Originally created 08/20/05

Calling all Laurel and Hardy fans

Denise Carter needs 12 men in coconut cups and hula skirts and a few hundred free pies to throw at people's faces.

And that's just for starters.

Ms. Carter and other Laurel and Hardy fans from around the world are brainstorming in Augusta this weekend to cement plans for the Sons of the Desert 15th International Convention taking place in July in both Augusta and Harlem, the birthplace of Oliver Hardy.

Sons of the Desert refers to the 1933 film of the same name in which Laurel and Hardy travel to a lodge convention. In a case of life imitating art, fans formed their own Sons of the Desert group. Local chapters are called tents, just like in the film.

Berth Marks, the Harlem tent, achieved the coveted Glass Pineapple last year, which signifies the host city for the convention, said Ms. Carter, Berth Marks Grand Sheik.

High jinks will include a hula dance - stealing from a scene from Sons of the Desert. The only twist is that men will be dancing.

"Oh, they'll love that," said Sheran Rioux, a Sons of the Desert member from Florida helping plan the festivities.

"We want 12, but six will do," Berth Marks member Linda Caldwell said.

Participants also need hundreds of pies to use in a re-creation of a pie fight in the film Battle of the Century.

To avoid broken noses, Ms. Carter is hoping to avoid metal tins, she said.

Members are also planning the wedding of an English couple in front of the Laurel & Hardy Museum during the convention, Berth Marks member Kathy Ham said.

No convention would be complete without a surviving member or two from Our Gang, which was produced by the same studio as Laurel and Hardy films.

You can't get Laurel and Hardy anymore, but you can get the child actors they starred with.

This year, Gordon "Porky" Lee will be on hand, and that's o-tay.

Reach Tony Lombardo at (706) 823-3227 or tony.lombardo@augustachronicle.com.

Anyone have a few hundred pies?

To help with the Sons of the Desert 15th International Convention, call Kathy Ham in the Laurel & Hardy Museum at (706) 556-0401. The event will be July 12-16.


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