NOTE: This is an old issue of the Brushwood Gulch Gazette, which has been archived for reference purposes.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.
Way Out West Annual
This year's annual banquet will take place on Friday evening, October 9, at The Castaway restaurant in the hills overlooking Burbank. We have created a special web page which gives all of the details pertaining to this event, which you may visit by selecting this link [link removed]. Please make your reservations as soon as possible, as seating may become limited. We hope to see all of you there.
On Thursday evening, October 8, 1998, The Silent Society and the UCLA Film and Television Archive will be presenting a night of rare Laurel and Hardy solo films. Babe Hardy will be featured in A Warm Reception, The Chief Cook, Rivals, and The Daddy of Them All. Films featuring Stan Laurel will include The Egg, A Weak-End Party, West of Hot Dog, and Do You Love Your Wife? The films are 35mm archival prints and will be presented with live accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. Author Rob Stone will introduce the program. The location is at the James Bridges Theater (formerly the Melnitz Theater) at UCLA. Parking is available on campus in Lot 3, near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hilgarde Avenue. Admission is $6 per person, and the program will begin at 7:30PM.
On August 23, 1998, Norma Drew Churchill passed away at the age of 94. She is remembered by Laurel and Hardy fans for her role as Mrs. Laurel in the 1931 film, Chickens Come Home. Norma Drew attended three banquets, several meetings, and was made an honorary member of the Way Out West Tent.
Although her real name was Permelia Pagano Churchill, she was known professionally as Norma Drew. During her career as an actress, she toured with the prestigious Duffy Players and appeared in films with such notables as Joan Crawford, Robert Montgomery, and Robert Taylor. She was married to screenwriter/producer Ernest Pagano. Following his death, she married gold medal yachtsman, Owen Churchill.
She is survived by her daughter Maria Maxwell, son-in-law Paul, grandsons Bill and John, stepdaughters Antonia Churchill-Lance and Patricia Churchill-Link, the Lance children, the Wink children, and numerous great grandchildren. At her request, no services were held. Donations to the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles are requested in lieu of flowers.
Scott MacGillivray, former editor of the Intra-Tent Journal, has published a new book which focuses on Laurel and Hardy in the years that followed their departure from the Hal Roach Studios. It is entitled Laurel and Hardy: From the Forties Forward and is now available online through Amazon.com. To order, select either of the following links:
In October, Turner Classic Movies will broadcast two documentaries from the 1960s which feature rare--albeit brief--bits of candid footage with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The first is Hollywood: the Fabulous Era, which airs October 10th at 4PM. The second will be shown on October 22nd, at 8AM. It is entitled Hollywood Without Make-Up.
Plans for the Third Annual Thelma Todd Celebration are currently underway for the summer of 1999. It will take place July 29-August 1 in Thelma's hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Additional information will be provided in the coming months, or you may visit the Lawrence "On the Loose Tent" online at: http://www.tiac.net/users/dwms/index.html
The Annual Oliver Hardy Day Festival will take place this year on October 3, in Babe's home town of Harlem, Georgia. The day is filled with Laurel & Hardy films, a Look-A-Like Contest, and several parades. There are also food vendors, craft stalls, and other interests of the area...such as a racing car exhibit and ambulance "exhibition." There are two stages set up for singers, dancers, and bands. As always, we wish the city of Harlem well, as they pay tribute to one of our two favorite comedians.
September 19th is the second anniversary of www.wayoutwest.org, the Way Out West Tent's award winning website. In celebration, we will unveil several new features, as well as expanded and updated information throughout the site. If you have not already done so, please stop by and sign our guest book. We'll even remind you of Los Angeles meetings by e-mail, if you wish.
For those who have not yet participated in our weekly online trivia contest, here's your chance to show us how much you know about Laurel and Hardy. A new contest will begin in September, with new questions posted weekly throughout October and November. To enter, please visit here.
The meeting of August 11th began with a screening of Harold Lloyd in Number Please, the first film saluting the Hal Roach All-Stars. After a short break, the meeting was officially underway after the singing of the Sons of the Desert song. Bob Duncan offered the traditional toasts to Stan, Ollie, and company, with a special toast to the memory of Babes in Toyland star, Felix Knight. After some announcements, Rob Stone, author of Laurel or Hardy--The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy, hosted a trivia contest about the Hal Roach All-Stars, whose films were being viewed for the evening. Volunteers, David Hayes, Greg Pschaida, and Steven Smith were all asked questions and answered them to earn a chance to win a copy of a book about Stan and Babe. David Hayes was the winner who won a copy of Rob Stone's book. Also, joining us for the evening were John Reynolds (grandson of ZaSu Pitts), Margaret Kerry (also known as Peggy Lynch during her Our Gang days), along with her husband, actor Jack Wilcox, Ernie Wechbaugh (from Our Gang, making his first Way Out West Tent appearance), and our good friend, Jay Dare (the boys costumer on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters). The silent film program that Rob had selected for us continued with Charley Chase in Innocent Husbands, Max Davidson in Pass the Gravy, and Laurel & Hardy in Wrong Again. The sound portion of the program featured Thelma Todd and ZaSu Pitts in On the Loose (with a cameo appearance by the boys), Arabian Tights with Charley Chase, and wrapping it up were Stan and Ollie once again in Towed in a Hole.
He was born on July 4, 1888, in Palermo, Italy. He arrived in the United States as a stowaway, at the age of 14. In New York, he worked as a barber's helper and a pants presser at the Lambs Club, before being discovered by comedian Raymond Hitchcock, who put him to work in several theatrical productions. He went to Hollywood in 1923. His comedic talents were seen in over 120 films, both silent and sound. He appeared in such features as Poor Little Rich Girl with Shirley Temple, The Black Cat with Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, and he did battle with all three Marx Brothers in The Big Store. He also played Papa Gambini in a series of 20th Century Fox "B" pictures, such as Speed to Burn and Winner Take All. On October 21, 1945, while in San Diego, California, performing in the play "Opening Night," he went back stage during the performance, collapsed, and died of a heart attack. He was 57 years old. Laurel and Hardy fans remember him best as Matteo, the landlord (whom Stanlio drove crazy with such games as "finger wiggle") in The Devil's Brother...Henry Armetta
80 Years Ago
75 Years Ago
70 Years Ago
65 Years Ago
60 Years Ago
45 Years Ago
Sources for Looking Back:
Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind the Movies, by Randy Skretvedt
Laurel or Hardy - The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy, by Rob Stone
2 Chuck McCann Sons of the Desert co-founder 3 Alan Ladd Great Guns 4 Pete Smith The Tree in a Test Tube 4 Mantan Moreland A Haunting We Will Go 8 Darwood "Waldo" Kaye Our Gang 12 Billy Gilbert The Music Box, Block-Heads 12 Dickie Moore Our Gang 15 Jackie Cooper Our Gang 16 Tommy "Butch" Bond Our Gang 17 Ben Turpin Our Wife, Saps at Sea 18 Robert Blake The Big Noise 20 Billy Bletcher Babes in Toyland 20 Blanche Payson Helpmates 26 Antonio Moreno The Bohemian Girl 28 Kay Deslys Perfect Day
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 Leo McCarey L&H director 3 Charles Middleton Pack Up Your Troubles 4 Scotty Beckett Our Gang 4 Buster Keaton The Stolen Jools 9 Frank Austin Laurel-Hardy Murder Case 9 Jim MacGeorge Stan Laurel Impersonator 10 Arthur Housman Scram, Our Relations 11 Mickey Daniels Our Gang 11 Frank Brownlee Midnight Patrol, Pack Up Your Troubles 17 Art Lloyd L&H cameraman 19 Daphne Pollard Our Relations, Thicker Than Water 20 Charley Chase Sons of the Desert, On the Wrong Trek 23 Jimmy Aubrey That's My Wife 25 Gordon "Porky" Lee Our Gang 28 Otto Fries Leave 'Em Laughing, Pardon Us