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A Tribute to "Four
Clowns" in December
The December 9th meeting will be a special tribute to Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, and Buster Keaton. A rare screening of the Robert Youngson anthology 4 Clowns will be presented, along with other L&H, Keaton, and Charley Chase films (see film program for details).
Joining us for the evening will be June Chase---the daughter of Charley Chase. June will be making her first appearance ever at the Way Out West Tent. Eleanor Keaton---the widow of Buster Keaton---will also be there to share in the fun. A surprise guest may also be joining us. All that and classic comedies to boot!
These four comedians were contemporaries who knew and respected each other, both personally and professionally. The connection between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is certainly obvious, but the interrelations between the other stars may not be quite as well known.
At the Hal Roach Studios, Charley Chase found himself sharing the screen with Laurel and Hardy on several occasions. All three appeared in Call of the Cuckoos, Sons of the Desert, and On the Wrong Trek. In recent years part of Chase's two-reeler Now I'll Tell One has been discovered; until that time, it was not known that both Laurel and Hardy were in its cast. Oliver Hardy also appeared with Chase before being teamed with Stan Laurel, where he was said to have learned much about making motion pictures.
Keaton is featured in several films that Laurel and Hardy also appear in, including The Hollywood Review of 1929 and The Stolen Jools. In later years, Keaton found himself writing gags for one of L&H's films at MGM. But one of the most interesting connections between these comedians was the idea for a film that was never made; Keaton wanted to make a parody of the film Grand Hotel, in which he planned to feature Laurel and Hardy. Buster Keaton and Stan Laurel remained close friends until the time of Stan's death.
This meeting will certainly be an exciting way to close out an incredible year for the Way Out West Tent. For details about the meeting's time and location, please see the article below. As always, celebrity attendance is contingent upon their health and schedule.
On the evening of Tuesday, December 9, 1997, the Way Out West Tent will close out its 30th anniversary year...and we don't plan on doing it quietly! Not only do we have a great film program planned, but we will also have some terrific guests in attendance. This year, our tent will once again contribute to the Maud Booth Family Center for the holidays. Canned goods or a cash donation will be accepted at the door. Our membership has always been very generous, and your kindness has been much appreciated. Doors will open at 6:30 PM and the meeting will begin at 7:30 PM. The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Blvd. (west of Vineland Avenue) in North Hollywood. Fabulous Fisher Franks and the Marvelous Mayflower Bar will be at the ready for your consumption needs. So, mark your calendar...we hope to see you Tuesday, December 9.
Map to the Mayflower Club...
In November, the National Film Registry added Laurel and Hardy's The Music Box to its prestigious 1997 list of films. Previously, Big Business was the only Laurel and Hardy film to receive this honor.
The Music Box was first honored in 1932, where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose it as the best comedic short subject for that year. Since then, it has become one of Laurel and Hardy's best known and most popular films. Now, 65 years later, it is one of only 225 films included in the national registry, which is housed in the Library of Congress. Buster Keaton's Cops was also added this year, along with many other outstanding films. A complete list can be found on the Internet at http://lcweb.loc.gov/film/titles.html.
The National Film Registry was first created by an act of Congress, under the National Film Preservation Act of 1988. Since then, twenty-five films are chosen annually to be added to the registry. In addition to suggestions from film experts and the National Film Preservation Board, public suggestions are considered when compiling this list. If you would like to suggest any films to be included in the future, you may send your list of no more than 50 recommendations to: National Film Registry, Library of Congress, MBRS Division, Washington, D.C. 20540, Attn: Steve Leggett. Suggestions may also be e-mailed to: email@example.com.
Four new tickets featuring the boys were introduced by the California Lottery in November. The game will be part of the "Scratchers" series, in which you scratch the top layer off of the card to reveal if you are a winner. In this instance, there are two Ollie faces and 8 Stan faces which scratch off to reveal a possible match.
Following the well publicized "I Love Lucy" lottery tickets, these Scratchers are also designed to be given as birthday gifts. Each of the four tickets features a different photo of Laurel and Hardy, along with captions such as "Hats off to you on your birthday!" The tickets are $2 each and are sold throughout California. They will reportedly be available through January 1998.
The L&H "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!" bumper stickers will once again be available for sale at our meetings. We ran out of these stickers a few years ago, but due to a lot of recent requests we've had some new ones made. They'll be available at the December meeting, from the sales table in the back of the room. You'll also want to check out the 1998 calendars, which are going fast! As always, all proceeds from these items go directly to the Way Out West Tent. Thanks for your support.
After the traditional singing of the Sons of the Desert song and the toasts to Stan, Ollie, and company, the meeting of October 7, 1997, began with Lori "Mama Hen" McCaffery welcoming Rob Lewis and 40 Sons of the Desert members from England to our gathering. Our special guest for the evening was Edith Fellows. The film program for the evening highlighted some of Edith's work at the Hal Roach Studios. We all saw her in Our Gang's Shivering Shakespeare, Charley Chase's Movie Night, and Laurel and Hardy's The Devil's Brother. She also came up on stage to share many of her career memories and answer questions from the audience. At the break, many guests were able to speak with her as she graciously signed autographs. Also in attendance that night were Our Gang alum Margaret Kerry (Peggy Lynch), Billy Benedict from Great Guns, and Jay Dare, the boys' costumer on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters. Many thanks to Vice Sheik Jimmy Wiley for bringing his print of Shivering Shakespeare.
Many years have come and gone at the Way Out West Tent...30 of them, to be exact. This year was obviously a landmark year for us, and I just wanted to thank the many people who helped to make it possible. For 30 years, Grand Sheiks, board members, tent members, and guests have come and gone through our door at WOW. Lori McCaffery has been sitting by that door for 30 years keeping track of all these entrances and exits and a million other duties too numerous to mention. To her, I offer a tremendous thank you for keeping the tent going for all of these years. Bob Satterfield has been driving up and down the streets of Culver City finding L&H locations for almost as long and has been our lifeline to all of the celebrities that we have had the good fortune to meet and know at meetings and banquets. A very special thank you goes out to Bob for all of his efforts. Bill Patterson...he was the one who started all of this. For all of us who joined this creation of Bill's and made many new friendships as a result of this creation...we thank you. To Lois Laurel Hawes...your help and guidance (especially during the planning of the anniversary weekend) was appreciated more than words can say. Jimmy and Kris Wiley have been tending our dealer's tables, giving rides, hauling equipment, making sandwiches, and everything else for who knows what and for how many years...to them a very big thank you. Speaking of those Wileys...Jimmy Wiley III has given our newsletter a very professional look and the website he created from scratch is the talk of Cyberworld. Scott James and Mike Rogers our master projectionists continue to keep the sprockets rolling smoothly. Jayne Barnhart's scrapbook is growing into an encyclopedia, thanks to all of the history that she has been collecting for us. Al and Sharron Fisher...those franks keep getting more fabulous and famous every year. Randy Skretvedt and Richard Bann...the meetings you did for us this year presented us with an opportunity to learn about L&H history from the best. Colin McCaffery, working his magic creating banquet centerpieces and preserving the memories of our banquets with his camera, thank you so much. To Alan Barasorda, Dorothy Barnhart, Dorothy Bellina, Gloria Brigante, Rick Greene (great banquet program cover!), Steve Nelson, and Neal Pinyan, thank you for being there when we needed you. To all of the celebrities, members, and guests that attended our functions; your letters and phone calls mean a lot to the tent and we hope you keep coming back. And finally, to my wife, Janet...thank you for all of your love and support (especially this year!) and for making me the happiest guy in the world. Here's hoping that all of you have a safe and happy holiday season and lots of good luck, good health, and a ton of happiness in 1998!
John T. Duff III
Grand Sheik, Way Out West Tent
We were saddened to learn of the passing of fellow Sons of the Desert member Bill Cubin, on November 28, 1997. Twenty years ago, Bill founded the Berth Marks Tent (Oasis #24)...one of the first tents in England, which just happened to be in Stan's home town of Ulverston. Bill remained the Grand Sheik of this tent throughout the years, with Vice Sheik "Happy" Harry Ingle at his side. The Berth Marks Tent was one of the hosts of the Fourth International Sons of the Desert Convention, which took place throughout England in 1984.
Bill Cubin was also the proprietor of the world's only Laurel and Hardy Museum. Also located in Ulverston, Bill made his tribute to the Boys a one-of-a-kind experience...with photos and memorabilia covering everything! The museum will continue to be operated by Bill's grandson.
When the Way Out West Tent's activities to preserve the memories and honor the work of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were beginning, it was only natural for Lois Laurel to offer a helping hand to our tent. As the daughter of Stan Laurel, Lois grew up watching the boys make film history. She played a member of the audience in The Chimp, she worked as an extra in Swiss Miss, and she was on hand when Ralph Edwards honored the boys on This Is Your Life. At the Way Out West Tent, we have all had the pleasure of knowing her and calling her our friend. She was with our delegation when we attended the first ever Sons of the Desert convention in Chicago in 1978 and has always offered a helping hand at banquets and meetings. In 1981, she married Tony Hawes and together their love and support of the boys and the Sons of the Desert brought happiness all over the world. Sadly, we lost Tony this past February, but Lois has continued to be a loyal and loving friend, in addition to playing an active role in helping out with our 30th anniversary celebration and the Edgar Kennedy celebration in Monterey this summer. We all consider ourselves to be very lucky and proud to have Lois in our tent and in our lives. Please join us in a 30th anniversary tip of the derby to...Lois Laurel Hawes.
He began life as Dennis Pratt on November 2, 1897, in Warwickshire, Coventry, England. At the age of 14 his stage career began as a call boy, and by the time he was 19, he had made his first stage appearance. By the mid 1920's, this matinee idol had conquered both London and New York, as a dramatic actor in Shakespearean roles and as a baritone in stage operettas. His many performances on Broadway include several musical and dramatic productions. He made his film debut in Monsieur Beaucaire (1919). His other film credits include Paramount On Parade, with a cast that included Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, and Fredric March; The Miracle with Carroll Baker and Walter Slezak; and in 1969 his final film, Some Kind of Nut, with Dick Van Dyke. He became an American citizen in 1953. On May 21, 1971, he died in New York City, at the age of 73. Laurel and Hardy fans remember him best as "Fra Diavolo" in The Devil's Brother...Dennis King.
Joyce Compton, who appeared in Pick A Star, passed away on October 13, 1997. Her work at the Hal Roach Studios also included appearances with Charley Chase in Manhattan Monkey Business and Public Ghost No. 1. Born in Kentucky, she came to Hollywood and was placed under contract at the First National Studios, when she was 19 years old. By the time she retired in the 1960s, she had made more than 200 films, which include If I Had a Million, Mighty Joe Young, Luxury Liner, and Only Yesterday. She appeared with such stars as Jack Benny, Cary Grant, and Clara Bow. Joyce Compton has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Released March 1922. Starring Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Virginia Fox, and Eddie Cline. Buster's sweetheart turns away from him, because he is a failure at business. While trying to prove her wrong, he is mistaken for a pickpocket after finding a wallet stuffed with loot belonging to the police chief. A series of more misunderstandings finds Buster with a pile of furniture loaded on a wagon drawn by a horse in the middle of a marching policemen's parade. When a bomb winds up in Buster's possession, chaos and comedy takes over.
(1961) A short clip featuring Buster Keaton at a lunch counter as customers observe him trying to eat a meal as his toupee falls into his soup.
The Pip From Pittsburgh
Released March 21, 1931. Starring Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, Dorothy Granger, Kay Deslys, and Charlie Hall. Charley becomes very disagreeable when he is forced to go on a blind date. His tune changes when he sees that his date is a beautiful lady.
One Good Turn
Released October 31, 1931. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Mary Carr, James Finlayson, and Billy Gilbert. The boys are having lunch after begging for food at the home of a kind old lady. While eating, they overhear that the old lady is about to be thrown out of her home. In an attempt to help out their new friend, the boys decide to auction off their car. After the boys have a misunderstanding at Stan's expense, Ollie is embarrassed when the boys find out that the lady's tale of woe was only a rehearsal for a community play.
Released in 1969. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, and Buster Keaton. The final anthology from Robert Youngson's series of silent comedy tributes. In addition to some of their solo films, Stan and Babe are featured in Their Purple Moment, Big Business, Two Tars, Double Whoopee, and Putting Pants On Philip. Among the Charley Chase clips are Fluttering Hearts, Limousine Love, and Movie Night. Buster Keaton wraps up the film in a shortened version of Seven Chances.
80 years ago
75 Years Ago
70 Years Ago
65 Years Ago
60 Years Ago
55 Years Ago
50 Years Ago
November 1 Jerry Tucker Our Gang 1 Felix Knight Babes in Toyland 2 Walter Wolf King Swiss Miss 2 Dennis King The Devil's Brother 4 Darla Hood Our Gang, The Bohemian Girl 6 June Marlowe Our Gang, Pardon Us 7 Joe Cobb Our Gang 9 Gertrude Astor Come Clean 14 John McCabe Author/SOD Co-founder 16 Lawrence Tibbett The Rogue Song 19 Roy Seawright L&H Optical Effects Specialist 21 Vivian Blaine Jitterbugs 21 Dorothy Granger Hog Wild 23 Boris Karloff Pardon Us (French version) 29 Richard Bann L&H/Our Gang author December 3 Ferdinand Munier Babes in Toyland 5 Gordon Douglas Director of Zenobia 8 Norma Drew Churchill Chickens Come Home 10 Lois Laurel Hawes 11 Marie Windsor The Fighting Kentuckian 18 Leonard Maltin L&H/Our Gang author 18 George Stevens L&H cameraman 19 Al Kilgore Artist/SOD Co-founder 20 Sunshine Sammy Morrison Our Gang 25 Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson Our Gang 25 Joe Rock Stan Laurel comedies 29 George Marshall Pack Up Your Troubles 30 Rosina Lawrence Way Out West, Our Gang