Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang Together Again At March 23rd Meeting
They both made their best films at the Hal Roach Studios during the Studios' "Golden Age." They both used many of the same supporting actors and production people from the Studios' great wealth of talent. They both used music in their films from Leroy Shields and T. Marvin Hatley. With so much in common, Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang will always be connected in film history.
On the evening of Tuesday, March 23rd, please join us at the Mayflower Club to see four films made when Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang were at the height of their popularity. Also, join us to celebrate the birthday of Our Gang's Dorothy de Borba and to welcome back Billy Thomas Jr., the son of Our Gang's "Buckwheat."
We will start the evening's film program with Laurel & Hardy's Brats (1930). This film has Stan and Ollie playing dual comic roles, both as themselves and as their children. As a tribute to Our Gang's Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas, we will also screen Our Gang Follies of 1936 (released in 1935). In the film, George "Spanky" MacFarland, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Darla Hood, "Buckwheat," and Eugene "Porky" Lee work together with the neighborhood kids to put on a musical revue. All the kids perform, with Buckwheat, Alfalfa, and Spanky supplying the comedy. According to Billy, Our Gang Follies of 1936 was one of his dad's favorite Our Gang films. At the meeting, Billy will also be selling autographed hardcover copies of the biography that he recently wrote about his father. Read more below.
Next we will honor Our Gang's Dorothy de Borba with the screening of Love Business (1931). Besides Dorothy, the film also features Jackie Cooper, Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Mary Ann Jackson, Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, and Matthew "Stymie" Beard. The plot of the film centers around the fact that Jackie and Chubby both have a big crush on their teacher, Miss Crabtree (June Marlowe). With Chubby as her victim, Dorothy shows us how she got her film nickname "Echo." To finish our film program for the evening, we will screen Laurel & Hardy's The Bohemian Girl (1936). In this comedy version of the 1853 opera by the same name, very inept but funny gypsies Stan and Ollie are left to care for little Arline (Darla Hood) by themselves, after Ollie's wife (Mae Busch) leaves him. What Stan and Ollie don't know is that Arline was kidnapped by their fellow gypsies from rich landowner Count Arnheim, as revenge for his cruel treatment of gypsies.
The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Our meeting starts at 7:15 PM. Fisher Frank Hot Dogs with your choice of chips can be purchased at the Mayflower Kitchen. Drinks can purchased from the Mayflower Bar. Free birthday cake in honor of Dorothy deBorba will be served on our second break. See you Tuesday night, March 23rd!
2010 Dues Are Due
If the rain we had on the night of our last meeting kept you at home, or if you forgot to bring cash or a check to our last meeting, please remember that our annual dues for Way Out West membership must be renewed every January. Our charges for dues are listed on this page in the right hand column. Thank you.
A New Book On Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas
As mentioned on the front page, Billy Thomas Jr. will be selling autographed hardcover copies of his new book at our March 23rd meeting. The book is titled "Otay!"--The Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas Story. It was just released in February.
From the Grand Sheik: Happy Birthday Dorothy!
Dorothy de Borba appeared in 24 Our Gang comedies from 1930 to 1933. All the comedies were filmed at the Hal Roach Studios. At the same time, and at the same studio, Stan and Babe made such Laurel & Hardy classics as Hog Wild, Helpmates, The Music Box, Towed in a Hole, and The Devil's Brother, just to name a few. In 1931, Dorothy and some other Our Gang kids appeared briefly in a film called The Stolen Jools. The two reeler, made to raise money for tuberculosis research, also had several popular film stars in it. Two of those were Stan and Babe. Although she didn't appear together with them in the same scene, Dorothy appeared in a Laurel & Hardy film.
I think that Dorothy holds the record for attending more Way Out West banquets than any other Way Out West celebrity ever has and probably ever will. Dorothy has also gone to more International Sons of the Desert Conventions than any other Laurel & Hardy celebrity. She is also planning on going to Sacramento for the Sons Convention this summer (another good reason for you to come with us to Sacramento).
Kris, Jimmy III, and I have been friends with Dorothy de Borba for over 25 years. In 1986, for the Sons International Convention in Philadelphia, we traveled with Dorothy before and after the Convention. Including the Convention, we were all together for three weeks. When you're together with someone for that long, you really get to know them. Dorothy is a sweet woman with a good sense of humor that the Sons of the Desert should be proud of having as celebrity member!
New Earsie-Nosie Contest At April 26th Meeting
At our next meeting on April 26th, we will be screening The Devils Brother, an ideal setting to have another Earsie-Nosie Contest. You can sign up on March 23rd or April 26th for the contest at Lori's check-in table. If there are more than four contestants, we will put everyone's name in a hat and draw four names on April 26th. So start practicing now. Members' applause will decide the winner, based on quickness and style.
Notes From Our January Meeting
Even though it was a very rainy night, we had a good crowd. Again, I want to thank all our members who braved the rain for their continuing attendance and support.
Stan's movie character once said of Babe's movie character that he could always tell when Ollie was in love because he had "a silly sloppy look" on his face. At our January meeting, we got to see that "silly sloppy look" many times, when we screened Oliver the Eighth, Beau Hunks, and Swiss Miss.
Joining us from the east coast were longtime Sons Steve Wichrowski and Steve Ames. Right after I thanked everyone and closed the January meeting, I realized that I forgot to thank two members who volunteered to help my wife Kris in the Mayflower Kitchen. I thank you and Kris thanks you, Kim Megarit and Ken Runyan.