Lois Laurel Hawes
The Laurel and Hardywood Convention is pleased and honored to announce the first celebrity guest of the convention: None other than Stan Laurel’s lovely daughter, Lois Laurel Hawes! Lois along with her late husband Tony Hawes has been a special friend to Sons all over the world attending other Sons conventions, banquets and meetings for decades. Her last convention appearance was in Sacramento. We are especially excited that Lois and members of her family will be attending the convention and staying at the host hotel to work in as many appearances through the convention as possible. We are thrilled that Lois’ granddaughter Cassidy and her twins Lucille and Tommy will be among the members of the Laurel Family in attendance at the convention.
Dickie Jones (CANCELED)
Laurel and Hardywood is thrilled to announce that Dickie Jones will attend the Going Bye-Bye farewell brunch of the convention.
Dick appeared with Laurel and Hardy in Babes in Toyland and was featured in several Our Gang Comedies. He starred as Henry Aldrich in the hit radio series The Aldrich Family. On TV, he co-starred with Jock Mahoney in The Range Rider and starred in the Buffalo Bill Jr. program for Gene Autry Productions. Dick was James Stewart’s page in the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and the voice of Pinocchio in the Disney classic, for which he was named a Disney Legend.
Dick and his lovely wife, Betty, attended numerous Way Out West Tent meetings and banquets over the years. It’s an honor to welcome Dick to the convention.
The former Priscilla Montgomery and her husband Bud Clark will make their second Sons of the Desert appearance during Laurel and Hardywood. (They attended a San Diego Saps at Sea meeting a year ago along with Patsy Currier and Payne Johnson.) Priscilla was in about a half dozen Our Gang Comedies including Our Gang Follies of 1938 (as Dickie Jones’ dance partner), Rushin’ Ballet, Aladdin’s Lamp and Ye Olde Minstrels. She also appeared in the classic film A Wonderful Life and was a child munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. We are pleased that Bud and Priscilla will attend the Our Gang Reunion of 2014.
We are thrilled to announce the first Sons appearance ever of Ralph Platz who appeared with Laurel and Hardy in the film, “The Bullfighters”. Ralph is the son of Mae Giraci who was a child actress in silent films from 1915 to 1929. She was discovered by Cecil B. DeMille, and worked with him and his brother, William.
Explaining how he became involved in motion pictures, Ralph states, “When I was a child, my mother signed me up with the Screen Actors’ Guild. Until I was about 12 years old, I worked from time to time in the various studios of Hollywood as an “extra” or as a “stand-in.”
“One day, when they were looking for a “Mexican” boy in filming The Bullfighters, I happened to have a close enough approximation to the appearance they were seeking.”
As child actor Dickie DeNeut, Richard appeared in nine Our Gang Comedies at the Hal Roach Studios including General Spanky, Fishy Tales, Aladdin’s Lamp, Two Too Young and the Oscar-winning Bored of Education. Richard also authored “As I Am” with Patricia Neal (her autobiography) and “Inside Hollywood: 60 Years of Globe Photos.” Recently, he co-wrote “The Ear of the Heart” with Mother Dolores Hart, a former actress who left a successful film career to become a nun. Richard DeNeut will make his first Sons of the Desert appearance at the Our Gang Reunion on July 4th.
Leon Tyler (CANCELED)
Leon Tyler was a child actor who appeared in several of the MGM Our Gang Comedies. He appeared along with Terry Moore and Buz Buckley as one of the child watching Dante the Magician perform in Laurel and Hardy’s A Haunting We Will Go. As he grew up Leon was a semi-regular on Father Knows Best and the Jack Benny Program. In the sixties he appeared in some of Walt Disney’s live action films including The Absent Minded Professor and Son of Flubber. Laurel and Hardywood marks Leon’s first ever appearance at a Sons event and we are thrilled he will be with us.
Betsy is a “new find” for the Sons and will make her Sons of the Desert debut during the convention. Betsy worked on and off with the Rascals from 1934-38. She appeared in the Marx Brothers’ “At the Circus” and in the film, “Tom Sawyer.” As she got older, her singing talents (mostly Western) landed her on the Jimmy Wakely, Don Ameche and Spade Cooley radio shows. In television, she was a regular on “Town Hall Party” from 1954-56 and “Country America” from 1957-59. She even sang with Andy Clyde in one of his films in 1941. You can go to Hillbilly-Music.com to learn more about Betsy’s career.
Sid Kibrick (CANCELED)
“The Woim” will attend his second Sons of the Desert Convention when he appears at Laurel and Hardywood. Child actor Sid Kibrick, who was Butch’s sidekick, “Woim,” will join the fun for the Our Gang Reunion on the Fourth of July. He and his older brother, Leonard (who passed away in 1993) were cast as heavies in the series. As one of the most recognizable members of the Little Rascals, Sid was in 26 of the films including the Oscar-winning short, “Bored of Education,” along with “Glove Taps,” “Rushin’ Ballet” and “Pigskin Palooka.” He also appeared in the classic, “Dead End,” with Joel McCrea and Humphrey Bogart. We are absolutely thrilled that Sid will be among the guests for what is shaping up to be the biggest reunion of Little Rascals in years!
Joan Del Mar
Laurel and Hardywood is pleased to announce actress Joan Del Mar will attend this July’s convention. Joan was 6½ years old when she started in show business. At the age of 8, she appeared as the football game timekeeper in the Laurel and Hardy film “Nothing But Trouble.” She remembers the fun she had on that two-day shoot. At age 11, Joan joined the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) and enjoyed a career in radio appearing on “The Jack Benny Show.” She left the business to get married and raise two sons and then rejoined the profession she loved in 1993. Although Joan and her family have attended Way Out West Tent meetings and banquets over the years, this is her first convention appearance!
As child actress Peggy Lynch, she appeared in a handful of Hal Roach Our Gang films. It was Eddie Cantor who suggested she change her name during the filming of “If You Knew Susie” — thus Margaret Kerry was “born.” She starred in the TV show “The Ruggles” and appeared in two episodes of the “Andy Griffith Show.” As a voice-over artist, she provided talent for “Clutch Cargo” and “Three Stooges” cartoons. Although Margaret has attended numerous Way Out West events, this will mark her first international convention of the Sons!
Mildred Gene Kornman, aka Ricki VanDusen, one of the first supermodels of the fifties, is the sister of famed “Our Gang” member Mary Kornman. Mildred played along side of the some of the most memorable characters of the early “Our Gangers” such as Robert “Weezer” Hutchins, Allen”Farina” Hoskins, Johnny Downs, Mickey Daniels and the lovable Joe Cobb. As an adult, she enjoyed a career in films at 20th Century Fox under her new stage name of Ricki VanDusen. Ricki would appear in such movies as “Up In Arms” 1944, “Dolly Sisters” 1945 (available on VHS) with Betty Grable and June Harver, “Cinderella Jones” 1946, and “Diamond Horseshoe” 1945, also with Betty Grable.
Actor Payne Johnson will attend his second Sons of the Desert International Convention during Laurel and Hardywood this July. Although Payne is known to Laurel and Hardy fans as “Jiggs,” the first little pig in “Babes in Toyland,” he appeared in more than 100 motion pictures including such classics as “Pride of the Yankees,” “Skippy,” “Dante’s Inferno,” “Drums Along the Mohawk,” “The Road to Singapore” and “The Blue Bird.” His siblings also were much in demand in films. His brother, Cullen, appeared with Our Gang and his older brother was popular character actor Dick Winslow. Payne’s Our Gang films included “The Our Gang Follies of 1938″ and “Aladdin’s Lantern.” He was one of the kids in the crowd in “Pigskin Palooka,” which was filmed in front of the Palms Station (Pottsville). He will be on hand the night that we “Party at Pottsville”.
Although she as little memory of the experience she was the baby in Laurel and Hardy film, “Their First Mistake” in 1932. Here other film appearances include “Tess of the Storm Country” with Janet Gayner and Charles Farrell; “Life Begins” with Loretta Young. Playing what else? A baby! She was hired to be the baby in “Secrets” with Mary Pickford but cried each time she was picked up and finally fired washing up her career at the very tender age of two. Here is your chance to meet someone that has appeared with the boys that has never been to a convention before!
Lassie Lou Ahern
Lassie’s show business career began in 1921! She wasn’t much older than one year old when she started modeling and appearing in ads. In 1923 she along with her older sister Peggy appeared in Universal’s “Call of the Wild” and the next year she was in the Helen Holmes Serial. Among her Our Gang Films at Hal Roach Studios were “Fast Company,” “Julio Jr.,” “Sun Down Unlimited,” and “Thundering Fleas” which also featured James Finlayson, Charley Chase and Oliver Hardy. Lassie also co-starred with Chase in “Sweet Daddy,” “Family Entrance” and “Hollywood Party.” Although Lassie and her late sister Peggy appeared at many meetings and banquets over the years at the Way Out West Tent, this will be Lassie’s first Sons of the Desert International Convention and we are thrilled to have her!
We are pleased to announce the return of Leonard Landy to Hollywood this time as one of the Laurel and Hardywood Convention’s celebrity guests. Len’s first Sons of the Desert event was the Our Gang Reunion at the Hollywood ’80 Convention. Since that time, he attended several Way Out West Tent banquets and meetings. Len was known as “Percy” in many of the 21 Our Gang Comedies he appeared in from 1938-1941. He began his Little Rascals career at Hal Roach Studios with “Feed ‘Em and Weep” and finished up at MGM Studios after Roach sold the series. His last Our Gang role was in the film “Fighting Fools.”
Bill Minderhout will make his first-ever appearance at a public film event during this July’s Laurel and Hardywood Convention. Appearing in over a half dozen Hal Roach Our Gang comedies as “Billy Mindy,” including “Came the Brawn” and “Fishy Tales,” Billy was most famous for being the talented tap dancing sailor in “The Lucky Corner” and for attempting to recite “Peter Piper” for Spanky in “Pinch Singer.” He also was Spanky’s chauffeur in “The Our Gang Follies of 1938.”
Chuck McCann (CANCELED) & Jim MacGeorge
Chuck and Jim-Together Again! Jim MacGeorge is an actor/comedian who did the voice of Oliver Hardy in the Laurel and Hardy cartoons. He also supplied the voice for Uncle Captain Horatio K. Huffenpuff in Beany and Cecil. He was a charter member of the Way Out West Tent attending the tent’s very first meeting. And of course we all remember and appreciate Jim as he appeared in so many commercials with Chuck as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy!
Besides being a Founding Member of the Sons of the Desert, Chuck McCann has appeared in hundreds of movies and TV shows. The Projectionist, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Duck Tales, Boston Legal and Far Out Space Nuts to name but a few. Chuck’s local TV show in New York City, Laurel and Hardy and Chuck brought the boys to a whole new generation. And everyone remembers those funny Right Guard commercials of the 1970’s (Hi Guy!). We are all in for a treat as Chuck and Jim take the stage! They will perform at the Farewell Brunch and add excitement and fun to the climax of the conclave.
Actor/Comedian Grammy and Tony nominee Orson Bean will make his Convention debut at opening night of Laurel and Hardywood. Orson, a Founding Member of the Sons, has attended meetings and banquets of some of the tents over the years but this is his first convention and we are honored to have him.Orson was a staple on game shows in their hay day appearing on Match Game, Password, Concentration and To Tell the Truth to name but a few. Among Orson’s other credits are Being John Malkovich, Normal, Ohio, The Twilight Zone, Desperate Housewives and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.
Stan and Hunter Freberg
The Laurel and Hardywood Convention is excited to announce the appearance of Hunter and Stan Freberg to the list of growing stars at Laurel and Hardywood. Stan appeared in my favorite film, “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. They will appear Friday afternoon and stick around for the autograph session following the group shot of the Little Rascals. They will bring goodies for puchase as well. Attendees may bring their own Stan Freberg collection and he will sign each item for a fee. Their website is hunterfrebergltd.com.
Betty Goulding is the widow of Alfred Goulding, the director of Laurel and Hardy’s A Chump at Oxford. She has been a long-time member of the Way Out West Tent and a loyal Son. She will attend the convention’s Sunday night film program at the Egyptian Theatre.
Booth Colman will join us at the July 2 Egyptian Theatre film program. A respected actor who has appeared on Broadway with Basil Rathbone, Fredric March and many others, he also was a very close friend of Stan Laurel. Booth worked in numerous films such as The Comancheros with John Wayne; The Errand Boy with Jerry Lewis; and the classic sci-fi film Them! with Gordon Douglas. His TV writing credits are among classic TV’s very best: The Rifleman, The Wild, Wild West, Star Trek, Mission Impossible,I Dream of Jeannie and The Monkees.
Rene Beard was the younger brother of Matthew “Stymie” Beard, Carlena Beard, Betty Jane Beard and Bobbie Beard. In 1947, when producer Hal Roach was looking for a new group of Rascals for the film Curley, former Rascal Matthew Beard brought 6-year-old Rene to audition. Rene won the part of “Dis” in the films Curley and Who Killed Doc Robbin. He also appeared in Pulp Fiction and Pinky.