Extra! Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy Star in Sons of the Desert for Hal Roach Studios

December 29, 1933


Section E - Music

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[5 Publicity Photos]


About the Songs

Unlike some other Laurel and Hardy features, Sons of the Desert did not rely upon an elaborate operatic score nor did they cast a singer in a supporting role. This movie was pure Laurel and Hardy, without these extraneous elements that many may see as filler.

Yet, Sons of the Desert introduced us to two songs that are very familiar today. The first of these is "Honolulu Baby," composed for this film by T. Marvin Hatley. This is probably one of his most well known pieces, second only to the Cuckoo Song.

The boys hear "Honolulu Baby" while at their convention in Chicago, reminding them that they told their wives they were going to Honolulu. It is performed by Ty Parvis, who is accompanied by a cabaret of hula dancers.

This song was heard again in later Roach pictures, such as Our Gang's Beginner's Luck (1935). Today, real Sons of the Desert conventioneers are often heard singing this song; of course, they'll take advantage of any excuse to dress up in a grass skirt and play a ukulele.

The second song heard in Sons of the Desert, which has become the anthem of the real Sons of the Desert, was simply a joke written to officiate the start of their lodge meeting. The tune is a combination of "Give my regards to Broadway" and "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp the Boys are Marching."

There has been some controversy over the years, as to one line in particular. The line in this tune, directly before the humming and swaying takes place, has been quoted as "Attesting to this melody," "And dancing to this melody," and "And chanting to this melody." Well, all three could be correct...but author Randy Skretvedt (Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies) took a look at the original script and found a decisive answer. It reads, "And dancing to this melody."

"Honolulu Baby"

By T. Marvin Hatley

While down on a South Sea island,
Underneath the beauty of the stars,
I strayed upon some maidens,
Who were strumming on their guitars.
A hula maid was dancing,
And I knew I'd found my paradise.
So this is what I told her,
As I gazed into her eyes...

Honolulu baby, where'd you get those eyes?
And the dark complexion, I just idolize?
Honolulu baby, where did you get that style?
And the pretty red lips, and that sunny smile?
When you start to dance, your hula hips entrance,
Then you shake it up and down.
You shake a little here, you shake a little there,
Well you got the boys going to town.
Honolulu baby, sure know your stuff.
Honolulu baby, gonna call your bluff.

"We Are the Sons of the Desert"

By Frank Craven

We are the Sons of the Desert,
Having the time of our lives.
Marching along, two thousand strong,
Far from our sweethearts and wives, God bless them.
Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the boys are marching,
And dancing to this melody.
Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm,
Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm,
Sons of the Desert are we!

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