On Friday evening, October 9, 1998, the Way Out West Tent of Los Angeles celebrated its 31st anniversary with a "Should Married Men Go Home?" celebrity banquet at The Castaway restaurant in the hills of Burbank. After a social hour, the evening began with the traditional singing of the Sons of the Desert song.
This was followed by Bob Duncan leading us in the toasting of Stan, Ollie, and the rest of the L&H supporting cast. Dave Griem followed with a toast to long time Sons of the Desert member from Massachusetts, the late Hal Stanton. Bob Satterfield concluded the toasts by honoring the memory of three very special ladies who were an important part of not only Laurel and Hardy's history but also a very memorable part of the Sons of the Desert's and the Way Out West Tent's as well...Venice Lloyd, Norma Drew Churchill, and Rosina Lawrence McCabe. We then enjoyed dinner and dessert before continuing on with our program.
Celebrity introductions followed dinner. Joining us for the evening were Trudy Marshall (The Dancing Masters); Tom Hatten (host of television's Family Film Festival); Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson (Our Gang), who sang "There's No Business Like Show Business" to the crowd; Dick Jones (Our Gang); Patrick Cook (Stan Laurel's great-grandson); Jerry Maren (appeared with Our Gang); Jay Dare (costumer for the boys on The Dancing Masters and The Bullfighters); June Chase Hargis, who entertained us with a song that she used to sing with her father, Charley Chase; Mark Kennedy (grandson of Edgar Kennedy); Anita Page (The Hollywood Revue of 1929); and, making his first appearance with the Way Out West Tent, Harold "Bouncy" Wertz (Our Gang). We also learned that night that Joseph O. Cowen, the father of memer Allen Cowen, had spent some time working in silent films and sound films with such stars as James Cagney.
Lori "Mama Hen" McCaffery was up next presenting the Way Out West Tent Awards. This year's recipients were Bob Duncan (Why Don't You Do Something To Help Me?), Bill Cassara of Monterey (The Good Egg), June Chase Hargis (Honolulu Baby), and Chuck Culver (Furthest Traveled - from Wisconsin). Specially marked banquet programs determined the winner of the table centerpieces (creatively and beautifully made by Lori and Colin McCaffery). The raffle followed with many happy people walking away with some very nice prizes. Then came the screening of Stan and Ollie in Should Married Men Go Home? and Charley Chase starring in All Teed Up. The evening concluded when the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle, worked on all through the banquet, was finally found...under the tablecloth of the puzzle table!
A million thanks to all of the celebrities who shared their time and memories with us, to the workers of the Way Out West Tent who helped make this evening a memorable one and to the members and guests for joining us for the evening.