Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mae West: Worst Book Ever

Give a roaring welcome to Leo the lion [July 23rd — August 22nd], the astrological sign MAE WEST was born under.
• • Borrowing details from her own life for the dialogue with Rajah the fortuneteller in "I'm No Angel" — — who says, "You were born under Leo!" — — Mae's character Tira, a novice lion tamer, replies, "Yeah, the king of beasts, huh?"
• • Perhaps the horoscope that Rajah hands Tira, often consulted in her 1933 motion picture comedy for Paramount Pictures, predicted that she would not be harmed when sticking her head in the jaws of a lion.  But surely the M-G-M lion was a tiny bit jealous.
• • The Worst Mae West Bio Ever Printed • •
• • Mae-mavens will note the deliberate use of the word "printed" — — not "written." Perhaps Julia McMahon turned out this perplexing publication by some bizarre combo of cut-and-paste in a foreign language, then she churned it through translation software.
• • Mae West chronicler Mark Desjardins kindly consented to analyze this turgid text.
• • "Mae West 169 Success Facts" [2014] by Julia McMahon • •
• • REVIEW by Mark Desjardins • •
• • The first hint that this volume may be a misstep is the cover photo which is clearly NOT of Mae West. A quick perusal of the chapter contents raises some hopes of redemption, but these are quickly dashed upon closer examination. I am not certain if the original publication of the material in this publication was translated into English, but the prose seems rather stilted and odd. 
• • For example, when McMahon examines the role of Canadian female impersonator, Craig Russell, as West's Fan Club President, she writes: "Born in Toronto, Russell grew to be leader of Mae West's fan association as an adolescent, and he momentarily operated and existed in Los Angeles as her assistant. He restored to Toronto wherever ....... he operated like a barber when following his vocation as a stage performing artist. While carrying out, he on every relevant occasion, talked and chanted in the vocals of the famous persons he was impersonating."
• • Passages like this are generously peppered throughout this odd publication.  Here is another strange entry, under the heading "Burlesque — American burlesque":
• • "The change as of Burlesque on the aged rules to Striptease was slow.  At foremost soubrettes presented off their numbers when crooning and dancing; a few remained fewer energetic however renumerated by materializing in complicated stage outfits."
• • As a somewhat  knowledgeable fan of Mae West and her humor, I found this book to be a struggle to plow through, and can only imagine the frustration of someone new to West's wit and wisdom trying to make any sense out of the hodge-podge of the "169 successful facts" alluded to, here in the title.
• • There are no other photographs in this 229-page trade paperback edition, which measures 7 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches.  
• • For the cost of this volume, there are much more fun and factual accounts of Mae West's land and varied career available.  I would not recommend this publication at all.
• • On Monday, 23 July 1934 in Film Daily • •
• • W. C. Fields wrote: I have been approached by Mae West to consider collaborating. But I want my work to stand out individually. Besides Mae has the wrong slant on this thing. She says she does her best writing in bed. Well, I do my best loafing there, and consider that that is the primary purpose of a bed. . . .
• • Source: Article: "W. C. Fields Talks About His Grand Passion" in Film Daily; published on Monday, 23 July 1934.
• • On Saturday, 23 July 1938 in Bristol, England • •
• • "At the Little Theatre — — A Mae West film" announced the Western Daily Press (Bristol, England)  on Saturday, 27 July 1938.  
• • Save the Date: Wednesday, August 13th • •
• • Wednesday, 13 August 2014 will be the next Mae West Tribute in Manhattan and the event will start at 6:30 pm at 425 Sixth Avenue. The theme will be: "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill."   
• • Details: August 13th event
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Frank Wallace has court action in Los Angeles to bring about a division of community property under California law against his former spouse Mae West.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: " "Everyone else that gets in the money out here buys a forty-room house, hires a dozen servants, and gets ritzy. But not me. I'd be lonesome."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about camp mentioned Mae West.
• • Michael T. Schuyler wrote: Mae West freely "camped it up" once she recognized the power of her camp stature in her later years.  ...
• • Source: Article: "Camp for Camp's Sake: Absolutely Fabulous, Self-Consciousness, and the Mae West Debate" written by Michael T.  Schuyler for Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 56, No. 4; published in Winter 2004
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2963rd 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 bad cover on a book to avoid

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mae West: Alimony Plea

They were making a fuss over MAE WEST on July 22nd.
• • "Belle of the Nineties"  — — Mae West at the Strand • •
• • The inimitable Mae West will be the starring figure in "Belle of the Nineties," to be shown at the Strand Theatre to-morrow and Wednesday nights. With Roger Pryor, her leading man, as a fighting hero, John Mack Brown as a gallant lover, and John Miljan as the "tall and dark" menace Ace Lamont, Miss West plays the part of a diamond-crusted charmer, who gives up her title of burlesque queen of St. Louis to become the sweetheart of New Orleans.  The costumes are among the most beautiful ever seen on the screen. Miss West sings four "hit" songs in this production.  . . .
• • Source:  Singleton Argus (NSW);  published on Monday, 22 July 1935.
• • On Wednesday, 22 July 1942 • •
• • The dateline was Los Angeles, the headline was "Come Up and Sue Me Sometime." This was a news item suitable for the lachrymose intolerant.
• • The Argus wrote: Mae West, the film star, has asked for a divorce from her one-time vaudeville partner, Frank Wallace, charging him with cruelty.
• • The Argus explained: Wallace, reversing the usual procedure, is requesting alimony at the rate of $1,000 a month on the grounds that he is destitute. He contends that Mae West has a fortune of more than $1,000,000.
• • The Argus closed with: Mae West declares that she separated from Wallace the month after they were married in 1911.
• • Source: The Argus (Melbourne, Australia), on page 3; published on Wednesday, 22 July 1942.
• • Save the Date: Wednesday, August 13th • •
• • Wednesday, 13 August 2014 will be the next Mae West Tribute in Manhattan and the event will start at 6:30 pm at 425 Sixth Avenue. The theme will be: "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill."   
• • Details:  August 13th event
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Ode to mayhem: To ask Mae West why, if she's such an infallible man-catcher, she does so little catching.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "A man in the house is worth two in the street."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in Australia focused on Mae West.
• • "Mae West Achieves Fame With Her Books" • •
• • Sunday Times wrote: "Mae West is as great a favorite with a section of the world's reading public as she is with motion picture audiences, it was revealed recently on the arrival in Hollywood of the president of the company acting as her publishers.  . . .
• • Source: Article: "Mae West Achieves Fame With Her Books" written for The Sunday Times (Perth, Australia), printed on page 7; published on Sunday, 22 July 1934
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2962nd 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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• • Mae West with Jim Timony in 1942

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Mae West: Sensation with Sheriff

It was July 21st, 1921 when The New York Clipper mentioned MAE WEST.
• • "Answers to Queries" • •
• • The New York Clipper wrote: Frank Tinney was at the Moulin Rouge (New York Theatre) in "A Winsome Widow." There were also Harry Kelly, Chas. J. Ross, Leon Errol, Chas. King, Elizabeth Brice, Emmy Wehlen, Harry Connor, Sidney Jarvis, The Dolly Twins, and Mae West.
• • On Friday, 21 July 1933 in Los Angeles • •
• • On Friday, 21 July 1933 a wire service photo from Wide World with an attached paper caption explained that "Mae West Blonde Stage and Screen Star Made a Sensation at the Huge Public Barbecue Given by Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz." Mae is wearing a sweet small hat in the photo, seemingly inspired by the perky paper caps worn in the 1930s by soda jerks.
• • Eugene W. Biscailuz [12 March 1883 — 16 May 1969] was the 27th Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California and organized the California Highway Patrol.
• • On Monday, 21 July 2008 in Utah • •
• • A scene from Mae West's play "The Drag" was performed in Salt Lake City, in the heart of Mormon country, at 7:00 pm on Monday, 21 July 2008.
• • Who gets to decide what works are suitable to be offered to the public? That was the question on the minds of the interesting people who run Utah's Plan-B Theatre Company.
• • Save the Date: Wednesday, August 13th • •
• • Wednesday, 13 August 2014 will be the next Mae West Tribute in Manhattan and the event will start at 6:30 pm at 425 Sixth Avenue. The theme will be: "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill."   
• • Details: August 13th event
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West and vaudeville dancer Frank Wallace came to the end of the marriage they started in 1911, and managed to keep secret 24 years. Wallace came to court and withdrew his suit for $1,000 monthly separate maintenance against the former film actress.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I am captive to myself."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Paul Novak discussed Mae West.
• • Christopher Hawtree wrote: Among the many men who used to call by Mae West's house in Santa Monica, California, after working out on nearby Muscle Beach was a wrestler called Mr Baltimore, who has died aged 76. Otherwise known as Chester Krauser [born 1923], he had been in the chorus line of West's mid-1950s nightclub act. West was 62 and had currently been involved with two other hunks from her stage act. But as West recalled, the 32-year-old Mr Baltimore 'had an air of serious liveliness about him one day that I supposed conveyed his happiness at having me all alone.'
• • Christopher Hawtree continued:  Mr. Baltimore became Paul Novak during his long liaison with Mae West. Of Polish origins, he had been born Chester Ribowsky in Baltimore, and had served in the merchant navy as a gunner in the second world war and in Korea.  Chester and Mae remained together to the end — — their union cemented by his new name.  ...
• • Source: Obit written for The Guardian {U.K.];  published on Wednesday, 21 July 1999
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2961st 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 July 1933

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