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Sons of the Desert


The “Sons of the Desert” is the official international Laurel and Hardy appreciation society.

Its origins go back to a 1953 meeting taking place in Birmingham, England, between Laurel and Hardy and a young American student, John McCabe. After attending a show at the Hippodrome Theatre, Mr. McCabe decided to head for the theatre’s artists’ entrance, hoping to meet the two comedians.

That meeting started a friendship which led to more gatherings after all parties had returned to the United States. John McCabe suggested to Stan the formation of an organization to promote the lives and works of the comedy team. McCabe drafted the constitution, slightly mocking normal fraternities and service clubs (as did the film ‘Sons of the Desert’, from which the organization took its name).

Stan Laurel himself collaborated on the constitution, and gave his blessing to the young society. Stan insisted however that the society should maintain a “half-assed dignity”, focus on the team’s work, and be more than an ordinary fan club.

In the spirit of the constitution, Al Kilgore, an American cartoonist, designed a crest for the new organization. The heraldic emblem contains the motto Stan Laurel proposed: “Two minds without a single thought”, translated into Latin.

The First gathering of the Sons of the Desert took place in New York City on May 14, 1965. The founding members were John McCabe, Chuck McCann, Orson Bean and John Municino. John McCabe was elected Grand Sheik (chairman).

Over time, more “Tents” (chapters) were formed in the United States. Each Tent is named after a Laurel and Hardy film, and receives an “Oasis” number which corresponds to the order in which they were accepted into the society. The New York City Tent got Oasis number 1, and is also knows as the Founding Tent. As the number of Tents grew, John McCabe became the “Exhausted Ruler” of all Sons.

Today, there are over 280 Tents worldwide, bringing people from all population layers together to honour the lives and Works of the best comedy team of all time. On top of local activities, the Sons hold biannual European and International Conventions.

The Me and my Pal Tent gathers every three months in Zaal Intermezzo, Kasteeldreef 55 in 9340 Lede (Belgium).

CONTACT: (+32) (0)486 62 24 06

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