Laurel and Hardy in NH
Fans from all over the world are headed to Manchester to celebrate the beloved comedians.
Call me a cab." "You're a cab." Who doesn't know whose joke that was? Even some young people - born long after Laurel and Hardy died - know. That's testimony to the enduring impact of the comic duo's performances.
More testimony, if needed, is the fact that there still are Laurel & Hardy fan clubs - or "appreciation societies," as they call them - operating all over the United States, in Europe and beyond. They even hold yearly conventions. And this year, it's in Manchester.
"It's the first time the convention has been held in New England," says Cliff Sawyer, the grand sheik for the Night Owls Tent. (Tent is Laurel & Hardy-speak for chapter. Each tent is named after one of their movies. The international club itself is called "Sons of the Desert," a movie released in 1933.)
The convention, held from July 19-22 at the Radisson Manchester, gives people like Sawyer a chance to immerse themselves in the Laurel & Hardy phenomenon. They'll watch their movies for, Sawyer says, "the millionth time." But every time you watch, he adds, "you see something you hadn't seen before. And, even though you know what's going to happen, you still laugh." He especially loves it when they get in trouble ("here's another fine mess you've gotten us into").
Some of the convention events are open to the public, like the movies shown at the public library, a putting contest in the park across from the hotel and a vaudeville act at the Palace Theatre.
For more information about the convention and the club, visit the local tent's website at 2012.looserthanloose.com and sotd.org.