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.

And Now For Something Completely Different!

Over the years, our tent has screened Laurel & Hardy's Their Purple Moment, Below Zero, and Babes in Toyland many times. Join us on Tuesday night, December 6th, to see versions of these films that few of you have ever seen before. As a bonus, we will screen scenes from all 106 films in about 2 minutes.

Our version of Their Purple Moment (1928) will have musical accompaniment recorded live by the Dutch Beau Hunks Orchestra. By using a split screen, you will see both Their Purple Moment and The Beau Hunks Orchestra. In the film, Stan and Ollie once again try to outsmart their wives. Will they succeed this time?

Instead of the usual version of Below Zero, we will screen the Spanish language version called Tiembla Y Titubea (1930). In both films, The Boys are struggling street musicians playing out in the cold, until they find a wallet in the snow. Tiembla Y Titubea is seven minutes longer than Below Zero and has a different beginning, added gags, and a whole different feel to it. Though it is completely in Spanish, there are English subtitles, so you won't have any trouble understanding what everyone is saying. Stan and Babe learned to speak their Spanish for the films phonetically. They didn't pronounce their Spanish well and often didn't know exactly what they were saying. I'm sure some of the actors on the set didn't know what Stan and Babe were saying either.

Our final film for the evening will be one of Laurel & Hardy's fan favorites, Babes in Toyland (1934). With Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee helping Santa make toys in Toyland, among all the nursery rhyme characters that you could ever imagine, what could possibly go wrong? Henry Brandon is great in the film, as the evil Silas Barnaby.

What makes the version of Babes in Toyland that we are screening so different from what we usually show is that our version will be in high definition video and in color. I know that Babes in Toyland was not filmed in color, and that most film fans don't like colorized films (myself included). I'm asking you to make to an exception for this one film. We've all read about all the colorful sets that were built specially for Babes in Toyland and that Stan Laurel himself thought the film should have been made in color. But my number one reason for screening this version of Babes in Toyland is that it really looks good in high definition, and we just don't have that many opportunities to show high definition video. Join us December 6th and judge for yourself.

The Mayflower Club is located in North Hollywood at 11110 Victory Boulevard. The doors are opened at 6:30 PM, and our meeting starts at 7:15 PM. "Fisher Franks" (100% beef hot dogs) and your choice of chips will be sold from the Mayflower Kitchen. Refreshments will also be sold from the Mayflower Bar. Free cake will be served at our second break. We will also have a door prize drawing and a regular raffle, after our second break. Don't miss out on a good time, join us at the Mayflower Club on Tuesday night, December 6th.

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

Maude Booth Family Center

Every year Way Out West members donate canned goods to the Maude Booth Family Center of North Hollywood. Our donations help make life a little better for families in need of food during the holidays. On behalf of the Maude Booth Family Center, we again ask all our members to bring cans of food to our December meeting. If you don't have any canned goods to donate, we will also accept cash donations. Every little bit helps, even if it's just one can or a couple of dollars. Thank your for your continued generosity!

Mail In Your Dues For 2012

Our Board has decided to encourage members to mail their dues payments for 2012 directly to our Post Office Box. That way our check-in line for our first two 2012 meetings will move much faster and hopefully we will receive your dues more quickly than in past years. All members who mail in their 2012 dues will receive a free Laurel & Hardy bumper sticker for paying their dues through the mail.

Bob Duncan on the Radio

On Saturday December 3rd, from 6:00-10:00 PM Pacific time, Bob Duncan will co-host a four hour internet radio program on the lives and careers of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It will include rare and unusual audio and video clips and special guests. Listeners may participate by telephone or through the chat room. The program can be heard at

Happy Birthday Reminder

Please don't forget to sign one of the birthday cards for Lois Laurel Hawes on Lori McCaffery's check-in table. Lois' Birthday is on Saturday, December 10th.

From The Grand Sheik

As I finish my 6th year as Grand Sheik of the Way Out West Tent, I can't believe that 6 years has passed so quickly! I guess that doing something that you like doing, and having a lot of good friends to help you to do that thing, makes time go by quickly. Special thanks to my wife Kris, my son Jimmy III, our Vice Sheik Bob Duncan, our Grand Vizier Lori McCaffery, Colin McCaffery, our Keeper of the Celluloid Stan Taffel, David Rodriguez, and Jayne Barnhart for all their help and hard work in 2011. Also thanks to everyone who helped with the toasts in 2011. And finally a big thank you to all our members for your great turnout and support for all our activities in 2011. It's been a great year for our Tent! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to everyone!

Notes From Our August Meeting

At our August 9th meeting, we screened Bacon Grabbers, Towed in a Hole, and Jitterbugs. It was great to see our member's positive reaction to Jitterbugs. I think that most of our members came away from the screening with a feeling that Jitterbugs is a much better Laurel & Hardy film than it usually gets credit for from critics. Our raffle was a success. It raised over $170 to help Stan Taffel purchase a spare lamp for his special projector. In attendance was actor Curtis Armstrong and magician Ray Karch, who was finally able to perform his mind reading act for us.

Notes From Our November Special Event

Our November 5th Special Event turned out to be a big success, when over 100 members turned out for our prison theme event. About a quarter of those in attendance came dressed in "prison garb." We're not sure, but we suspect several may have been actual escaped criminals.

The prison guard had told us we would dine on "a big roast turkey with chestnut dressing, and sweet potatoes Southern style, great big pans of hot biscuits, strawberry shortcake smothered in whipped cream, sprinkled with powdered sugar, with a nice, big maraschino cherry on the top of it." But the Way Out West Tent is on a budget, so our prison-like dinner included bread and water, along with Beef Stew, Cole Slaw, and Chocolate Pudding. Thanks to David Rodriguez, Kris Wiley, Ellen Wiley, and Jimmy Wiley III for their work in the kitchen.

After dinner, the captive audience was entertained with a prison "fashion show," showing the latest styles in prison beach-ware, athletic-ware, and evening-ware. Thanks to Debbie Hopkins and Richard & Dorothy Schneidmiller for putting on the funny presentation, and additional thanks to the Tom & Debbie Hopkins and for providing the table decorations.

Following the Sons of the Desert Song and toasts, I gave a special toast to Earl Kress, our former Grand Sheik who passed away in September. We had one of our cakes decorated to honor Earl, because whenever Earl came to our recent meetings he would always ask my wife Kris to save him a corner piece with lots of frosting.

Authors Richard W. Bann and Randy Skretvedt joined us on stage to discuss the newly released box set of Laurel & Hardy films on DVD, upon which they both provided new audio commentary. Big thanks to Dick and Randy for joining us for the meeting and giving us a spirited discussion about the new DVD's and the DVD's effect on the future of Laurel & Hardy's popularity.

Our film program that evening had a less than subtle theme. We screened The Second Hundred Years, The Hoose-gow, and Pardon Us. We also screened Brats in honor of Earl Kress, as this was one of his favorite shorts.

Click here for photos from the event...

In Memory of Earl Kress

Earl came to Hollywood to become a cartoon writer and that he did very successfully. Earl won two Emmys for writing the TV cartoon, Pinkey and the Brain. He wrote the last Rode Runner cartoon at Warner Brothers called Little Go Beep. He also wrote for Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Transformers, Pound Puppies, Taz-Mania, and Baby Looney Tunes. But along the way, Earl also learned how to do voice-overs, produce animation, write comic books, write books and even do puppeteering. Earl co-authored a autobiography on voice-over artist, June Foray. Earl did puppeteering and voices for the Muppets. He joined the Animation Guild's executive board in 1995, and was elected vice president of the guild in 2004. Earl co-chaired the Sons of the Desert International Convention in 1980 (Hollywood '80) with Lori McCaffery and Bob Satterfield. Earl was Grand Sheik of Way Out West from 1983 to 1985. After he retired from being Grand Sheik, Earl continued supporting Way Out West activities. He often came to our meetings and rarely missed coming to our yearly banquets. He was always a good friend to our tent. Our members always enjoyed Earl's kind manner and his wry sense of humor. He will be missed. To his wife Denise, we offer our sincere condolences.

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: