Brushwood Gulch Gazette

June-July 2001

Volume 34, Number 3

NOTE: This is an old issue of the Brushwood Gulch Gazette, which has been archived for reference purposes.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.


Grandson of L&H Co-Star to Join Us in June
A Word From the Sheik
New Color Laurel & Hardy T-Shirts
Stan's 1947 Chrysler to be Auctioned in August
Stan Laurel Letters and Gag File Auctioned
Way Out West Member Receives Tony Nomination

Thelma Todd Celebration in Massachusetts
Limited Edition Membership Certificates
Comedian Joe Baker passes away
Meeting Notes
Looking Back

Grandson of L&H Co-Star to Join Us in June

Tuesday, June 5th will be the next meeting of the Way Out West Tent. That evening we will be honored to have as our special guest Mr. Burr Middleton. Besides being a first rate actor in his own right, Burr is the grandson of Laurel & Hardy villain, Charles Middleton. This will mark Burr's first appearance with the Way Out West Tent. He will share stories about his grandfather and his career, and hopes to bring some items relating to Charles.

Burr started his career as a child actor in 1947. He appeared on many TV shows over the years. As a child he took part in Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show, and My Three Sons. As a teen, he appeared in several teenage films, most notably the cult film The Choppers, playing the part of "Snopper." Also in the late '50s & early '60s he worked as an announcer at most of the major radio stations in our area. Burr is also a very busy voice over artist, supplying the voices for Captain Marvel and Billy Batson in Shazam! and in the current Baskin-Robbins commercials. He also narrated the Oliver Stone film Nixon. His other appearances on TV include The New Twilight Zone, Hill Street Blues, and Matlock, to name only a few. During the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, Burr appeared numerous times on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as Ken Starr.

The film program for the evening will feature Charles Middleton along with the Boys in The Fixer Uppers (1935) and in the feature film, The Flying Deuces (1939). In addition, we will be screening the always popular silent film, Two Tars (1928).

If that's not enough, there will also be a book raffle. Last, but certainly not least, June of course is the month in which Stan Laurel was born. We will celebrate with a birthday cake in his honor.

The meeting will take place at the Mayflower Club, which is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood, just west of Vineland Avenue. The doors will open at 6:30 PM and the meeting will begin at 7:15 PM. As always, the Mayflower Bar and "Fabulous Fisher" hot dogs will be available. We'll see you Tuesday, June 5, 2001.

Click here for a map to the Mayflower Club...

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A Word From the Sheik

It seems that "the third time is the charm," is true. It is again my pleasure to be Grand Sheik of the Way Out West Tent. I would like to thank John Duff (and the ever popular Janet Duff) for 14 years at the helm of the tent. I certainly know of the dedication, hard work, and inconveniences that come with this office. On behalf of the entire tent, I tip my fez to John!

I asked that we run the recent survey to get the members opinions regarding the tent and its direction. This will get me back in touch with the membership and help to better serve the needs of WOW. I am currently the chairman of the Advisory Committee that over sees business of the International Sons of the Desert between conventions and Grand Council meetings. I plan to keep Grand Sheiking the 45 Minutes From Hollywood Tent in San Bernardino (where I live) as well. So as you can see, my derby will be very full.

There will be some changes based on both the survey and my style of running meetings. This will most notably occur in the New Year. We are busy planning the banquet which will now be on October 6th, to accommodate out of town celebrities, who would like to attend as well. Several will be in town for the Ray & Sharon Courts Hollywood Collectables Show at the Beverly Garland that weekend.

I am looking forward to this new challenge and standing shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Sons. Let the games begin!

Bob Satterfield
Grand Sheik

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New Color Laurel & Hardy T-Shirts

For a limited time we are able to offer heavy weight white cotton T-shirts with a choice of four color screen prints. They take approximately one week to have printed, so if you order right away you might be able to pick up your order at our June meeting. The fabric is the best we've ever seen for T-shirts and the color prints are beautiful. Click here to see full color photos of the shirts.

The cost is $15 each and you may order sizes S to 3X. You may order directly from our Grand Sheik, Bob Satterfield, by calling him at (909) 883-5167. Be sure to leave a message with your phone number, if you miss catching him.

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Stan's 1947 Chrysler to be Auctioned in August

Stan Laurel purchased his black Chrysler sedan sometime in late 1946 or early 1947. Shortly thereafter, plans for Laurel and Hardy's European Tour began to emerge. Since he was going to be out of the country for the next several years, Stan decided to sell the car to attorney, Ben Shipman.

The automobile was eventually purchased by friend of the Way Out West Tent, Bart Williams. Now that he has moved to Arizona, Bart must part with the car that he has owned for so many years. Bart has always been very generous with showings of his car to Way Out West members and other Sons. The car has been in many parades and movies. It is currently in storage in Southern California, and will be taken to Michigan in August to be auctioned by Southerbys.

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Stan Laurel Letters and Gag File Auctioned

By Jimmy Wiley, Vice Sheik

On May 10, 2001, Butterfields Auctioneers auctioned a single lot of over 100 Stan Laurel letters and Stan's personal gag file. The letters were from Stan to Laurel and Hardy biographer, John McCabe (also Founder of the Sons of the Desert). Stan's gag file consisted of jokes and comic situations that Stan collected over his career, to use when he wrote scripts for Laurel and Hardy movies. The lot sold for <NOBR>$25,000!</NOBR>

Luckily, on April 29th the material was available for viewing at Butterfields' auction house in Hollywood. What I thought would take about a half hour to look over, consumed myself and my wife, Kris, for over two hours. Though much of the information in the letters was used by Mr. McCabe in his book, Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy, it was fascinating to see how it was told directly to Mr. McCabe. The letters covered Stan's early career (before Babe) and his Laurel and Hardy days, interlaced with things that were then currently happening to him. Reading the letters was like eavesdropping on a conversation between Stan and Mr. McCabe. As I expected, the letters showed that Stan was a kind man and a true gentleman.

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Way Out West Member Receives Tony Nomination

Congratulations to actress Kathleen Freeman, for her Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. She has been nominated for her role of Jeanette Burmeister in the Broadway version of The Full Monty. Ms. Freeman has been a member of the Way Out West Tent for many years, joining us at numerous banquets. Her film and television credits are too numerous to list here, but she's probably best known for her role as Sister Mary Stigma in The Blues Brothers. The Full Monty is currently playing at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City. Best of luck at the awards ceremony, which will be telecast on CBS on June 3, 2001.

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Thelma Todd Celebration in Massachusetts

The 5th Annual Thelma Todd Celebration will take place in Lawrence, Massachusetts, July 26-29, 2001. Laurel and Hardy will be featured prominently in this year's celebration. Scheduled events include a tour of Thelma Todd locations in her hometown of Lawrence, a Sons vaudeville show, a Jack Benny radio show, many rare films, and two banquets. In attendance at the celebration will be Jean Darling, who appeared on screen with Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and Thelma Todd. This will be her first time attending a Sons event in the United States. Registration is $175 per person. This event is co-hosted by the On the Loose Tent and the Thelma Todd Society. All proceeds will benefit the Intra-Tent Journal. For more information, please contact Dave Stevenson by e-mail at or by regular mail at 24 Dorchester Street, Lawrence MA 01843-2206. Or, visit their website at:

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Limited Edition Membership Certificates

The Sons of the Desert Advisory Committee is offering a special Sons of the Desert Membership Certificate. Each certificate will be personally signed by the surviving founding members of the Sons, which consist of Exhausted Ruler John McCabe, Orson Bean, and Chuck McCann. Certificates will be numbered from 1 through 250. This will be a unique piece of memorabilia for you or a very nice gift for your favorite Son of the Desert. All proceeds from this sale will go to the Intra-Tent Journal, which will use the funds to resume their publication on a regular basis. Because this offering is strictly limited to 250 certificates, be sure to send in your order soon. Send $25 (plus $2 postage and handling) to Bob Satterfield, P.O. Box 448, Patton, CA 92369-0448. Make your check or money order payable to Bob Satterfield. Personal checks will be held 10 days for bank clearance.

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Comedian Joe Baker passes away

Popular English actor, comedian, and impressionist, Joe Baker, passed away on May 16, 2001. Joe attended many Sons meetings and banquets over the years. He appeared in numerous films and television programs, including the role of Lawrence Tibbett in the film Bugsy. Our sincere condolences to Joe Baker's family.

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Meeting Notes

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Looking Back

110 Years Ago
Mae Busch is born in Melbourne, Australia. Although her birthday was long thought to be January 20, 1897, Sons of the Desert members in Australia tracked down her birth certificate and revealed this to be the true date.
(June 18, 1891)

85 Years Ago
Aunt Bill is released, starring Oliver Hardy. Also in the cast is Billy Bletcher, who's distinctive voice would later be heard as Disney's "Big Bad Wolf" and as the police dispatcher in The Midnight Patrol.
(July 20, 1916)

75 Years Ago
Our Gang's Thundering Fleas is released, featuring cameos by Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson, and Charley Chase.
(July 18, 1926)

70 Years Ago
H.M. Walker completes the dialogue script for Laurel and Hardy's latest film, One Good Turn. This will be the first time that Billy Gilbert appears with the Boys.
(June 3, 1931)

65 Years Ago
On the Wrong Trek, which is Charley Chase's next-to-last film for Hal Roach, is released. It features a cameo appearance by the Boys as hitchhikers.
(June 11, 1936)

60 Years Ago
Great Guns is the first Laurel and Hardy feature to begin production at 20th Century-Fox Studios.
(July 11, 1941)

35 Years Ago
Bobby Dunn, the shoplifter in Tit for Tat, dies in Hollywood.
(July 27, 1966)

5 Years Ago
The 10th International Sons of the Desert Convention took place on the cruise ship Ecstasy.
(July 15-19, 1996)

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The Way Out West Tent and Sons of the Desert everywhere would like to wish our own Vera Hruba Ralston a very happy 80th birthday on July 19th. Vera was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She started her career as a figure skater. And what a talent she was, taking part in the Olympics against skating star Sonia Henie. Later Vera starred in the Ice Capades.

Republic Studios head, Herbert Yates, spotted this talented skater and brought her to Hollywood to star in several of his films. Eventually dubbed "The Queen of Republic Studios," Vera starred with John Wayne and Oliver Hardy in the 1949 film The Fighting Kentuckian. She later became Mrs. Herbert Yates in 1952, until his death in 1966. Although she never made a film after Republic closed, she still has a lasting impression on all Sons for her appearances at Way Out West Tent events and as a special guest at the Las Vegas Convention in 1992. She is happily married to another good friend of our tent, Charlie Alva, and they make their home in Santa Barbara. We wish them both the very best!

   3   Paulette Goddard     Berth Marks
   8   Henry Brandon        Babes in Toyland
   8   Sheila Ryan          Great Guns
   8   Dorothy Coburn       The Finishing Touch
   9   Bob Cummings         Sons of the Desert
  10   Hattie McDaniel      Zenobia
  12   William Austin       County Hospital
  13   Ralph Edwards        This is Your Life
  13   Ellen Corby          Roach Studios Script Girl
  15   Harry Langdon        Zenobia
  16   Stan Laurel
  17   Flora Finch          Way Out West
  18   Mae Busch
  24   Martha Sleeper       The Chimp
   2   Rychard Cramer       Saps at Sea
   2   Sidney Kibrick       "Woim" in Our Gang
   4   Henry Armetta        Fra Diavolo
   5   Del Henderson        Our Relations
   8   Eugene Pallette      Sugar Daddies
  12   Alice Cooke          Bohemian Girl
  18   Chill Wills          Way Out West
  18   Bill Patterson       WOW founding Sheik
  19   Vera Ralston         The Fighting Kentuckian
  19   Harvey Wasden        Roach Studios Sound Dept.
  20   Muriel Evans         Pack Up Your Troubles
  22   Orson Bean           SOD founding member
  23   Hank Worden          The Bullfighters
  29   Thelma Todd          Another Fine Mess

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Updated May 24, 2001

Copyright ©2001 Way Out West. All rights reserved.

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