Laurel & Hardy, Children, and Dogs on March 24th
Some of the most beloved films from the Hal Roach Studios center around children, dogs, and of course, our favorites, Laurel & Hardy. Our Gang films highlight the trials and tribulations of being a kid. Laurel & Hardy films show how Stan and Babe's lovable characters cope with all the problems that life can throw at them. In both film series, the Kids and the Boys love their dogs. On Tuesday evening, March 24th, at The Mayflower Club, our film program will cover Our Gang and dogs, L&H as kids, L&H and their dog, and L&H and kid. Before you read on, see it you can guess the films?
In remembrance of Dorothy DeBorba, who would have celebrated her 90th birthday on March 28th, our first film for the evening will be Pups Is Pups (1930). This was also Dorothy's first Our Gang film. In 2004, the United States National Film Preservation Board selected Pups Is Pups to be added to the National Film Registry and preserved in the Library of Congress. In the film, the Gang—with Farina's (Allen Hoskins) help—slip into a crosstown high society dog show with their unruly pets. Wheezer (Bobby Hutchins) brings his pet puppies, but the rest of the gang bring everything from a parrot to a pig. In a running gag though out the film, Jackie (Cooper) has to keep his little sister Dorothy (DeBorba), who loves mud puddles, from getting dirty.
Stan and Ollie try their best to baby-sit their very mischievous young sons, in Brats (1930). Their kids should look very familiar to you, because they are also played by Stan and Babe. To make them look like small children, Stan and Babe (without his mustache) do their children scenes on sets where all the furniture and other props are giant size. Brats is always on every fan's list as one of their favorite Laurel & Hardy films.
It's late on a cold Winter's night in Laurel & Hardy's classic short, Laughing Gravy (1931). When Stan's dog, Laughing Gravy, starts barking loudly, Stan and Ollie's landlord, Charlie Hall, puts the dog outside in the cold. Stan and Ollie soon sneak Laughing Gravy back into the boarding house. When their landlord suspects that the dog is back in the house, the Boys hide the dog in their fireplace. Will their landlord find Laughing Gravy and throw both the dog and Stan and Ollie outside in the cold night?
Our film program for the evening will conclude with Pack Up Your Troubles (1932). In this Laurel & Hardy feature, Stan and Ollie are drafted into the Army, trained, and then sent into the war. When they go into battle, the Boys become accidental heroes, but their buddy Eddie, a single parent, is killed in the fight. After the war, Stan and Ollie rescue Eddie's orphaned daughter from her cruel foster father (Walter Long) and then they try to find Eddie's parents. The problems are Stan and Ollie don't know exactly where Eddie's parents live, they only know Eddie's last name was Smith, and the only tool they use to find Eddie's parents is a phone book. Jacquie Lynn plays Eddie's young daughter and "steals" every scene that she's in. The print of Pack Up Your Troubles that we are screening has restored scenes that were censored in the 1940's for their violence and were not restored until a few years ago. Though the violent scenes are mild by today's standards, they do affect the feel of the film, but keep in mind that Pack Up Your Troubles is a Laurel & Hardy comedy.
The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Our meeting starts at 7:15 p.m. "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 a fun evening, see you Tuesday, March 24th!
Reminder For 2015 Dues
Annual dues for Way Out West members should be paid each January. If you haven't paid yet, please do so, as soon as possible. Your dues cover continuing expenses for renting the Mayflower Club and for paper, envelopes, and postage that we need for our newsletters. Once again, we encourage our members to mail their payment for annual dues directly to our Grand Vizier, Lori McCaffery. That way we can keep our check-in line for our March meeting running at a normal speed. Our dues are unchanged from 2014 and are listed here. Please make out your checks to "Way Out West Tent" (this is different than 2014) and mail your checks to Lori McCaffery, 4313 Woodland Avenue, Burbank, CA 91505. Thank you for your help and continued support.
Notes From Our January Meeting
At our January meeting, we celebrated the 123rd birthday of Oliver Norvell Hardy by singing Happy Birthday in his honor and making two delicious birthday cakes completely disappear in about 15 minutes. Our evening's film program was Yes, Yes Nanette, Sugar Daddies, Our Wife, and Saps at Sea. The films covered Babe's film career at the Hal Roach Studios from beginning to end. Oddly enough, I didn't realize until the meeting was over, that James Finlayson was also in all the evening's films and that thefilm program also covered Fin's film career at the Hal Roach Studios from beginning to end. Yes, Yes Nanette was an early Roach silent short starring Fin and featuring Babe. Sugar Daddies was a Roach silent starring Fin and featuring Babe and Stan. Our Wife was a Roach sound short starring Laurel & Hardy and featuring Fin. Lastly, Saps at Sea was the last Roach feature starring Laurel & Hardy and featuring Fin.
Thanks to Bob Duncan, Jayne Barnhart, Victor D'Agostino, Dave Greim, and J.T. Tropper for helping me with the toasts and singing "The Sons of the Desert Song." Thanks to Steve Ames for joining us once again all the way from New York City. Thanks to Dick Bann for his Booth Colman Tribute that we included in January's newsletter.
From The Grand Sheik - Missing Dorothy
It was at the 1984 Sons Convention in England that Kris, Jimmy III, and I first considered Dorothy to be a close friend. Along with John Duff, we were all pretty much inseparable throughout the whole Convention. For the 1986 Convention in Philadelphia, Dorothy and my family decided that we would all take a road trip together after the Convention. As it turned out, from the beginning of the Convention in Philadelphia to our return to Los Angles, Kris, Jimmy III and I were together with Dorothy for 23 straight days. After the Convention in Philadelphia and the official Post Convention in New York City, we traveled with Dorothy to Williamsburg, Washington DC, Gettysburg, and then back to Philadelphia, stopping at most of the popular tourist spots along the way. All in all, except for a couple of moments that could have been additional scenes in National Lampoon's Vacation, we all had a great time. The lesson that we all learned was when you're with someone that you're not related to on a 23 day vacation, you really get to know them, and they really get to know you.
Over the years, we became friends with Dorothy's daughter Janet and Dorothy's son Richard. Whenever Dorothy came to Los Angeles, we always had dinner with Dorothy and friends. Kris talked to Dorothy regularly on the phone. Dorothy would always call us on our birthdays and sing Happy Birthday.
Dorothy appeared in 24 Our Gang comedies from 1930 through 1933. Dorothy and Laurel & Hardy separately did cameos in The Stolen Jools (1931). The Stolen Jools was a comedy short produced by the Masquers Club of Hollywood and is considered one of the Boys 106 film appearances together. After attending the Hollywood '80 Convention, Dorothy rarely missed coming to our annual Way Out West banquets, even though she lived in Northern California. She also rarely ever missed a Sons Convention after Hollywood '80. In total, Dorothy attended 11 Sons of the Desert International Conventions, easily out-numbering any other Convention celebrity. At our Way Out West banquets and Sons Conventions, Dorothy quickly became beloved by all Sons for her friendliness, good sense of humor, and interest in other people. After a long battle with emphysema, Dorothy passed away on June 2, 2010, at the age of 85.
How do you say goodbye to a friend? The answer is you don't. You keep your memories of them in your mind. You cherish your memories of them. You tell other friends your memories. By doing those things, your friend lives on, so you never have to say goodbye.
Sadly, I have to report that Elaine Johnson, from the Block-Heads Tent of Minneapolis passed away on March 10th. You may not recognize her name, but, if you ever entered the Pea-Wee Contest at a Sons Convention she was the lady (usually with a video camera) that ran the Pee-Wee Contest with her husband, Roger Gillete. She was a very nice lady, who all Sons will miss. Our condolences go to Roger and their family.