Here’s a pub conversation starter for you.
Laurel and Hardy had some great connections to Sunderland.
Stan’s last visit to the UK was to Sunderland and his sister’s final days were lived out in the town.
And that’s just two fine facts for you.
Mike is the Grand Sheik
But how many Sunderland connections do you know?
We found out about them all after speaking to Mike Jones who is the Grand Sheik of the Beau Chumps Tent of Sunderland, which is the name of the appreciation society.
Those interested in finding out more can get along to the September meeting of the Sunderland Tent on September 13 at Ashbrooke Sports Club.
In the meantime, it is over to Mike to tell us more about those Wearside links.
Laurel and Hardy had a full week of appearances at the Sunderland Empire in March 1952.
They were back again in February 1954.
During the 1954 tour, Stan went to see his old pal, Sunderland man Benny Barron.
Benny was the landlord of the Boars Head for a time, and it is thought the duo visited Benny there.
Stan’s big links to Benny
Stan’s famous facial expressions were said to have originated on Wearside. They were borrowed from Benny who was himself a part of a stage double act called Graham and Barron.
Benny’s grandson Billy, from Farringdon, once received a Christmas present from Stan Laurel. It was a trumpet as well as some ‘teach yourself trumpet’ books’.
The Roker connection to Laurel and Hardy
Stan’s sister, Beatrice Olga lived out her final years in Hartington Street, Roker.
In 1988, the UK convention of the Sons of the desert was held in Sunderland.
In 2019, the original Beau Chumps was revived at the Boars Head.
Mike told us: “We will have a special guest on September 13 in Gary ‘Stanley’ Slade who is a Stan Laurel Impersonator.
Earlier in the day, I will be taking him around all of the Laurel and Hardy related sights and sites in Sunderland and North of the Tyne – there are a great many.”