Sons of the Desert Way Out West Tent
Oasis #5
Los Angeles, CA

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Way Out West Tent

Annual Celebrity Banquet

The Way Out West tent held its 33rd anniversary banquet on Saturday, October 21, 2000 at the 94th Aero Squadron in Van Nuys. A social hour gave everyone a chance to greet one another before the dinner, which consisted of chicken dijonaise, Caesar salad, roasted potatoes, vegetable medley and a dessert of chocolate mousse pie.

Vice-Sheik, Jimmy Wiley, began our program by leading us all in the singing of the Sons of the Desert song. WOW Toastmaster Bob Duncan then offered a tribute to the late Tony Hawes by dedicating the traditional toasts to his memory as we all raised our glasses to Stan, Babe, and the rest the of honored Hal Roach stars.

Long time member Bart Williams was next at the podium, as he performed a satire of "The Night Before Christmas"...which received a great response from the audience. Stan Taffel followed with his own original "Lost Last Interview with Stan Laurel" made up of questions from Stan and answered by Stan Laurel with sound clips from the boys' films. Stan also shared a video musical tribute to Our Gang that he created.

Earl Kress then took us on a trip down memory lane with a look back at the Sons of the Desert's 2nd International Convention, better known as Hollywood '80. We had a chance to view some slides and video clips from the Real People television program, news clips, and local television interviews. For those of us who attended Hollywood '80, it was a wonderful to relive those memories and for those who were not there, it was a great chance to see what really happened 20 years ago.

Introductions of our celebrities followed. One of the highlights featured the comedy of Jim MacGeorge, who was joined later with Sons of the Desert Co-Founder, Chuck McCann. Their entertaining moments included a Laurel & Hardy routine with a rendition of "Trail of the Lonesome Pine."

This year's Way Out West Tent's Lifetime Achievement Award went to Our Gang's Tommy "Butch" Bond, who attended with his wife Polly and his son, Thomas, Jr. Edith Fellows also received the WOW tent's Lifetime Achievement Award for 1998. We had planned to present it her at the 1998 banquet but due to scheduling concerns, we were not able to present her with the award until this banquet. We updated our traditional "Honolulu Baby" award by renaming it the "Honolulu Buddy" award. This year's recipient was Our Gang's, Gordon "Porky" Lee. Also attending the banquet were L&H costumer, Jay Dare, Lois Roberts (widow of prop man Thomas Benton Roberts), Trudy Marshall (The Dancing Masters), Our Gang's Dorothy "Echo" Deborba, Margaret Kerry (Peggy Lynch), Leonard Landy, and Delmar Watson. The Way Out West tent's worker awards were presented to Stan Taffel (Why Don't You Do Something To Help Me? award), Earl Kress (The Good Egg award) and the Furthest Traveled award went to David Morley from England.

The raffles followed next that produced several happy winners. The evening came to a close as we screened the Laurel & Hardy feature, Pack Up Your Troubles.

We want to extend a special thank you to all of the tent workers who contributed their time and effort to make this banquet a success: Lori and Colin McCaffery (Check-in duty, centerpieces and Hollywood '80 photos), Bob Satterfield (celebrity contact), Bob Duncan (toasts, 1940's music and raffle prizes), Earl Kress (Hollywood '80 preparation), Jayne Barnhart and Neal Pinyan (raffle sales and prizes), Jimmy Wiley, III (banquet program), Tom and Debbie Hopkins (raffle prizes), Stan Taffel (video projection equipment, Our Gang video tribute), Jimmy Wiley, Jr. (slide projection equipment), Kris Wiley and Janet Duff (sales table), Dorothy Barnhart, Steve Nelson, Alan Barasorda, and Gloria Brigante for their all around help. All of your help was very much appreciated.

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