Friday, February 05, 2016

Mae West: Unprecedented

MAE WEST tried to fight the racists and bigots by including black performers and black music in her projects. She would have beamed at this headline printed on Saturday, 5 February 1938.  
• • "Storm Theatre for Mae West Film, Benny Goodman Band" • •
• • New York, Feb. 3. (A.N.P.) — Unlike some Southern audiences and censors who violently object to white and colored together on what they call "terms of social equality,” a crowd of 1,500 persons stormed the Paramount theatre on Wednesday to hail the return of Benny Goodman and his band featuring Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton, and see the new Mae West comedy film, “Every Day’s a Holiday,” in which Louis Armstrong plays his trumpet.
• • Last week the Memphis board of censors cut out all scenes from a new film showing the Goodman quartet because Wilson and Hampton were present, but this same quartet was one of the reasons for the unprecedented Paramount crowd. Lines started forming outside the theatre at 5 a.m., and the management had to call special police to care for the throng of 1,600 on hand when doors were opened at 7:30, a half-hour before scheduled time. The box office was forced to close at 10:30 with a line extending a block away, and the entire house of 3,664 seats had been sold out by nine.
• • When the Goodman band appeared on the stage, the audience roared a hearty greeting and couples began dancing in the aisles, with some of the more venturesome even going up on the stage.
• • As a precautionary measure doors were scheduled to open a half hour earlier during the band’s engagement there.
• • Source: Article written by A.N.P. for the Indianapolis Recorder; published on Saturday, 5 February 1938.  
• • On Sunday, 5 February 1933 in New York World Herald • •
• • In an interview with New York World Herald in their Sunday issue, on 5 February 1933, Mae West boasted about discovering Cary Grant and getting him the role of Captain Cummings for her motion picture.
• • On Monday, 5 February 1934 in Scandinavia • •
• • "I'm No Angel" starring Mae West made its debut in Denmark on 5 February 1934.
• • On Saturday, 5 February 1949 on Broadway • •
• • Mae West fused herself to the persona of "Diamond Lil" like no other character she had ever played.
• • In the month of February, a Broadway revival of "Diamond Lil" opened at the Coronet Theatre [show dates: 5 February 1949 — 26 February 1949].  
• • However, this hugely successful revival was interrupted, alas, after a few weeks. Mae West broke her ankle on February 26, causing performances to halt after she slipped on a rug in her midtown Manhattan hotel room.  Ouch!
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West, in her own words, is an American legend and institution, one of our living classics.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "I've always been aware of sex, and it's always been aware of me."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Columnist Mike Connolly mentioned Mae West.
• • Prentice-Hall handed Mae West one of the biggest advance royalties in publishing history for her autobiography, "The Queen of Sex."  [Obviously, the title was changed along the way to the printer.]
• • Source:  Gossip column item in Desert Sun; published on Wednesday, 5 February 1958
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past eleven years. The other day we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,300 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3371st blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.


• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • in 1949

• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
  Mae West

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Mae West: Glasgow Pleasured

MAE WEST would have loved to see her play "The Pleasure Man" performed in Glasgow during the month of February in 2000. Theatre critic Ian Shuttleworth gives us his critique. Let's enjoy it together.
• • "The Pleasure Man" by Mae West • •
• • Ian Shuttleworth wrote:  . . . Several years ago, Jean Rhys's short story was staged by Neil Bartlett's erstwhile company Gloria, whose musical director Nicolas Bloomfield appears on the main stage here, doubling as a drag queen and — — quelle surprise — — a musical director in Mae West's "The Pleasure Man." It is generally overlooked that West arrived in Hollywood on the strengths of her writing as much as of her performance, and the remarkable construction of this vaudeville-backstage drama is testament to those strengths. The first act, in particular, is an astounding kaleidoscope, as acts arrive on the bare stage to set up for that week's run at the theatre, and snatches of song, dance, dialogue and innuendo fly out between the raising and lowering of backcloths and lighting bars.
• • Ian Shuttleworth explained:  On its second Broadway performance in 1928, "The Pleasure Man" was raided and its entire cast arrested for obscenity. This, too, is understandable, with its drag queens (and kings), single entendres (yes, "gay" was in use in that sense as long as 70 years ago) and grisly offstage denouement; I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the family next to me arrived home after the show, to hear the mother explaining to her eight-year-old daughter exactly what was meant by the oblique but plentiful references to a fatal operation performed upon lothario "Rod" Terrill so that he could never again "treat a woman that way."
• • Ian Shuttleworth noted:  Stewart Laing makes deft use of his cast of a dozen professional actors and as many RSAMD acting students in minor roles, and utilises a labyrinth of wooden frames to suggest the doorways and mirrors of the interconnecting dressing rooms of the second act. He cannot disguise that the moral ending is rather laboured, and that West is rightly more interested in her snapshots of backstage activity than in a shapely resolution; what he does brilliantly is capture the cut-price magic of the vaudeville world.
• • "The Pleasure Man" at Citizens Theatre, Glasgow [Opened 2-4 February, 2000]
• • Source:  Stage Review by Ian Shuttleworth for Financial Times; posted in February 2000.
• • On Tuesday, 4 February 1930 in NYC • •
• • New York City's "picture newspaper" The Daily Mirror reported that Mae West "collapsed in her dressing room at the Shubert Riviera Theatre" [sic]. Nevertheless, her attorney Nathan Burkan dismissed the idea that his client's uncustomary breakdown was due to her upcoming court appearance. The author of "Pleasure Man," insisted Burkan, "is not in the least worried about the outcome of her impending trial."
• • Scheduled to begin on Tuesday, 4 February 1930 in Manhattan, the "Pleasure Man" trial was not brought before Judge Bertini until 16 March 1930. Mae looked plenty worried in several photos taken when the trial was in session.
• • The "Pleasure Man" trial is intriguingly dramatized in Act 2 of the stage play "Courting Mae West." The audience gets to see how Mae first behaves very cagily around her friend Texas Guinan, and later on they hear the terrible truths unfolding when Mae's sister Beverly enters as Nathan Burkan exits.
• • Source: The Daily Mirror (NYC); published on Monday, 3 February 1930.
• • On Friday, 4 February 1949 on WOR • •
• • NYC broadcast journalist John Wingate interviewed Mae West backstage before the opening of a revival of "Diamond Lil" on Broadway. Their 2-minute exchange is quite funny and was heard in the NYC area over the popular radio station WOR.
• • On Wednesday, 4 February 1998 in Sammy • •
• • The raunchy comic book, Sammy, released their Mae West issue in early 1998. The panels were drawn by Raoul Cauvin and Jean-Pol. The cover has a maritime theme. An odd looking fellow in a beige raincoat appears to be mesmerized by Mae West, who is clad in a chic sailor outfit with her midriff exposed. Sammy's issue was published as a board book on Wednesday, 4 February 1998 by Dupuis.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • In an interview, D.W. Griffth named Mae West as one of the ten most interesting persons in America.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "It's no good trying to be serious. I tried it 18 months ago by playing Catherine of Russia, but when I held out my hand to be kissed the audience was not happy until I raised my eyebrows in that way they like. So gradually the whole thing became a burlesque."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A California paper mentioned Mae West.
• • Stanford Theatre on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday — — "Diamond Lil" Mae West  in "She Done Him Wrong" — — A Saga of the Bowery! Don't Miss It!
• • Source: Item in The Stanford Daily; published on Friday, 3 February 1933
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past eleven years. The other day we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,300 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3370th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.


• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________

Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xmlAdd to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • in 1932

• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
  Mae West