What is the ‘Sons of the Desert’?
The Sons of the Desert was a fictitious fraternal organisation to which Stan and Ollie belonged in their 1933 feature film also entitled ‘Sons of the Desert’. At Stan’s request the International Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society was based upon this fictitious order. He asked that, in line with the movie, the Appreciation Society should have a desert theme and the fez as its identifying headwear. There is also a ‘coat of arms’, which was formed by founding member and talented artist, Al Kilgore.
Does everyone dress up at meetings?
Not at all. Some wear fezzes but many wear regular clothes — dressy or casual. It’s entirely up to each individual. Whatever you feel comfortable in.
What is an Appreciation Society?
An Appreciation Society is a type of Fan Club where the members meet in order to appreciate the work of an individual, or individuals. In our case that means coming together in order to watch “the boys'” movies.
Do you only watch movies at the meetings? Couldn’t I just watch them at home?
No. We also have games for kids of all ages — 2 to 102! As well as that we toast our heroes, and at the Christmas meeting we have quizzes, colouring-in competitions, spot-the-difference competitions etc. The aim is to have fun and for those who make the effort to come along to enjoy themselves.
Those who are cinema-goers will appreciate the difference it makes to see a movie with a live audience. This is what makes Laurel and Hardy movies come alive and sparkle!
I’m worried that our children will be bored as we watch these old movies many of which are silent.
To be honest when we started up we too worried about the reaction of children who have so much to amuse them nowadays. We need not have worried. The laughs of the children can be heard above everyone else. On enquiring as the children leave the majority always choose the silent movie as their favourite. It seems to be the slapstick that they enjoy the most!