Laurel and Hardy Society Sons of the Desert Way Out West Tent Los Angeles
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The Brushwood Gulch Gazette is the newsletter of the Way Out West Tent. It is published six times a year, shortly before regular tent meetings. Members receive the complete printed edition in the mail. The online edition features most of the articles found in the printed version, minus photos.

Big Celebration For Babe's Birthday January 27th

On the evening of Tuesday, January 27th, we will celebrate the one hundred seventeenth birthday of Oliver Norvell Hardy. We will start the evening by screening the rarely seen silent film, Isn't Life Terrible. Then we will screen a Laurel & Hardy classic short, Going Bye-Bye! We will top off the evening by screening the Boys classic feature, Sons of the Desert.

In the Charley Chase silent short, Isn't Life Terrible (1925), Charley enters a contest selling fountain pens in the hopes of winning an ocean cruise for his entire family. This is one of several films that Babe appeared in with Charley Chase, before he teamed with Stan Laurel. You'll have to look closely for Babe, as he is clean shaven with short hair, and he acts nothing like the "Ollie" we know. Babe plays Charley's completely unlikable brother-in-law, Remington.

In Going Bye-Bye! (1934), notorious criminal Butch (Walter Long) is sent to prison after Stan and Ollie testify against him. In court, the Boys upset Butch so much that he promises to break out of prison, find Stan and Ollie, and tear off their legs and tie them around their necks. To get out of town, Stan and Ollie run an ad in the newspaper to find someone to share expenses. Listen for Ollie's famous line, "Excuse me, please--my ear is full of milk".

To conclude our evening's program, we will screen what most fans feel is Laurel & Hardy's best feature, Sons of the Desert (1933). In the film, the Boys take an oath to attend the Sons of the Desert convention in Chicago. With Stan's help, Ollie fakes an illness and convinces his wife (Mae Busch) that he can best regain his health by taking a sea voyage with Stan. While their wives think the Boys are in Hawaii, they are in fact at the convention. The film Sons of the Desert is just over seventy five years old. It forms the basis for most of the crazy things that are done at present Way Out West meetings, including our fezzes and the Sons of the Desert Song.

Also joining us for the meeting will be Randy Skretvedt. As most of you know, Randy is the author of Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind the Movies, one of the finest books ever written about Stan and Babe. Randy will talk a little about Babe and share with us some interesting "Babe-orabilia."

We will open the doors at the Mayflower Club at 6:30 p.m., and our meeting will begin at 7:15 p.m. The Mayflower Club is located in North Hollywood at 11110 Victory Boulevard. There will be "Fisher Frank" hot dogs and assorted chips on sale at the Mayflower Kitchen. There will be drinks on sale at the Mayflower Bar. Free birthday cake will be served on our second break. Laurel & Hardy memorabilia will be on sale at our dealer's table. Join our celebration, see you Tuesday January 27th.

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

It's Time To Pay Your Dues

The good news is that the cost of membership for 2009 will not increase. The bad news is that everyone's membership dues are now due. Memberships rates are: singles $28/year, couples $44/year, and families $48/year (all living at the same address). We use your dues to pay our rental fees at the Mayflower Club, to pay our newsletter printing, paper, and postage costs, and to continue to be able to offer our paid members discounts when we have banquets and other special events.  Please pay your dues on time!  As always, we thank you for your continued support.

In Memoriam - Alf Hickman

Maybe the name doesn't sound familiar, but Alf was our bartender at the Mayflower Club for over twenty years! Alf was always there to serve us, rain or shine. He also loved watching Laurel & Hardy films. His friends will have a memorial at the Mayflower Club on Sunday afternoon, January 18th at 2:00 p.m., followed by a buffet. Please try to attend. Contact Lori McCaffery at (818) 845-4048, if you have questions.

Notes From Our December Meeting

Our final meeting of the year was held at the Mayflower Club on December 9th. To open the meeting, "J.T." Tropper, Stan Taffel, Vice Sheik Bob Duncan, Victor D'Agostino, and Jayne Barnhart joined Grand Sheik Jimmy Wiley Jr. on stage to help with the opening toasts and song. Then Jimmy presented a plaque to our special guest of the evening, Lois Laurel Hawes. The plaque read, "The Way Out West Tent proudly designates Lois Laurel Hawes Goodwill Ambassador to the world at large on behalf of the Sons of the Desert."  Lois was accompanied to our meeting by her granddaughter Cassidy, her great grandson Tommy, and her great granddaughter Lucy.  Once again, we were greatly honored to have all of them at our meeting.

Our film theme for the evening was Christmas trees, Christmas cards, and Christmas presents.  So naturally we screened Big Business (Christmas Trees), The Fixer Uppers (Christmas cards), and Babes in Toyland (Christmas presents). Parts of an audio interview with Henry Brandon (Barnaby) were heard before Babes in Toyland. Between the films, Jimmy talked about Stan and Babe's Christmas show in Nottingham, England in 1953 and exhibited an original program from that show.