Nick Rich RIP
Nick Rich passed away on 16th January. Long-standing readers will recall Nick being a frequent contributor to Bowler Dessert over the years.
Nick’s mum and dad, Jan and Russell write...
Nick had been unwell for some time but it was still a shock when he passed. Nick went very peacefully with Jan by his side. We shall miss him so much.”
Russell and Jan Rich
We too will miss Nick. We have lost a good friend of many years’ standing.
Spaces available at UK Convention
You will have heard that we have had to find a new hotel for this year’s UK Convention in Birmingham. We found out a couple of days before Christmas that our original hotel were pulling out.
We have managed to secure a fantastic new hotel, but it has meant moving the convention back a week. It is now Fri 10th to Mon 13th May.
Originally the convention was fully booked within 24 hours. However, this change of date has meant some of our delegates have had to cancel their place, so we have a few spaces available!
Please could you put the word out to see if anyone would be interested in booking a place at the convention. We have Twin and Double rooms on offer (no Singles).
John and Mandy
Proposed L&H statue in Harlem cancelled
The fundraising efforts to place a life-sized statue of Laurel & Hardy in Babe’s home town has come to a close and donations are being returned. Details on the circumstances are multiple, with lack of local government support for the project a substantial factor. The City of Harlem moved the Laurel & Hardy Museum out of its own building, merging the facility with the Columbia County Museum in 2019 inside the city’s newly-renovated Columbia Theater. L&H displays were greatly reduced and County officials seem to have little interest in Stan and Babe.
Volunteers with knowledge of L&H have been pushed aside under the County’s control, and home town hero Oliver Norvell “Babe” Hardy and his slim partner Stan Laurel are no longer the feature attraction in town. Harlem resident, former Minnesotan (still a Block-Head), and outstanding woodworking wizard Gary Oliver Russeth started the campaign to place a statue in Harlem, and with Jacksonville, Florida SOD member Roy Rioux, spearheaded the drive. Now, they regretfully throw in the towel as fundraising efforts have been stymied. Roy and Gary have donated innumerable hours and their own funds in their efforts and deserve our heartfelt appreciation.
A rival City/County drive is reportedly ongoing, but there is no communication with the Sons of the Desert regarding the efforts and no SOD representative is on their statue committee.
The cost of the proposed statue was $91,500 — a monumental goal which had only been fractionally reached so far. A less-expensive bronze plaque may be designed as an alternate tribute to Babe in his home town.
An advert appeared on eBay for a 'supposedly' authentic Sons fez, from the actual film. One of the photos in the eBay advert is a theatre poster for the Boys’ 'curtailed' appearance at Plymouth.
On the same bill was Harry Worth, then a ventriloquist act.
The fez is said to have come from his collection.
Interesting that we should have been talking about that very venue recently (see previous Bulletin).
I'd like to know the story of how it came to belong to Harry Worth. The story about the Boys talking to him, and advising him to concentrate on the comedy is well known.
But it's unlikely they would have a fez with them (from many years before) to give to him. More like that he obtained it from a sale or auction, as a nice little reminder of his meeting them.
I wonder if they were Water Rats together?
I agree that I doubt that Harry Worth owned a Fez. I don't think that Harry Worth was a Water Rat and I have checked their website and he is not shown. When I have been at GOWR events, I have never heard it mentioned that he was a Rat. I will be at a GOWR show in Great Yarmouth next month and will check this out.
The attached photo was taken on 18th January 1954 at the Royal Theatre, Portsmouth. Harry Worth is right in the centre of the photo. Stan, Ollie, their wives and the supporting cast can also be seen helping Ollie enjoy his 62nd birthday. Another photo taken of Ollie cutting the cake is attached but only part of Harry’s head can be seen! Harry is quite unmistakable, even back then. But no sign of 'the fez’.
Laurel and HarDay announced
Night Owls Tent of Oldham
March of the Wooden Soldiers book
The book is amazing and Mike Jones’s review is a lovely tribute. Click here.
I have a colourised version of the movie on DVD and it is (to my mind) the only case when adding colour to a L&H movie improved it. Now, Randy's book lifts the film into an even higher level as I can appreciate much more of the background of a somewhat strange movie.
Greetings from Bury Park
I am a bit of a fan of Bruce Springsteen. His first studio album was called ‘Greetings from Asbury Park’ A couple of years ago I saw the funny and touching film ‘Blinded by the Light’, about a young Pakistani boy growing up in Luton (which he hates) and having parents who do not want to adapt to an English way of life and disapprove of his love of Bruce Springsteen music.
The story was loosely based on the early life of writer, journalist and broadcaster, Sarfaz Manzoor, who was inspired by the film to write a biography ‘Greetings from Bury Park’, about his early life . You never know when L&H will make an appearance, but they do in the paragraph attached.
The film and book are both recommended.