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Back by popular demand! The Way Out West Tent will once again present an entire evening of silent film comedy, featuring live musical accompaniment. This is certainly the best way to watch a silent movie, with live music that is both in sync and in pace with the film. Dean Mora, the leader of Mora's Modern Rhythmists, will once again provide piano accompaniment for this special event.
The films that Laurel and Hardy made during the silent era are often overlooked. Yet it was in these films that the boys developed the on-screen chemistry and comedy routines that ultimately made them legendary. So if you haven't paid much attention to Laurel and Hardy's silent films, this is your chance to see&emdash;and hear&emdash;the films at their very best. Of course, if you already love the silents, you definitely won't want to miss this meeting.
We will present five classic Laurel & Hardy shorts, as well as one very funny Charlie Chase film. For details about the films, please see the Film Program. For more about the time and date of the meeting, see below.
Another year is beginning at the Way Out West Tent, and it will kick off on Tuesday evening, January 27. Along with our special silent film program, we will celebrate the birthdays of both Oliver Hardy and Hal Roach. As always, we'll meet at the Mayflower Club, located at 11110 Victory Boulevard (west of Vineland Avenue) in North Hollywood. The brand new 1998 edition of the Famous Fabulous Fisher Franks will be ringing in the new year, and the Marvelous Mayflower Bar will be at your service too! The doors will open at 6:30 pm and the meeting will begin at 7:30 pm. So come on over and join us the evening of January 27, 1998.
Map to the Mayflower Club...
Daily Variety has reported that "The Little Rascals" will live on, with two new films, a television series, and a blitz of new merchandise. This comes on the heels of the 1994 feature film The Little Rascals, which received less than favorable reviews from most fans of the original series. The producers seek to turn "The Little Rascals" into a franchise similar to that of "Star Trek" or "Batman."
The television series will feature a new set of characters, with the premise that these kids get together to watch the original "Little Rascals" on television. Colorized versions of the original Hal Roach "Our Gang" shorts will be incorporated into the program.
The films and television series are expected to debut in 1999, along with a slew of "Rascals" merchandise. Only time will tell if this endeavor will be better than the last disappointing attempt to recreate the original series.
Please be prepared to renew your membership for 1998 at the next meeting. The Way Out West Tent relies on your dues to rent our meeting hall, publish and mail our newsletter, and to provide flowers for the graves of Laurel, Hardy, and other celebrities who were dear to our tent. Dues are responsible for most of our yearly operating budget, so the sooner you pay the sooner we'll be able to pay our bills. We have not raised dues in many years; this year's dues are the same as the last year's. We thank all of our members for their support.
The 11th Sons of the Desert International Convention will take place this summer in Birmingham, England. Currently, eight members of the Way Out West Tent are signed up for the event. If you wish to go, but haven't registered, now is the time to do so! Registration forms will be available at the next meeting. Convention schedules have been published previously in the Intra-Tent Journal, which you can also pick up at the next meeting. Or you can find out more by visiting the convention's web site, located at: http://freespace.virgin.net/sp.smith/1998ic/
The final meeting of the Way Out West Tent's 30th Anniversary year took place on December 9, 1997. The meeting was a tribute to 4 Clowns; Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, and Buster Keaton. After the singing of the Sons of the Desert song and the traditional toasts, the film program began with Stan and Ollie in One Good Turn, followed by Charley Chase in The Pip From Pittsburgh, then Buster Keaton in a hilarious clip from Candid Camera, and finally one of Keaton's classic silent short films, Cops. The evening continued as long time Way Out West Tent member, Bart Williams, hosted an interview and question/answer session with Eleanor Keaton (Buster's widow) and June Chase Hargis (Charley Chase's daughter), who was making her first appearance at a Way Out West Tent gathering. After the interview, WOW Grand Sheik emeritus, Bob Satterfield, presented June Chase Hargis with a lifetime membership to the WOW Tent, joining Eleanor Keaton, who has been a lifetime member since 1980. During the break, Lois Laurel Hawes' birthday was honored with a special cake. Also, joining us for the evening were Harvey Wasden (Hal Roach Studios soundman and WOW's 1993 Lifetime Achievement Award winner), Jay Dare (the boys' costumer on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters), Mark and Glenn Kennedy (the grandsons of Edgar Kennedy), and authors Richard Bann (The Little Rascals - The Life And Times of Our Gang) and Rob Stone (Laurel or Hardy -The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy). The film program wrapped up with a rare screening of Robert Youngson's 4 Clowns. Many thanks also to all the WOW members and guests who contributed so generously with their canned goods donations to the Maud Booth Family Center. You really outdid yourselves. Finally, a special thank you to Bob Satterfield and Bart Williams for making it possible for June and Eleanor to be with us for this very unforgettable evening.
By Chris Seguin
Some time ago, I wrote about Laurel & Hardy's only known foray into radio: a 10-minute sketch commonly known as "The Wedding Party" (or "The Marriage of Stan Laurel"), starring Stan and Babe with Edgar Kennedy and Patsy Moran. I've always liked this sketch (Stan shows a great understanding of writing for the medium) and wondered why they never pursued a radio career further&emdash;particularly during the 40's, when Stan had no outlet for his creativity.
Well, it turns out they had pursued it further. On March 6, 1944, just before filming began on The Big Noise, Stan and Babe recorded a half-hour audition program for NBC Radio&emdash;ingeniously titled "The Laurel & Hardy Show." The episode was called "Mr. Slater's Poultry Market" and was never heard outside of the studio audience. Until recently, when Chris Lembesis, a private collector, discovered a copy of the unaired show.
Now, to my thinking, this is an even greater find than rediscovering Hats Off or The Rogue Song. Here are the boys in an entirely new adventure, in an entirely different medium, and entirely unknown except to a handful of Sons. The few people who've heard it, among them Jordan Young and Randy Skretvedt, say the effort is disappointing. Apparently it could have been written for any two comics, and the script doesn't suit Stan and Ollie's personalities. Obviously Stan had no say in this script, just as he had no say in the Fox films. Regardless, the discovery of a new Laurel & Hardy comedy, good or bad, on film or on tape, is something worth celebrating. We can only hope it will show up some day on CD or cassette.
As for "The Wedding Party," it was actually recorded just three months before "The Laurel & Hardy Show," on November 25, 1943. Like "The Laurel & Hardy Show," it was never aired nationally. Officially titled "The Wedding Night," it was recorded live for "Mail Call" (# 66), a program produced and distributed exclusively for servicemen during World War II. A recent British CD collection "Laurel & Hardy - Songs and Dialogue Vol. 4" (Another Fine Mess Records MESS CD4) includes the rare introduction featuring their unusual encounter with Lucille Ball. In a piece of dialogue better suited to Abbott & Costello than Stan and Ollie, they discuss their hostess:
Stan: Who's that?
Babe: Why that's Lucille Ball.
Babe: That's right, Ball.
Stan: Can I bounce her on me knee?
Babe: Why no, I'm surprised at you Stanley. Ever since I told you about girls you've been chasing them.
Stan: Oh, I've chased them before but I never knew why!
HmmmÉ hopefully the dialogue in "The Laurel & Hardy Show" is a bit better than that!
Special thanks to Jordan Young, Chris Lembesis and Randy Skretvedt.
We were saddened to learn of the passing of fellow Sons of the Desert member Bill Cubin, on November 28, 1997. Twenty years ago, Bill founded the Berth Marks Tent (Oasis #24)...one of the first tents in England, which just happened to be in Stan's home town of Ulverston. Bill remained the Grand Sheik of this tent throughout the years, with Vice Sheik "Happy" Harry Ingle at his side. The Berth Marks Tent was one of the hosts of the Fourth International Sons of the Desert Convention, which took place throughout England in 1984.
Bill Cubin was also the proprietor of the world's only Laurel and Hardy Museum. Also located in Ulverston, Bill made his tribute to the Boys a one-of-a-kind experience...with photos and memorabilia covering everything! The museum will continue to be operated by Bill's grandson.
The birthplace of this actor covers both coasts of the United States. On December 3, 1889, he was born in San Diego, California. He is also listed as being born in Boston, Massachusetts. His career covered vaudeville, stage, screen, and radio. In 1923, he appeared in his first film, The Broken Wing. With Will Rogers, he appeared in his first talking film, Ambassador Bill. His other film credits include, The Barretts of Wimpole Street with Norma Shearer and Fredric March, Roberta with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and Model Wife with Joan Blondell and Dick Powell. His final film was in 1945's Diamond Horseshoe, with Betty Grable and Phil Silvers. While at the Hal Roach Studios, he appeared with Charley Chase in Okay Toots, a 1935 two-reeler. He died May 27, 1945 of a heart attack in Hollywood, California, at the age of 55. Laurel and Hardy fans remember him best as Santa Claus in Babes In Toyland...Ferdinand Munier.
Mighty Like a Moose
Released July 18, 1926. Starring Charley Chase, Vivien Oakland, Rolfe Sedan, Charlie Hall, and Buddy the dog. Mr. and Mrs. Moose are unhappy with their physical appearance and secretly decide to make changes. After the successful alterations, they meet on the street and don't recognize one another, and plan a secret rendezvous.
The Second Hundred Years
Released October 8, 1927. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, Tiny Sandford, and Ellinor Vanderveer. Posing as painters, escaped convicts Laurel and Hardy paint everything within reach, as they try to escape a policeman. The boys hop into a limo, steal the clothes off of two French prison authorities, and arrive at the home of the Governor for a banquet.
Call of the Cuckoos
Released October 15, 1927. Starring Max Davidson, Lillian Elliot, Spec O'Donnell, Charley Chase, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, and James Finlayson. In an effort to get away from his off the wall neighbors, Mr. Gimplewart moves his family into a new house, which immediately begins to fall apart. Mr. Gimplewart's day is totally ruined when he finds out that the nutty neighbors from whom he has moved away have just moved in next door to him.
Should Married Men Go Home?
Released September 8, 1928. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, and Edgar Kennedy. Stan arrives at the Hardy home, interrupting a private moment between Ollie and his wife. After Stan's unwelcome visit causes Ollie's phonograph to cease operating, they head to the golf course and are teamed up with a couple of gorgeous women. Disaster follows after a trip to the soda shop, when they meet up with Kennedy. This short was originally called Follow Through.
We Faw Down
Released December 29, 1928. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Bess Flowers, and Vivien Oakland. The boys tell their wives of an important meeting with the boss, so that they can go out to a poker game. Their best laid plans fall apart when they stop to help out a couple of women.
That's My Wife
Released March 23, 1929. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Vivien Oakland, and William Courtright. Ollie stands to inherit a fortune if he is happily married. Unfortunately, Mrs. Hardy has walked out on him. Since Stan was the cause of Mrs. Hardy's exit, he now has to dress up as the little woman and play the part for Ollie's uncle.
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January 1 Matthew Stymie Beard Our Gang 3 ZaSu Pitts On the Loose 12 Patsy Kelly Pick a Star 14 Mary Ann Jackson Our Gang 14 Hal Roach 18 Oliver Hardy 18 Norman Chubby Chaney Our Gang 20 Rolfe Sedan Double Whoopee 26 Alf Goulding A Chump at Oxford (director) 30 Wilfred Lucas Pardon Us February 2 Noah Young Do Detectives Think? 10 Jimmy Durante Hollywood Party 10 Alan Hale, Sr. Our Relations 11 Anita Garvin Stanley From Soup to Nuts, Blotto 11 Flora Finch Way Out West 11 Angelo Rossitto Babes in Toyland 14 Trudy Marshall The Dancing Masters 14 Jack Benny Hollywood Revue of 1929 14 Jimmy Murphy Stan Laurel's valet 15 William Janney Bonnie Scotland 25 Dick Jones Our Gang 26 Tiny Sandford Busy Bodies 27 Reginald Gardiner The Flying Deuces