Going Bye-Bye! & Block-Heads Deuce February 28th at Mayflower Club
Let's face it, most of us this February have stayed home and watched a lot of television: The Super Bowl, The Grammy Awards, and almost everything else that the networks have thrown at us for their February Sweeps. Just sitting and watching TV for long periods of time is not healthy. So before February ends, I think it's a good idea to get out of your house for at least an evening and join us at the Mayflower Club on Tuesday evening, February 28th for our next Way Out West meeting!
Our film program will begin with Laurel & Hardy's short Going Bye-Bye! (1934). Stan and Ollie have to leave town quickly, but they don't have enough money to get as far away as they need to go. They decide to put an ad in the newspaper for someone who also wants to leave town and will share expenses. When a tough talking woman (Mae Busch) calls the Boys to answer the ad, the fun begins.
Years before Laurel & Hardy's classic feature, Block-Heads (1938), Stan and Babe made a short called Unaccustomed As We Are (1929). The beginnings of both films are very different, but soon the plots become very similar. Unaccustomed As We Are was actually Stan and Babe's first sound short. In the film, Ollie and his wife (Mae Busch) are neighbors to very jealous Officer Kennedy (Edgar Kennedy) and his wife (Thelma Todd). When Stan visits Ollie and Mrs. Hardy leaves in a huff, Mrs. Kennedy offers to cook dinner for the Boys.
Block-Heads starts with Stan and Ollie in the Army fighting in France during WWI. Stan is told not to leave his post during a big battle. Even though the soldiers never return, Stan stays at his post for 20 years, long after the war ends. Stan finally returns to the States, and he becomes famous. When Ollie brings Stan home to meet his wife (Minna Gombeli), she soon leaves in a huff. Ollie's neighbor is a jealous big game hunter (Billy Gilbert). When Ollie decides to make dinner for Stan, his neighbor's wife (Patricia Ellis) quickly becomes involved.
The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. We open the doors 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 Club Kitchen. Refreshments will be sold at the Mayflower Club Bar. Free cake will be served during our second break. Join us for all the fun, February 28th!
All Way Out West membership dues expired in January. For any members who have not paid their 2012 dues, please pay them at our February meeting. Dues are unchanged from last year and are listed on the reverse side of this newsletter. Thank you for your continuing support.
Kickoff Raffle For Our 2012 UCLA Donation
At our February 28th meeting, we will have a special raffle to again collect money to donate to the UCLA Laurel & Hardy Preservation Fund. For those not familiar, the Fund was established by UCLA in 2011 to collect money to properly preserve and restore Laurel & Hardy's Hal Roach films. To learn more about the Fund, go to their web site at: http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/support/laurel-and-hardy
Among our raffle prizes for our February 28th meeting will be a new, unopened DVD box set of Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection. We will also accept cash donations, for those who don't want to enter the raffle. Any amount that you can give will help this worthy cause. It all adds up. Thank you in advance.
Notes From Our January Meeting
After the toasts and singing the Sons of the Desert Song, we celebrated Oliver Hardy's 120th birthday by screening That's My Wife, Our Wife, Helpmates, and Saps at Sea. In each of the films, we got to see the results of what happens when Ollie asks Stan for help. We had an enthusiastic crowd that seemed to really enjoy all of the films. A high point of the meeting was when we sang Happy Birthday to Babe Hardy, right before we had birthday cake in his honor.
Special thanks goes to our former longtime Grand Sheik, John Duff, who filled in on short notice to screen our films for the evening. Thanks to Jayne Barnhart, Rita Crandall, Bob Duncan, and Reverend Dave Spahn for helping me with our toasts and singing the Sons of the Desert Song. Also thanks to Rita Crandall who helped my wife Kris at the sales table, and to David Rodriguez and Janet Duff who helped in the kitchen.
Billie McDonald (1910 - 2012)
No, for those of you who are quick with your math, that's not a typo. She passed away on February 10th and was 101 years old!
In the 1930's in films, Billie appeared in Let's Fall in Love, Ticket to Paradise, Sitting on the Moon, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Follow Your Heart. In 1937, she was in Miss Hollywood, a Max Factor featurette. In 1938, she appeared in Little Acorns, a play at the South Pasadena Little Theater. She later appeared in plays at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Louise (Billie) McDonald Duff never made a film with Stan or Babe, but she was the devoted mother of her only child, John Duff, for 61 years. For me, Kris, and Jimmy III, she was our close friend for almost 25 years. We will miss her and all the fun times we shared with her.
New Charlie Hall Book
Longtime Sons of the Desert member John Ullah has published his new book entitled This is More Thank I Can Stand: A Biography of Charlie Hall. The book is a detailed look at one of Laurel & Hardy’s favorite co-stars, with one of the many highlights being some of Charlie Hall’s personal letters which have not been published before. It is a fine tribute to a man we toast at the start of each and every meeting!
John Ullah is the Grand Sheik of the Laughing Gravy Tent in Birmingham, England (the birthplace of Charlie Hall), and he was the host of the 11th International Sons of the Desert Convention in 1998. He has spent three years researching the book, looking through archives and interviewing Charlie’s relatives, friends, and people who knew him. The book is available online from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.