The Best of the Best at the Way Out West Tent's April 26th Meeting
On Tuesday night, April 26th, our film program will be Hog Wild (1930), The Music Box (1932), and Way Out West (1937). With the screening of Way Out West, we will kick off our campaign to see that this is the year that our tent's namesake film is finally inducted into the National Film Registry. We also will have our first meeting of collecting donations for UCLA's Laurel & Hardy Preservation Fund. In addition, we will be entertained by comic magician Ray Karch, who performed at last year's Sons of the Desert International Convention in Sacramento.
The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30PM. Our meeting starts at 7:15PM. Fisher Franks (100% all beef hot dogs) and your choice of chips will be sold at the Mayflower Club Kitchen. Refreshments will be sold at the Mayflower Club Bar. Free cake will be served during our second break. Don't miss out on the great films and excitement, join us at the Mayflower Club on Tuesday, April 26th!
From the Grand Sheik
Currently, only two Laurel & Hardy films are listed on the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. The two films are Big Business (inducted in 1992) and The Music Box (inducted in 1997). Films in the Registry are annually selected and inducted by The National Film Preservation Board, who are appointed by the Library of Congress. The Preservation Board selects the films based on nominations (full letters or just votes with comments) from the American public. Each year, 25 films that are at least 10 years old and " culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" can be inducted into the Registry. Since 1989, 550 films have been added to the Registry.
You can always write a full letter, if you want to, but this year I'm asking you to do something different. See Way Out West again, preferably with an audience. Vote for Way Out West, but carefully pick out just one part of the film that you think falls into what the Board is looking for, namely what makes Way Out West special and tell the Board about it. Way Out West and Sons of the Desert are both already on a list on the National Film Registry's web site that gives suggestions for films to nominate. Since both films are on that list, they both already qualify for induction. Induction is just then a matter of getting a lot of votes. Since Way Out West and Sons of the Desert are Laurel & Hardy's two most popular features, they cancel each other out every year. So, just for this year, don't vote for Sons of the Desert or any other Roach film, so there will be a clear Roach winner. We'll get Sons of the Desert in the Registry another year.
The Registry prefers that letters or votes be emailed to them, but letters or votes can also be mailed to: National Film Registry, Library of Congress, Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation, 19053 Mt. Pony Road, Culpeper, VA 22701, Attn: Donna Ross. To send a letter or vote on line or to get more information on the National Film Registry, go to: http://www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html
In Memoriam Dorothy Barnhart
I'm very sad to report that Dorothy Barnhart, one of our oldest and most loyal members, peacefully passed away on March 24th at the age of 92. For over twenty five years, until she neared her nineties, Dorothy, her daughter Jayne Barnhart, and their friend Neil Pinyon rarely missed a Way Out West meeting. For years Dorothy was also a Way Out West board member. For fifty years of her professional career, she worked at United Artists Theaters and Terry Hines Advertising. Dorothy, with her family and friends, over her lifetime, visited more than thirty different countries. She loved Sees Candies, chocolate ice cream, fudge, Greek dancing, caring for animals, the Dodgers, Charles Bronson, Laurel & Hardy, and playing Poker. Yes, Dorothy, the kindly looking Grandmother type, was a great Poker player. She actually learned how to play Poker from her mother. In fact, the night before Dorothy died, she hosted a Poker game at her assisted living facility, as she had regularly done for the past three years. Thank you Dorothy for all your kindness and good nature. We'll miss you at Way Out West!
UCLA's L&H Preservation Fund
On Sunday, March 27th, John Duff and I attended the Laurel & Hardy program at UCLA's Festival of Preservation. The bi-yearly festival is hosted by UCLA' s Film & Television Archive and screens films that UCLA has preserved and in some cases also restored. This year's Festival ran through most of March. The Laurel & Hardy program included the trailer for The Rogue Song, a newsreel of Stan and Babe in New York City, and the Spanish versions of Blotto (La Vida Nocturna) and Chickens Come Home (Politiquerias). The films, of course, were all in great shape, and the audience really enjoyed seeing them. UCLA does great work.
Before the film program began, the Director of UCLA's Film & Television Archive, Chris Horak, spoke about his university's plan to properly preserve and restore Laurel & Hardy's Roach films. Since UCLA has some of the best 35mm source material available for Laurel & Hardy films, and they do such a great job of preserving and restoring films, it makes good sense for UCLA to do to the project. Normally, UCLA gets their funding from public agencies and charitable foundations, but that takes a lot of time to arrange. Luckily, UCLA has recently received a sizable pledge of money from a lifelong Laurel & Hardy fan, so they have decided to start the project now. To bring in more funds quickly for the project, UCLA has also decided to seek donations directly from the general public. Chuck McCann followed Chris and eloquently spoke about ways that the Sons of the Desert could raise money to aid UCLA in their endeavor.
Since that Sunday afternoon, UCLA has put up a new web site. On the site you can not only donate money to UCLA's Fund with your credit card, but you can also see an inspiring video message from Leonard Maltin and read informative articles from Dick Bann and Randy Skretvedt.
Besides the people that I've mentioned, a lot of other people have come forward with strong feelings and ideas of how the Sons can raise funds for UCLA's project. Our own Stan Taffel has written a letter and sent it to many Sons of the Desert tents. I'm sure that he will talk about it at out next meeting. I am on the same page with everyone I've heard or talked to. I think that it is a worthy cause. I have also been told that a new article is being written, as I write this newsletter, that will bring together all the thoughts that the Sons have expressed about the project over the last couple of months and also resolve any questions that may still exist. When the article is completed, we will put a link to it on our web site.
As for our Way Out West Tent, I am asking our membership to contribute one or two dollars or whatever amount you can comfortably afford at our next meeting and/or at our June meeting. After our June meeting, we will turn the money that we have collected plus a matching amount from our club treasury to the UCLA Laurel & Hardy Preservation Fund in the name of the West Out Tent of Los Angeles.
Notes From Our March Meeting
Our film theme for our March meeting was all the films we could fit into a single evening where Stan and Babe played not only their Stan and Ollie characters but also their kids, their wives, and their twin brothers. To do that we screened Brats, Twice Two, and Our Relations. In Brats and Twice Two, we got to see once again that Stan and Babe were not only great comedians, but very talented actors. Their scenes where they played their own kids and their wives were not only comical but believable. As always, we had a fun evening. Thanks to Stan Taffel, Rita Crandall, Ken Runyan, Amy Condit, Jayne Barnhart, John Gardetto, Victor D'Agostino, and Bob Duncan for helping me with the toasts and singing the Song.
18th International Sons of the Desert Convention in New England July 2012
The 18th International Sons of the Desert Convention will take place in Manchester, New Hampshire, in July 2012. While that may seem like a long time in the future, it's not too early to start thinking about your 2012 summer vacation plans. As an added incentive, anyone paying for their registration by July 31, 2011 will receive a $50 discount. The proposed convention itinerary includes a live show at the Palace Theater, a dinner cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee, a New York theme banquet, dealer's room, trivia contest, and multiple Laurel & Hardy cinemas. In addition, there will be a pre-convention trip to Boston. For more information, including prices, hotel information, and a registration form, please visit the convention web site at: http://2012.looserthanloose.com