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We are beginning the final countdown to the year 2000 and the Way Out West Tent will start it off on Tuesday evening, January 12, 1999. We will be showing a Laurel and Hardy film in French for the first time ever at a Way Out West Tent meeting. For more details, see the film program. It will all take place 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 7:15 PM. The Marvelous Mayflower bar will open to satisfy all of your liquid pleasures. So stop by, renew your membership, see the boys speak French and enjoy the evening that we have planned for you on Tuesday, January 12th.
Map to the Mayflower Club...
As you know, at the December meeting we were missing the familiar faces of Al and Sharon Fisher with their Famous Fabulous Fisher Franks. This was due to Al Fisher's illness. While we are waiting for his recovery, we are looking for a volunteer to carry on the Fisher tradition. This would involve purchasing the hot dogs and buns from Smart & Final (you will be reimbursed), bringing the cooking set up for the hot dogs to the meetings, cooking them, selling them and bringing the cooking set up back home with you until the next meeting. Obviously, this is a lot of work and we have been very grateful to the Fishers for their generosity in providing us with their help. Until the Fishers can return, however, we do need help with this large task. Anyone who feels that they could take on this work, please call Lori McCaffery (818) 845-4048 or John Duff (818) 760-7147. Since we will not be serving hot dogs at the Way Out West Tent until we can resolve this issue, please make sure that you have dinner before coming to the meetings. The Mayflower bar will continue to be open at future meetings. In the meantime, we wish Al a very speedy recovery and look forward to seeing the Fishers return very soon.
The final Way Out West Tent meeting for 1998 took place on December 8, 1998. Bob Duncan started us off with an introduction to our first film, Toyland Premier, which was a Universal cartoon from 1934 starring Santa Claus and a host of Hollywood celebrities from that era, including Laurel and Hardy. Next, the meeting formally began with the singing of the Sons of the Desert song. Vice-sheik Jimmy Wiley led us in the traditional toasts to Stan, Ollie and the rest of the Hal Roach players. Pigskin Palooka, an Our Gang short comedy followed. Bob Satterfield then conducted an interview with our special guest for the evening, Dick Jones. We were enlightened with the highlights of Dick's movie career that included his work in our Gang and the leading role as the voice of Walt Disney's Pinocchio. Dick's wife of 50 years, Betty and their daughter, Jennafer were on hand to share in the evening's activities as well. At the break, we all enjoyed some very delicious cake honoring the holiday season and the birthday of Lois Laurel Hawes. Before the film program resumed, we had a book raffle that saw quite a few happy winners. Bob Duncan was back on stage to introduce our feature for the evening, Babes in Toyland. After a short break, the evening and our year concluded with Laurel and Hardy's Habeas Corpus. Also joining us for the evening was our loyal Way Out West Tent friend, Jay Dare, who worked at the Hal Roach Studios as a set dresser and with the boys at 20th Century Fox as their costumer on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters. A special thank you to all of the members and guests who brought canned goods for the Maud Booth Family Center. Your generosity this year and in the years past has always been very much appreciated.
Image Entertainment released two volumes of Laurel and Hardy short films on DVD in December. Entitled "The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy," these two discs are 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 is $29.99 for each disc.
Also in December, Image Entertainment re-released many of the other Nostalgia Archive L&H titles on VHS. Each tape contains one short film and is priced around $10 a piece.
She was born in New York City, New York on November 25, 1896 into a family of theatrical actors. She accompanied her parents, as a baby, in their stock company tours. After performing with them as a child, she was an accomplished actress by the age of ten. At 14, she made her screen debut. She joined Universal in 1911 after stints with Biograph and other studios who were putting out one reelers. At Universal, she became a principal player in the Eddie Lyons-Lee Moran comedy series. She was the heroine in the 1917 serial The Gray Ghost, which led to her starring in feature films. While at Universal, she starred in Tod Browning's The Virgin of Stambul in 1920 with Wheeler Oakman, who was to become her husband. Among her other films were Under Two Flags in 1922 and The White Tiger with Wallace Berry in 1923. In the late 1920's her popularity was winding down and she was working in minor films with the "poverty row" studios. She died on December 27, 1988 at the age of 92 in Leonia, New Jersey. Laurel and Hardy fans remember her best as the wife who hired Stan to make her husband Leon, the artist, jealous in the 1927 silent Slipping Wives...Pricilla Dean
Released 1931. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jean de Briac and Germaine de Neel. In order to attend a stag meeting at their lodge, Ollie pretends, with Stan's help, to be ill to get out of going on a vacation with the wives. The wives are sent on their way only to return to catch the boys in a lie. Their marriages now in the past, the boys wind up at a boarding house with their little dog, Laughing Gravy and a landlord who dislikes dogs. The boys are about to be tossed out into the cold when the house is quarantined for two months and the landlord can take no more. This film is the French version of Be Big and Laughing Gravy combined into one program. Germaine de Neel plays Mrs. Hardy in the Be Big part and Anita Garvin appears in the French version as well, although it is not her voice that we hear. These are Laurel and Hardy's real voices. They were not dubbed in by French speaking actors. This was the last film to be shot in a foreign language by Stan and Ollie.
The Hollywood Revue of 1929
Released November 23, 1929. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Jack Benny. The Laurel and Hardy sequence of this film shows the boys as magicians who perform a variety a tricks with disaster. At the end of the act, it is Jack Benny who really takes the cake!
Released January 23, 1932. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Blanche Payson, Robert Callahan and Bobby Burns. Ollie enlists Stan to help him clean up his house after a wild party. But he has to hurry...Ollie's wife is due home at noon. Somehow, the house gets cleaned. When Ollie returns home from the train station, his marriage is history and so is his house.
Released March 8, 1930. Starring Charley Chase, Thelma Todd, Anita Garvin, Kay Deslys, Eddie Dunn and Dell Henderson. Trying to make good on a business deal, Charley hires three floozies to spice up the deal for the business executives. The stuffed shirts loosen up thanks to the girls and a seltzer squirting free for all takes place.
90 Years Ago
80 Years Ago
75 Years Ago
70 Years Ago
65 Years Ago
60 Years Ago
45 Years Ago
40 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
Who Was Who on Screen, by Evelyn Mack Truitt
On Thursday evening, November 12, 1998, the Museum Of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills held a special event titled "A Conversation With Dick Van Dyke". Fellow Sons Jimmy and Kris Wiley, Bob Satterfield with his mom, Maxine and my wife, Janet and I attended. It began with film highlights of his 50 year career in television including the popular "Dick Van Dyke Show" and his current series, "Diagnosis Murder". Museum host, Steve Bell went through his career year by year with a very well prepared series of questions and then questions from the audience followed. Mr. Van Dyke was very gracious and funny with his answers. A couple of times, when he stood up and moved around to emphasize a point, his microphone came unclipped from his necktie causing the museum aid to rush back on stage to reconnect the mike. Upon the second disconnection (realizing what he had done), Mr. Van Dyke said, "I did it again, didn't I?", getting a big laugh from the crowd. When Steve Bell asked him about Stan Laurel, Mr. Van Dyke was very complimentary. He shared some thoughts on their friendship and how they met. He said that Laurel & Hardy were his favorites and that they were the greatest comedy team of all time. "I was looking in the phone book one day and there he was, Stan Laurel." When he called Stan and introduced himself, Stan knew who he was. He said to Stan, "You know, I've been stealing from you for years" to which Stan replied, "I know". He was quite thrilled to be going out to visit him as other comedians such as Danny Kaye and Jerry Lewis had already done. He said that Stan told him of some of the things he did to establish his "Stanley" character such as removing the heels from his shoes to give him his special walk and using paper clips as cuff links. Bob Satterfield asked him to share some memories about Stan's influence on his TV series. In 1963, when Mr. Van Dyke and Henry Calvin performed a Laurel & Hardy routine on "The Dick Van Dyke Show", he had asked Stan to be an advisor on the episode to which Stan declined. When speaking with Stan after the program to get his thoughts, Stan gave him a half hour's worth of suggestions. Van Dyke's response was "If only I had known this before." He also said that Stan had given him one of his bow ties and that he delivered the eulogy at Stan's funeral. I was lucky enough to ask Mr. Van Dyke a question about a film he made in 1969 with Dennis King of Fra Diavolo fame and whether or not they were able to speak about their connection with Stan to which he replied they did. Mr. Van Dyke also mentioned, that he went out to meet Buster Keaton at his home in Woodland Hills, California. He was greeted by Buster's wife, Eleanor. As they were speaking, he could see Buster out in the yard walking around. When Buster finally did come in, he was wearing his trademark porkpie hat, strumming a ukulele and singing a song. He said Buster was very shy and that was the easiest way for him to introduce himself. The evening ended as Dick Van Dyke received a standing ovation from the crowd. Afterwards he graciously stayed and signed autographs for the fans. I had a book with a picture of him and Stan Laurel together which he signed for me and said "That's the tie", meaning the tie that Stan was wearing in the picture was the one that Stan had given him. Bob Satterfield got to have a picture taken with Mr. Van Dyke doing the "Stanley" smile and Bob doing the "Hardy" stare. It really was an evening that I'll always remember as will all who attended.
January 1 Matthew Stymie Beard Our Gang 3 ZaSu Pitts On the Loose 12 Patsy Kelly Pick a Star 14 Mary Ann Jackson Our Gang 14 Hal Roach 18 OLIVER HARDY 18 Norman Chubby Chaney Our Gang 20 Rolfe Sedan Double Whoopee 26 Alf Goulding A Chump at Oxford (director) 28 Mary Boland Nothing But Trouble 30 Wilfred Lucas Pardon Us, A Chump at Oxford February 2 Noah Young Sugar Daddies, Do Detectives Think? 10 Jimmy Durante Hollywood Party 10 Alan Hale, Sr. Our Relations 11 Anita Garvin From Soup to Nuts 11 Angelo Rossitto Babes in Toyland 14 Trudy Marshall The Dancing Masters 14 Jack Benny The Hollywood Revue of 1929 14 Jimmy Murphy Stan Laurel's valet 15 William Janney Bonnie Scotland 25 Dick Jones Our Gang, Babes in Toyland 26 Stanley J. "Tiny" Sandford Big Business, Busy Bodies, Pardon Us