Way Out West Presents Stan Laurel Night at the Mayflower on June 12th
On Tuesday night June 12th, to honor Stan Laurel's 122nd birthday, we will screen four films that especially showcase Stan's great comic acting and versatilely. In three of the films, you will see Stan as you have never seen him before.
Our first film for the evening will be Stan's solo silent classic Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pride (1925). As you might guess from the title, this short film is a spoof on an earlier film version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is one in a series of film parodies that Stan made in the middle 20's for producer Joe Rock (who was an honorary member of the Way Out West Tent). If you haven't seen the film before, carefully read each title card, consider the ingredients that Dr. Pyckle puts in his potion, enjoy the "terrible things" that Mr. Pride does to his victims, and see Stan as you have never seen him before, in this very funny film.
In Busy Bodies (1933), Stan and Ollie work together in a lumber yard making window frames. In this classic Laurel & Hardy short, Stan plays his usual character throughout the film. What makes this movie special is to see all the things that Stan can do to put Ollie in harm's way. This is Laurel & Hardy at their best.
Their short One Good Turn (1931) has "down and out" Stan and Ollie meeting a kindly old woman who will give them lunch, if they do work for her. While they are eating their lunch in another room, the Boys overhear the woman's banker (James Finlayson) threaten to foreclose on her mortgage. In One Good Turn, Ollie has the upper hand over Stan and badgers him throughout the film. In a way, it's almost a direct opposite to Busy Bodies, until Stan finally has a change in his character.
Our feature for the evening will be A Chump At Oxford (1940). The film opens with Stan & Ollie taking a job as servants at a fancy dinner party given by the Vandeveres (James Finlayson and Anita Garvin). To get the job as a maid, Stan must pose as a woman. Later in the film, while Stan and Ollie are working as street cleaners, they foil a bank robbery. The grateful bank manager rewards the Boys with "a proper education," scholarships to Oxford. Soon after the Boys arrive in England, Stan receives a blow to the head, when a window closes on his head. The fun begins when Stan suddenly remembers his past at Oxford and becomes a completely different character. Stan Laurel really gets to show off his acting skills in this film.
The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Our meeting starts at 7:15 p.m. 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 birthday cake, in honor of Stan Laurel's birthday, will be served on our second break. See you Tuesday night June 12th at the Mayflower Club!
Notes From Our April Meeting
At our April meeting, we decided to recreate an "Old Time Night at the Movies" by offering freshly popped popcorn and by screening a cartoon, coming attractions, a newsreel, and (of course) films. After singing the Sons of the Desert Song and giving our toasts, we started our movie night off with a surprise Porky Pig cartoon, You Ought to Be in Pictures. In the Warner Brothers live-action/cartoon, Porky at one point tries to slip by the Warner's guard at the gate by imitating Oliver Hardy. All our coming attractions were for Laurel & Hardy films and our newsreel was Oliver Hardy being interviewed. Our films for the evening were Movie Night (Charley Chase and longtime Way Out West member Edith Fellows), Them Thar Hills (with full audience participation in singing the Pom-Pom Song with the Boys), and our tent's namesake film, Way Out West. Special thanks to Stan Taffel for bringing his popcorn machine and selecting the cartoon, coming attractions, Oliver Hardy's interview and putting together a lot of rare Laurel & Hardy clips from his collection to share with our members. Special thanks also to Bob Duncan for his idea for the meeting theme. I think a good time was had by all our members!
During our meeting, we also had our second 2012 raffle to collect money to donate to the UCLA Laurel & Hardy Preservation Fund. Between the raffles receipts and cash donations from our March and April meetings and a little help from our club treasury, we were able to donate $400.00 to UCLA this year. Thanks to our members for all your generosity and participation! Special thanks again to Denise Kress for all the books and DVD's that she donated as raffle prizes to us this year. Thanks to James Romero and Bradford Ray who helped Bob Duncan and me with the April raffle and Jayne Barnhart who sold raffle tickets.
Finally thanks to Stan Taffel, James Romero, Rita Crandall, Bruce Brizzard, Melanie Thompson, Jayne Barnhart, Dave Greim, and Bob Duncan for helping me with the Song and toasts.
New Buster Keaton Play
Currently playing at the Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood is a new play on Buster Keaton's life. Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton centers around a troubled time in Buster's life when he finally had to accept that he was an alcoholic and that it was ruining his life. In the play, he is forced to literally face his younger self about his problems. Older Buster is played by French Stewart (3rd Rock From the Sun), the younger Keaton is played by Joe Fria, and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is played by Scott Leggett. The play was written specially for French Stewart by his wife, Vanessa Claire Stewart. According to the play's favorable review in Los Angeles Times, "the tone of the play varies from the antic to the tragic" and is "complete with Rube Goldbergesque contraptions and live silent films clips." The play is presented on weekends through June 30th. For more information go to: www.sacredfools.org or call (310) 281-8337.
New Laurel & Hardy DVD To Be Released in June
The new documentary film, Laurel & Hardy: Their Lives and Magic, will be released on a two DVD set in mid-June. The original documentary was presented on German and French television earlier this year. Documentarian Andreas Baum says his film "is telling the story of Laurel and Hardy very emotionally." He incorporates color footage of Laurel & Hardy along with rare photos and interviews with celebrities, friends, and historians from around the world. Those interviewed include Richard W. Bann, Tyler St. Mark, Bart Williams, Chuck McCann, Jim MacGeorge, Mark Greenhow, Jean Darling, Booth Colman, Jerry Lewis, and Marcel Marceau. Stan Laurel's daughter Lois is also interviewed.
The first DVD is the director's cut of the film. The second DVD includes full versions of a lot of the rare Laurel & Hardy material included in the documentary and some additional interviews, including an interview with our own Stan Taffel. The DVDs are region free, but are in the European PAL video standard, so please make sure your DVD player can play these discs before you order. The material can be played in English as well as German. For prices and more information, go to: www.laurelandhardyshop.com
2012 SOD Int'l Convention in New Hampshire
If you are still planning on attending this year's Sons of the Desert International Convention in Manchester, New Hampshire, and you haven't registered yet, the good news in that you still can register. The bad news is that your time to register is quickly running out and air fares to New Hampshire are going no where but up. Take it from many Way Out West members who have attended past Conventions, Sons of the Desert Conventions are a lot of fun and a good way to make new friends with people who also enjoy Laurel & Hardy. For more Convention information go to 2012.looserthanloose.com
New Book Out on Charlie Hall
Charlie Hall appeared with Laurel & Hardy in 47 of their 106 films, much more than any other Laurel & Hardy supporting actor. Did you ever wonder how Charlie, a native son of Birmingham, England, wound up appearing in films at the Hal Roach Studios with Laurel & Hardy? John Ullah, Grand Sheik of the Laughing Gravy Tent of Birmingham, England answers that question and many more about Charlie Hall in his new book, This Is More Than I Can Stand: A Biography of Charlie Hall. Just released in March, John's new book is now available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk in limited quantities. Soon, however, you will also be able to buy copies of his book directly from John on his new web site: www.laughinggravytent.co.uk