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Dick Jones to Join
us for Toyland Screening
As another year comes to a close, the Way Out West Tent will meet one more time on Tuesday evening, December 8, 1998. In addition to a raffle and our holiday canned food drive, we will present an entertaining film program accompanied by our special guest, Dick Jones.
Laurel and Hardy fans remember him best as the little boy hanging onto the leg of one of the wooden soldiers as the Bogeymen invaded Toyland in Babes in Toyland. He also appeared in several Our Gang comedies, such as The Pigskin Palooka and The Our Gang Follies of 1938. In 1940, his voice was featured in the title role of Walt Disney's Pinocchio. Dick also appeared in such films as Westward Ho!, Daniel Boone, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington with James Stewart. In radio, he was the voice of Henry Aldrich when Ezra Stone, went into the service. On television, Dick starred in Buffalo Bill, Jr. and co-starred with Jock Mahoney The Range Rider. We will screen Babes in Toyland and Pigskin Palooka as part of the evening's program. Please below for the entire film program.
As always we will meet at the Mayflower Club, located at 11110 Victory Boulevard (west of Vineland Avenue) in North Hollywood. The doors will open at 6:30PM, and the meeting will begin at 7:15PM. The ever-popular Fabulous Fisher Franks will be on hand and the Marvelous Mayflower Bar will accompany your eats. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday evening, December 8,1998.
Map to the Mayflower Club...
As you know, at every December meeting we ask the Way Out West Tent members and guests to remember the less fortunate with a canned goods donation that is given to the Maud Booth Family Center. Your generosity has been very much appreciated in the past, and we are asking for your help once again this year. If it is more convenient, you can make a cash donation in place of a canned good donation. In either case, we thank you in advance for your help.
Also note that there will be a small raffle during this meeting, which was postponed from a meeting earlier this year. If you're lucky, maybe you'll win that perfect holiday gift for yourself or a friend! All proceeds from the raffle go directly to the Way Out West Tent, so please support your tent.
Image Entertainment will release two volumes of Laurel and Hardy short films on DVD this December 15th. Entitled "The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy," these two discs will be similar to the VHS videos and LaserDiscs previously released under this same title by Nostalgia Archive. This new release, which has been mastered from original 35mm material, will mark the first time classic L&H shorts will be available on DVD.
Volume one includes Big Business, Call of the Cuckoo, Do Detectives Think?, and The Finishing Touch, as well as the Stan Laurel solo shorts Hustling for Health and On the Front Page. The second volume contains Angora Love, Double Whoopee, Early to Bed, and Sugar Daddies, plus the Stan Laurel solo shorts Oranges & Lemons and Roughest Africa. The retail price will be $29.99 for each disc.
Also in December, Image Entertainment will re-release many of the other Nostalgia Archive L&H titles on VHS. Each tape will contain one short film and will be priced around $10 a piece.
The UCLA Film and Television Archive has acquired an additional 500 feet of The Rogue Song, the long lost Technicolor musical which features Laurel and Hardy. The film was discovered in New England by Northeast Historic Film and transferred to UCLA for preservation.
Although the sequence does not contain any footage of Laurel and Hardy, it does give one reason to hope that the rest of this film may still exist...somewhere. Until this discovery, a brief clip (which did feature the boys) was the only known footage in existence. The new footage contains a ballet sequence.
A portion of this fragment will be televised in a tribute to Technicolor, which will air in December on Turner Classic Movies. The segment will also be shown publicly at a future UCLA screening.
January will be here before you know it and that means it's time to bring your dues up to date. Fees are due every January, regardless of when you join during the year. For example, if you joined during the final quarter of 1998, your dues were prorated through the end of 1998. The dues cycle then begins again in January 1999. You can get a jump on the new year by paying at the December 1998 meeting, if you choose. The prices will remain the same as 1998.
Eleanor Keaton, wife of Buster Keaton and long time friend of the Way Out West Tent, passed away October 19, 1998. As a teenager, Eleanor was a dancer in MGM musicals. She met Buster in 1938, and they were married in 1940. Together, they traveled to film festivals and worked together on stage shows. They remained happily married until his death in 1966. Mrs. Keaton regularly attended Way Out West Tent banquets and meetings, most recently joining us last December for questions and answers. We at the Way Out West Tent will miss her greatly.
Hal Stanton, Grand Sheik of the Night Owls Tent in the Connecticut Valley, passed away on September 11, 1998. Hal was one of the very few Sons whose membership goes back to the first year, 1965. He attended the very first Sons' banquet in New York that year and was a staunch and dedicated Son ever since. Way Out West members who have attended International Conventions certainly remember him fondly.
The Sons of the Desert extended family lost one of its own most prevalent and beloved giants with the passing of Night Owls Grand sheik, Hal Stanton, on September 11, 1998. Hal passed away in a nursing home shortly after entering for cancer. He was 86, but to everyone who was blessed to know him, never seemed like an old man. He personified the spirit of love and laughter, the two qualities of life no human being should be without. These are the qualities Hal practiced throughout his life, whether he was relishing in his film hobby or aiding the Shriners in their benevolent duties.
Hal was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1912 and attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He finally settled in western Massachusetts. Hal worked for a number of movie houses before working at Bay State Film Productions for 39 years. He retired as a vice-president of public relations and television in 1985. Hal introduced many a youngster to classic Hollywood by hosting vintage movie programs on channel 22. During World War II, Hal served in the China-Burma-India theater for the Army Air Corps. I recall on great story he told me of having seen the legendary entertainer, Al Jolson, in a training camp show in Florida! What a treat!! We were also privileged once to see a 16mm print of Hal and his partner at Bay State Films lip-syncing to a recording of "Old Black Magic" with Hal in drag as Keely Smith!!
Hal was also a longtime, loyal mason and Shriner. He was a past master of his lodge in Agwam, Massachusetts, a past Junior Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and a member of the all-Scotish rite bodies and the Melha Shrine Temple, in which he served in the media corps and the past masters unit. Would not Babe Hardy have loved this! You can bet your bottom dollar that Hal immediately understood the lampoon of his shrine when he first saw Sons of the Desert!!
In 1965, Hal was amongst the very first attendees of this new organization, SOD, at the Lambs Club in New York City in April. In 1970, Hal founded this Night Owls of the Connecticut Valley. He remained Grand Sheik right to his death. I had the pleasure of belonging to his tent for over 10 years before my moving here to Los Angeles. I first met Hal at the Valley Forge Convention in 1986, where I quickly was made cognizant of his stature as an elder statesman of the Sons. I so well remember Hal in full regalia wearing his Night Owls baseball cap and his always ever present pipe clenched in his tux or bright red blazer with the Sons Escutcheon!
The first time I attended a Night Owls meeting was for their Christmas show in 1986. Our car broke down about a mile from the Villa Rose Restaurant, in typical half-assed dignity! After waiting for a tow truck, Frank & Jay Lhota, Rich Finegan and myself hoofed the rest of the way to the meeting, arriving late. In typical generosity, Hal gave all four of us dinner gratis for having made such an effort to support him after our road mishap! I never forgot that generosity or kindness.
Hal attended every convention from 1978-1994 with the exception of UK '84. When Hal's beloved wife, Merle, passed away. In recent years, Hal had been afflicted by legal blindness and cataracts which severely curtailed his movie hobby. I also knew him as a collector, having bought many a print from Hal of our mutually favorite actor, William Powell.
As I recently toasted Hal at the Way Out west Tent Banquet in October, I tried to sum up how Sons worldwide felt about Hal. I dubbed him the Good Will Ambassador of the Sons. I pledge to my dear friend Hal, who's watching over us from the balcony seats now, that the spirit he lived and breathed in the Sons of the Desert will go on and we will persevere through our current crisis. And in closing, let me say to Hal the one line he himself ended every conversation with, "God Bless."
Former Night Owls Member
Silent film actress Molly O'Day passed away on October 15, 1998. While working at the Hal Roach studios, Miss O'Day was known as Sue "Bugs" O'Neil. There, she co-starred with Oliver Hardy and Charley Chase. Her other film credits include Hard-Boiled Haggerty, Hired Wife, Gigolettes of Paris, The Lovelorn, The Patent Leather Kid, Shepherd of the Hills, and Skull and Crown.
Character actor Leonid Kinskey died September 8, 1998. Known best for his role in Casablanca, Laurel and Hardy fans may remember him as the cab driver in Hollywood Party. He also appeared with the Marx Bothers in Duck Soup, with Bob Hope in Monsieur Beaucaire, with Gary Cooper in The General Died at Dawn, and with Frank Sinatra in The Man with the Golden Arm.
Once again, another year at the Way Out West Tent draws to a close and I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the many people who make it possible for our tent to keep going. Lori "Mama Hen" McCaffery has been our ever-faithful everything to the tent since the get go. How she does all that she does and then goes out and does more makes my head spin and we're all grateful for her love and devotion. Bob Satterfield, who has given us numerous opportunities to meet the celebrities whom we have enjoyed on the screen and also to see the locations where the boys filmed many of their films, we owe you a big thank you. Jimmy and Kris Wiley, for all of the help that you give no matter what day of the week or time of day, your efforts are very much appreciated. Staying with the Wiley family, Jimmy III has continued to give our newsletter and web site a spectacular look that makes professionals stand up and take notice. Bob Duncan has given our meetings an added flavor with his contributions of the history about the evening's film program and his clever toasts to the boys and company. Jayne Barnhart's scrapbook is even bigger and better than it was last year and our sincere thanks for her efforts to preserve our tent's history. Bill Patterson, our founding Grand Sheik, started all of this in 1967 and his idea is still blossoming quite well, thank you. We're always glad to see him at our meetings. Scott James and Mike Rogers have provided us with yet another year of flawless film projection, not to mention their hauling back and forth of the projectors and other necessities to make the evening's program complete. Al and Sharron Fisher, what can I say? Your dedication to our tent over many years has meant a lot to us and the Famous Fabulous Fisher Franks have kept us all coming back for more. Colin McCaffery has been our ace photographer, capturing many memorable moments of the tent's gatherings and we offer a tip of our derbies. Gloria Brigante, co-creator of the Way Out West Tent banner, and the rest of the Board Members at Large, Alan Barasorda, Dorothy Barnhart, Steve Nelson, and Neal Pinyan have all been at the ready to give a helping hand at the meetings and banquets and you have always been there when we need you the most. To all of the many celebrities who have honored us by attending our meetings and banquets and have shared their memories and their time, we thank you not only for your attendance but for your contributions to film history and to the history of Stan and Ollie. Also, to the many members and guests of the Way Out West Tent, a big thank you for your support of our events because without you, we have no tent. We look forward to seeing more of you next year and in the years to come. Finally, to my wife Janet, who has survived my preparations for many meetings and banquets since "our first meeting," I thank you for your thoughtfulness and help to the tent and I'll always love you for your belief in me and in "us." For everyone, a very Merry Christmas and a safe, healthy and extremely happy 1999!
On Friday evening, October 9, 1998, the Way Out West Tent of Los Angeles celebrated its 31st anniversary with a "Should Married Men Go Home?" celebrity banquet at The Castaway restaurant in the hills of Burbank. After a social hour, the evening began with the traditional singing of the Sons of the Desert song.
This was followed by Bob Duncan leading us in the toasting of Stan, Ollie, and the rest of the L&H supporting cast. Dave Griem followed with a toast to long time Sons of the Desert member from Massachusetts, the late Hal Stanton. Bob Satterfield concluded the toasts by honoring the memory of three very special ladies who were an important part of not only Laurel and Hardy's history but also a very memorable part of the Sons of the Desert's and the Way Out West Tent's as well...Venice Lloyd, Norma Drew Churchill, and Rosina Lawrence McCabe. We then enjoyed dinner and dessert before continuing on with our program.
Celebrity introductions followed dinner. Joining us for the evening were Trudy Marshall (The Dancing Masters); Tom Hatten (host of television's Family Film Festival); Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson (Our Gang), who sang "There's No Business Like Show Business" to the crowd; Dick Jones (Our Gang); Patrick Cook (Stan Laurel's great-grandson); Jerry Maren (appeared with Our Gang); Jay Dare (costumer for the boys on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters); June Chase Hargis, who entertained us with a song that she used to sing with her father, Charley Chase; Mark Kennedy (grandson of Edgar Kennedy); Anita Page (The Hollywood Revue of 1929); and, making his first appearance with the Way Out West Tent, Harold "Bouncy" Wertz (Our Gang). We also learned that night that Joseph O. Cowen, the father of memer Allen Cowen, had spent some time working in silent films and sound films with such stars as James Cagney.
Lori "Mama Hen" McCaffery was up next presenting the Way Out West Tent Awards. This year's recipients were Bob Duncan (Why Don't You Do Something To Help Me?), Bill Cassara of Monterey (The Good Egg), June Chase Hargis (Honolulu Baby), and Chuck Culver (Furthest Traveled - from Wisconsin). Specially marked banquet programs determined the winner of the table centerpieces (creatively and beautifully made by Lori and Colin McCaffery). The raffle followed with many happy people walking away with some very nice prizes. Then came the screening of Stan and Ollie in Should Married Men Go Home? and Charley Chase starring in All Teed Up. The evening concluded when the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle, worked on all through the banquet, was finally found...under the tablecloth of the puzzle table!
A million thanks to all of the celebrities who shared their time and memories with us, to the workers of the Way Out West Tent who helped make this evening a memorable one and to the members and guests for joining us for the evening.
She was born on November 9, 1887 in Lakewood, Ohio. Her career began as a stage actress at the age of 13. In 1914, her acting abilities landed her a job at Universal where she remained through the mid 1920's. This tall blonde usually played "Vamp" type roles, often as the calculating "other woman." Hollywood remembers her as one of its most elegant and best dressed women. John Ford was quite pleased with her work and hired her often through the early 1960's. Some of her earliest work was in serials such as The Gray Ghost, The Lion's Claw, and The Lion Man. Her other film credits include The Cat And The Canary (1927) with L&H co-stars Lucien Littlefield and Flora Finch (she also appeared in the 1939 version); How Green Was My Valley with Walter Pidgeon; and All Over Town with Olsen & Johnson. Her final film was John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. In 1977, she died on her 90th birthday in Woodland Hills, California. Laurel and Hardy fans remember her best as Mrs. Hardy in the 1931 two reeler, Come Clean...Gertrude Astor.
Sources for Did You Know?
The Film Encyclopedia, by Ephraim Katz
Who Was Who On Screen, by Evelyn Mack Truitt
Released December 1, 1928. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Richard Carle, and Charley Rogers. Beggars Laurel and Hardy are hired by a mad scientist, Professor Padilla, to go to a cemetery to steal a corpse for his experiment. The frightened boys steal a corpse, however the corpse they steal is that of the professor's butler (who is really a detective). The boys horror is ever apparent when the corpse comes to life.
The Pigskin Palooka
Released October 23, 1937. Starring Our Gang; Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, George "Spanky" McFarland, Dickie Jones, Darla Hood, Eugene "Porky" Lee, and Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas. Alfalfa brags to his girl friend, Darla, that he is "The Tarzan Of Football," although he is anything but that. Alfalfa is recruited by Spanky's All-Stars for a football game.
Babes In Toyland (March of the Wooden Soldiers)
Released November 30, 1934. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Henry Brandon, Felix Knight, Charlotte Henry, and Florence Roberts. Toyland toy factory employees Ollie Dee and Stannie Dum try to keep Mother Peep from being evicted by the evil Silas Barnaby. When the boys pull a fast one on Barnaby, he takes revenge on Toyland with his hideous Bogeyman.
Released 1934. A Universal Oswald Rabbit cartoon featuring Santa Claus and host of Hollywood celebrities from the era including Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who steal the cake...and the show too!
90 Years Ago
80 Years Ago
75 Years Ago
70 Years Ago
65 Years Ago
55 Years Ago
50 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
Laurel & Hardy - The British Tours, by A. J. Marriot
The Little Rascals - The Life and Times of Our Gang, by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann
The Charley Chase Filmography, by Joe Moore, Robert Farr, Richard Roberts, and Steve Rydzewski.
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 6 June Marlowe Pardon Us 7 Joe Cobb Our Gang 9 Gertrude Astor Come Clean 19 Roy Seawright L&H Optical Effects Specialist 21 Vivian Blaine Jitterbugs 21 Dorothy Granger Hog Wild, Laurel-Hardy Murder Case 23 Boris Karloff Pardon Us (French Version) 29 Richard Bann Our Gang Co-Author
3 Ferdinand Munier Babes in Toyland 5 Gordon Douglas Zenobia (director) 8 Frank Faylen A Haunting We Will Go 8 Norma Drew Chickens Come Home 10 Lois Laurel Hawes Stan's Daughter 11 Marie Windsor The Fighting Kentuckian 14 James W. Horne Way Out West (director) 16 Harry Spear Our Gang 18 Leonard Maltin L&H and Our Gang Author 18 George Stevens L&H Cameraman 20 Sunshine Sammy Morrison Our Gang 25 Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson Our Gang 27 Mary Kornman Our Gang 29 George Marshall Pack Up Your Troubles (actor/director) 30 Rosina Lawrence Way Out West