Pre-Convention: Day One – Monday, June 30, 2014
This day featured the Habeas Corpus tour. This included a walking tour of Hollywood Forever Cemetery where Darla, Alfalfa, Walter Long, Gertrude Astor, Charles Middleton, Bobby Dunn and Harry Bernard were among the many graves we visited. We stopped for lunch-on-your-own at the famous Farmers’ Market in Hollywood
Pre-Convention: Day Two – Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Coach buses took us to Newport Beach where we boarded The Wild Goose, John Wayne’s former personal yacht, for a two-hour tour of Newport Harbor. Light hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served as we enjoyed this very scenic harbor. Once docked, we headed for lunch on board the RMS Queen Mary, the same ship used by the boys when they traveled to Europe. A full buffet lunch was served and there was time for a self-guided tour of this grand old ship.
Convention: Day One – Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Some Sons* started their morning with a two-hour walking tour of the former MGM Studios, now Sony Studios (a studio where Stan and Ollie worked). While touring those sacred grounds, we saw the famous Irving Thalberg Building and several actual Academy Awards given out for Best Picture of the Year to Columbia Studios. We also visited the set of Jeopardy, and saw the costume, sound, make-up and Foley departments. Many of the buildings are named after famous movie stars of the era such as Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and George Burns.
Lunch was provided (turkey or veggie sandwich, chips and a drink) at the Sony Complex, which also is chock-full of movie props from recent mega-hit motion pictures.
Then we boarded 13-passenger open vans for the trip back to the hotel via a tour of the homes of the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. En route, we saw the homes used in Big Business, Bacon Grabbers, The Finishing Touch, and drove by 20th Century Fox Studios where the boys also filmed some of their later pictures. We passed the filming location of Busy Bodies and the opening scene of Pack Up Your Troubles. We also stopped in front of the homes of Laurel and Hardy. (*The other half of the conventioneers enjoyed the exact same tour in reverse order.)
Once back at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, we had time to freshen up before joining the cocktail mixer at the hotel and then taking a short stroll down Hollywood Boulevard to Sid Grauman’s very first theater, The Egyptian, for the grand premiere of the convention. We saw rare films and celebrity guests at the theater.
Convention: Day Two – Thursday, July 3, 2014
Our second full day of Laurel and Hardywood began at 9 a.m. with the movie location tour. All conventioneers started off by visiting the final resting spots of Oliver and Lucille Hardy (and Ben Price) and Stan and Ida Laurel. We then saw the filming locations of Liberty, Berth Marks, Hog Wild, County Hospital, The Second Hundred Years, and Lucky Dog, to name only a few. The lunch stop offered the opportunity to take part in the pee-wee contest at an actual Laurel and Hardy filming location – Hollenbeck Park. This is where the boys filmed Men o’ War. We had a picnic here and saw the two-reeler right where the movie was filmed! After a full day of touring, we returned to the hotel to get ready for the Grand Banquet at the Hollywood Museum. This museum was located at the former Max Factor Building, just across the street from our hotel. We were greeted with a cocktail as we begin to tour the three floors of movie memorabilia, including the second floor’s 100 Years of Hal Roach Studios exhibit, before eating a wonderful buffet by the famous “Someone’s in the
Kitchen” catering company.
Convention: Day Three – Friday, July 4, 2014
Our third day began at a slower pace with an on-your-own walking tour of Hollywood. This was our chance to stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and check out the stars of Laurel and Hardy, Hal Roach, Billy Gilbert, Mae Busch and many more. We saw the famous Hollywood Mural, which featured our heroes, plus an apartment house that had Mae Busch and Oliver Hardy as tenants. We saw where the boys were surprised for the This Is Your Life TV show as well as where it all took place including the after party. Later, back at the hotel, lectures, the trivia contest and the Grand Council took place before the evening’s Our Gang Reunion with a number of the actors who appeared in The Little Rascals series.
Convention: Day Four – Saturday, July 5, 2014
We started the day off back on the buses… headed to Stan’s beloved Oceana Apartment in Santa Monica before arriving in Culver City. Once there, we entered the Culver Hotel for an on-the-house drink while enjoying the films Putting Pants on Philip and Leave ‘Em Laughing (both of which feature the hotel). Next was a walking tour of downtown Culver City with film locations of Angora Love, Two Tars, Liberty, Hats Off, Bacon Grabbers, We Faw Down and more. Then we had lunch-on-our-own at one of the restaurants that actually appeared in the background of a Laurel and Hardy picture. (Delegates were divided into groups and rotated through the above activities.)
After a brief rest back at the hotel, we visited the Mecca of all Laurel and Hardy films, The Music Box steps. Then we headed to Pottsville for dinner and more fun. The actual Palms Station, which served as the Pottsville Station in Berth Marks, has been restored and moved to Heritage Square in Highland Park. This was also be the location of the Oliver Hardy Putting Contest, the 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Intra-Tent Journal, and the U.S. premiere of the Lucky Dog Theatre’s Hats Off to Laurel and Hardy. We took the official photo of all the Sons who attended every single international convention this evening.
Convention: Day Five – Sunday, July 6, 2014
The final day! The Going Bye-Bye Brunch featured a buffet and the traditional passing of the pineapple. That evening, we returned to the Egyptian Theater for a final screening of more Hal Roach films. And sadly, the convention came to an end.