Last Way Out West Meeting of 2010 to Feature five Laurel & Hardy Shorts
I know we hear and think it every year, but hasn't 2010 gone by particularly quick? It seems like only a couple of months ago that we got together to celebrate Babe's Birthday. In reality, we have had five meetings and a Locations Tour this year. Our upcoming meeting on Tuesday, December 7th will be our last for 2010. To end the year on a high note, we will screen five popular Laurel & Hardy shorts, have a raffle of Laurel & Hardy collectables, and help with a canned food drive for families in need (see below).
Our first film for the evening will put you in a holiday mood, as we follow Stan and Ollie's attempts to sell Christmas trees door to door in their classic silent film Big Business (1929). We'll follow that with Them Thar Hills (1934) and Tit for Tat (1935), the first and only time that Laurel & Hardy ever made a film and followed it with a sequel. In Them Thar Hills, Stan and Ollie take a trip to the mountains on the advice of Ollie's doctor (Billy Gilbert). Trouble comes when they help a married couple (Charlie Hall and Mae Busch) who have run out of gas. In Tit for Tat, when Stan and Ollie open an appliance store, they soon find out that the drug store located next door to them is run by the same married couple that they had trouble with in Them Thar Hills.
After the raffle and cake, we will screen County Hospital (1932) and Thicker Than Water (1935). In County Hospital, Stan visits his friend, Ollie, who is in the hospital with a broken leg, but soon after that everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong. In Thicker Than Water, Stan talks Ollie into withdrawing all the money from the family bank account, without telling his wife (Daphne Pollard).
The Mayflower Club is located in North Hollywood at 11110 Victory Boulevard. We open the doors at 6:30 PM and the meeting starts at 7:15 PM. "Fisher Frank" hot dogs and assorted chips will be sold at the Mayflower Club Kitchen, and refreshments will be sold at the Mayflower Club Bar. Free cake will be served during our second break. Don't miss our last meeting of the year. See you Tuesday, December 7th!
Maude Booth Family Center Donations Needed
For many years, members of the Way Out West Tent have donated canned goods to the Maude Booth Family Center of North Hollywood during the holidays. This year we again ask that you please bring one or more cans of food to our December meeting. We will also gladly accept a cash donation on their behalf. Even if you only donate one can of food, every little bit helps. Thank you for your continued generosity!
Two Special Birthdays In December
Two special members of our Way Out West Tent will celebrate birthdays in December: Lois Laurel Hawes on December 10th and longtime Way Out West board member Dorothy Barnhart on December 13th.
Fisher Frank Hot Dogs Go Up In Price
We hate to raise prices on anything, but our cost to purchase the 100% all-beef hot dogs that we sell has risen to the point where we can no longer afford to sell them for only $2.00. Beginning in December, Fisher Franks with your choice of chips will be $2.50, without chips $2.25. Thanks, in advance, for your understanding.
Notes From Our August Meeting
Our film theme for our August meeting was to show examples of the great casting of the kids in Hal Roach films. After Bob Duncan and I did the toasts and led our members in the Sons of the Desert Song, we screened Our Gang's silent film, Thundering Fleas. Although Thundering Fleas is an Our Gang film, it also has cameo roles by Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, James Finlayson, and Stan Laurel's later stand-in Ham Kinsey. In the film, almost all of them are unrecognizable! It was fun to try to spot them.
In continuing our theme, our second film for the evening was Laurel & Hardy's Their First Mistake. After we screened the film, Marjorie Campbell (who played the adopted baby in the film) answered a few questions from me and then took questions from our members. Marge told us about an autographed picture from Stan and Babe, that they give to Marge's parents, after they finished filming. She also told us a little bit about her later film roles. Marge never met Stan and Babe as an adult, but she still has and cherishes their autographed picture! Marge is a sweet person and always makes you happy when you talk to her. Also special thanks to her daughter for bringing Marge to our meeting. On a final note, we didn't record the interview with Marge, but Marge thinks she saw one of our members that did record it. If you are that member, please contact me. Marge would like a copy of the recording. Thanks.
As most Laurel & Hardy fans agree, our third and final film for the evening, Pack Up Your Troubles, is one of Stan and Babe's best early feature films. But think how different it would be without little Jacquie Lynn cast as Eddie's daughter. She was quite a "scene stealer" and one more example of great casting of kids in Hal Roach films.
While I was interviewing Marge Campbell, something happened that I don't remember ever happening at any meeting since I became a member over 36 years ago. Someone got sick enough to require us to call 911! Although everything turned out fine, Stan Schulman wasn't feeling too well before the two hour drive to our meeting, and he felt even worse when he finally got there. Emergency help got to the Mayflower Club quickly, and they were so quiet and efficient that I don't think all of our members realized what was happening at the time. I got to speak with Stan a couple of days after he got out of the hospital, and he told me he was feeling much better. Kris and I saw Stan and Elaine recently at the Old Town Music Hall, and Stan was his "old self again."
From the Grand Sheik
As I finish my fifth year as Grand Sheik of our Way Out West Tent, I want to again thank all of the people who helped me during 2010. First of all to my wife Kris and my son Jimmy III, thanks for all your help, love, and understanding, especially when I wait to the last minute to finish the newsletter and then put all of us under pressure to print it, and get it to the post office on time. Thanks to Bob Duncan for all your research on the films that we screen and being "a good guy" when I tease you. (Sorry about closing and opening the curtains on you this year, when you were introducing one of our films, but you have to admit it was funny.) Thanks to Lori McCaffery for keeping our tent records and finances straight and offering your experience and good advice. Thanks to Colin McCaffery for always being there to help. Thanks to Stan Taffel, our Keeper of the Celluloid, for making sure that all of your films and equipment are always in good shape and ready for each meeting and for your suggestions on films to screen.
Thanks to David Rodriguez for doing a great job at anything I ask you to do. Thanks to Jayne Barnhart for never complaining about selling raffle tickets and keeping our tent history. Thanks also to Neal Pinyan, Stan Schulman, Elaine Schulman, Allen Megarit, Kim Megarit, Ken Runyan, Reverend Dave Spahn, and all our members who helped with toasts during the year. To all our members thanks for your continued support at our meetings, at this year's International Convention in Sacramento (only the home Sacramento tent had more delegates than our tent), and at our Locations Tour. In short, you have all been great. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to everyone!
Our 2010 Locations Tour
With three mini buses full, we left Culver City at 9:00 AM on Saturday, November 13th. Our goal was to visit the Laurel & Hardy film location sites that we didn't visit last year plus revisit five sites from last year's tour and be back in Culver City by 3:00 PM. I'm happy to say that we got to all of the sites that we planned on visiting and returned to Culver around 3:30 PM. A couple of things that slowed us down at two of our filming sites were a crowd of visiting students at USC and a parade Downtown. After those obstacles were passed, we seemed to get back on schedule by our lunch stop at Heritage Square (Berth Marks). In all, we visited eleven sites (including Stan and Babe's graves) and had a great time doing it. For more tour details and pictures, go to our web site at wayoutwest.org
Joining us on our tour were three men who have written a lot about Laurel & Hardy: Leonard Maltin, Richard Bann, and Randy Skretvedt. All of them are experts on Laurel & Hardy films and all of them are great guys to have on a Laurel & Hardy locations tour. Thanks to each of you for joining us.
Thanks also to my son, Jimmy III, who designed the programs and edited the videos that we used on the tour. Thanks to my fellow tour guides, Bob Duncan and Stan Taffel and their assistants, Reverend Dave Spahn and Ken Runyan. Thanks to my wife, Kris and David Rodriguez for bringing lunch to us at Heritage Square. Thanks also to Lori McCaffery for receiving and sorting the tour registrations and depositing the payments.