Stan, Ollie, and Friends Get Scared at the Mayflower Club October 7th
I know that Halloween itself is still weeks away, but it seems like each year the Halloween Season starts earlier and earlier. To get a jump on all the Halloween competition, our next meeting on Tuesday, October 7th at The Mayflower Club will feature a night of all scary films. Keep in mind, that we’re screening only Laurel & Hardy and Our Gang films, so hopefully you will get a lot of moments of laughter and only a few moments of real fear during the evening. But who knows for sure?
Habeas Corpus (1928), our first film for the evening, probably has the scariest backdrop of all the films for the evening. Most of this silent short takes place in a graveyard. Vagabonds, Laurel & Hardy, are hired by a mad professor to get bodies from the local graveyard, so the professor can examine their brains. Unbeknownst to the Boys, the professor’s butler (Charley Rogers) is really an undercover detective investigating the professor. When the Boys make their first night trip to the graveyard, the undercover detective decides to follow them.
In the short, The Live Ghost (1934), down and out Stan and Ollie agree to help Captain Long (Walter Long) shanghai a new crew for his ship. Captain Long’s ship has a reputation as “a ghost ship.” In typical Laurel & Hardy fashion, the Boys also manage to shanghai themselves on the ship with the Captain’s angry new crew. Mae Busch and Arthur Housman also co-star in the film. After a very drunk Housman falls into a vat of white paint, Stan and Ollie are convinced that Housman is a ghost that has returned to haunt them.
In the three reeler Oliver the Eighth (1934), Stan and Ollie are partners in a barbershop. When the Boys both see an ad in the local newspaper personals from a wealthy widow who is seeking a young man to possibly marry, each of the Boys quickly answers the ad. When Ollie gets an invitation to meet the widow, Stan follows Ollie to the widow’s house to “help” and “advise” Ollie. The widow is Mae Busch and her butler is a very funny Jack Barty. Oh, two more things: Mae has had seven former husbands named Oliver who all met untimely deaths, and she has invited the Boys to stay overnight in one of her mansion’s guest rooms.
For a change of pace, our next film is an Our Gang one reeler, Spooky Hooky (1936). When school finishes for the day, Spanky leaves a phony sick note for him and the gang on his teacher’s desk for her to read the next morning. He then tells Alfalfa, Buckwheat, and Porky that with the note they can all play hooky and go the Circus that’s coming to town the next day. Then Spanky finds out that his teacher has already planned to take her whole class to the Circus the next day, so the sick note is not needed. With school already closed for the day, the only way to get the note back is to return to the school with the gang at night and hope that they can find an open window. On a stormy, spooky night, the gang finds an open window.
Our final film for the evening is Noche de duendes (1930). This Spanish featurette is Berth Marks and The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case combined. Even if you don’t understand a single word of Spanish, don’t worry, because the version of Noche de duendes we are screening is completely subtitled in English. Not only is it fun to hear Stan and Babe and their English co-stars mangle Spanish pronunciation, but it’s also fun to look for the differences in plot and in casting in the foreign versions of their films. In the film, Stan and Ollie travel by train to the mansion of one recently deceased Ebeneezer Laurel, who was worth $3,000,000, and who may or not be a relative of Stan. When the Boys arrive at the spooky mansion on a stormy night, they are forced by the police to spend the night with a lot of suspicious Laurel heirs, one of which the police think murdered Ebeneezer.
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, with your choice of toppings) and chips will be sold at The Mayflower Club Kitchen. Refreshments will be sold at The Mayflower Club Bar. As always, free cake will be served on our second break. Join us on Tuesday October 7th for another night of fun!
Notes From Our August Meeting
For our August meeting we screened Them Thar Hills, followed by Tit For Tat, the only Laurel & Hardy sequel ever filmed. During Them Thar Hills, most of us joined the Boys in humming “There’s An Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlor,” while the Boys on screen were preparing their lunch in their trailer. As always, it was fun.
After we screened We Faw Down, we screened Block-Heads, just one of the many films that were inspired by the characters that Stan and Babe and director Leo McCarey came up with beginning with We Faw Down. We Faw Down and Block-Heads are also the only two Laurel and Hardy films that have the same ending scene.
Thanks to Dave Greim, Victor D’Agostino, Bob Duncan, Jayne Barnhart, J.T. Tropper, and Bob Brauer for helping me with the toasts and the song.
L&H Film Festival at Old Town Music Hall
On the weekend of November 7th, 8th, and 9th, the Old Town Music Hall will once again do a special all Laurel & Hardy film program. The Old Town Music Hall is located at 140 Richmond Street, El Segundo (310-322-2592). Their evening programs will begin at 8:15 on Friday and Saturday. Their matinee programs will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the theater is $10 per person, or $8 for 62 or older. Each program begins with a pipe organ concert and an audience sing-along. It’s all great fun. For information on other film programs at the Old Town Music go to: http://www.oldtownmusichall.org/films.html
100 Years of Hal Roach Studios Exhibit Extended
The Hollywood Museum has extended the 100 Years of Hal Roach Studios exhibit through October. The exhibit features rare items such as the Oscar presented to Hal Roach, one of the original miniature wooden soldiers from Babes in Toyland, Stan Laurel’s personal fedora, original fezzes worn in Sons of the Desert, and numerous posters, scripts, autographs, personal photos and letters, newspaper clippings, and sheet music. The museum is located at 1660 N. Highland Ave in Hollywood. Adult admission is $15, or $12 for 65 or older. Visit: http://thehollywoodmuseum.com