Way Out West Tent
Los Angeles, CA
The Way Out West Tent's 30th Anniversary Celebration proved to be a very successful and exciting event. We were elated to see just how many people still love Laurel and Hardy, and a little surprised by the lengths at which some people went in order to join us. Guests included many of our very own members, as well as those from as far away as Canada, France, England, and Germany!
The festivities took place June 28-29, in Culver City and around the Los Angeles area. Highlights included Saturday and Sunday tours, with visits to locations from such films as Bacon Grabbers, The Bohemian Girl, County Hospital, The Finishing Touch, Going Bye-Bye!, Hats Off, Hog Wild, Liberty, Putting Pants on Philip, and We Faw Down. A piano crate was located at the Music Box stairs, making for a perfect photo opportunity. There was a stop at Hal Roach Park, the former site of the Hal Roach Studios. And, for the first time ever, we visited the Pottsville train station from Berth Marks. Other firsts included stops at the graves of Edgar Kennedy, L&H cameraman Art Lloyd, Our Gang director Robert McGowan, and L&H director Leo McCarey. We also paid our respects at the graves of Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, and T. Marvin Hatley. Screenings during the weekend included Leave 'Em Laughing, The Perfect Day, Putting Pants On Philip, and County Hospital.
Stairs from The Music Box and Hats Off!
This year's annual banquet took place at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Culver City. Acclaimed impressionists Chuck McCann and Jim MacGeorge had the audience roaring with laughter as they brought the humor of Laurel and Hardy to life on stage. Ventriloquist Joe Gandelman also got big laughs with his original comedy performance honoring the boys. A look back at the history of the WOW tent was presented through a series of slides, as was a tribute to over 100 celebrity guests who have been a part of the life of the Way Out West Tent.
Special toasts were presented to honor WOW Tent Founding Grand Sheik, Bill Patterson, to the memory of Rosina Lawrence McCabe, and to the memory of Tony Hawes. Celebrity guests in attendance included Billy Benedict (Great Guns), Anthony Caruso (Jitterbugs), Jay Dare (L&H costumer), Betty Goulding Saunders (widow of director Alf Goulding), Lois Laurel Hawes, Glenn and Mark Kennedy (grandsons of Edgar Kennedy), Jim MacGeorge (Stan Laurel impressionist), Chuck McCann (Oliver Hardy impressionist), Trudy Marshall (The Dancing Masters), and Bob Overbeck (special effects artist at Hal Roach Studios). Also joining us from Our Gang were Peggy Ahern, Lassie Lou Ahern, Tommy "Butch" Bond, Frank "Junior" Coghlan, Dorothy "Echo" Deborba, Edith Fellows, Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson, Leonard Landy, Peggy Lynch (Margaret Kerry), Bobs Watson, and Delmar Watson.
The Way Out West Tent's annual awards went to Peggy Ahern and Lassie Lou Ahern ("Honolulu Baby" award), longtime WOW member Dorothy Barnhart ("The Good Egg" award), and Saps At Sea Grand Sheik Rick Greene ("Why Don't You Do Something To Help Me?" award). Billy Benedict was awarded the 1997 "Lifetime Achievement" award for his wonderful career in motion pictures. Lori McCaffery, Bob Satterfield, and John Duff were also given awards for their years of service to the Way Out West Tent. A special thank you to Rick Greene for creating our special anniversary logo.
Back Row (L to R): Jay Dare, Betty Goulding Saunders, Trudy Marshall, Jim MacGeorge, Lois Laurel Hawes, Chuck McCann, Patrick Cook, Mark Kennedy, Delmar Watson, Bobs Watson, Glenn Kennedy, Leonard Landy, Dick Jones, & Billy Benedict.
Front Row (L to R): Frank Coghlan, Anthony Caruso, Eugene Jackson, Bob Overbeck, Peggy Lynch, Lassie Lou Ahern, Peggy Ahern, Dorothy DeBorba, Tommy Bond, & Edith Fellows.
Sunday morning in downtown Culver City, in front of the Stellar Hardware store on Main Street, Stan's daughter Lois unveiled a plaque which read, "On this site, in October of 1927, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy filmed scenes from their comedy classic, Leave 'Em Laughing." Stan Laurel's great-grandchildren, Cassidy and Patrick, were also on hand for the occasion. Also present was Bart Williams, who brought Stan Laurel's 1947 Chrysler for all to see. A pair of Laurel and Hardy impersonators were also on the scene. A special thank you to Wayne Yorke (Ollie) and B. Arthur Mulligan (Stan) for sharing their natural talents and giving a first rate performance as the Boys. They made very special photo opportunities at the homes from Big Business and The Perfect Day. The owner of the Big Business house even greeted us with a copy of a Laurel and Hardy film in hand. Fortunately for him, we had no Christmas trees for sale!
Laurel & Hardy look-alikes pose for this picture in front of Culver City's City Hall.
Recreating a scene from "Angora Love" ... 68 years later.
This is where the finale from "Hats Off!" took place.
This car belonged to Stan Laurel.
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