Laurel and HarDay 2021

Wigan
4 September 

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Julia Barlow captured the atmosphere of the day with her camera. All credit to her for the photos.

 

You can see them at

 

https://www.facebook.com/jasproston

Gary Winstanley reports

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The day commenced at 1pm, hosted by our regular master of ceremonies Ian Parker. We kicked off by showing 20 minutes of highlights from the 2020 "They Go Zoom" Laurel & HarDay, which proved we did actually have a virtual one-day event last year. 

Then began the 2021 Laurel & HarDay, focusing on 100 years of Laurel & Hardy films. A countdown of 100 Laurel & Hardy scenes took place, split into 5 parts throughout the day. Part 1 (100-81) was presented in an 80s "Top of the Pops" style countdown. Part 2 immediately followed, with all clips 80-61 shown in full. 

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We paused for a short time to pose outside for photos for the Wigan Post newspaper. Thanks to journalist (and Dirty Worker) Charles Graham for arranging that. 

 

We then screened our new documentary "Laurel & Hardy's Road to Laughter" which proved very informative for many. We decided that it was the official premiere. The screening at the museum in Ulverston a few weeks ago was just a "preview" * pause for laughter! * 

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Part 3 of the countdown was next, taking us down to number 41. This was followed by a short interval whilst we set up our game show "Blockheadbusters." 

 

At 4pm, just before the game show began, we had a surprise for Chickens Come Home tent's Grand Sheik Dave Wilkinson. At last year's zoom event, Dave was spotted eating a bowl of cornflakes, downed with red wine. We didn't want him to miss his meal, so Ian set the table and presented him with a bowl of cornflakes, a jug of milk and a small bottle of red wine. Dave poured both the milk and wine onto the cornflakes and ate the lot. He enjoyed it too! 

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First up to compete in Blockheadbusters was Antony Mitchell-Waite from the Midnight Patrol of Staffordshire tent (white team) and Mark & Bev Johnson from the Brats tent of Sheffield (blue team.) In a 'best of 3' knockout round, Mark & Bev won the first round. Mark then successfully played a bonus "Goldmine Run" game, winning 'gold' chocolate bars! 

 

During the game, if a player said "I'll have a 'P' please Bob" (aka Ian Parker), celebratory music played, party poppers popped and many people danced! 

 

Mark & Bev remained as players for round 2, where their new opponent was Dougie Brown from Their Purple Moment tent. I had high hopes for Dougie but he wasn't a match for Mark & Bev and was soon eliminated. 

 

Dirty Worker Charles Graham was next to do battle with the Johnsons in a nail biting final round. The score was 1-1. The deciding game was very tense. After a gruelling battle to get a chain on the board, it was, once again Mark & Bev winning the final round (and 2 more successful Goldmine runs), becoming the outright winners. 

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It hadn't gone unnoticed that we didn't have our regular double act team of "Bill & Jupiter" this year. We were saddened of the passing of Kevin Hepplestone (Jupiter) just a few weeks ago, so we remembered him in a special video tribute,  with photos and video clips of him to the instrumental tune of "Drops of Jupiter." 

 

Part 4 of the countdown was next, taking us from 40-21, once again watching all the clips in full. 

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Eric Woods hosted his regular Laurel & Hardy knowledge quiz. It was newcomers to the Laurel & HarDay, the Beau Chumps tent of Sunderland (led by GS Mike Jones) who won the quiz with 18 out of a possible 20 correct answers. Well done chaps. 

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Finally, the top 100 concluded as we watched the top 20 clips, including the number 1 choice. (Sorry, no online spoilers as the countdown is still happening daily on facebook & instagram!) 

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The 25th World Kneesy Earsy Nosey competition was next, with competitors from all over the country. As usual, folk were kicked out for ridiculous reasons. Dave Shephard was first to be booted off because the judges claimed they couldn't see anyone proper "because the light was bouncing off his head!"

It was eventually won by young Dirty Worker Albert Foster. 

The day ended with the loyal toast and the Sons song. Everyone commented how much they enjoyed the day. There was a mixture of old and new faces. The newcomers said they'd definitely be back next year. It was great to get together in person once again. 

 

It is still "an annual event." Please join us next year for an extra special day as we celebrate the 30th! I guarantee it will be packed with lots of Laurel & Hardy fun & laughter.