English Night at The Mayflower Club on Tuesday, July 31
I'm sorry to announce that Lori and Colin McCaffery have decided to retire and move to Nevada. Our meeting on the evening of Tuesday, July 31st looks like it will be the last time they will be behind the check-in desk. For the occasion, we'll have a couple of special cakes and I'm sure that Lori will have something to say. I hope all of you can join us for the meeting. Lori has been a member of Way Out West since our Tent's beginning, fifty-one years ago! Now this may be a little bit of a stretch, but since Lori and Colin met in England--and since Colin is English--our next meeting will feature English character actors in all our Laurel & Hardy films.
Our first film for the evening will be County Hospital (1932). In this two-reeler, Ollie is in the hospital, recovering from a broken leg. How Ollie broke his leg is never explained in the film, it's left to your imagination. Look for Ollie's jolly roommate (English character actor William Austin). He has a couple of funny scenes in the film. When we first see Ollie, he seems peaceful in his hospital bed. Then Stan comes for a visit. Ollie's doctor, Billy Gilbert, decides to exam Ollie's leg. Then the troubles begin.
In their three reeler, Oliver the Eighth (1934), Laurel & Hardy are partners in a barber shop. When the Boys see a personal ad in the newspaper from a wealthy widow who is seeking a young man to marry, both of them are very interested. The Boys quickly decide to answer the ad. The only problem is that Ollie only mails his letter, not Stan's letter. When Ollie gets an invitation to meet the widow and leaves for the widow's home, Stan finds out Ollie didn't mail his letter. So Stan follows Ollie to the widow's home. The widow is played by Mae Busch. Mae's character is just a little less crazy than the butler, played by English actor Jack Barty. Believe it or not, Jack Barty almost steals the film from Stan, Babe, and Mae.
It's late on a cold Winter's night in Laurel & Hardy's classic two-reeler Laughing Gravy (1931). When Stan's dog, Laughing Gravy, keeps barking loudly, Stan and Ollie's landlord (English actor Charlie Hall) puts the dog outside in the cold. Stan and Ollie soon sneak Laughing Gravy back into the boarding house. When their landlord suspects that the dog is back in the house, the Boys hide the dog in their chimney. Will their landlord find Laughing Gravy and throw the dog out in the cold again? Or throw out the Boys and Laughing Gravy out in the cold, cold night? In all of Charlie Hall's films with Laurel & Hardy, Laughing Gravy is Charlie Hall at his exasperating best!
Our feature film for the evening will be A Chump at Oxford (1940). The film opens with Stan & Ollie taking a job as servants for 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," giving them scholarships to Oxford. Soon after the Boys arrive in England, Stan receives a blow to the head and suddenly remembers his past at Oxford, and becomes a completely different character. You will be amazed by Stan Laurel's great acting skills! Also keep an eye out for English actors in the Oxford scenes. You'll easily recognize Charlie Hall, but can you recognize Peter Cushing?
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) with your choice of chips will be sold at The Mayflower Club Kitchen. Refreshments will be sold at The Mayflower Club Bar. Be sure to join us to say goodbye and wish the McCaffrey's well on July 31st.Click here for a map to the Mayflower Club...
Notes From Our May Meeting
At our May meeting we had a nice turnout and NO CHANCE OF RAIN (for a change). Jim MacGeorge once again entertained us with his stand-up and was again rewarded with a standing ovation from our members. Thanks to all our members that helped with toasts and singing the song at the meeting.
During our meeting, we screened Another Fine Mess, Blotto, and a tent video that we recorded in 2011. The video is a recording of the remembrances of four of our members, Bill Burgess, Myrna Davis, Ralph Marks, and Stan Schulman. All four members met Stan Laurel at different times at Stan's Santa Monica apartment. The video has no name, so I've decided to give it a name. The name is simply: Visiting Stan Laurel. I'm happy that our members at our May 22nd meeting enjoyed the video, but it is a little bittersweet when I see it, since three of the four members on video have passed away and the other (Myrna Davis) recently moved out of state. Happily, Ralph Marks' daughter, Susan Silver, came to our May 22nd meeting. It was great to see her.
From The Grand Sheik
Out of the blue, Kris and I recently got a letter from Sharron Fisher. If you are a long-time member, you'll remember that the Fisher Franks that we sell at our meetings are named after Sharron and her late husband, Al Fisher. Sharron just wanted to remind me that she and Al, along with their three sons, also met Stan Laurel at his Santa Monica apartment. Sharron told us in the letter that she still can see Stan in her mind and hear Stan telling funny things that happened in the Boys' films. Thanks for the memory Sharron, we're happy to hear from you from Rancho Cordova.
I'm sorry to report that Jerry Maren passed away on May 24th 2018. Jerry lived to be 99 years old and was the last surviving Wizard of Oz munchkin. Jerry is the munchkin that hands the lollipop to Dorothy. We honored Jerry for his appearance in Our Gang's Tiny Troubles. Jerry and his wife, Elizabeth, were long-time members of our Way Out West Tent and joined us at many meeting and banquets. Elizabeth passed away in 2011.
Bill Furman, Grand Sheik of the St. Louis Babes in Toyland Tent, passed away in early July. Together with his wife Savannah, Bill attended many International Conventions, where he spent much of his time in the film room, behind the projector. In his honor, the film room at the Convention in Cincinnati was named The Bill Furman Film Room. Our condolences to Savannah and their family.
International Convention News
Other than the host tent in Cincinnati, Way Out West officially had the largest turnout of any tent at the convention. It was great to have a dozen of our members in attendance, and we hope to have just as good of a turnout for the next convention, which will take place in Providence, Rhode Island in June 2020. For a detailed report from the Cincinnati convention, please visit our website at: www.wayoutwest.org/archive/convention2018.html
L&H Festival at Old Town Music Hall
On the weekend of August 10th, 11th, and 12th, the Old Town Music Hall will again present a Laurel & Hardy Film Festival. The Old Town Music Hall is located at 140 Richard Street, El Segundo (310) 322-2592. Their evening programs begin at 8:15 on Friday and Saturday. Their matinee programs begin at 2:30 on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the theater is $10 per person or $8.00 for people 62 or older. Each program begins with a Wurlizer Theater Pipe Organ audience sing-along. For information about other film programs at the Old Town Music Hall, go to: www.oldtownmusichall.org/schedule.html