Way Out West Celebrates Stan Laurel's Birthday June 11
On Tuesday evening, June 11th, join us at The Mayflower Club to celebrate Stan Laurel's 123rd birthday. Along with our evening's film program of Laurel & Hardy shorts, we will have a raffle of L&H collectables to raise money for UCLA's Laurel & Hardy Film Preservation Fund. We will also serve birthday cake, in honor of Stan.
Our film program will begin with Smithy (1924) and Putting Pants on Philip (1927). Both films are silent shorts and will be screened with recorded musical accompaniment. The rarely screened Smithy stars Stan (without Babe) as Private Smithy and James Finlayson as his Sergeant. Shortly after the film begins, Smithy and the Sergeant leave the Army and both end up at the same construction company building houses. Smithy is even a worse carpenter than the Sergeant, who is a terribly inexperienced carpenter himself. In Putting Pants on Philip, Scotsman Philip (Stan in a kilt) pays a first time visit to America and his uncle Piedmont (Babe). To Piedmont's great dismay, Philip's reported naivet and obsessive interest in women is even worst than he thought, as Philip is soon chasing every "girl" that he sees through the streets of Culver City. Though Stan is not the same "Stan" character that he is in his later Laurel & Hardy films, both of these funny early silent comedies give us an opportunity to see another side of Stan's comic persona.
The three remaining shorts for our meeting are: The Live Ghost (1934), Another Fine Mess (1930), and Come Clean (1931). In The Live Ghost, Stan and Ollie agree to help Captain Long (Walter Long) shanghai a new crew for his "ghost ship." Unfortunately, Stan and Ollie also manage to shanghai themselves on the same ship. Mae Busch and Arthur Housman also co-star in the film. To hide from the law, vagrants Stan and Ollie duck into an unoccupied mansion in Another Fine Mess. Soon they find themselves having to pretend that Ollie is the owner of the mansion and Stan must play both Ollie's butler and maid, when perspective renters arrive at the home. James Finlayson and Thelma Todd co-star in the film. In Come Clean, the Hardys' quiet evening alone is soon interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the Laurels. Despite the Laurels arrival, things seem to be working out okay, until the Boys go out to buy ice cream and decide to help a woman in distress (Mae Busch).
The Mayflower Club is located at 11110 Victory Boulevard in North Hollywood. We open the doors 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 to honor Stan Laurel's birthday will be served on our second break. Don't miss our party on the evening of Tuesday, June 11th!
Raffle To Raise Money For UCLA's L&H Fund
Through your efforts, our Way Out West Tent has donated almost $1,200 to UCLA's Laurel & Hardy Film Preservation Fund over the last two years. Once again, thank you for your continuing generosity, support, and enthusiasm for our tent.
For our 2013 donation to the fund, we will have raffles of Laurel & Hardy collectibles at both at our June 11th and August 13th meetings. The money donated to the UCLA Laurel & Hardy Fund goes towards the restoration and preservation of the negatives of Hal Roach sound Laurel & Hardy films.
If you don't want to get involved in our raffles, you can always donate cash. If you have any Laurel & Hardy item or items that you think would be good for one of our raffles, please let me know.
From The Grand Sheik
Last month when I heard the sad news that Jonathan Winters had passed way, I saw in a couple of his obituaries that Jonathan was "a devotee of Laurel & Hardy." Probably like a lot of you, when I read that one of my favorite present day comedians also is a fan of Laurel & Hardy, it not only makes me happy, but it also piques my interest in their relationship with the Boys. So I googled "Jonathan Winters Laurel Hardy," hoping to read about some nice things that Jonathan had to say about Stan and Babe. All I got for my effort though was page after page of Jonathan Winters obituaries all telling me that Jonathan was "a devotee of Laurel and Hardy" and little or nothing more.
Finally, by accident, I saw a comment on the Laurel and Hardy Forum (laurelandhardyforum.com) about a column that Dick Cavett had written on the New York Times website, shortly after Jonathan's death. It seems that Dick knew Jonathan from their days working with Jack Paar. Over the years, Dick had lost contact with Jonathan, but only recently Dick had found out that his friend, comedian Richard Lewis, talked with Jonathan Winters all the time. So Dick got Jonathan's phone number and called Jonathan and the subject of Stan Laurel came up. In Dick's own words, from his May 10th Internet New York Times column: "There were serious moments. He said he envied my having met Stan Laurel; that he worshiped Laurel and his work. 'Damn it!' he said with pained regret, 'I'm the only one out here who never managed to meet him. And there he was, sitting right out there in Santa Monica all those years. The Oceana Apartments, wasn't it? I'll never get over that.' I was sorry that I told him that, all that time, Stan Laurel was in the phone book. 'Oh, Dick. You could have spared an old man that.' [laughter] Dept. of Self-Inflicted Pain: I resolved that in our next phone chat I'd tell him I would send him my two columns on meeting Laurel, deciding that two weeks would be a decent interval to call him again, but maybe shouldn't wait too long. I did by three days."
To see Dick Cavett's New York Times columns, go to http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/dick-cavett/. Don't forget to read all the comments on all four columns on the website too, you won't regret it.
Notes From Our April Meeting
After we did the toasts and sang the Sons of the Desert Song, we opened our film program by screening the trailer for our evening's feature, Nothing But Trouble. Then I introduced our special guest for the meeting, Joan Del Mar, to our members, and we screened Nothing But Trouble. After the film, I talked with Joan on our stage about the filming of her scene as the football scorekeeper in Nothing But Trouble. She reminded us that she was only 8 years old when she appeared in the film, but she told us that the filming of the football game took two days to shoot at a park near the MGM Studios, and she enjoyed the experience. She also told us about being on the Jack Benny Radio Show at the young age of 11 and how Jack told her that if she delivered her line that she would get a big laugh. She delivered her line, and she did get a big laugh. Our final two films for the evening were Me and My Pal and Helpmates.
A big thank you to Joan Del Mar for making our April meeting very special. Thanks to Joan's son Mark Poncher, her grandson Michael Poncher, and her friends Norma, Matthew, Judy, and Merridith for joining us at our meeting. Also thanks to J.T. Tropper, Bart Williams, Ken Runyan, Victor D'Agostino, Jayne Barnhart, Bob Duncan, and Bob Brauer for helping me with the toasts and the singing the Song. And also thanks to all our members who bought books at our April Book Sale, from which we raised over $100 towards getting a grave marker for Our Gang member, Mickey Daniels. Thanks to Ken Runyan for taking photos at the meeting.