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Our journey into 2000 continues at the Way Out West Tent, with our next meeting on Tuesday, March 14th. We will salute Laurel and Hardy "tough guy" Walter Long that evening, with a special film program highlighting his work with Laurel and Hardy.
Although Long appeared in over 100 films during his career, we remember him best for the five pictures that he made with the boys: Any Old Port, Going Bye-Bye!, The Live Ghost, Pardon Us, and Pick a Star. However, his career included roles in such classics as Birth of a Nation, The Sheik, and Intolerance. We'll screen three of his Laurel and Hardy films during the evening, and at the break we'll celebrate his birthday with a cake.
Our meeting will be in North Hollywood at the Mayflower Club, located at 11110 Victory Boulevard (just west of Vineland Avenue). The Fabulous Fisher Franks are still as popular as ever and they are teamed up with the Marvelous Mayflower Bar. The doors will open at 6:30PM, and the meeting will begin at 7:15PM. So, stop on by and visit with us on March 14th.
With the success of last year's sold-out banquet, we're pleased to announce that the Way Out West Tent will hold its next annual banquet Saturday, October 21, 2000 at the 94th Aero Squadron in Van Nuys. Located right next to the runway at Van Nuys Airport, this well known restaurant is modeled after a French farmhouse set in the big band era. These nostalgic surroundings will provide the perfect atmosphere for us to pay tribute to such war movies as Pack Up Your Troubles and Great Guns. More details will be announced as the event draws nearer. In the meantime, mark this date down on your calendars.
The Lost Films of Laurel and Hardy Volume 5 is scheduled for release on March 14. This new DVD will feature Laurel and Hardy in Wrong Again, Habeas Corpus, Duck Soup, and Leave 'Em Laughing. It also features Oliver Hardy in Fluttering Hearts and Stan Laurel in Short Kilts. This disc is available at many stores that offer DVDs; see our website for information about ordering the disc online. This will be the fifth in a ten volume set of DVDs. Volume 6 is scheduled for a late April release.
The recently reopened Silent Movie Theatre in Hollywood will present a Laurel and Hardy silent movie marathon March 17-19th, featuring live musical accompaniment by Dean Mora. Screenings will begin at 8:00 PM on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, with a Sunday matinee at 1:00 PM. Tickets are $8.00 for adults. The theater is located at 611 N. Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood.
Bernice "Bunny" Seawright, widow of Laurel and Hardy special effects artist Roy Seawright, passed away on January 9, 2000. She was a longtime member of the Way Out West Tent, attending many meetings and banquets with her husband over the years.
The first meeting of the century took place on January 24, 2000. Bob Duncan started us off by introducing the first film of the evening, Our Gang's Helping Grandma. Vice-Sheik, Jimmy Wiley then led us all in the singing of the Sons of the Desert song and the traditional toasts to the boys and company. This was followed by Thundering Fleas, another Our Gang classic, featuring an appearance by Oliver Hardy as a policeman. Two of the Our Gang members who appeared in the above mentioned films were our special guests for the evening. Dorothy "Echo" Deborba and Jay R. Smith were up on stage and interviewed by Grand Sheik emeritus, Bob Satterfield. This was followed by a question and answer period. At the break, Dorothy and Jay helped to cut the birthday cakes in honor of Oliver Hardy and Hal Roach. They also signed autographs for the many enthusiastic guests. Bob Duncan introduced our final film for the evening, A Chump at Oxford.
Laurel and Hardy history is a funny thing in that to this day it still manages to turn up some nice surprises. One of the most recent items to turn up on the AMC channel was a short episode of Erskine Johnson's Hollywood Reel titled "Close Ups and Long Shots." This little film was produced for ABC television in 1951 (according to the copyright on the lead-in) and is speculated to be an entry of a longer film, perhaps 15 - 20 minutes, which was intended to be used as television filler for programs or films that wrapped up at odd times. Each Hollywood Reel film could be broken down into smaller, unrelated sections to fill in the desired amount of air space. The films were silent with added music and narration. Other celebrities profiled in the series included Gene Autry, Lloyd Bridges, Lou Costello, Yvonne De Carlo, Andy Devine, Kirk Douglas, Dale Evans, Elsa Lanchester, Carmen Miranda, Ronald Reagan, Edward G. Robinson, Roy Rogers, and Chill Wills.
In the film, Stan Laurel appears solo, handing out prizes at a children's swim meet at the Brentwood Bantam Club in Brentwood, California. Stan does perform in character going through several funny "Stanley" gags and routines. He looks quite healthy and therefore, it is debatable if this film was actually made in 1951, which would have been only months (assuming it was shot in the summer) after his return from France and the shooting of Atoll K, where he became quite ill.
The creators of this series of films were Erskine Johnson, a syndicated Hollywood columnist and reporter, and photographer and director Coy Watson. Watson was also a special effects technician and occasional actor and the father of Our Gang members Delmar and Bobs Watson and child actor Billy Watson.
Reprinted from "Dante's Info," Number 19 (February 2000). "Dante's Info" is the newsletter of the Dayton, Ohio A-Haunting We Will Go Tent, published by Brad Farrell.
He was born on July 15, 1885 in New York City, New York. Some biographies list him as being born in 1884. As a former amateur boxer, he entered films in 1915. His primary roles were supporting parts in Mack Sennett's Keystone Comedies. He later grew into character parts, where he performed in more than one hundred films, both silent and sound. He is best known as playing dumb but lovable cops, bartenders and cabbies. Some of his film credits include Monkey Business with the Marx Brothers, Poppy with W. C. Fields, The Paleface with Bob Hope and It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with an all-star cast. His final film was The Bounty Killer with Dan Duryea in 1965. He died on October 6, 1965 at the age of 80 in Woodland Hills, California. In addition to his role as the doorman in Hollywood Party, Laurel and Hardy fans remember him best as the recruiting sergeant in Pack Up Your Troubles...Tom Kennedy.
Mickey's Polo Team
Released 1936. A Walt Disney cartoon finds Mickey, Donald, and the rest of the gang challenging Charlie Chaplin, Harpo Marx, and Laurel & Hardy to a hilarious game of polo.
Any Old Port
Released March 5, 1932. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Walter Long, Jacqueline Wells, Harry Bernard, Charlie Hall, and Bobby Burns. The boys check into a rundown hotel owned by Mugsie Long, who is trying to force his slave girl into marriage. Mugsie and the boys battle it out, which results in the girl making her escape. Mugsie promises revenge against the boys. In need of some quick cash, Stan enters a boxing match...and naturally finds that his opponent is none other than the hotel manager.
The Live Ghost
Released December 8, 1934. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Walter Long, Arthur Housman, and Mae Busch. The boys help Captain Long shanghai some crew members for his ship and wind up getting shanghaied themselves. Rumors of ghosts on the ship upset the captain to no end. Through an accidental shooting, the boys think that they see a ghost and pay the price for telling the captain.
Released August 15, 1931. Starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Walter Long, Wilfred Lucas, Tiny Sandford, James Finlayson, June Marlowe, and Charlie Hall. After selling some homemade alcohol to a police officer during prohibition, Stan and Ollie are sent to prison. There they find it hard to get along with their tough cell mate, "The Tiger" (played by Long). After a prison break, Stan and Ollie end up amongst the cotton fields, where they are eventually caught. They inadvertently thwart another prison break, which eventually gets them pardoned.
85 Years Ago
80 Years Ago
75 Years Ago
70 Years Ago
60 Years Ago
55 Years Ago
50 Years Ago
Sources for Looking Back:
Laurel & Hardy - The British Tours, by A.J. Marriot
Laurel & Hardy - From the Forties Forward, by Scott MacGillivray
Laurel & 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 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 Producer of The Lucky Dog 24 Tony Hawes 24 Venice Lloyd Mrs. Art Lloyd 28 Dorothy Deborba Our Gang 29 Robert Wheezer Hutchins Our Gang 31 Eddie Quillan Hollywood Party 31 Eddie Dunn Me and My Pal, Midnight Patrol
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 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