Sons of the Desert

The Sons of the Desert are a fan club devoted to the works of early comedians Laurel and Hardy. From their website:

“Sons of the Desert is devoted to keeping the lives and works of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy before the public, and to have a good time while doing it.”

“The group takes its name the organization that the comedians belong to in the 1933 film Sons of the Desert. In keeping with the tongue-in-cheek “desert” theme, each local chapter of the society is called a “tent,” and is named after a Laurel & Hardy film. Worldwide, there are well over 100 active tents, whose members meet regularly to enjoy Laurel & Hardy movies in an informal atmosphere.”

“It is important, I think, to realize that Sons of the Desert is not a fan club,” explained John McCabe, the team’s biographer, who founded the Sons in 1965. “The word ‘fan’ derives from ‘fanatic’ and I hope we are none of us that. I consider us ‘buffs,’ people having a connoisseur-like affection for Laurel & Hardy, and being discriminating in that affection, with fun as our goal and operative guide.”

The fez shown here is of modern make, probably during the 1990’s or early 2000’s. It is maroon, with a single rhinestone at the center of the design. It comes from the Tent in Sarasota, FL.


This fez was purchased online at auction with very little information. When the seller was contacted, they stated that they bought the item at a thrift store. As you can see, the fez is made of yellow wool, which is a very unusual color. It is accented with a blue tassel and a blue design that depicts a buffalo standing on sunburst style disk, within which is written “Bison.”

This piece remained a mystery to us until an individual contacted us through this website. He pointed out that the fez could be seen in the 1977 movie “Rollercoaster.” Just after the main character arrives a the Hyatt Regency Chicago, he enters the lobby of the hotel where we see several African American Gentlemen in the background wearing Bison fezzes just like this one.

It is believe that this fez was made specifically as a movie prop. We don’t know if they were designed specifically for this movie, or if they just came from a prop house, but it’s an interesting addition to the collection none the less!


Ah, Fez-o-rama… the fine folks over at this California based company have been feeding the modern day passions of fez wearers everywhere. Jason, the Fezmonger, Joe, his able bodied assistant, and their army of shipping Llamas, have been friends of the Virtual Museum of Fezology, and its curator, since the earliest days of the collection. The history and background of this company is best left to them to explain.

In the mean time, you can check out all the wonderful fezzes that belong to the collection that originally came from these real men of genius!

The “Fez” fez was purchased by the collection owner’s girlfriend; that way when he wore his fraternal hats people would know what they were called.

The Afriti fez is one of the most unique creations to come out of Fez-o-rama. Done on black velvet with a contrasting leopard print pattern. Says the Fezmonger “I wanted to do something with the leopard print but the very nature of natural camouflage makes it difficult to design on, hence the two tone fez. The leopard velvet also suggested something a bit more African than Polynesian so drawing on some of the traditions of African masks I started sketching up ideas. This one rose to the top pretty quickly. Afriti means “evil genius” in Swahili and that seemed appropriate for the sort of fez worn by a mysterious kingpin in some exotic hotel.” This fez is number 10 of 25 and they will never be reproduced.

Ah, the fabled land of Freedonia… a place of grease paint mustaches, vivacious women, and ridiculous dictators. What better place to wear a fez, right? Jason, over at Fez-o-rama describes it as “The headwear of choice for those living in the Land of the Spree and the Home of the Knave!” Don’t forget to learn a little bit more about Freedonia as protrayed in the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup!

The Museum would like to extend its best wishes, kindest regards, and wheel barrows full of money to the Fezmonger and his staff for providing the world with amazing pieces of haberdashery. You are truly wonderful people!

It’s been quite a while since we’ve added a fez from our good friends over at Fez-o-Rama. But, when they did a release of the “Double Cross Fez”, we just couldn’t resist.

As noted by their website, this fez “features the Double Cross symbol of the fine country of Tomainia on our low profile fez in a lush, camel velvet… So don’t miss your chance to get this fez worthy of the Grand Phooey himself!”

Does the symbol feel familiar? You might remember it from the 1940 satirical comedy “The Great Dictator,” starring Charlie Chaplin. This was Chaplin’s first true “sound” film and featured a riff on the dictators of the 1940’s, such as Adolf Hilter and Benito Mussolini. Famously, Chaplin said he would not have made the film if he had known of the horrors of the holocaust, though the picture remains culturally significant today.