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Joining us at our October 7th meeting will be actress, Edith Fellows. We will look at some of Edith's films and have a chance to hear her share some memories of the Hal Roach Studio days.
Edith made some very enjoyable screen appearances in Hal Roach comedies. She worked with Our Gang, Charley Chase, and Laurel & Hardy. Her film debut was in Charley Chase's Movie Night, she appeared in Our Gang's Shivering Shakespeare, and was seen in Laurel and Hardy's The Devil's Brother (Fra Diavolo). All three films will be screened at this meeting. As a child actress, Edith also appeared in such notable films as Huckleberry Finn, Cimarron, Jane Eyre, and Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. Later, she was featured on Ralph Edwards' television program This is Your Life.
Edith has joined us at many Way Out West Tent banquets, over the years. We were also fortunate to have her in attendance at the "Hollywood '80" convention, where the first Our Gang reunion took place. This will certainly be a special event, as we honor Edith Fellows' work for Hal Roach. With a guest like this, you will definitely not want to miss our next meeting!
The Way Out West Tent's 30th anniversary year is quickly drawing to a close as Tuesday evening, October 7, 1997, marks the second to the last meeting of this year long celebration. Once again, we will be meeting at the Mayflower Club located at 11110 Victory Blvd. (west of Vineland Avenue) in North Hollywood. The doors will open at 6:30 PM and the meeting will begin at 7:30 PM. You can count on the Famous Fabulous Fisher Franks and the Marvelous Mayflower Bar to be at the ready to satisfy the cravings of your taste buds. We are also expecting some Sons of the Desert from England, to share in the evening's festivities. So, plan on being with us on Tuesday evening, October 7, 1997.
For those planning on attending the 11th International Sons of the Desert Convention in the UK, a tentative itinerary is now available in the September 1997 issue of the Intra-Tent Journal. The issue will be available at our next meeting. Information is also available online, at http://freespace.virgin.net/sp.smith/1998ic/.
Volume 8 of the LaserDisc "Laurel & Hardy and Friends" is now available from your local retailer. It features The Finishing Touch, Leave 'Em Laughing, The Stolen Jools, Charley Chase's Bromo and Juliet (featuring Oliver Hardy), and Edgar Kennedy's The Big Beef and Radio Rampage.
The annual Oliver Hardy Festival, held in Babe's birthplace of Harlem, Georgia, takes place October 4th. Certainly a good time will be had by all.
The meeting of August 26, 1997, began with the traditional singing of the Sons of the Desert Song and the toasts to the boys and company. A toast was also offered to the memory of Rosina Lawrence. The film program for the evening began with Charley Chase and Rosina Lawrence singing and dancing to "Let's Make it a Big Day" from On the Wrong Trek, a Chase two-reeler. Next up, was a rare screening of the BBC's 1974 documentary, Cuckoo - A Celebration of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. This film contained interviews with Hal Roach, T. Marvin Hatley, John McCabe, Lucille Hardy Price, Babe London, Dick Van Dyke, Marcel Marceau, and many others. In addition, scenes from over thirty of the boys' films, home movies of Stan at his Oceana apartment in Santa Monica, California; rare photos of Stan and Ollie in the days before their teaming; and some locations of the boys' films as they looked in 1974, gave even more insight to the boys and their contribution to film history. During the break, a special raffle was held, leaving many members and guests as happy winners. A special thank you goes out to Lois Laurel Hawes for contributing many of the prizes for our raffle. Also, Al and Sharron Fisher were presented with a special award for their many years of help to the tent and for their ever-popular Famous Fabulous Fisher Franks. Joining us for the evening were the always reliable Jay Dare (the boys' costumer on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters), Mark and Glenn Kennedy (grandsons of Edgar Kennedy), and Glenn's daughter Dana. The evening concluded with the 60th anniversary screening of our tent's namesake, Way Out West.
by Earl Kress
Growing up in Philadelphia, I first watched Laurel and Hardy on New York's "Laurel & Hardy & Chuck" show, featuring our own Chuck McCann (one of the original founders of Sons of the Desert, as if you didn't know.)
I moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and shortly after found an ad in the back of the Hollywood Reporter looking for people vitally interested in L&H. Well, the ad was placed by the Way Out West Tent and I immediately became a member.
At my first banquet, I sat at a table with Darla Hood. When I told her I worked in animation, she told me that she did voice-over, including the Swiss Miss Cocoa girl. (Too bad it wasn't "Bohemian Girl" Cocoa. That would've been even more of a coincidence.)
The second banquet I sat with Billy Bletcher, after which I arranged for him to speak to the young animators at Disney, where he had been the voice of the Big Bad Wolf and Peg-Leg Pete.
Certainly, two of the highlights of my years with the tent were "Hollywood '80" and the first Queen Mary banquet, but I think some of my fondest memories are driving up and down the streets of Culver City and L.A. with Bob Satterfield, location hunting. Rick Greene and I had done frame blow-ups from the films for locations that we didn't have stills for.
When we finally located the first house from Big Business (where Stan and Babe knock on the front door, then the side), I screamed, "That's it!!" Bob nearly had a heart attack. He got even with me, though. On another occasion, when we were in a not-too-friendly neighborhood, Bob got out of the car to take some pictures. I stayed locked inside. A few minutes passed. Suddenly, there was a loud crash and the car rocked. I almost fainted until I heard Bob laughing. He had purposely pounded on the trunk of the car.
It's been a remarkable time. I could easily fill the rest of this newsletter with stories. But I will just finish out by saying it's an honor to have been a Grand Sheik of Way Out West and to have been associated with so many fine people. Here's to 30 more years!
Alf Goulding had an impressive career directing some of Hollywood's funniest comedies. While at Warner Brothers, he directed many of the Vitaphone shorts whose cast included Jack Haley, Joe Penner, Shemp Howard, Ben Blue, and Fatty Arbuckle. At Century Studios, he directed many of the Baby Peggy comedies. He also worked with Edgar Kennedy at RKO. Alf was the one who suggested to Hal Roach that Stan Laurel be given a screen test. Thank goodness The Boss took Alf's advice. Later on, Alf did get to work with the boys as their director in A Chump at Oxford. At the Way Out West Tent, Alf's widow Betty has been an active and loyal member since the tent's early days. She has shared many memories with us about the boys and her husband's career at many meetings, banquets, our celebration at Hollywood '80, and most recently at our 30th anniversary banquet. Along with her husband, David, it is always a pleasure to welcome them. So join us in giving a 30th anniversary tip of the derby to Betty Goulding Saunders.
He was born on October 3, 1878, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In his teens, he worked as a carnival and circus performer. After appearing in vaudeville and stock, he entered films in the late 1920s. One of his first film appearances was in the 1928 version of The Farmer's Daughter. He also worked in films such as Duck Soup with the Marx Brothers, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch with W.C. Fields, The Good Earth with Paul Muni and Louise Rainer, The Grapes of Wrath with Henry Fonda and The Killers with Burt Lancaster. He was married to actress Leora Spellman and appeared with her in vaudeville as Middleton and Spellmeyer. He was well known for his work in serials such as Daredevils of the Red Circle, Flaming Frontiers, Black Arrow, The Desert Hawk, Batman, and the Flash Gordon series. His final film was The Last Bandit, released in 1949. He died on April 22, 1949, in Los Angeles, California at the age of 70. Laurel and Hardy fans remember him best as the not-to-pleasant commandant in The Flying Deuces and Beau Hunks, and also as the welfare officer in Pack Up Your Troubles ... Charles Middleton.
Sources for Did You Know?
Who Was Who on Screen, by Evelyn Mack Truitt
The Film Encyclopedia, by Ephraim Katz
Silent Film Necrology, by Eugene Michael Vazzana
Released May 11, 1929. Starring Charley Chase, Edith Fellows, Eugenia Gilbert, Spec O'Donnell, Tiny Sandford, and Harry Semels. Charley's daughter has a case of the hiccups and can't get rid of them. When they arrive at the movie theater, Charley and his daughter both wind up with the hiccups, to the displeasure of the audience. This was Charley Chase's final silent short.
Released January 25, 1930. Starring Our Gang: Jackie Cooper, Farina Hoskins, Chubby Chaney, Mary Ann Jackson, Wheezer Hutchins, Edith Fellows, and Pete the Pup. What starts off as an afternoon of culture, as The Gang performs a presentation of The Gladiator's Dilemma, winds up as a pie-throwing riot between the actors and the audience. Among the spectators taking a pie in the face is Harry Keaton, Buster's brother.
The Devil's Brother
Released May 5, 1933. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Thelma Todd, James Finlayson, Henry Armetta, and Edith Fellows. With their lives spared, Stanlio and Ollio become servants to the Marquis de San Marco who is none other than the singing bandit, Diavolo. Diavolo works his charms on Lady Pamela to get to her vast fortune. This film is based on the comic opera, Fra Diavolo, by Daniel F. Auber.
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September 2 Chuck McCann S.O.D. Co-founder 3 Alan Ladd Great Guns 4 Pete Smith Tree in a Test Tube narrator 4 Mantan Moreland A Haunting We Will Go 8 Darwood Waldo Kaye Our Gang 12 Billy Gilbert The Music Box, The Chimp 12 Dickie Moore Our Gang 15 Jackie Cooper Our Gang 16 Tommy "Butch" Bond Our Gang, Block-Heads 17 Ben Turpin Our Wife, Saps at Sea 18 Robert Blake The Big Noise, Our Gang 19 Joy Lane Babes in Toyland, Our Gang 20 Billy Bletcher Babes in Toyland 20 Blanche Payson Our Wife, Helpmates 26 Antonio Moreno The Bohemian Girl 26 Billy Naylor Our Gang October 1 Charley Rogers A Chump at Oxford 2 Lois Roberts Mrs. Thomas Benton Roberts 2 George "Spanky" McFarland Our Gang 2 LeRoy Shield L&H Music Composer 3 Charles Middleton Pack Up Your Troubles, Beau Hunks, The Flying Deuces 3 Leo McCarey L&H Director 3 Phillip Van Zandt The Big Noise 4 Scotty Beckett Our Gang 4 Buster Keaton The Stolen Jools 9 Jim MacGeorge Stan Laurel Impressionist 9 Frank Austin Laurel-Hardy Murder Case 10 Arthur Housman Scram, Our Relations 17 Art Lloyd L&H Cameraman 19 Daphne Pollard Our Relations, Thicker Than Water 20 Charley Chase Sons of the Desert 23 Jimmy Aubrey That's My Wife 25 Gordon Porky Lee Our Gang 28 Otto Fries Leave 'Em Laughing, Pardon Us