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 30th Annual Banquet Saturday, October 6 at the Pickwick Banquet Center in beautiful downtown Burbank. It was also one of our very best, due in part to the lengthy list and caliber of our celebrity guests. The theme of the evening was an Award Night, complete with presenters with sealed envelopes, celebrity acceptance speeches, and an all-too-cute nickname for the prestigious award. Winners received the "Narcissus Award," named for that lovable goat in L&H's Angora Love. In an unexpected outcome that defied all of the odds in Las Vegas, every celebrity in attendance managed to end up a winner!

Several celebrities were in attendance for the first time, giving us the opportunity to make them honorary members of our tent. Joining us from Florida was Karl Slover, who is recognized by Laurel and Hardy fans as the little fellow that exits the elevator in Block-Heads smoking a cigar and saying, "Out, please!" (via Billy Bletcher's voice). Shirley Jean Rickert flew in from New York. She was a member of Our Gang, who appeared in The Stolen Jools with the boys. Bud MacDonald, who worked with Stan and Ollie in On the Loose and in a deleted scene from Pardon Us, also made his first of what he hopes will be many more visits to our tent. Also new to our members was Patsy Barry, who also appeared with the Our Gang. And finally, legendary author Ray Bradbury was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for helping to keep the memory of the Boys alive in several short stories he has written over the years. It was a thrill to hear him tell of seeing Laurel and Hardy live on stage in Dublin.

Other returning celebrity guests included: Trudy Marshall (The Dancing Masters); Dorothy deBorba (The Stolen Jools); Margaret Kerry (Our Gang); Peggy and Lassie Lou Ahern (Our Gang); J.R. Smith (45 Minutes from Hollywood); Joy Lane (Babes in Toyland); Pineapple Jackson (Our Gang); Delmar Watson (Our Gang); Darwood K. Smith (Our Gang); Len Landy (Our Gang); Joan Del Mar (Nothing But Trouble); Edith Fellows (The Devil's Brother); Jay Dare (costume department at MGM/20th Century Fox); and, of course, the talented duo of Jim MacGeorge and Chuck McCann. Also on hand were relatives of our celebrities: Cassidy and Patrick Cook (Stan Laurel's great-grandchildren); Burr Middleton (grandson of Charles Middleton); and long time member Lois Roberts (wife of late Thomas Benton Roberts), who traveled down from Salinas to be with us. All in all the evening once again proved why the Way Out West Tent has long been known through the Sons of the Desert as "The Tent of the Stars."

The evening's video program highlighted each of the winners and was an original presentation created for that evening only. Some of Laurel and Hardy's funniest moments were highlighted in numerous video compilations. The boys even provided entertainment with several of their more popular musical numbers, shown throughout the evening.

Prior to the banquet, three awards categories were voted for online and the results were shown at the banquet. "Disasters in the kitchen" from Helpmates was the winner of the "Another Nice Mess" Award. "Taking the piano up the stairs" from The Music Box won the "Why Don't You Do Something to Help Me" Award. And "Hardboiled eggs and nuts" from County Hospital was the winner for "The Good Egg" Award.

John Duff was presented with a special award for his 14 years as our Grand Sheik. Presenters of the awards included board members Lori McCaffery, Jimmy Wiley Jr., Bob Duncan, Stan Taffel, Alan Barasorda, Earl Kress, and Rick Greene. Burr Middleton, Peggy & Lassie Lou Ahern, Margaret Kerry, and Trudy Marshall announced winners as well. Special thanks to Colin McCaffery for photographing the event and to Jimmy Wiley III for preparing the video program.

(Back Row, L-R) Burr Middleton, Leonard Landy, Patsy Barry, Jay Dare, Joan Del Mar, Edith Fellows, Jay R. Smith, Jim MacGeorge, Chuck McCann, & Patrick Cook. (Center Row, L-R) Jim Wiley Jr. (WOW Vice Sheik), Kris Wiley (WOW board member), Stan Taffel (WOW board member), Darwood "Waldo" Kaye, Jim Wiley III (WOW board member), Cassidy Cook, Lori Jones McCaffery (WOW Grand Vizier), Eugene "Pineapple" Jackson, Joy Lane, Shirley Jean Rickert, Lois Roberts, Lassie Lou Ahern, Peggy Ahern, Delmar Watson, & Bob Satterfield (WOW Grand Sheik). (Front Row, L-R) John Duff (Former WOW Grand Sheik), Buddy McDonald, Karl Slover, Trudy Marshall, Ray Bradbury, Dorothy "Echo" deBorba, & Peggy Lynch.

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