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.

Way Out West Goes to Prison

Join us on Saturday night November 5th for a special Way Out West Tent event. You're invited to join us for a prison type meal, to dress up as your favorite jailbird, and to enjoy Laurel & Hardy prison films: The Hoose-Gow and Pardon Us. We encourage everyone to wear "prison garb," but it is not required. We think that it adds to the fun and the theme of the event.

If you want to join us for the prison meal, your Special Event begins when the Mayflower Club Doors are opened at 5:45 PM. We will start serving at 6:15 PM. Our prison menu is Dinty Moore’s Beef Stew served with French Bread, Cole Slaw, Chocolate Pudding, and a bottle of water. If you want to go vegetarian, we can substitute Cheese Lasagna for the stew. Just download the registration form and return it to us by November 1st.

If you want to skip the meal, we will not reopen the Mayflower Club Doors until 7:00 PM, so that everyone who paid for a meal will have a chance to finish their food. The meeting part of your Special Event will start at 7:30 PM. You don’t need to register, if you are just coming to the meeting.

The Mayflower Club Bar will be open throughout the evening for liquid refreshments, but we will not have hot dogs on sale at the Mayflower Kitchen. We will offer free cake during our second break.

All attendees will receive a free ticket, when they check in, and be eligible to win a special door prize drawing. During the meeting, we will also have a regular raffle.

At the meeting, we will also give tribute to former Grand Sheik Earl Kress, who passed away in September (see below). In his honor, we will screen one of Earl's favorite Laurel & Hardy shorts, Brats.

On October 25th, the new Laurel & Hardy DVD set, Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection, was released (go to At the meeting, Richard Bann and Randy Skretvedt will talk about their participation in the making of the new DVD set. They will also answer any questions that you may have about the set.

Since our Special Event is a meeting, in addition to our regular six meetings during the year, we must collect an admission charge. That charge will be $10.00 per person for the meal and the meeting or $5.00 per person for only the meeting. For those planning to attend both the meal and the meeting, please download the registration form and include your check ($10.00 for each attendee). If you are only coming to the meeting, you can pay at the door ($5.00 for each attendee).

See you Saturday, November 5th!

Click here to download the registration form...

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

Earl Kress

We are saddened to report that former Way Out West Tent Grand Sheik Earl Kress passed away on September 19th. In 1980, Earl made his mark on the Sons as one of the three co-hosts of the Second International Sons of the Desert Convention, known as Hollywood '80. He went on to become Grand Sheik of the Way Out West Tent from 1983-1985. As both a presenter and performer, Earl turned out every year for our tent's annual banquet. For many years, Earl served as Vice Sheik of the San Diego Saps at Sea Tent. There, Earl and then Grand Sheik Rick Greene routinely performed pre-film comedy sketches that usually resulted in memorable pie fights. Outside of the Sons of the Desert, Earl was an accomplished animation writer, working on Disney's The Fox and the Hound and the Warner Brothers series Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and Pinky and the Brain. He won two Daytime Emmy Awards for his work on the Pinky and the Brain.

Summer Night of Fun at the Mayflower Club on August 9th

Tired of trying to find a good TV show to watch among all the summer reruns? Can't stand watching the Dodgers lose again? Bored with surfing the Internet? How about joining your Way Out West friends at the Mayflower Club on Tuesday, August 9th? As always, there will be great Laurel & Hardy films, good food from the Mayflower Club Kitchen, great drinks from the Mayflower Club Bar, free cake, and lots of great people to just hang out with and have fun.

Starting off the film program for the evening will be Bacon Grabbers (1929). In this silent short, Stan and Ollie are process servers. Their job at hand is to serve papers on Collis P. Kennedy (Edgar Kennedy), so they can reprocess his radio. Kennedy bought the radio on time and is way behind in his payments, but he won't give up the radio easily. The interplay between the Boys and Edgar Kennedy, when the Boys try to serve the process, makes Bacon Grabbers one of their better silent films. Kennedy's pretty wife is played by Jean Harlow and Charlie Hall plays a truck driver.

Next we will screen Laurel & Hardy's classic short, Towed in a Hole (1932). When Stan and Ollie, who sell fish door to door from their Model T, decide that they can make a lot more money if they catch the fish themselves, it seems like a good idea to buy a fishing boat. But when they decide to fix up a "very used" boat from a junk yard, things start to go "south." Billy Gilbert plays the junk yard owner.

Our Laurel & Hardy feature for the evening will be Jitterbugs (1943). Generally the Laurel & Hardy features made after the Boys left the friendly confines of the Hal Roach Studios are not viewed as favorably as their features made at Roach. Jitterbugs, however, is accepted by most Laurel & Hardy fans as a good post-Roach film. When Stan and Ollie, a two man jitterbug band, run out of gas in the desert, they are befriended by a small time con man Chester Wright (Bob Bailey). Chester's con is a pill, that when added to water will turn the water into gasoline. Soon Stan and Ollie are helping Chester sell the pill, not knowing that it's all a con job. After the three of them meet Susan Cowan (Vivian Blaine), they decide to help Susan's mother get her life savings back from big time con men. To con one of the con men, Stan poses as Susan's rich aunt and Ollie poses as the aunt's suitor. Longtime Way Out West celebrity member, Tony (Anthony) Caruso, also appears briefly in Jitterbugs.

The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30PM. Our meeting starts at 7:15PM. "Fisher Franks" (100% beef hot dogs) with your choice of chips will be sold at the Mayflower Club Kitchen. Refreshments will be sold at the Mayflower Club Bar. Free cake will be served on our second break. Don't miss out on the fun! See you Tuesday, August 9th at the Mayflower Club.

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

Raffle at Our August 9th Meeting

We will have a raffle at our August meeting to raise money towards purchasing a spare projector lamp for Stan Taffel's projector. If you have any Laurel & Hardy articles that you can donate to the raffle, please bring them to the meeting. Thank you in advance.

This Year's Special Event November 5th (Updated: See above)

This year's Special Event will be at the Mayflower Club on Saturday night, November 5th. It will be a mini banquet centered around the screenings of The Second Hundred Years, The Hoose-Gow, and Pardon Us. Costumes will be optional, but we are encouraging members to dress in "prison or jail garb." We also hope to offer a prison-like menu for dinner (a full healthy meal - not just bread and water). We will try to keep the price very affordable. Final details are still being worked out. As you need to pay and register in advance, we will mail registration forms to all our members by the first week in October. Full details on the mini banquet will be on the registration forms and on our web site at

New L&H DVDs in October

Hardly a meeting goes by that I don't get asked the question, "Where can I get Laurel & Hardy films on DVD?" On October 25, 2011, RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment will release almost all of the sound films that Laurel & Hardy made during their time at the Hal Roach Studios (including most foreign versions). More good news, they should look better and be more complete than any L&H DVD's ever released! Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection is a 10 DVD set than runs 1,941 minutes (over 32 hours). The suggested retail price is $99.98. To order, follow this link to

L&H Play at the Falcon Theater

Opening September 9th and ending October 2nd, the Falcon Theater in Burbank will run "Laurel & Hardy," a play about the lives of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy. The play was written by Tom McGrath in England in the 70's and was performed there at least three different times. For more information, go to:

UCLA L&H Preservation Fund

I am happy to announce that, with your help, Way Out West was able to donate $750.00 to the UCLA Laurel & Hardy Preservation Fund. Thanks to all of you who gave money. As always, your generosity is amazing!

Edith Fellows (1923-2011)

Edith was only 4 feet 10 inches in height. She was hard to see in a crowd. In fact, at one Way Out West meeting, she didn't think she was being heard, so she stood on a table to make sure she had our attention. She always did cute things like that and was very popular with all our members. She appeared in The Devil's Brother (Fra Diavolo) and also in several Our Gang films. Edith was always fun to be around. We will miss her!

Notes From Our Last Meeting

At our last meeting in honor of Stan Laurel's 121st Birthday, we screened Be Big, Laughing Gravy, and Sons of the Desert. We also sang Happy Birthday to Stan and had birthday cake. But for most of our members attending the meeting, the high point of the evening was hearing four of our members tell their stories of when they met Stan Laurel in person. Each of them, of course had a different story, but each of them in some way told us that Stan Laurel was a kind and caring person. As fans of Stan Laurel, we all knew that that had to be so, but it was nice to hear it again. Thanks to Bill Burgess, Stan Schulman, Myrna Davis, and Ralph Marks for telling us their stories. Thanks also to Rita Crandall, Victor D'Agostino, Bill Burgess, Ken Runyan, Jayne Barnhart, and Bob Birchard for helping me with the toasts and the song.

International S.O.D. Convention Next Year

It seems like we just went to Sacramento a couple of months ago, but in reality it has almost been a year ago. Our next International Sons of the Desert Convention (our 18th) will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire from July 19th to July 22nd 2012. If you register for the convention by July 31, 2011, you will receive a $50 discount off the regular registration fee of $375. For more information about the Convention go to: