Laurel and Hardy
and the
Sons of the Desert
are at the heart of
Bowler Dessert Online

Stanlio e Ollio e Saps


The two Daves, Dearle and Simpson, and myself decided that it was high time that we went back to Italy to link up with the wonderful Italian Sons of the Desert. In 2014 we went to the Blotto Tent in Cremona and sure had a swell time at the event hosted by Grand Shiek, Giancarlo Manfredini and ably assisted by Tiziano Medicini.  Two years on and still only able to speak the English language, albeit in our Essex accents, we went to Prato, just outside the beautiful city of Florence. This time it was a Block-Heads Tent event. Fortunately for us Grand Sheik Alessandro Santi speaks excellent English and, fortunately for Italian Sons of the Desert, he is bursting with knowledge and enthusiasm. We were based at the Teatro Magnolfi, which is an old orphanage and as well as having a lovely 90 seat theatre on the ground floor, also has basic b & b accommodation in the upper floors.

On Saturday 2nd April there were two film separate film shows in the theatre. The morning show was mainly for the general public and it was delightful to see young children enjoying the antics of Stanlio e Ollio on screen. We watched 'Battle of the Century', 'Sons of the Desert' and the Stan solo, 'When Knights Were Cold'. The trio of Englishmen were able, through Ale's translation, each to say a little bit about The Saps At Sea tent and the Laurel and Hardy connections with Southend. In the late afternoon, the show was principally for Sons of the Desert and the theatre was full. This time the programme began with a lively fez-wearing brass band. The film show was repeated and Italian and English laughter blended together in this wonderful atmosphere. In an adjoining room, one of Ale's members had mounted a splendid display of L&H photos including many rarities. It was lovely to meet up with our friends Giancarlo and Tiziano again and in the evening we socialised together, drinking (well you have to, don't you) and chatting (in English, of course).

Our thanks go to Alessandro and his wife Francesco for staging this excellent event and for being the perfect hosts for the Saps during our stay in Prato. 

Rogerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Robinson