I had the privilege this month of seeing for the first time what is now my favorite Laurel and Hardy film: SONS OF THE DESERT! What a great film it is too. The premise is fairly simple as the boys belong to a sorority called “Sons of the Desert”, where they want to go to the major convention in Chicago, but are held up by their wives who want to take a trip to the mountains. Through the faking of illness and a fake doctors request that the boys take a cruise to Hawaii, their plan works and the boys head out to Chicago. There’s just one little hitch: the ship to Hawaii sinks.
That’s just one of the twists, but it hardly gives away all the great gags set up through the film. One of the finer moments of the film is a cameo appearance by legendary comedian Charlie Chase, who is terrific as a practical joker “Son’s” member. Rounding out at about 60 minutes…man, it’s difficult to write reviews of films you love but don’t want to spoil for everyone. This is pretty much the definitive Laurel and Hardy film, next to March of the Wooden Soldiers. Just go see it. Find it on Netflix if you can. It’s awesome.
One of the things I wanted to mention is that this film spawned the real “Sons of the Desert” club, which is in fact the official worldwide Laurel and Hardy club. I’m a member of the Hollywood Party tent which meets every two months at the Hollywood Heritage museum across from the Hollywood Bowl. One of our members is the founding member of Sons of the Desert, Chuck McCann, who in his 80’s, still performs for us and insists that we, “get more members into our tent!” He means our Hollywood Party tent, which is about a year old. It’s a great joy to be a part of this club. If you’re ever interested in joining our tent, check out the (Hollywood Party Website. Our club runs films from the legendary Hal Roach Studios, so you’ll get to see stuff such as the Our Gang Comedies, Charlie Chase, Laurel and Hardy, just to name a few. Feel free to check it out if you have a love for classic comedy teams.