When the idea for a Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society was put to Stan Laurel just before his death in 1965, he embraced the idea enthusiastically but requested that the society should be based on the mock ‘secret’ society parodied in their 1933 movie of the same name The Sons of the Desert, and that it should have, in Stan’s own words, “a half-assed dignity about it”. Accordingly, everything about the society has a desert theme, including each individual branch, or chapter, which is known as a ‘tent’!
Our tent, The Another Fine Mess Tent of Northern Ireland, was ‘foundered’ in November 2004 and held its first meeting on Monday 21 February 2005 to mark the 40th anniversary of Stan Laurel’s death on 23rd February 2005.
Membership has steadily increased since then: by the end of the second meeting, on Saturday 21 May 2005, the tent had 36 members; and, at the end of ten years numbers had swollen to almost 200! [Gee…is that as much as 1000? Why, man alive, it’s twice as much!]
Tent membership comes mainly from Northern Ireland, but we also have members from across Ireland and the British Isles as well as further afield, predominantly in the USA. Members are welcome from anywhere across the globe.
Our meetings are now held at the Maynard Sinclair Pavilion (the NI Civil Service Social Club) within the beautiful and perfectly manicured grounds at Stormont. Our meeting room is conducive to members casually meeting one another and having a good old chin-wag! It also, importantly for us, is child-friendly. The room has floor to ceiling windows that open out onto raised decking, which in turn look out over Stormont’s international cricket ground. Finally, there is a private bar in the room and the price of drinks is subsidised, so we can enjoy our “cocktails” at every meeting…need we say any more?
Our meetings provide good, clean family entertainment, and families are particularly welcome, with special membership rates and reduced admittance charges helping to encourage families to leave behind Saturday TV once every quarter for an evening in the company of two very special gentlemen…and we don’t mean Keith and Gerry!
For details about membership please click here.
We hope you enjoy our site and welcome comments from anyone who visits on any subject (Laurel-and-Hardy-related that is of course!). We also welcome correspondence from anyone and always like to hear from people of all nationalities and backgrounds who appreciate the work of Stan and Babe.
Here’s to the memory of Laurel and Hardy and to all of those around the world who are doing their bit to keep their memory and their work alive!