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Laurel and Hardy news
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of the page):
meeting dates have now been agreed for 2013, so please make a big red
blotch...er, we mean 'note' in your diary so that you'll miss no Laurel
and Hardy in 2013! And please make sure to invite all your
friends; well attended meetings mean laughter aplenty, and that's just
what we want!
forward to enjoying Stan & Babe on the big screen with you once again
It is with
very considerable regret that we report the death of our much-loved
celebrity tent member, Eric Sykes CBE.
The BBC reported that Eric's
long-time manager and friend, Norma Farnes, announced his death. He
"died peacefully after a short illness. His family were with him."
had an amazing career spanning over 60 years. Although he began his
career writing radio material for comedians including Frankie
Howerd, Tony Hancock and for 'The Goon Show',
he later found success with his own TV shows including
'Dress Rehearsal' in
1956, 'Sykes And A...'
in 1960 and a follow-up, simply titled 'Sykes',
in 1972. In the latter two series, Eric acted
alongside Hattie Jacques as a brother and sister. It is these gentle
and ground-breaking comedy series for which Eric will be best
Another of Eric's best-known productions
was in a virtually silent slapstick film called 'The
The 1967 short saw him and Tommy Cooper play accident-prone workmen
and is regarded as a landmark of visual comedy.
[Another version with Arthur Lowe reprising the Tommy Cooper role was
made in the 1970s].
Eric also starred
in: the controversial 1969 sitcom
'Curry and Chips'
alongside longtime writing partner Spike Milligan, who was blacked up to
play an Irish-Pakistani factory worker; and'The Nineteenth Hole',
made for ITV in 1989.
After this he appeared in various movies including
'The Others', alongside Nicole Kidman,
and as caretaker Frank Bryce in 'Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire', and all of this despite
being almost deaf and blind. He was an inspiration to all of us.
Eric's passing has provoked tributes from many of
our leading comedy stars...
Sir Bruce Forsyth paid tribute to the star, calling him "one of the
greats of comedy in this country".
"He was universally loved here," the entertainer continued. "He was
just one of the funniest men ever."
Comedian Stephen Fry wrote on Twitter: "Oh no! Eric Sykes gone? An
adorable, brilliant, modest, hilarious, innovative and irreplaceable
comic master. Farewell, dear, dear man."
League of Gentlemen star Mark Gatiss said: "The wonderful Eric Sykes
has left us. A giant of comedy and a gentleman - funny to his very core.
Comic Robin Ince paid tribute to "the last link to many of the most
important early post war comedians" and "a great entertainer".
Former BBC head of comedy Jon Plowman paid tribute to Sykes as "a
warm man, a kind man, a warm family man".
"We won't see his like again," he said. "He was a wonderful
"His genius was both as a scriptwriter but also someone who could do
stuff off the cuff. He was classless and funny and warm."
Eric was made an OBE in 1986 before being
elevated to a CBE in 2004.
In 1992, he received lifetime achievement honours from the Writers'
Guild and the British Comedy Awards.
Ericcelebrated 60 years
of marriage on 14 February 2012 with his
wife Edith (Eleanore Milbrandt),
and together they had three daughters,
Catherine, Julie, Susan, and a son, David.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Eric's family,
and also to Norma Farnes.
dates for 2012 are below. Except where indicated, they are to be held,
as usual, in the Maynard Sinclair
Pavilion, off the Upper Newtownards Road (near Dundonald House) and will
kick off at 7.00pm for 7.30pm. Please note that since young kids are
present we will adhere fairly strictly to our timetable so the events
will begin at 7.30pm sharp—ish...if you're late you'll miss out!
Don't forget to write these
dates firmly into your diaries...and tell all your friends:
Saturday 7 April 2012 —
cancelled...it's Easter Saturday; d'oh!
Saturday 2 June 2012
Saturday 15 September 2012
Saturday 24 November 2012
We look forward to seeing you
there and thank you for your continued support.
meeting is Saturday 26 Nowonder...excuse us, we mean
It is our Christmas meeting and our 7th birthday
rolled into one, so expect the usual festive frolics including fun and
games and a few special surprises. You are guaranteed a
rib-tickling evening, so make sure to come along on the night and bring
your friends — the more the merrier, and we do want a
merry Christmas now, don't we...?
The venue is,
of course, our usual...the Pavilion. See you there!
The Another Fine Mess Tent is delighted to announce
the opening of a very attractive Laurel and Hardy restaurant in Belfast,
Stann & Olly's. We were tipped off by member Alex Kane --
thank you Alex -- and when we visited on Thursday 17 November the
restaurant had not yet opened, although their carry-out had, named
Abbott's, after Abbott and Costello. It was expected, however, that the
restaurant would have its official opening sometime during week
commencing Monday 21 November.
The restaurant is licensed, and is themed on an
American diner. It is very attractive -- pictures to follow soon. It
nestles beside the Movie House on the Dublin Road, so it has a very
prominent location and what better before/after a movie than to have a
bite while perusing all of the wonderful Laurel and Hardy pictures (and
a few of their peers) inside.
year MGM offered itself to the market for sale but in the absence of any
serious bids and with debts totalling US$4 billion, MGM has begun to
file for chapter 11 bankruptcy. This would allow MGM to continue to
function as normal pending a resolution of its problems.
MGM has been
suffering from a lack of blockbuster movies and reductions in DVD
has announced proposals to creditors who have until later in October to
The Another Fine Mess Tent is terribly sad to
announce the death of Sir Norman Wisdom at age 95.
Official confirmation was made on Sir Norman's
website which reported
"Comic actor Sir Norman Wisdom has died aged 95, his
son has confirmed.
"The London-born comedian was known for his
slapstick film roles in the 1950s and 1960s, famously for the
character Norman Pitkin whose haplessness often frustrated boss Mr
"Sir Norman had suffered a series of strokes causing
a decline in his health over the past six months.
"His family said he passed away at Abbotswood
nursing home on the Isle of Man on Monday.
"They said he had maintained a degree of
independence but his condition declined rapidly over the past few
"Sir Norman was renowned for a string of comic roles
and Charlie Chaplin described him as his favourite clown."
It was well
known that Sir Norman was the Queen Mother's favourite comedian.
was also a great Laurel and Hardy fan and was tickled pink when, in the
1950s, Stan and Babe dropped into his dressing room after one of his
shows to say how much they had enjoyed his performance.
condolences of all members of the Another Fine Mess Tent go to Sir
Norman's family and friends.
Following a short but hard-hitting introduction by
Karen Gallagher of the Belfast Concern office, the Another Fine Mess
Tent treated those present — members and non-members alike — to a
rib-tickling evening. The first film of the evening, The Live Ghost,
went down really well but the level of laughter during our second
choice, Busy Bodies, almost drowned out our sound system!
We had a prolonged raffle with some great prizes —
thanks to Morrison's Vivoxtra, Doc's Fish & Chip Shop, and the Pavilion
as well as many individuals for their generosity — we had our toasts,
which provoked some laughter when Keith temporarily forgot Fin's name
mid-toast! Then we launched into what seemed to be the highlight of the
night — the society's anthem! The laughter was explosive!
Finally we launched into our final selection;
everyone's favourite, Way Out West, and there was plenty of
singing amongst the crowd when The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine
blazed from the speakers.
Keith was able to announce during the night a
wonderful total of £470 but with promises from absentees that total was
upped to a magnificent £534.00.
Considering that 2p can save a child's eyesight this
fantastic amount will make a real difference. Well done everyone. We
thank you all.
The Another Fine Mess Tent is proud to have been
chosen to help raise funds for a newly constituted local branch of
We can guarantee you a wonderful night as we have
carefully selected what we believe to be the very best of Laurel and
Hardy films. So be prepared to burst your gigglebox — and that's a
painful but enjoyable experience!
In addition to the films we will have some special
raffles and auctions as well as a buffet, tea and coffee, wine and soft
The venue for the event is slightly different from
our 'home' in the Maynard Sinclair Pavilion. We shall be 'playing' in
the Bowling Pavilion —
Directions: As you approach the main Pavilion
building you will notice a door in the hedge to your right. When you
open the door you will see a square outdoor bowling green. Immediately
to the left of that is the Bowling Pavilion.
Entrance fees are as usual: £4.00 Adults; £3.00
Children, with discounts for families of four or more and for members.
Membership is, of course, now free so you can save yourself money at the
door just by signing up!
So why not mosey-on-down to the Pavilion and enjoy
yourselves while actually saving lives in the process!
To reserve a seat call either Roberta Gordon of
Concern on 07905 907899 or Keith on 07782 226047. Alternatively you can
email Keith at
firstname.lastname@example.org and he will email you back to confirm
A new play by
James Phillips, Stan and Babe, is to be débuted at The Casa in
Liverpool on Wednesday 27th, Friday 29th and Saturday 30th May 2009.
and Oliver 'Babe' Hardy have brought comfort, joy and laughter for
almost a century. Their unpretentious genius has been a source of
inspirations to millions.
But to Ken
and Billy Clayton, preserving the memory of 'The Boys' has become
their only hope of solace in a world they no longer understand. A
world they have, rather foolishly, invited around to judge them one
Theatre Company's previous productions 'Fear and Loathing in
Liscard and Vegas' (2007) and 'Scolnus: Founder of America'
(2008), 'Stan and Babe' explores the struggle between powerless
individuals and an unfeeling society.
£8.00 and £5.00 (concessions). They can be obtained in person at The
Casa (info on 0151 709 2148), 29 Hope Street, Liverpool L1 9BQ, or from
Usher Travel Service (call 0151 638 5926), 27 Wallasey Road, Liscard —
all major credit cards accepted, postage service unavailable.
of Ulverston-born comedy great Stan Laurel and his Hollywood movie
partner Oliver Hardy will be unveiled in his
home town on Sunday April 19.
The day before will be Love Stan day in
the Evening Mail as a special Memories supplement will be devoted to
Stan and will include a full programme of events leading up to the
official unveiling by Ken Dodd.
Most of you will have seen the classic
pictures of Stan returning to Ulverston as part of a British tour with
Ollie in 1947.
you were there on that historic day we would like to here from you.
Perhaps you have travelled with world
with the Stan Laurel fan club – Sons of the Desert. Share your
experiences with the Memories Page.
Along with Superman and the naughty
nurse, Stan must be among the world’s most asked-for fancy dress outfit.
Why not send in a picture of your attempt to look like Stan.
Has your family tree research thrown up likes [sic — we assume
"links"] to the Laurel family. Get in touch with
Bill Myers with your findings.
of Stan Laurel? No, it's the talented comedian and voice artist ("Beanie
& Cecil"), Jim MacGeorge. The longtime Yarmyite has appeared in TV
commercials (Aamco Windshield Wipers) and onstage as Laurel (partnered
with Chuck McCann's Oliver Hardy.) He often performs for the
ultra-exclusive Bohemian Club."
We have to say...by MacGeorge,
he sure had us fooled!
has forwarded an email from Rich Finegan, which includes a lengthy
report from the Los Angeles Times
about the death of Coy Watson Jnr.
says about the report:
"I thought you may find this news
to be of interest. Coy Watson had a slight Laurel & Hardy connection.
You may recall that series of short films that AMC used to run in the
early 1990's called the Johnson-Watson Hollywood Reel. One was called
"Close Ups and Long Shots" and covered Stan Laurel judging a childrens'
swimming contest. Although this obit says those films were made in
1949 and 1950 the date on the films said 1951."
Coy Watson Jr. dies at 96; one of nine silent-era sibling actors Los
By Valerie J. Nelson, March 16, 2009
Coy Watson Jr., who was the eldest in a family of nine child actors and
whose book, "The Keystone Kid," recounted a silent-film career that
began in 1913, has died. He was 96.
Watson, who became a news photographer and television cameraman, died
Saturday of complications from stomach cancer in Alpine, Calif., where
he lived, his nephew Daniel Watson said.
By the late 1930s, Watson and his eight siblings had appeared in more
than 1,000 movies. Their careers were almost an accident of geography
because their family home was in Edendale, an early movie-studio enclave
north of the Echo Park lake.
Mack Sennett Studios was nearby and three other studios filled out the
movie colony. When Selig studios came calling, Watson -- who was born
Nov. 16, 1912 -- was 9 months old.
The studio needed a baby for a short film, "The Price of Silence," and
promised to pay the infant $5 for a day's work. Because the Edendale
neighborhood was not yet wired for electricity, his scene was shot on a
bedroom set built to take advantage of the sun.
James Caughey "Coy" Watson Jr. would go on to appear in so many of
Sennett's Keystone Cops comedies that he earned a nickname: "the
By the time he was 18, Watson had made about 60 motion pictures,
including "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1923) with Lon Chaney,
"Buttons" (1927) with Jackie Coogan and "Show People" (1928) with Marion
His father, Coy Watson Sr., broke horses for cowboy stars and created
special effects, notably the flying carpet Douglas Fairbanks used in the
1924 film "The Thief of Bagdad." Eventually, Watson's father gave up his
career to manage those of his six sons and three daughters.
When a director would say, "I need a child for a movie. Do you have
one?" the senior Watson was said to respond: "What size and what sex?"
In "The Keystone Kid," the junior Watson wrote of a childhood spent
watching cowboys congregate on a street corner, hoping to get work. He
recalled actress Gloria Swanson stopping in at the family home to iron
her skirt between scenes and building a treehouse with his best friend
on the Sennett lot.
"Acting to our family was not a business," Watson told the San Diego
Union-Tribune in 2002. "It was our life. We never knew anything but the
Watson's mother, Golda, washed and ironed actors' costumes. His brother
Delmar was Shirley Temple's goat-herding friend in "Heidi" (1937).
Delmar and three other Watsons played sons of Jimmy Stewart in "Mr.
Smith Goes to Washington" (1939). His brother Bobs, who had an MGM
contract, was the endearing Pee Wee in "Boys Town" (1938) with Spencer
After talkies came into vogue, Watson had parts in several more films.
But the boy who made 13 movies in 1927 no longer enjoyed the process.
The advent of sound in films "scared the dickens out of everybody,"
Watson said in the 2002 Union-Tribune interview. "We used to have fun
making pictures. But when sound came in you couldn't drop a pin."
He turned to another family business -- photography -- that he first
discovered in a class held by the Boy Scouts.
His grandfather, James Watson, shot pictures of Buffalo Bill riding up
Broadway in 1904. His uncle, George Watson, was hired as The Times'
first full-time news photographer in 1917 and later founded Acme News
Pictures, a forerunner of United Press Photos and training ground for
the Watson boys.
In junior high, Coy built a darkroom at home and "made a few nickels and
dimes" taking photographs of his classmates, he later said. After
graduating from high school, he joined the Pacific and Atlantic photo
In 1932, he covered the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles for Acme and
photographed future president Franklin D. Roosevelt's visit to the city
the same year.
In the ensuing years, Watson took pictures for a number of newspapers
that have long since vanished. His photographs also appeared in The
During World War II, he was one of four Watson brothers to serve as a
Coast Guard cameraman, running a Coast Guard photography unit in San
All six brothers worked as press, newsreel or television photographers
after the war. Watson became a cameraman for KTLA Channel 5 and for CBS
on the West Coast. He also spent time at ABC and KCRA-TV in Sacramento,
according to a family biography.
With Erskine Johnson, an actor who wrote a Hollywood column for the
Daily News, Watson made “Hollywood Reel.” The television program, filmed
in 1949 and 1950, featured dozens of interviews with celebrities.
Of a life spent on both sides of the camera, Watson once said, "The
motion picture business was something that if you liked it, it was your
life. And that's the way it was with me."
His brother Delmar, who founded the Watson Family Photographic Archive
that oversees the family's trove of photos, died in October at 82.
Three of the Watson siblings survive: Louise Roberts, 89, Billy Watson,
85, and Garry Watson, 80.
Coy Watson Jr. is also survived by his wife, Willie; a daughter, Pattie
Watson Price of Alpine; a son, James Caughey "Jim" Watson III of Perth,
Australia; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
THE new town centre home of Ulverston’s
famed Laurel and Hardy Museum has been revealed.
NEW USE: The Roxy site in Ulverston
attraction is set to move to a space within the Roxy, in Brogden Street,
was announced at a meeting of the licensing committee yesterday when
proposals to transform the Art Deco building into an arts and
entertainment centre were given the seal of approval.
owner, Marion Grave, hopes to start a new chapter on the museum
dedicated to the lives of the silver-screen comedy duo by opening the
doors to the public on April 1. Mrs Grave, whose father started the
museum in Upper Brooke Street more than 30 years ago, described the move
said: “Everything just seems to have fallen into place. We had searched
for new premises in the town for years but there was nothing big enough
that we could afford.
just about reached the point of despair when we were offered the chance
to move into the Roxy and we seized it.”
museum will form just one part of the new Roxy Arts and Entertainment
Centre – granted a premises license after a mammoth four-hour meeting at
venue will also provide a 400-capacity events hall, cafe bar and gallery
space for contemporary and local artists.
mastermind behind the venture, Gary Robinson, owner of Barrow Island’s
Canteen Media and Arts Centre, said he now hoped to attract
international acts, well-known stand-up comedians and live bands to
Ulverston town centre resident Mr Robinson, 39, said it had been a
“great day for Ulverston”.
“We got what we asked for and people have taken what we said seriously.
We want to operate the Roxy in a similar way to The Brewery in Kendal –
with a mix of entertainment and arts.
listened to people’s concerns and the proof will now be in the pudding.
There’s now a responsibility on the people of Ulverston who said they
wanted this. They need to enjoy the entertainment at the centre and the
area responsibly and I think they will.”
planned the new centre will open at Easter.
licence for The Roxy means it can open until 1.30am between Monday and
Thursday, until 3.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and until 12.30am on
residents presented a raft of objections to the late hours – stating
they were concerned it would result in late night anti-social behaviour
and disruption in the town.
Christopher Stones, of Princes Street, said a “Buffers situation” would
the meeting: “I respect Mr Robinson’s ambition for this centre. But a
lot of resident’s lives have been transformed since Buffers closed. We
are entitled to live in peace and security in our own homes.”
Note: The UK Convention is being
partly run by Ulverston's Berth Marks Tent, and the new museum is one of
the many exciting places that Sons will visit. If you haven't yet
click here for further information about the event.
forwarded an interesting article sent to him by Flip Lauer from Ohio
about the making of the Walt Disney version of Victor Herbert's
operetta, Babes In Toyland. It is well worth the investment of a couple
By BOB THOMAS
The Associated Press
Friday, March 6, 2009; 3:10 PM
LOS ANGELES -- In 1940,
Hollywood humanitarian Jean Hersholt purchased 48 acres of walnut and
orange groves in the far reaches of the San Fernando Valley for a
hospital to be run by the Motion Picture Relief Fund.
Hersholt, a popular
character actor of the day, was president of the fund, which had been
founded 20 years earlier by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and others to
aid needy members of the film industry.
After a delay caused by
World War II, the Woodland Hills hospital was finally completed in 1948.
Among those attending the opening ceremonies were Robert Young, Shirley
Temple, Ronald Reagan and Hersholt, who is probably best known today as
the namesake of a special Oscar recognizing charitable work _ most
recently given to Jerry Lewis.
For the next 60 years,
the hospital provided treatment for stars and janitors, directors and
secretaries. Those who could afford to pay their way _ such as Norma
Shearer _ did so. Those who were broke _ and there were many in the
topsy-turvy film industry _ were taken care of.
Now, Hollywood has been
shocked with news that the hospital itself is passing away, a victim of
red ink and an ailing economy.
"We studied the problem
for three years," says Ken Scherer, president of what is now the Motion
Picture and Television Fund Foundation. "We found that we had an
operating deficit of $10 million a year.
"We reached the
conclusion that the best thing to do was to take some of those dollars
and invest them in programs that would reach more people. The aging
population wants to live in their own homes and not come to the Motion
Picture and Television Fund."
DreamWorks Animation chief and chairman of the MPTF's foundation board,
said the deficit would have bankrupted the fund in "a very few years."
Reports of the closure,
which will displace more than 100 long-term patients and eliminate some
300 jobs by the time it's complete at the end of the year, sparked a
recent picket line of 200 people at the MPTF's nearby headquarters.
Among the protesters was John Schneider of "Smallville" and "Dukes of
"Many people look
forward to coming here and I am one of them," Schneider said. "This
decision was indeed a fiscal decision. We didn't lose the debate. We
weren't even invited to the debate."
Along with anger, the
impending closure has also inspired nostalgia among the film crowd.
Walter Seltzer, movie producer and longtime member of the MPTF's board
of directors, tells the saga of Johnny Weissmuller, greatest of the
"When Weissmuller was in
the hospital, other patients complained because he was yelling (the
Tarzan yell) in the hallways. It got so bad that we had to remove him.
We found a place for him and his wife in Mexico near Acapulco, which was
where Johnny wanted to be. We sent people down there several times a
year to make sure he was all right." Weissmuller died in 1984.
Seltzer recalled that
actress Mary Astor rode a bicycle around the premises and was aloof. Her
only companion was actor House Peters and she insisted on having their
own table in the dining room.
Seltzer also remembered
the story of Chester Conklin, a pioneer comedian who worked with Charlie
Chaplin and W.C. Fields:
"When he lived at the
home, Chester had a hobby of making beautiful jewelry which he
advertised. One rich lady in the Midwest bought a lot of them, and she
came to California to meet him. They fell in love and married, and he
lived with her until he died in 1971."
The Charlie Hall Picture Archive is a unique book for
all fans of Charlie Hall and Laurel and Hardy. The book features over
two hundred and ten images, many of which have never been published and
has sections covering Charlie Hall, his family and the places they
visited, his cars, the studio set up in Hollywood (with a section
dedicated to Hal Roach) and the stars of the time (including Mary
Pickford and Mabel Normand). There are numerous mini biographies of
Charlie's co-stars and the book closes with a sixty five page chapter
relating to Charlie Hall's film stills with in depth synopsis of some of
his films. Where possible Charlie's own words have been used.
The book is slightly smaller than A4, has 178 pages
in total and close to 17,000 words. The book was written by the Nutty
Nut News Network's very own Dean McKeown and edited by Maria Cairney,
the foreword was written by Willie McIntyre.
1. Introduction page 1
2. Charlie Hall page 4
3. Meet The Family page 15
4. A Man And His Cars page 37
5. Out On Location page 44
6. Studios And Stars page 71
7. Charlie’s Film Stills page 95
8. Filmography page 161
9. Appendix page 165
And don't miss out on a splendid collection of
Charlie Hall postcards.
Here is what Willie McIntyre has to say about the
'I don't think I am overstating the case when I say that this is one of
the most exciting books ever to have been written by a Son of the
Desert. There has never been anything quite like this before! Very
skilfully compiled by Dean McKeown, it takes you right into Charlie's
personal life and work in a way which leaves you feeling you have
finally got to know that little chap from Birmingham.'
delighted to announce that membership of the Another Fine Mess Tent of
Northern Ireland is now FREE...!
How can we do
this? Well, it's simple, our tent magazine is moving to a new
format...from now on it will be an electronic magazine available to all
members by email. Those who don't have access to the internet may opt
to have the magazine sent to them by post for a small charge.
FREE, members will still be granted reduced entrance fees to
meetings, and so there has never been a better time to join...! So if
you are interested click here
-- become a 'messer' today, we know you'll never regret it!
of our regular contributors, Carol Rugh, Grand Vizier, One Good Turn
Tent, Connecticut, Oasis #156, has asked for help in identifying a movie
still featuring Oliver Hardy and a radio. She says
"An acquaintance recently passed along a lovely copy of
this movie still saying he wasn’t sure what movie it was from. My guess
is Hog Wild. But I haven’t seen this one before. Anyone?"
Our guess is Hog Wild too -- you know, the one
where Stan and Babe try to erect an aerial for the radio on the roof of
Babe's home with disastrous consequences -- but perhaps someone out
there has specific information on this still. Help, please?
anyone has any information please pass it along to us at the following
address and we will forward it to Carol -- email@example.com]
Answer:Carol has replied as follows:
Thanks to all the eagle eyes who
replied to my query. The Finishing Touch is the answer. Lou Sabini
notes that there is a companion photo of Stan and Ollie together with
the radio. Anyone have that?
Member Irv Hyatt has added:
...the photo of Babe with the radio
was used as a chapter frontpage in the American version of the book that
went with Kevin Brownlow's book that came out on his 9 part Hollywood
series. If you look at Babe's best, and the background images, you can
compare it with how he looked in "The Finishing Touch". It might have
been a publicity photo for the film, or an actual advert for the radio.
Whichever it was, it was taken at the location of that film.
Our roving US
reporter, Gino Dercola, has asked for some help in locating an early
Oliver Hardy film. He says:
Sons: I received the following question/request from Professor Bob
Wilson, the Oliver Hardy historian from Milledgeville, Georgia, where
Ollie grew up during his formative years. If anyone can provide any
information, please let me know and I will forward it to Bob and share
it with other Sons. Please pass this request along to other
Sons: There is a TV special that
begins airing tonight in the USA called "Make 'em Laugh: The Funny
Business of America". It will appear at 8:00 EST on public
broadcasting stations (PBS). It airs in two-hour increments on
Wednesdays over three weeks (six hours total). There are numerous
comedians it will feature, with Laurel and Hardy being one pair (I do
not know anything more than that about their appearance).
AND, I would like to point this out
to fellow Sons: There is a PBS website that mentions this program,
AND on the right side of that page it lists comedians where you can
vote for your favorite, including L&H. May I suggest that Sons
everywhere go to that site and place your vote for the Boys. There is
a running tally that shows how many votes are being cast for each
comedian. The site is:
Come on Sons, as at 20 January 2009, Laurel and Hardy are in fifth
place behind: 1. George Carlin; 2. Bill Cosby; 3. Marx Brothers; and
4. Rodney Dangerfield...so get voting!]
[Update: As at 22 March 2009, Laurel and Hardy have now fallen to
seventh place, so get those votes in now! — 1. George Carlin (1521);
2. Marx Brothers (969); 3. Bill Cosby (831); 4. Charlie Chaplin (406);
5. Three Stooges (400); 6. Rodney Dangerfield (386); 7. Laurel and Hardy
On 7 November
2008 Keith and Gerry travelled to Liverpool, England, in order to see a
play that received rave reviews after its appearance at the Edinburgh
Festival last year.
The play is
called One Night Stan and it was written and performed by
actor/writer Miles Gallant. It sees Stan Laurel in his dressing room
just before a show in which he will appear without Babe who has taken
ill, and he reminisces about his career and debates whether he should go
on stage without his partner.
This is an
excellent production and Keith & Gerry would urge all Sons to make an
effort to attend it at some future showing.
It has been announced that a former member of Our
Gang has passed away at the age of 82.
David Delmar Watson was born in Los Angeles,
California, on 1 July 1926. His first on-screen appearance was in as a
'Mactavish Child' in Taxi 13, which was made in 1928. He
appeared in 65 films between 1928 and 1947, but his appearances were
It is for his work at Hal Roach studios, and
especially as a member of the Our Gang crew, for which Delmar will be
best remembered by Laurel and Hardy fans. His Our Gang appearances
included: Shrimps For A Day, The Pinch Singer and Our
Gang Follies Of 1936.
Delmar's death was announced to the Laurel and Hardy
world by Stan Taffel, Grand Sheik of the Hollywood Party Tent of San
Fernando Valley. He said:
A memorial service will take place in Hollywood after the funeral this
Sunday [2 November 2008].
Delmar was one of the members of the Watson Family, a talented bunch
that began in silent films and went right on through the talkies. They
worked at almost every studio including [the] Hal Roach
In knowing him over the years, I can tell you that he was a joy to be
with. In recent months he battled with cancer.
At your next Sons meetings, how about a toast to one of the "Gang"."
Our next meeting date is on
Wednesday 5 November 2008
at the Tudor cinema
have, for your delectation, a programme of seasonally-appropriate films
guaranteed to tickle your fancy (told you it would be fun...it's not
every day you get your fancy tickled!).
Grand Sheik’s Welcome
The Live Ghost
[80th Anniversary on 1 December 2008]
Members’ FREE draw
Raffle, Toasts, Song etc.
The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case
[Note: Timings shown are approximations only]
note:The Tudor cinema's house rules (for insurance reasons)
dictate that this event is for those over the age of 14 only.
Please respect this requirement.
directions to the Tudor cinema please click
meeting place is the Maynard Sinclair Pavilion, which is a
child-friendly venue — click
If you'd like
to join our merry band then there's no better time than the present.
Membership is only £10 for the year and £8.00 for children under 18.
There are mid-year pro-rata rates which you can find by
here, then click on the link 'Fees'. For your subs you receive many
discounts as well as a 16 page quarterly magazine, which is
professionally printed, and which has been lauded by many eminent Laurel
and Hardy fans from far and wide. Interested? If so here's a link to
our web application form...
delighted to announce an exciting new website dedicated, like the Laurel
and Hardy Forum, to keeping Sons in touch with all that's interesting in
the world of Laurel and Hardy.
builds upon the forum and differs in that it offers visitors the
opportunity to listen to interviews conducted with all sorts of people
from around the world. Many of the interviews are old but there are
also recent interviews — including one with our own Jean Darling — and
lots of other interesting information.
was conceived in the 1980s by the late Guido Cipriani, Grand Sheik of
the From Soup to Nuts Tent in Norwich, Connecticut, USA. He invited the
submission of audiocassettes from Sons around the world, edited them
together, adding music and features, and distributed the finished
article three or four times per year, for no other reason than to help
keep Sons in touch.
advent of the internet, the website seeks to resurrect the idea in an
interactive format, and Sons around the world are invited to send
information and news stories to the sites webmasters at
This is a
site that you simply must visit, but make sure that you've plenty of
Our good friend, John Ullah, has been instrumental in
raising funds for the Sons of the Desert sponsored bronze statue of the
boys, which will, when finished, be erected outside the Town Hall in
Ulverston, the place of Stan Laurel's birth.
John's latest venture is the raffle of a beautiful
oil painting by a local artist (see Mandy Finney (right) with the
painting). He says...
"This is your chance to win a one-off painting
(below). This original oil-on-canvas painting of the Boys, by Birmingham
artist Caroline Scotcher, is to be raffled in aid of the Statue Appeal.
Tickets are just £1 each and can be obtained from the Laughing Gravy
Tent of Birmingham. The draw will be made on Thursday 6th December at
our tent meeting. Please let me know if you would like any tickets.
Also, if you have a tent meeting before then, could
you please ask your members if they would like to take part? I will
enter their names on your behalf. Please note, to keep costs down, no
tickets will be sent out. You can send your cheques, made payable to
"Laughing Gravy", to John Ullah, 42 York Road, Erdington, Birmingham B23
It really is a superb painting and I would like to
thank Caroline for her kind donation. Good luck!"
If any Another Fine Mess tent members are interested
please send the money to Keith and we shall ensure that you receive your
raffle ticket numbers before the draw. (You could pay for them at our
meeting on 1 December if that is convenient.)
We hope that John manages to raise a substantial sum.
member, Gino Dercola, reported that comedian, Joey Bishop — a former
member of The Rat Pack (along with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin,
Sammy Davis Jnr., and Peter Lawford) — died on 17 October.
obituary in the Washington Post on 19 October stated "His low-key
style resembled that of Jack Benny, and he won early praise from no less
an authority than Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy". High praise
of the Another Fine Mess Tent of Northern Ireland's magazine "Another
Fine Gazette" has been issued to members and is available to
non-Members for the bargain price of £1.50 (plus p&p — the magazine is
available worldwide so please contact us about postage charges). The
magazine boasts 16 cram-packed pages of articles about 'the boys' and their
foils. Our competitions have become popular with readers, and they give us
the opportunity to give out some very nice prizes! Recomember, if you're
not in you can't win!
Issue 7 has now gone to press and we
are gathering material for Issue 8. If you have any material for us we
would be delighted to hear from you. Any articles for inclusion should be
with Keith or Gerry as soon as possible but no later than Wednesday 28
February 2007 (although if they're late they can always be squeezed-in or
held for the next issue!).
If any of you can be persuaded to
have your 15 minutes of fame via subjecting yourselves to questions from
your Grand and Vice Sheiks (we might even let you see the list of questions
in advance), with the article being published in 'Another Fine Gazette'
please let Keith or Gerry know. Who knows, you could be in edition 8 !
Wouldn't it be nice to appear in such a highly rejected...sorry I mean
'respected' magazine? Something to keep for the grandkids perhaps?
We have secured our meeting
dates for 2011. As usual the meetings will take place at the
Pavilion (known colloquially as 'The
Pavilion'). Set within Stormont's magnificent grounds the building
overlooks the international cricket pitch. For further information
about the venue click
for information about how to get there click