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Tributes to Chris Coffey


Without Chris my life as a Son would never have been and although in recent years I haven't been part of a tent for personal reasons I remember the glory days of Bacon Grabbers and of the HarDay with fondness. My interview with him at the first HarDay has gone into Sons folklore for the quote 'It's An Annual Event'.


Thank you and goodnight, Chris


 Stephen Barlow 

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Those of us who remember his best efforts, sometimes ending in a pile of tangled wires and blown fuses, will dearly miss him.


My abiding memory of Chris was meeting him, Norman, & Charlie (who were inseparable at the time) at one of the early Stockport Beer festivals.

He was stood in a corner, drink in hand, having already "made progress”.

He was berating me, for getting drunk at conventions, and at the Laurel & HarDays. As he did so, he slowly slid down the wall, until with a bump, he sat on the floor. He never spilled a drop. I'm sure Norman will 

remember… He had to try and get him back on his feet. Happy days.


 Dave Williamson 


He was a stalwart in the Sons. I have lots of happy memories of being in his company at many events.

 Roger Robinson 


As most of you know, Chris had been disabled in a wheelchair for at least ten years. On one occasion Chris went to America on his own which really did impress me. What amazing self confidence and determination he had to overcome his disability. 


Chris was an inspiration to a lot of people and because of his disability would not let that stop him from carrying on as much as he could. A glass will be raised to Chris at our birthday meeting. R.I.P. Chris.


 Dave Dearle 



The St Helens Star pays tribute to Chris at

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Yorkshire Silent Film Festival 


The 2022 Yorkshire Silent Film Festival takes place in venues across Yorkshire in Octember.


Several shows feature a Laurel and Hardy film, accompanying the likes of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.


 John Burton 

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Call of the Cuckoos Tent


The Call of the Cuckoos Tent completed our 2022 season at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow on 5th October. It was ouir first season back following two years of pandemic lockdowns and it was our fifteenth such, successful season. The weather was foul, railway workers were on strike, but plenty of mirth was in the air as Stan an Ollie battled against all odds.


 Willie McIntyre 

Tony's collection


My pal and fellow Grand Sheik, Tony Hillman of the Hog Wild Tent of Bishop Auckland UK - the town where Stan was christened in 1891 - has a massive collection of all sorts of film related ephemera built up over many years.


He asked if I could mention to our readers that if they collect anything film-wise (non-Laurel and Hardy, that is) such as film scene stills, star portraits, campaign books, film annuals and other books on films and film stars, he is starting to dispose of them.


If there is anything that you are perhaps looking for, drop him a line at, or you could call him on 01325 354391, (+44 1325 354391 if not in the UK).


The best time to call is any time on a weekend apart from Sat morning and any time during the week after 6 pm.


 Mike Jones 

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Chase DVD


Roger Robinson tells us that later this month the fourth volume of the Charley Chase shorts DVD, containing six 1929 films, will be released.



Eric Schultz writes, “I preordered it as soon as I knew it was available, and will soon have my copy. Tuesday is the official release date. The other 3 Chase sets are wonderful: excellent picture + sound quality, and each one has a Spanish-language version of a Chase film, where we hear Charley deliver his lines in Spanish.


Publicity material proclaims:


Charley Chase begins his sound film career in these very rare six surviving talkies from the Dawn of Sound, his first for Hal Roach. Unseen for 90 years. It is in these shorts that Charley meets his greatest leading lady, the lovely Thelma Todd, and gets himself into some very pre-code situations including spending the night in a cabin loaded with a bevy of beautiful girls, evading passes by his girlfriend's mother, and doing interesting things with a mule! Thelma Todd in a skimpy leopard Danskin is worth the price of admission!

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Magic in Ulverston

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Men o’ War Tent 

We've got the next meeting lined up at Brantham Village Hall with a theme loosely linked to Halloween - the selected films feature a graveyard, a ghost, dressing up and a noisy night-time break-in. In the spirit of the season, we'll also be offering a prize for the best Laurel and Hardy themed 'fancy dress'.  Dressing up is optional but a simple accessory (fez, bowler?) could be your finishing touch towards a prize!


 Paul Harding 

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Beau Chumps Tent

Our next meeting is next Wednesday, 12th Octember at 730pm at the Ashbrooke Sports Club as usual. All are welcome and entry is, as always, free. Films on the evening will be Sugar Daddies, Another Fine Mess and Block-Heads and we'll have this years' Christmas Cards and some new mugs too.

 Mike Jones 

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On the telly


Brighton Hippodrome


Earlier this year, Charlie Sunda, Grand Sheik of Why Girls Love Sailors Tent in Brighton, happened to walk past the Brighton Hippodrome, which has been boarded up for a few years and looking a bit sorry for itself. A door was open and he took this photo. We didn’t have any further information about the building’s future. Today I received the latest edition of ‘The Call Boy’. It’s the magazine of the British Music Hall Society, although the title could suggest a different interest!! Laurel and Hardy appeared at the theatre in 1952 and 1954, so it is indeed great news that this historic and famous theatre will come back to life. I would certainly like to be there for the first show


 Roger Robinson 

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Sixty years after it last hosted a live concert, The Brighton Hippodrome will open again as a performance venue on November 2024. A "Best of Brighton” week is planned as the opening event with a mixture of comedy, cabaret and music. The Hippodrome first opened in 1896 and over the years the building has been used as a theatre, ice rink, circus and bingo hail. The building closed in 2006.



Thanks for posting the Mastermind questions on Bowler Dessert Online. To be honest I found them rather simple, and believe me, I wouldn't dream of entering a convention quiz, with my rather limited knowledge. 


But I suppose after prolonged exposure to the films, some things must sink in. 

Of course it's very easy to set questions that no one will ever be able to get right. 

So the BBC have to get a balance. If only to keep the audience interested, that’s to say, someone watching might say "I knew that.”


But I'm sure I remember Harry Hoppe winning through to a German TV quiz final (where money was at stake). Those questions were considerably harder. 


I always thought Mastermind was considered rather academic, and its contestants expected to be very knowledgeable on their specialist subject?


It's been many years since I watched any television, but I do get the impression these questions were part of an ever increasing "dumbing down”.


Here endeth my dissertation. Thank you for your patience.


 Dave Williamson 

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...and finally

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