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The Way Out West Tent is at it again. This time it's Tuesday evening, March 30, 1999. We'll be meeting at our usual establishment, the Mayflower Club. The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Blvd. (west of Vineland Avenue) in North Hollywood. As always, the doors will open at 6:30PM and the meeting will begin at 7:15PM. The Famous Fabulous Fisher Franks will be returning and the Marvelous Mayflower Bar will on hand as well. Joining us for the evening will be Billy Benedict, who has had a long acting career in Hollywood performing in such films as The Bowery Boys series, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, and Great Guns with Laurel and Hardy. Billy will be on hand to share many of his memories and to answer your questions. We'll also be celebrating his upcoming birthday as well. It promises to be a very fun evening. So mark March 30th on your calendars and join for a night with Billy Benedict.
Map to the Mayflower Club...
On January 17, 1999, one of Way Out West Tent's most beloved members was taken away when Al Fisher lost his long and valiant battle against cancer.
Ill for several years, Al wouldn't give up. If he was able to stand up at all, he came to meetings and took his place in the kitchen, where he and his wife Sharron dispensed "Fisher's Famous Franks" to a hungry and appreciative crowd. It was a big job, shopping for supplies, lugging the food and equipment back and forth to the club, cooking and serving the franks and then cleaning up afterwards. Al said time and again that they enjoyed all the work and liked being needed. He never faltered in his faithfulness to the tent. And Sharron was beside him every step of the way. It was a joy to listen to them in the kitchen before the doors opened - "Did you chop the onions yet?"..."No, I'll do that as soon as I get this relish in a bowl - Is the water hot?"..."Almost - just starting to simmer - shall we put both packs in, or start with just one?"..."With the rain the crowd could be small - let's start with one."... "ok"...and so on. It was a cooperative effort the whole way and there never was a cross word between them.
Al and Sharron joined the tent in 1977, soon making friends and offering to help. They took part in the planning and production of "Hollywood-80", the second International SOD Convention. Both served on the board for many years and faithfully attended planning meetings, often keeping flights of fancy in check with doses of good old common sense.
If you knew Al Fisher, then you know the meaning of the phrase "Salt of the Earth" - because he and Sharron personified it. No pretensions or phoniness, no hidden agendas, no backstabbing or trying to be a big wheel, no plotting or planning or playing politics, no choosing sides. Just straightforward, honest, unassuming, genuine friendship for all who came their way. And everyone was drawn to them. This is a Eulogy for Al, but he and Sharron were so inseparable that everything applies equally to both.
Sharron and Al were both aware that she would be alone one day. That day came unexpectedly and peacefully while Al was watching a football game from his hospital bed. Sharron showed courage and valor amidst her grief. The grave side services were lovely and personal. The Sons were well represented though there wasn't time to get a mailing out.
Forced to retire from the hot dog concession as Al's health went into final decline, at grave side, Sharron said she'd like to try to carry on, if we could all pitch in a help a little. We told her that no matter who was in the kitchen, the hot dogs at our meetings would be known as "Fisher Famous Franks" in memory of Al.
It's not going to be the same without Big Al Fisher in the kitchen. We're all going to miss his smile and the twinkle in his eyes. We're going to miss his kindness and generosity of spirit. We'll miss his sense of humor and the love he had for the Sons. But if we all encourage and help Sharron, we'll keep his memory alive and well in our hearts.
The first Way Out West Tent meeting of 1999 took place on Tuesday evening, January 12th. Bob Duncan got our film program started with an introduction to Charley Chase's two reeler, Whispering Whoopee. This was followed by the singing of the Sons of the Desert song and the traditional toasts led by our Vice-Sheik, Jimmy Wiley. Our special presentation for the evening was a French version of Laurel and Hardy's Be Big combined with Laughing Gravy entitled, Les Carrotiers. This rare film marked the first time in the history of the Way Out West Tent that this film had been screened at one of our meetings. After a short break, the program concluded with Bob Duncan introducing the final two L&H films for the evening; the boys' magic act from The Hollywood Revue of 1929 and their classic two-reeler, Helpmates.
The 12th International Convention will be held July 20 - 23, 2000 in Tacoma, Washington. You can get an official registration form and other information by visiting the "Sea-Tac 2000" web site at http://members.aol.com/RoachStars.
She was born on June 24, 1907 in Lake Bluff, Illinois. Her film roles found her cast as a leading lady and second lead in sound and silent comedy shorts as well as features. Some of her early work includes The Mailman, Skinner's Big Idea, Danger Street, and Taxi 13. In 1930, she appeared in Our Blushing Brides with Joan Crawford and Anita Page. The following year, she added Ten Cents a Dance with Barbara Stanwyck to her credits. In 1934, she married actor Hardie Albright. This marriage lasted until 1940. She continued to work in films through 1937. At that point, she retired from films to work on the stage. She did return to films one more time to appear in The Bells of St. Mary's in 1945. Her acting career ended permanently in 1946 so that she could devote all of her efforts to her costume design business. As recently as 1979, she was operating a boutique in Charleston, South Carolina. She died on March 25, 1983 in Beaufort, South Carolina at the age of 75. Her many appearances in Hal Roach comedies found her opposite Charley Chase in Crazy Like a Fox, Long Fliv the King, and Mum's the Word. However, Laurel and Hardy fans remember her best as the real Ethel, the landlord's wife in The Chimp...Martha Sleeper
Released October 10, 1941. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Sheila Ryan, Dick Nelson, Edmund MacDonald, Russell Hicks, Ludwig Stossel and Billy Benedict. Stan and Ollie enlist in the army to keep an eye on their sickly, wealthy friend, Daniel. During some war games, the boys are captured and have to help the enemy. Thanks to the help of Daniel and Stan's pet crow, Penelope, the enemy is discovered and the war game victory goes to the side of Laurel and Hardy. This was Stan and Ollie's first film for 20th Century Fox. Billy Benedict makes a cameo appearance in this feature.
Released June 1, 1929 - Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Harry Bernard, Pat Harmon, Charlie Hall and Baldwin Cooke. Laurel and Hardy's vaudeville act finds them trying to board a train to Pottsville. In addition to causing a clothes- ripping melee, the boys struggle to get ready for bed. When they finally do, it's time to get off of the train. This short was filmed under the working title, In Vaudeville.
Hollywood Steps Out
Released 1941. A Warner Brothers cartoon featuring many Hollywood celebrities of the day, including Oliver Hardy.
85 Years Ago
80 Years Ago
75 Years Ago
70 Years Ago
65 Years Ago
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25 Years Ago
Sources for Looking Back:
Laurel or Hardy - The Solo Films of Stan Laurel and Oliver "Babe" Hardy, by Rob Stone
Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind the Movies, by Randy Skretvedt
The Little Rascals - The Life and Times of Our Gang, by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann
March 2 Lona Andre Our Relations 2 Jean Harlow Double Whoopee 3 Charlotte Henry Babes in Toyland 5 Walter Long Pardon Us, Going Bye-Bye 7 Babe & Lucille Hardy Wedding Anniversary (1940) 9 Peggy Ahern Our Gang 10 Baldwin Cooke Perfect Day 12 Bill Buckwheat Thomas Our Gang 13 Fred Knoth L&H Special Effects 15 Frank Junior Coghlan Our Gang 16 Florence Roberts Babes in Toyland 21 Bronco Billy Anderson The Lucky Dog (Producer) 24 Tony Haws 24 Venice Lloyd Mrs. Art Lloyd 28 Dorothy Deborba Our Gang 29 Robert Wheezer Hutchins Our Gang 31 Eddie Quillan Hollywood Party April 3 T. Marvin Hatley L&H Composer 5 Grady Sutton Pack Up Your Troubles 7 Anthony Caruso Jitterbugs 9 Sharon Lynne Way Out West 13 Jay Dare L&H-20th Century Fox Costumer 16 Billy Benedict Great Guns 20 Harold Lloyd 23 Lucille Hardy Price 26 Edgar Kennedy Night Owls, Perfect Day 28 Sidney Toler Our Relations