Volume 30, Number 3
This is an old issue of the Brushwood Gulch Gazette, which has been archived for reference purposes. Although some links have been updated, the text of this archived newsletter remains unchanged. Please keep in mind that these articles have NOT been updated to reflect changes that may have occurred since they were originally printed. Return to the index of archived issues.
The long lost two-reeler Hats Off will be recreated on May 13th, at the next Way Out West Tent meeting. Richard Bann, co-author of The Little Rascals - The Life and Times of Our Gang and filmographer for the book Laurel and Hardy, will recreate the 1927 film with slides and a narration from the original continuity script. This presentation has never been made at any Sons of the Desert event, and may very well be the closest you will ever get to seeing this missing film.
Hats Off begins at the same set of stairs that would later be seen in the Academy Award winning film, The Music Box; it ends on Main Street in Culver City, the site of many other Laurel & Hardy shorts. Therefore, this special event will really be a preview of the Way Out West Tent's 30th Anniversary weekend. Our film program will focus on many of the L&H locations that will be seen during our celebration in June, including a rare screening of Robert Youngson's The Golden Age of Comedy.
All of this will take place at the Mayflower Club, located at 11110 Victory Boulevard (west of Vineland Avenue) in North Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the meeting will begin at 7:30 PM. So join us for a memorable evening on Tuesday, May 13, 1997. This is one meeting you do not want to miss!
In celebration of our thirtieth anniversary, the Way Out West Tent will host a celebration June 28 - July 2, 1997, in Culver City, California...the birthplace of Laurel and Hardy! It was here that the Hal Roach Studios were located, just down the street from Metro Goldwyn Mayer. This is where the boys did their finest work, right in the heart of the Los Angeles basin. Although the studios have been demolished, many of the original filming locations can still be recognized in the residential neighborhoods and the newly restored historic downtown district of Culver City.
The Wyndham Gardens Hotel, also in Culver City, will serve as the central hub for this celebration. Rooms are a special price of $69.00 per night (plus tax, single or double occupancy per room). The newly refurbished hotel has all of the features you would expect from a first rate establishment, including a restaurant, bar, pool, and library area. Non-smoking rooms are available and it is walking distance to a major shopping mall. There is also a free shuttle between the hotel and Los Angeles International Airport (which is about 10 minutes away). For reservations, please call the hotel directly at (310) 641-7740; be sure to mention you are with the Sons of the Desert celebration in order to receive the special rate.
Los Angeles Film Locations & Graves
On Saturday, June 28, our first event will be a tour of L&H locations around Los Angeles. This will include the stairs from The Music Box and Hats Off, the Pottsville Station from Berth Marks, as well as the graves of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. We will also see Hollywood Boulevard and the theater where This is Your Life was broadcast. Other notable film locations and homes will also be included in this tour, as time permits. The Greater Los Angeles Tour will leave the Wyndham Garden Hotel at 11:00 a.m. and return at approximately 3:30 p.m. A sack lunch will be provided.
That evening, we will have our Thirtieth Anniversary Celebrity Banquet at the Wyndham Garden Hotel. Because 1997 marks the Diamond Anniversary of the film Way Out West (60 years) and the Pearl Anniversary of the Way Out West Tent (30 years), the theme of the banquet will be "Diamonds and Pearls." Celebrity guests will be in attendance, including some who worked with the boys on screen. They will be available for autographs and questions during the cocktail hour, which will begin at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will follow at 7:30 p.m. The program will contain a look back at our tent's history, which includes over 100 celebrity members and the Second Sons of the Desert International Convention in 1980. There will be a raffle and our annual awards, as well as a few surprises. The evening will conclude with the 60th Anniversary screening of Way Out West.
Culver City Film Locations
On Sunday, June 29, the celebration will continue with a special plaque dedication in downtown Culver City. Then, we will begin our tour of Culver City. Busses will take you to homes seen in Big Business, The Perfect Day, and Hog Wild. We will also visit the site of the Hal Roach Studios and see the former MGM studios along the way. Additional locations may be added, if time permits.
Then we will take to the streets, with a special walking tour of the downtown area. Here, everywhere you turn seems to be a filming location! This includes the gutter seen in We Faw Down, the hospital from County Hospital, the Culver Hotel from Putting Pants on Philip, and the street where Edgar Kennedy stopped the boys in Leave 'Em Laughing. Other locations from Bacon Grabbers, Hats Off, Two Tars, Liberty, Angora Love, and Duck Soup will also be toured on foot. And there will definitely be some great photo opportunities.
Sunday evening, we will gather at the Sagebrush Cantina and Restaurant. This building is a location itself, seen briefly in the background of several films. Dinner will be served, followed by a screening of many of the same films whose sites you will have visited earlier in the day. Some special guests will be in attendance, to share their vast knowledge about the films and locations. And remember, this is all taking place just a few blocks from where the films were made!
Monday and Tuesday will be an opportunity for you to do some sightseeing on your own. You may wish to revisit Hollywood Boulevard, or see popular attractions such as Disneyland, Universal Studios, The Queen Mary, Catalina Island, Knotts Berry Farm, or Movieland Wax Museum, just to name a few. Several tour companies travel to these places by bus, but it will probably be more convenient and less expensive see things like a native of Southern California...by renting a car for the remainder of the week. Transportation will be provided from the Wyndham Garden Hotel to all of the events on Saturday and Sunday, so there will be no need to have a car of your own until Monday.
The cost for the entire event is $95 for members of the Sons of the Desert, or $110 for non-members. This price is being extended to members of ANY tent, not just our own. A registration form for all of these events has been included. Tickets to individual events are also available (see registration form for prices). Please note, this price does not include hotel accommodations.
If there is sufficient demand, we will charter a bus to take you from L.A. to the Edgar Kennedy Celebration in Monterey. The bus will leave on Wednesday morning for your trip up the scenic California coastline and a stop at Hearst's Castle, the palatial estate of William Randolph Hearst. This was once the playground of the motion picture industry, with guests such as Chaplin and Hal Roach. The price for this trip will be about $50 per person. If you are interested, please indicate so on the reservation form and we will provide you with additional information as it becomes available. If there is not enough demand, we will assist you in finding an alternative way to Monterey.
Because seating will be limited for both the banquet and bus tours, early registration is the only way to be assured admission. Don't wait...or it may be too late!
An event like this has not been offered in over 17 years and will probably not be offered again. If you love Laurel and Hardy and wish to meet the people they worked with and see where they made their magic, this is a really special opportunity. We hope to see you this summer.
Many celebrity guests have been invited to our Anniversary Banquet, including:
As always, celebrity attendance is contingent upon the health and schedules of each guest.
Fans of Harry Langdon will be pleased to learn that the Harry Langdon Society is now publishing a quarterly newsletter, called "Wild About Harry." For more information, please send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Released April 14, 1928 - Starring Charley Chase, Edna Marion, Edgar Kennedy, and Viola Richard. While on the way to his own wedding, Charley runs out of gas. As he walks off to refuel, a soaked young lady hops into Charley's car, disrobes and waits for her clothes to dry. When Charley returns and drives off, hilarity takes over. The Harry Culver Hotel, which was seen in Putting Pants on Philip, is quite visible in this two-reeler. The hotel still stands today.
Released June 23, 1934 - Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Walter Long, and Mae Busch. After testifying against convict Butch Long, the boys are threatened with revenge by Butch. Stan and Ollie place an ad in the newspaper for someone to travel with them and share the costs of leaving town. A young lady answers the ad and asks if her boyfriend, who happens to be Butch Long, can come along too. Not knowing who the boyfriend is, the boys agree. Upon their arrival at the young lady's apartment, they help to free the trapped boyfriend from a trunk. The courthouse exterior used in this short was the same Culver City - City Hall that was seen as a hospital in County Hospital. Today, the original front of the old City Hall is now an archway entrance to the new City Hall.
The Golden Age Of Comedy
Released 1957 - Written and Produced by Robert Youngson. Among the comedy greats seen in this compilation are Laurel and Hardy, Jean Harlow, Ben Turpin, Harry Langdon, Charley Chase, Edgar Kennedy, Daphne Pollard, Will Rogers, Billy Bevan and Mack Sennett. Scenes from Laurel and Hardy shorts Habeas Corpus, The Second Hundred Years, We Faw Down, The Battle of the Century, Double Whoopee, Two Tars, and You're Darn Tootin' are presented in this feature. The gutter from We Faw Down and the apartment from which the boys jumped out of a window can be seen in this film. The gutter is still as the boys left it, but sadly, the apartment building is now a parking lot.
The meeting of March 18, 1997, began with the singing of the Sons Of The Desert song and the traditional toasts. A special toast was offered to the memory of Tony Hawes. Our special guest for the evening was the author of Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind the Movies, Randy Skretvedt. Randy shared with us a biographical portrait of T. Marvin Hatley, the man who wrote the Laurel and Hardy theme song. A slide presentation was accompanied by an interesting profile on Marvin's life at the Hal Roach "Lot Of Fun," his days before and after his studio career, and of course his involvement with the Sons Of The Desert and the Way Out West Tent. We also saw Marvin on film in Our Gang's Mike Fright and a scene from the boys' Bonnie Scotland. Many thanks to Randy for making our meeting an informative and fun event. As usual, a job very well done! The second half of the evening showed Stan and Ollie in three two-reelers, The Hoose-Gow, Unaccustomed as we Are, and Men O'War. Also joining us for the evening were Jay Dare (the boys' costumer on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters), author Rob Stone (Laurel or Hardy - The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy), and author Richard Bann (The Little Rascals - The Life and Times of Our Gang).
By John Duff, Grand Sheik
My love for Laurel and Hardy goes back to when I was five years old and would watch them on television at every opportunity. Eventually, I heard about the Sons Of The Desert and joined up immediately. My first Way Out West Tent meeting was in 1977. I remember sitting in the back of the room at the Encino Women's Club for several meetings listening to the memories shared by Anita Garvin Stanley, Lois Laurel, T. Marvin Hatley, Billy Bletcher, Darla Hood, and Lucille Hardy Price, to name a few. The thrill of listening to and even having the chance to meet these wonderful people that I had grown up watching over the years was very special to me. After a while, I got over my shyness and got more involved with the tent. Since then, I have had the honor of meeting many more of the people who worked with the boys in front of and behind the camera. When I look at Laurel and Hardy films now, my appreciation for the boys' work is even greater than it was, plus seeing the people on screen that I have had the good fortune to meet and know makes Laurel and Hardy even more meaningful. The Way Out West Tent has also given me the chance to meet people from all over the world and I have even shared some very close friendships with members of the Way Out West Tent. In 1990, I was dating a lady named Janet Landau and she was very much aware of my involvement with the WOW tent. Well, she went ahead and married me anyway and she too has made some new friends from our tent. Looking back, those two funny men that I used to watch on television not only brought me millions of laughs (and they still do) but they also introduced me to an organization that has changed my life. I would not trade these memories for anything. Thank you Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy...and Happy 30th Anniversary to the Way Out West Tent!
Eugene Jackson began his show business career at a very young age by winning a talent contest at the Rosebud Theater in Los Angeles. His first movie role was in the film Her Reputation, with May McAvoy. Soon after, he replaced "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison in the Our Gang comedies. As "Pineapple," Eugene appeared in two reelers such as The Mysterious Mystery, The Big Town, and Dog Days. He also worked with Mack Sennett in the Buster Brown comedies and appeared with Mary Pickford in the silent feature, Little Annie Rooney. On television, Eugene was featured in such programs as Julia (where he portrayed the character "Uncle Lou"), Daktari and Frank's Place.
Over the years he has taught and shared his knowledge and experiences with many young actors and dancers. Way Out West Tent members first met Eugene at Hollywood '80, the second International Sons Of The Desert convention, where he was a member of the Our Gang Reunion. Since then, he has been a guest at many meetings and banquets and has even entertained us with his singing and instrumental talents. Along with Sue, his lovely wife of over fifty years, the happiness and warmth that they bring to our gatherings is always welcome. We always look forward to seeing them. The Way Out West Tent tips their derbies to Eugene and Sue Jackson.
She was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, on June 8, 1874. After earning certificates in teaching and principalship, she worked as a teacher and an actress in such companies as Girard Stock Company. After marrying and being a mother to six children, she entered films at the age of 42. Her first film was for the Lubin Film Company and was titled, The City of Failing Light. Some of her other films include Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919), Over the Hill (1920), The Wizard of Oz (1925), and the first all-talking film, The Lights of New York (1928). Sadly, she declared bankruptcy in 1931 and was almost evicted from her home in 1933 for non-payment of rent. Her final film was Friendly Persuasion in 1956. She died on June 24, 1973, at the age of 99. Laurel and Hardy fans remember her best, ironically at the time of her bankruptcy, as the kindly old lady being evicted by James Finlayson in One Good Turn...Mary Carr.
Sources for Did You Know? :
Silent Film Necrology, by Eugene Michael Vazzana
Mary Carr - Our Favorite Mom, by Richard Woods
80 Years Ago
75 Years Ago
70 Years Ago
65 Years Ago
60 Years Ago
55 Years Ago
50 years Ago
45 years ago
Sources for Looking Back:
Laurel or Hardy - The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy, by Rob Stone
Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind the Movies, by Randy Skretvedt
The Little Rascals - The Life and Times of Our Gang, by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann
Laurel and Hardy - The British Tours, by A. J. Marriot
4 Edgar Dearing Two Tars 5 June Lang Bonnie Scotland 10 Johnny Arthur Pick a Star, Our Gang 11 Peggy Lynch Our Gang 11 Doodles Weaver Swiss Miss 18 Frank Capra Our Gang writer 20 Edith Fellows Our Gang 20 Patricia Ellis Block-Heads 20 Vivien Oakland Way Out West, Scram 20 Stanley Fields Way Out West 21 Ralph Sanford The Bullfighters 23 Max Davidson Call of the Cuckoos 26 Dorothy Christy Sons of the Desert 26 Peter Cushing A Chump At Oxford 28 Minna Gombell Block-Heads 29 Iris Adrian Our Relations 30 Virginia Karns Babes in Toyland 30 Stepin Fetchit Zenobia
3 Paulette Goddard Berth Marks 8 Henry Brandon Babes in Toyland 8 Sheila Ryan Great Guns, A Haunting We Will Go 8 John McCabe & Rosina Lawrence Wedding Anniversary 8 Dorothy Coburn The Finishing Touch 8 Mary Carr One Good Turn 9 Bob Cummings Sons of the Desert 10 Hattie McDaniel Zenobia 12 William Austin County Hospital 13 Ralph Edwards This is Your Life 13 Ellen Corby Hal Roach Script Girl 15 Harry Langdon Zenobia 16 Stan Laurel 17 Flora Finch Way Out West 18 Mae Busch 30 Agostino Borgato Swiss Miss