Big Birthday Bash For Babe at the Mayflower Club January 18th
On Tuesday night, January 18th, we will celebrate Oliver Norvell Hardy's birthday, as we always do at our first meeting of the year. As most Laurel & Hardy fans know, Babe was born in Harlem, Georgia on January 18, 1892. On Tuesday we will not only celebrate the birth of Babe by screening some of his films and having a birthday cake, but the meeting will also be on the exact date of his 119th birthday!
Our film program for the evening will begin with Busy Bodies (1933). In this classic Laurel & Hardy short, Stan and Ollie work at a sawmill testing wooden window frames. Although it's a simple job that Ollie could probably do alone, as usual he is stuck with Stan helping him. Count all the exasperated looks that Ollie makes at the camera in this film. I think it's a record for a Laurel & Hardy short.
Our next film is another Laurel & Hardy classic short, Me and My Pal (1933). In the film, it's Ollie's wedding day. Stan is Ollie's Best Man and Peter Cucumber, played by James Finlayson, is Ollie's future father-in-law. With those two characters helping Babe get to his wedding on time, what could possibly go wrong?
We'll finish our film program for the evening with Zenobia (1939). In this rarely screened Babe solo feature, country doctor Henry Tibbett (Babe) successfully treats the depressed elephant of a traveling circus trainer (played by silent film star Harry Langdon). Billie Burke plays Babe's wife Bessie, Jean Parker plays Babe's daughter Mary, and June Lang plays Virginia. I know the plot sounds a little weird, but Zenobia is an amusing comedy that lets Babe show off his acting skills. I promise that you will be pleasantly surprised with the film and with Babe's performance. You may be asking yourself why Stan isn't in the film. The fact is that at the time that Zenobia was being filmed, Stan's contract with the Roach Studios had run out and Stan and Hal Roach were far apart from agreeing on a new contract. Cleverly, Babe's contract with the studio didn't end when Stan's contract ended. So Hal Roach made a film with Babe and Harry Langdon instead of Stan to put pressure on Stan to sign a new contract. Stan agreed on a new contract shortly after Zenobia was released.
As an added treat for our January meeting, 83 year old Philip Hurlic, a child actor who played Zeke in Zenobia, has been invited to join us (health and schedule permitting). Also, Our Keeper of the Celluloid, Stan Taffel has also promised to screen an extra short surprise or two.
The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Our meeting starts at 7:15 PM. Fisher Franks (100% beef hot dogs) and your choice of chips will be sold at the Mayflower Kitchen. Refreshments will be sold at the Mayflower Bar. Free birthday cake will be served during our second break. Celebrate Babe's birthday with us on Tuesday January 18th!
Time To Pay Your 2011 Dues
I am happy to report that our dues for 2011 are the same as they were in 2010. Also that we will again have six regular meetings at the Mayflower Club and one Special Event sometime in October. All the details about our Special Event will be announced later this year. As always, our annual dues are due in January. Your dues pay our rental fees for the Mayflower Cub, our printing, paper, and postage expenses for our newsletter, and also allow us to continue to keep our prices down for our members when we have banquets and other special events. Please pay your dues on time. As always, we thank you for your continued support. For your reference, our annual due rates are printed in the right hand column of this page.
In Memoriam - Ernie Weckbaugh
Shortly after we had our last meeting, I found out that Ernie Weckbaugh had passed away at the age of 79. What a shock that was! It was just over a year ago that the Los Angeles Daily News reported that Ernie had donated his 203rd pint of blood, which put him in the National Blood Donors Hall of Fame. In about 34 years, he had donated over 25 gallons of blood!
To our Way Out West members, Ernie is remembered for his role as "Stinky" in Came the Brawn, a 1938 Our Gang film with Alfalfa, Spanky, Butch, and Darla. Besides being an actor and a honored blood donor, Ernie also was a graphic artist, an author of 21 books, a stand-up comic, and a weekly newspaper columnist. Ernie also conducted art classes, taught Sunday School, was a Toastmaster president three times, and as a book publicist, he helped other authors get over 100 books published. Ernie is survived by his wife of 50 years, Patty and his two daughters, Holly and Debra.
Notes From Our December Meeting
To get our members into a Christmas mood, our first film for our December meeting was Big Business. After a short break, we screened Them Thar Hills followed by its sequel, Tit for Tat. After our break for cake, Bob Duncan and a volunteer from our audience, Joe, helped me with our Laurel and Hardy Collectibles Raffle. Thanks Bob and Joe for your help. Our last two films for the evening were County Hospital and Thicker Than Water.
My thanks to Jayne Barnhart, Ray Karch (Grand Sheik of the Haunting We Will Go Tent), Bob Birchard, "J.T." Tropper, Ken Runyan, Bob Duncan, and Victor D'Agostino for helping me with the toasts and the song. Also another thank you to Bob Birchard for temporarily filling in for Stan Taffel, while Stan was delayed getting to the meeting.
Finally, a big thank you to all our members who brought canned goods or donated money to the Maude Booth Family Center at our December meeting. Your canned goods and donations were greatly appreciated.