Here Comes The Christmas Season–Free door prizes at December 8 meeting
Some of us might still be enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers, and most of us haven't yet this year heard Nat King Cole sing "The Christmas Song," but as Johnny Mathis will soon croon, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, every single day." In Southern California, except in the higher mountains, there will be no snow for the Christmas Season, but our nights will be a lot colder. Soon most people will start to think about what presents they can give their family and friends for Christmas and who not to invite to their Christmas party. Their family and friends, in turn, will begin to wonder what presents they will receive and what parties not to go to. For me, I'm currently indoors on a beautiful sunny day trying to write a newsletter that will not only convince you to join us at The Mayflower Club on Tuesday night, December 8th, but to also tie in each of the evening's films to the Christmas Season.
Our first film for the evening, Big Business (1929), is definitely a Christmas film. In this silent short, Stan & Ollie show all the ways to be unsuccessful as "door to door" Christmas tree salesmen. James Finlayson also appears in the film, as the Boys' most unwilling customer. In 1992, this Laurel & Hardy film was entered into the United States National Film Registry for preservation in the Library of Congress.
In their short Below Zero (1930), street musicians Stan and Ollie try to earn money for food, on a cold snowy day. With just an organ and a bass fiddle, they go block to block playing music, without much success. Their luck quickly changes, when they find a wallet full of money on the sidewalk. In what seems to be a Christmas Season act of charity, the Boys invite the cop on the beat to join them for dinner.
For a change of pace, our next film will be Our Gang's Bedtime Worries (1933) starring George "Spanky" McFarland. On the very first night that Spanky's parents decide that little Spanky is finally old enough to start sleeping alone, he meets a very strange man with a very familiar name that you often hear in the Christmas Season. Emerson Treacy plays Spanky's father, and Gay Seabrook (a younger Gracie Allen type) plays Spanky's mother. Our Gang members, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Tommy Bond, Georgie Billings, and Jerry Tucker, are also in the film (plus Pete the Pup).
Our final film for the evening will be the feature, The Bohemian Girl (1936). In this period piece, loosely based on an 1853 opera, Stan and Ollie are gypsies who raise a little girl (Darla Hood), after Ollie's wife (Mae Busch) leaves Ollie for another man. What Ollie and Stan don't know is that the little girl was kidnapped by their fellow gypsies from her father, Count Arnheim, a rich landowner. Years later on a snowy winter's night, the gypsies return to camp near Count Arnheim's estate. The little girl is now a young women (Jacqueline Wells). Though the plot and the singing in this film may seem a little strange for a Laurel & Hardy film, the feature is still full of great Laurel & Hardy bits and scenes. I'll admit that it's a stretch for The Bohemian Girl to be a Christmas Season film, but there is a lot of snow in the last act of the film and the Christmas Season begins right in the middle of Winter.
In addition to our film program, we will give each of our members a free peppermint flavored candy and one free door prize ticket (with the chance to win some L&H DVDs or free hot dogs for all meetings in 2016). "Fisher Franks" (quarter pound 100% beef hot dogs) with 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. 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. Hope you can join us on Tuesday, December 8th!
Canned Goods For Maud Booth Family Center
For many years during the Christmas Season, our members have donated canned goods to the Maud Booth Family Center of North Hollywood. This year, we are asking our members to bring at least 2 cans per person to our December meeting for donation. In lieu of canned goods, we will accept cash donations. I know that it's a hassle to bring cans to a meeting, but it is for a worthy cause and it is greatly appreciated by the Center. To our members who always bring canned goods, thank you for your continued generosity. To our members who always seem to forget to bring canned goods or donate cash, this year please help.
Notes From Our October Meeting
At our Saturday night meeting in October, all four of our Laurel & Hardy films featured English actors in memorable roles. In Midnight Patrol, jewelry store burglar Frank Terry tried to convince police officers Laurel and Hardy that he owned the jewelry store that he was robbing. William Austin, in County Hospital, played Ollie's very English always cheerful roommate. Jack Barty, in Oliver the Eighth, played Mae Busch's very crazy butler. In A Chump From Oxford, Englishman Stan Laurel got to show off his "acting chops" as Oxford scholar Lord Paddington.
After our first break for the evening, comedian Jim MacGeorge, once again entertained us with some more jokes from his stand-up act. Jim was at the top of his game and our members gave him a well deserved standing ovation when he finished his act. Jim recently celebrated his 87th birthday. He is truly amazing. Thanks Jim. You are always welcome at our meetings!
Later, we caught up with a very busy teacher and a three-time past Way Out West Grand Sheik, Bob Satterfield. To Bob's surprise, Lori McCaffery, our Grand Vizier, gave him an award from Way Out West for Bob's leadership and hard work at the "Laurel and Hardywood" 19th International Sons of the Desert Convention.
With our member's generous participation and a "little help" from our tent treasury, we collected $500 to give to the UCLA Laurel & Hardy (Film) Preservation Fund. Thanks to Bob Duncan and little Kathy for helping me with the raffle. The generosity of our members always amazes me.
Thanks to Ron Young, Bob Satterfield, Jayne Barnhart, Bob Duncan, Chris Spicher, Rick Greene, and Victor D'Agostino for helping me with the toasts and singing "The Sons of the Desert Song." Thanks to our members for another good turnout.
From The Grand Sheik
In January, I will have been Grand Sheik for West Out West for ten years. As the old saying goes, "how time flies, when you're having a good time." I just want to thank you all again for your continued support, generosity, and friendship. To all our members, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays.