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Uklverston beer success

Laughing Gravy from the Ulverston Brewing Company has won a bronze medal at the Great British Beer Festival. In effect it has been voted 3rd best bitter in Britain.


John Burton

New play 


In 1910, the unknown Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel set sail for New York as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe. On this journey, Charlie and Stan shared a cabin and then spent two years together touring North America, with Stan as Charlie’s understudy. Stan returned home, later finding success with his soulmate Oliver Hardy. Charlie developed his Little Tramp character and within five years became one of the most famous figures in the world.

In Charlie Chaplin’s highly detailed autobiography, Stan Laurel is never mentioned. Stan talked about Charlie all his life.

Playing fast and loose with the facts and with an original piano score composed by Mercury Award Nominee Zoe Rahman - played live by an on-stage pianist The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel is no nostalgic bio-drama, but a hilarious and deeply moving homage to two men who changed the world of comedy forever.

The events in this play are fictional. This play is certainly not endorsed by the estates of Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, or anyone else for that matter!

Beau Chumps Tent website

Mike Jones is a valued contributor to Bowler Dessert Online, but Mike also puts a lot of care and work into the site of the Beau Chumps Tent and it clearly shows. Do pay it regular visits as there is always lots of information of general interest.

Ronnie returns


When the Call of the Cuckoos Tent had their meeting at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow on 7th August, the tent was delighted to see Ronnie Paton. It was Ronnie Paton who “discovered” the Panopticon for the Sons of the Desert way back in 1984 when he took fellow tent members Bill Crouch and Willie McIntyre inside the building for the first time. It was in those days being used as a store for the shoe shop below. 


The three chaps had no idea that one day the Panopticon would be preserved and gradually restored as a music hall.  But the Sons of the Desert were to play a pivotal role in making that happen - and they are still doing that to this day. It is great to see audiences enjoying the films of Stan and Ollie on the big screen there.

Bill, Ronnie and Willie and the Panopticon this month

2021 Centenary


Eric Schultz has some observations on the logo for the 2021 Centenary:


The Centenary Logo really looks great. Still, a few things should be pointed out.


The two bowlers are symbolic of the team of L&H, but they didn't become a team until 1927. "The Lucky Dog" was an isolated occurrence, and they didn't wear bowlers in that film. It wasn't until "Do Detectives Think?" in 1927 that they donned the bowlers.


Writing "1921-2021" makes it appear that from 1921 on, they were together as a team, but that isn't true. In Stan's own words, he didn't see Babe Hardy again for a few years after "The Lucky Dog". It is common knowledge that it wasn't until the summer of 1927 that L&H became a team.


I'm all in favor of a worldwide recognition of 2021 as being a century since the first time that Stan and Babe performed together. I'm all in favor of public screenings and other such events to call attention to L&H as the greatest comedy team of all. If more people are introduced to L&H, that is a good thing.


It's just inaccurate and incorrect to say that the team was formed in 1921, and that from that time on, they were together, because we all know that they would not appear together until "Duck Soup" was filmed late in 1926 (they never appeared in a single shot together in "45 Minutes From Hollywood"). Even then, they wouldn't act like a team again until "Do Detectives Think?", some months later.


Anyway, those are my thoughts. It will be great to celebrate a century since their first time together, but let's not say that the teaming was in 1921.

As I said, the logo looks great, and whoever designed it did some good work. I hope that it can be used again in 2027, when it will be 100 years since their teaming.

Hats Off (Documentary)


Been looking through the YouTube and came across this film. It tells of the Boys from birth to grave and all the marriages in between.


Peter Jones


Programme notes:

There are few film stars who are genuinely loved by their audiences, but back in the days of the silent movie, a comedy duo enjoyed that from the very beginning. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, with their gentle mixture of slapstick and technical skill, brought laughter to millions through the 20th Century and are still continuing to generate laughter to this very day. Yet, like so many of the truly great Kings of Comedy, Laurel and Hardy often found it difficult to find laughter, peace, and contentment in their own lives and the story of the men behind the carefully constructed masks is both enlightening and entertaining. This program is a delightful celebration of the magic of Laurel and Hardy and a rare glimpse into the private lives of these two enigmatic men. From their earliest beginnings through to their final curtain calls, enjoy getting up close and personal with Stan and Ollie. It’s a relationship that started as a business arrangement and blossomed into one of the truest friendships Hollywood has ever known. Whether you’re young or simply young at heart, enjoy stepping back in time to discover the true story of Laurel and Hardy where fact will prove equally as fascinating as fiction.

Brats’ curry

The Brats Tent held their Annual Curry Night at the end of July. Well attended as ever we had a great meal in the 7 Spices Balti in Sheffield centre.


John Burton 

Ollie’s Burgers


I was pleased to visit the soon to open Ollies Burgers establishment on August 6th. This will be a sit-down diner with an attached takeaway that will open in mid-September and is owned and run by Phil Holt. Named 'Ollies' after his grandmother’s surname of Oliver with more than a little bit of Laurel and Hardy appreciation, a picture of yours truly and owner Phil Holt is below.


The tent will be loaning the life-sized canvases of Stan and Ollie that were donated by Ray Hall and these will complement the murals as you will see from the attached photos, and if anyone has any memorabilia they would be happy to be displayed in the venue, please let me know. Phil is dead keen to join the Chumps and will be at the meeting on Weds 14th with his wife.


Life-sized Stan and Ollie mannequins will stand outside the front door under the above yellow signage when Ollies is open, and I had to take the opportunity to have a photo taken with thes, which are currently under lock and key in the warehouse!


The shop will also sell pizza and cakes on a takeaway basis, and the venue will be doing cooked English breakfasts in the morning. As soon as I know the opening date I will let you know, but Phil is leaving things until after the school summer holidays as he wants a steady but sure start. I have of course let him know that he can rely on our support, and will see what I can do regarding a 'Sons of the Desert discount' etc.


I suggested a Laurel and Hardy themed menu and would appreciate any thoughts anyone has to name a Burger, Pizza, Breakfast, Cake etc. Please get back to me asap! 


Ollies Burgers will be found on Front Street, New Herrington, DH4 7AU. The local NISA is next door.


Mike Jones

On the telly


Talking Pictures are showing The Big Noise on Saturday 31st August at 10.25am. On Sunday 1st September at 5.25am they are showing again the This is Your Life episode.


Will hope to report on some new films being shown other than the regular ones that appear all the time, as I have emailed Talking Pictures to ask if they will be showing "new" to air films.


Peter Jones

Fred's view


I had a recent trip to Australia, visiting family in Melbourne, only to discover that I am one of those who can't sleep on a long haul flight. 


All was not lost, however. Qatar Airways had The Stolen Jools and 45 Minutes From Hollywood amongst their entertainment menu, so it was good to catch up with the Boys at 40000 feet.  


Stewart and I had a Fringe day [in Edinburgh], and managed to see Mr Laurel & Mr Hardy I'd recommend it if you haven't seen it already, although it's only on until 13th August. 


I've also got tickets for The Laurel & Hardy Cabaret with Philip & Tony on 23rd August, and Basil Brush: Unleashed (yes really).


Fred Terris

Fin’s waistcoat


I have just returned from Gloucestershire via the L&H Museum in Ulverston. Mark at the Museum allowed me a special hands-on experience with a waistcoat worn by James Finlayson in Night Owls.


Alistair Young

Found by Roger Robinson


Roger writes:  


Sometimes I think I have too much time on my hands to make these discoveries!


The Adventures of Laughing Gravy


by David Houston

Also a Stan & Ollie Festival on Amazon.

Fantasy league


As the English premier league kicks off, for a bit of fun and banter through the season up to the 2020 UK Convention, I have created a league called Another Fine Mess aimed at Sons of the Desert to participate should anyone be interested.


Sons can join by clicking on “Fantasy Premier League, Official Fantasy Football Game of the Premier League 2019/20". Free to play fantasy football game, set up your fantasy football team.


I appreciate that this may not be of interest to many but if anyone is interested the code to join the private league on the site is yyr9qm (Participants have to register their team before joining the league).


John Burton 

Men o’ War

I remember that some of the lake used in the film Men o’ War no longer exists. There’s a freeway built next to the lake and it removed some of the lake and at least one of the bridges. I think that one with criss-cross wood is missing now. 

A few scenes can be identified due to the curves in the pond , sometimes trees (not easy) and the hill.


I think the foundations of the boat house are still there (can see it in my pics) but the boathouse building is gone.


Glynne MacDonald

Smile, please

Have you ever wondered why AJ always looked a little morose and hardly moved in the footage of Stan visiting him in 1932? I certainly had, and if you're the same and didn't know, Alan Kent has come up with the answer - as usual on Facebook. Apparently, and according to Lois, "Stan's father is motionless for a considerable time, then you see Stan turn to his father, say a few words, then AJ turns to Stan. Apparently Stan is explaining to his dad that he can move because the camera being used is taking running film and not stills, so if you look closely his dad turns to Stan and says, ‘Oh’ and then Stan laughs.” 


In Stan's dad’s day cameras were very primitive and only took still photos. It is so clear where the penny drops with AJ and then he loosens up and clowns for the camera with Stan. Great stuff!


Mike Jones