different from previous ones, highlighting the numerous locations near the Hal Roach Studios. The new walking portion of tour will give everyone the opportunity to get off the buses and see the downtown area up close. Newly restored Main Street features sites from Leave 'Em Laughing and Hats Off. You'll also see the recently refurbished Culver Hotel, featured in Putting Pants on Philip and Charley Chase's Limousine Love. A Laurel and Hardy mural has recently been unveiled in Culver City, and the city's eclectic City Hall features the facade of the building from County Hospital.
On the the bus portion of the tour, we'll see the Perfect Day house, the Hog Wild street, and the former site of the Hal Roach Studios. We will also visit the final resting place of Edgar Kennedy (whose life will be celebrated the following weekend in Monterey). The buses will also leave Culver City, in order to visit the final resting places of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
More details regarding the starting time of the banquet, and the departure time for the tour will follow in upcoming newsletters. So please keep Saturday and Sunday, June 28th & 29th open for a wonderful fun filled Anniversary Celebration / Culver City Weekend.
1997 looks like it's going to be the year of the anniversary. For starters, 1997 marks the 70th anniversary for such L & H films as Putting Pants on Philip and Hats Off, the 60th anniversary of the boys' feature, Way Out West, and it is also the 30th Anniversary of the Way Out West Tent of Los Angeles' entrance into the Sons of the Desert.
We'll begin the year on Tuesday evening, January 21, 1997, at the Mayflower Club, located at 11110 Victory Boulevard (east of Vineland). As always, the Famous Fabulous Fisher Franks will make their 1997 debut and the Marvelous Mayflower Bar will be serving them up once again. The doors open at 6:30 PM and the meeting starts at 7:30 PM. So come on over and help us begin our 30th year on Tuesday evening, January 21, 1997.
STICK AROUND - Released March 1, 1925. Starring Bobby Ray, Babe Hardy, Hazel Newman, and Harry McCoy. Dr. Brain's sanitarium needs to be wallpapered. Unfortunately, due to a mix up, the sanitarium gets wallpapered with Circus posters, thanks to the help of paperhangers, Ray and Hardy.
BARNUM AND RINGLING - Released April 7, 1928. Starring Our Gang, Oliver Hardy, Dorothy Coburn, William Gillespie, and May Wallace. The Gang tries to put on a circus of exotic animals at the Ritz - Biltmore Hotel. The plans go awry, when the animals take over the hotel.
THE FIGHTING KENTUCKIAN - Released in 1949. Starring John Wayne, Oliver Hardy, Vera Ralston, and Marie Windsor. Ollie plays Willie Payne, the sidekick to John Wayne, in this Republic Features western. A scene featuring Oliver Hardy will be shown (not the entire picture).
OLIVER THE EIGHTH - Released February 13, 1934. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mae Busch, and Jack Barty. Barbers Laurel and Hardy answer an ad for marriage from a rather well-off widow. Stan, finding out that Ollie conveniently hid Stan's response, decides to settle up with Ollie at the widow's home. The widow, a murderer of several previous Olivers, is ready to make Ollie her next victim.
BLOTTO - Released February 8, 1930. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Anita Garvin, Tiny Sanford, Frank Holliday, and Baldwin Cooke. The boys sneak out for a night on the town with a bottle of liquor that has been doctored up by Mrs. Laurel.
By Jimmy Wiley, Vice Sheik
On September 21, 1974, thanks to Leonard Maltin's The Laurel and Hardy Book, my wife, Kris, and I attended our first Way Out West banquet. It's hard to believe that it was over twenty-two years ago! Time and our lives have flown by. I give thanks to Leonard Maltin, because from his very interesting book I got the address of the founding New York tent, who in turn gave me the address of the Way West Out Tent. After writing Way Out West, I didn't hear anything for a while, but in early fall, I got a note about their up coming banquet. I sent our money in the same day!
Our first banquet was at the Odyssey restaurant, located in the north end of the San Fernando Valley. There were a lot of great Laurel and Hardy celebrities invited. Just to name a few: Babe London, Darla Hood, T. Marvin Hatley, and perhaps one of the most famous guests ever invited to one of our banquets, director George Marshall. Mr. Marshall, as any Son of the Desert in good standing knows, directed and appeared in Pack Up Your Troubles and Their First Mistake, and also directed Towed in a Hole . In addition, he directed Destry Rides Again (starring Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich) and You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (starring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy---W.C. Fields also starred in the movie, but ended up with his own director, but that's another story).
We got to sit at what I considered the head table with George Marshall and his wife, Germaine. I was told much later that we got such good seats because we sent our money in so quickly (advice to our future banquet attendees). Being at our first banquet and meeting, sitting at the same table with George Marshall, and seeing all the other celebrities was almost too much for one night. Mr. Marshall, needless to say, told us he really enjoyed working at Roach Studios with Stan and Babe. He wouldn't comment on W.C. Fields though. His wife said, "If George didn't have something nice to say about someone, we wouldn't say anything!" Germaine told Kris and me about the time she and George had Stan and Babe over for spaghetti dinner. She dished up a big portion of spaghetti for Babe and a small portion of spaghetti for Stan. When the plates were put before the "boys", with a twinkle in their eyes, they exchanged plates. Babe ate the small portion and Stan ate all of the big portion.
At the banquet, we also managed to meet and talk to Darla Hood. She was such a nice person. At the close of our first banquet, Kris and I will never forget seeing Babe London and T. Marvin Hatley lead our group in the singing of "Honolulu Baby." We had a great night and were really delighted with all the friendly people who attended.
The meeting of December 10, 1996, began with the singing of the Sons of the Desert song. Our good friend, Tony Hawes delivered the Christmas toasts, complete with greeting cards. Next up, Bill Cassara, the Sheik of Police of the Midnight Patrol Tent in Monterey, California, shared with us some updated information about the Edgar Kennedy Celebration taking place on July 3-6, 1997.
Lori "Mama Hen" McCaffery followed with some announcements about Way Out West's 30th Anniversary weekend on June 28-29, 1997. She also presented to W.O.W. member, Alan Barasorda, the "Good Egg Award" for the tent helper who is always there when we need him.
Alan followed by interviewing our special guest for the evening, Raymond Ruiz. Raymond spent many years performing on such radio programs as The Lone Ranger, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, and The Shadow. He also had the good fortune to perform with Laurel and Hardy on radio. He shared with us his memories of the boys and actors and actresses that worked with the boys.
Before the break, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Lois Laurel Hawes (who was unable to be with us). Her husband, Tony Hawes, cut the birthday cake in her honor. Tony then introduced a very funny Edgar Kennedy comedy from his collection called, It's Your Move. The boys followed in their comedies, The Midnight Patrol, Below Zero, and Thicker Than Water.
Once again, the W.O.W. members and guests were very generous with their canned goods donations to the Maud Booth Family Center. Your kindness was very much appreciated and we thank you. After all was said and done, everyone was wished a happy holiday season, before they went "Going Bye-Bye."
On Thursday, July 3, 1997, the Midnight Patrol Tent and Our Relations Tent will host an Edgar Kennedy Celebration in his home town of Monterey, California. Celebrities, films, banquets, contests, a parade, and much more will make it a great way to celebrate the Forth of July weekend. Flyers for this event will be available at the next meeting, if you did not pick them up at a past meetings. Now is the time to mark these dates on your calendar, Thursday through Sunday, July 3-6, 1997. Additional information is available at the Midnight Patrol web site [inactive site].
In the early years of the Way Out West Tent, Venice Lloyd was very generous with her help and loyalty to the tent. You could always count on Venice for her warmth and goodwill, sharing her memories of the boys and their days on the Roach lot.
During the 20's and 30's, she was there when Babe was teamed up with Stan. She even appeared with the boys in scenes from Putting Pants on Philip. and Chickens Come Home. Her husband, Art Lloyd, was Stan Laurel's favorite cameraman. He photographed many Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and other Hal Roach films. Not only were Venice and Art popular among the employees of the Hal Roach Studios, but they were also very kind people. When Our Gang member Joe Cobb lost his mother, they took him into their home for several years.
Although Art passed away in 1954, Venice found new friends to share her past with when she became a member of our tent. She regularly appeared at our meetings and banquets, until just a few years ago. Sons of the Desert everywhere had the good fortune to meet Venice at four different International Conventions.
Venice is now recovering from her second broken hip and is residing in a nursing home near her sister and brother-in-law. She sends her love to all. So with that, the Way Out West Tent tips their derbies to a very fine lady and special friend.
He was born on September 26, 1888, in Madrid, Spain. He arrived in the United States at the age of fourteen. His film career began in 1912, working with D.W. Griffith. During the 1920's, he played leads opposite such female greats as Gloria Swanson, Pola Negri, and Greta Garbo. In his career, he appeared in both American and Spanish films. His last American film was The Searchers, with John Wayne. His final film was El Senore Faron y la Cleopatra (Mr. Pharoah and Cleopatra), in 1958. His home at 1765 Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood became the home of the Masquers Club for nearly 60 years, until its demolition in the 1980's. He died on February 15, 1967, in Beverly Hills, California. Laurel and Hardy fans remember him best as "Devilshoof" in The Bohemian Girl....Antonio Moreno.
Sources for Did You Know?
Who Was Who on Screen, by Evelyn Mack Truitt
The Film Encyclopedia, by Ephraim Katz
Hollywood - The First Hundred Years, by Bruce T. Torrence
80 years ago
75 years ago
70 years ago
65 years ago
60 years ago
50 years ago
45 years ago
35 years ago
Sources for Looking Back:
Laurel or Hardy - The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy, by Rob Stone
Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind the Movies, by Randy Skretvedt
The Little Rascals - The Life and Times of Our Gang, by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann
The Charley Chase Filmography, by Richard Roberts, Joe Moore, Robert Farr and Steve Rydzewski
January 1 Stymie Beard Our Gang 3 ZaSu Pitts On the Loose 12 Patsy Kelly Pick a Star 13 Harry Bernard L&H Supporting Player 14 Hal Roach 14 Mary Ann Jackson Our Gang 18 Oliver Hardy 18 Norman "Chubby" Chaney Our Gang 20 Rolfe Sedan Double Whoopee 23 Franklin Pangborn Wild Poses 26 Alf Goulding A Chump at Oxford (Director) 30 Wilfred Lucas Pardon Us, A Chump at Oxford February 2 Noah Young Do Detectives Think?, Sugar Daddies 10 Jimmy Durante Hollywood Party 10 Alan Hale, Sr. Our Relations 11 Anita Garvin From Soup to Nuts 11 Angelo Rossitto March of the Wooden Soldiers 11 Flora Finch Way Out West 14 Trudy Marshall The Dancing Masters 14 Jack Benny Hollywood Revue of 1929 14 Jimmy Murphy Stan's Valet 15 William Janney Bonnie Scotland 25 Dick Jones Our Gang 26 Tiny Sanford L&H Supporting Player 27 Reginald Gardiner The Flying Deuces