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The next Way Out West Tent meeting will take place Tuesday, March 27, 2001. Joining us that evening will be longtime member Jay Dare, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday on April 13th. We will honor this special occasion with a birthday cake and by screening The Bullfighters, which Jay worked on as the costume designer for Laurel and Hardy.
On a sad note, this will be John Duff's last meeting as Grand Sheik. John has decided to step down after fourteen years of dedicated service, so be sure to join us in wishing him a fond farewell.
The film program for the evening will also include the short films Me and My Pal and Bacon Grabbers, along with the Boys in their only color short subject, The Tree in a Test Tube. In addition, we'll also see Charley Chase with James Finlayson in the short The Caretaker's Daughter.
We will get together at the Mayflower Club, located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood (just west of Vineland Avenue). The doors will open at 6:30PM and the meeting will begin at 7:15PM. The Fabulous Fisher Franks will be up and at 'em, along with the Marvelous Mayflower Bar. So, mark March 27, 2001 on your calendar...we'll see you then!
Click here for a map to the Mayflower Club...
A meeting of the Way Out West Tent officers and board members recently took place, in order to fill several vacated offices. Bob Satterfield was elected Grand Sheik, taking the place of retiring Grand Sheik John Duff. Bob Duncan was elected Sub-Vice Vizier, filling a previously vacated position. All other officers will retain their current positions.
The 5th Annual Thelma Todd Celebration will take place in Lawrence, Massachusetts, July 26-29, 2001. Laurel and Hardy will be featured prominently in this year's celebration. Scheduled events include a tour of Thelma Todd locations in her hometown of Lawrence, a Sons vaudeville show, a Jack Benny radio show, many rare films, and two banquets. In attendance at the celebration will be Jean Darling, who appeared on screen with Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and Thelma Todd. This will be her first time attending a Sons event in the United States. Registration is $175 per person. This event is co-hosted by the On the Loose Tent and the Thelma Todd Society. All proceeds will benefit the Intra-Tent Journal. For more information, please contact Dave Stevenson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at 24 Dorchester Street, Lawrence MA 01843-2206.
The Sons of the Desert Advisory Committee is offering a special Sons of the Desert Membership Certificate. Each certificate will be personally signed by the surviving founding members of the Sons, which consist of Exhausted Ruler John McCabe, Orson Bean, and Chuck McCann. Certificates will be numbered from 1 through 250. This will be a unique piece of memorabilia for you or a very nice gift for your favorite Son of the Desert. All proceeds from this sale will go to the Intra-Tent Journal, which will use the funds to resume their publication on a regular basis. Because this offering is strictly limited to 250 certificates, be sure to send in your order soon. Send $25 (plus $2 postage and handling) to Bob Satterfield, P.O. Box 448, Patton, CA 92369-0448. Make your check or money order payable to Bob Satterfield. Personal checks will be held 10 days for bank clearance.
The Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo will present a Laurel and Hardy festival, April 27-28, 2001. They will screen a number of silent and sound short films, in addition to a full length feature. The films will begin both days at 2:30PM and 8:15PM. The Old Town Music Hall is located at 140 Richmond Street in El Segundo. Please contact the theater directly at (310) 322-2592 for more information about their film program & admission prices.
The first meeting of the year 2001 took place on Tuesday evening, January 16th. Stan Taffel got us started by introducing our film historian, Bob Duncan, who shared some info about the first two films for the year. A short clip from the Frank Capra film, Riding High, featured a cameo appearance of Oliver Hardy as a gambler who put everything he had on the horse Doughboy, and lost. Next was a Charley Chase short titled Sitting Pretty.
Vice-Sheik, Jimmy Wiley then led us into the singing of the Sons of the Desert song and the traditional toasts. Bob Duncan was back up to bat to introduce our feature for the evening, The Fighting Kentuckian. This John Wayne film showcased Oliver Hardy as Wayne's sidekick, Willie Payne.
At the break, we celebrated the anniversaries of the births of Oliver Hardy and "The Boss," Hal Roach with birthday cakes. Our good friend, 20th Century Fox and Laurel & Hardy costumer, Jay Dare cut the ceremonial first slice of cake. The evening concluded with Stan and Ollie starring in two of their funnier two-reelers, Busy Bodies and Dirty Work.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts and memories that I have had the good fortune to experience while being a member of the Way Out West Tent of Los Angeles. When I attended my first meeting in 1977, I had no idea, at that time, how my life would change as a result of this organization. As a youngster growing up here in Los Angeles, I remember getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch Laurel and Hardy on television. Now, I was attending Way Out West Tent meetings, seeing and getting the chance to meet many of the creative people who worked with Stan and Ollie both in front of and behind the camera. I was also seeing many of the films made by the boys that I had never seen before. There are the memories of a young Randy Skretvedt at the meetings talking to many of the celebrities, taking notes and recording their thoughts to create what would turn out to be the most in depth book ever written about the boys and their films...Laurel and Hardy - The Magic Behind The Movies. I can still see T. Marvin Hatley at the piano with his wife, Josephine telling people about all of the songs that Marvin could play. One night, after viewing Charley Chase's Neighborhood House with Darla Hood, Grand Sheik Bob Satterfield asked for a volunteer to draw some tickets for the evening's raffle. As she had done in the movie we had just seen, Darla Hood yelled out, "I will, I will" and ran up to the stage. At any meeting, you could see Red & Anita Garvin Stanley, Billy Bletcher, Roy & Bunny Seawright, Thomas Benton & Lois Roberts and of course, Ben & Lucille Hardy Price and Lois Laurel. I felt like a kid in a candy store. This was an organization with which I wanted to be more involved. After attending Babe's plaque dedication at Valhalla Memorial Park, some more meetings and the First International Convention in Chicago in 1978, I became more active in the Way Out West Tent. Over the next several years, there were more meetings, banquets, Hollywood '80 and other conventions, celebrities that I had the honor of meeting and location tours where I actually was able to see where these classic comedies were filmed. During this time, I was somehow appointed Vice-Sheik. When Bob Satterfield stepped down as Grand Sheik in 1987, I was asked to fill the position. Since then, I've been lucky enough to work with a lot of really nice people. Many of them have even become close friends of mine. When Janet and I were married in 1992, a lot of these friends were at our wedding, including Tony & Lois Laurel Hawes and Dorothy "Echo" Deborba. At the meetings, quite a few of you members and guests have come up to me to share a story and express some kind words. Many of you have even called me at home. It has always been nice to hear your thoughts and good wishes and they are very much appreciated. The bad news for me is that now, I have reached a point in my life where there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do. With both family and work obligations taking up the majority of my time, I realized that I had to make some changes to allow me just a bit more time to catch up on "life." Unfortunately, one of those changes I have to make is to leave the Way Out West Tent as an active participant after the next meeting on March 27th. I still plan on seeing many of you at the banquets and conventions, however. I wanted to say thank you to everyone associated with the Way Out West Tent and the Sons of the Desert for your support of the organization and me over the last 14 years. As I watch Laurel and Hardy movies now and will continue to do in the future, I will always enjoy the genius of the world's greatest comedy team, but more than anything else, I will also have fond remembrances of the many people who have come into my life as a result of the work from these two very funny gentlemen and the Sons of the Desert. I know these words have been used by someone else but I'm going to borrow them just this one time and sayÉ"Thanks for the memories!"
My best wishes to all of you,
75 Years Ago - Hal Roach Studios releases Madame
Mystery, starring Theda Bara, James Finlayson. and Oliver "Babe"
Hardy. It is co-written and co-directed by Stan Laurel.
(April 18, 1926)
70 Years Ago - Laughing Gravy, the last Laurel & Hardy film
to be shot in a foreign language, hits the big screen.
(April 4, 1931)
65 Years Ago - Filming begins on the boys' latest feature
for the Hal Roach Studios,
Relations. After it's completion, King Edward VIII of Great
Britain requested a command performance screening of this film at
Balmoral Castle. Also, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a
screening of this feature before he left for a goodwill tour of South
(March 16, 1936)
60 Years Ago - Laurel and Hardy Feature Productions make a
non-exclusive agreement with 20th Century Fox to make a feature for
the studio with an option for nine more films over the next five
(April 23, 1941)
55 Years Ago - Mae Busch, whose film career included fourteen
appearances with Laurel and Hardy, dies in Woodland Hills, California
at the age of 54.
(April 19, 1946)
50 Years Ago - After having completed production on
Stan Laurel and his wife Ida leave for home on April 1st. Babe and
Lucille Hardy set sail for the United States on April 23rd.
10 Years Ago - Laurel and Hardy optical effects specialist,
Roy Seawright, dies at the age of 85 in Hermosa Beach, California.
Roy and his wife, Bunny, were guests at many Way Out West Tent
meetings and banquets.
(April 30, 1991)
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 Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas Our Gang 13 Fred Knoth L&H special effects department 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 "Echo" Deborba Our Gang 29 Robert "Wheezer" Hutchins Our Gang 31 Eddie Quillan Hollywood Party 31 Eddie Dunn Me and My Pal, Midnight Patrol 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 Costumer at 20th Century Fox 16 Billy Benedict Great Guns 20 Harold Lloyd 23 Lucille Hardy Price 26 Edgar Kennedy Night Owls, Perfect Day 28 Sidney Toler Our Relations