Monday, May 04, 2015

Mae West: A. Toxen Worm

MAE WEST had some unpleasant encounters with A. Toxen Worm. One headline dated for Wednesday, 4 May 1921, read "Mae West Foiled by Toxen."
• • Yes, there really was a gentleman named A. Toxen Worm.  Perhaps Mae was thinking of him when she wrote this line for "Belle of the Nineties" — — "Remember, I'm a lady, you worm." Though his Christian name was Conrad, he delighted in the odd pairing of his Danish surname "Worm" with his two middle names Aage and Toxen. No one could forget a sinister moniker like that.
• • Conrad Henrik Aage Toxen Worm [1866 — 12 January 1922] • •
• • Born in Denmark in 1866, at the turn of the century he was a press agent whose clients included the actor James O'Neill (father of Eugene).  Worm emigrated to the USA.  In 1910, the ambitious 44-year-old began working for the Shubert Brothers as a manager and a highly resourceful press agent.  His command of English was fluent enough to enable Worm to write  for the Shubert publication, New York Review.
• • In 1921, the officious 55-year-old bachelor was lying in wait for Mae West in Boston at the Shubert Theatre and there was a showdown.  The Worm turned victorious.
• • In 1922, The New York Times announced the death of this unmarried man.
• • "A. Toxen Worm Dead; Well-Known Theatrical Agent Dies of Apoplexy in Paris" • •
• • The Times wrote:  A. Toxen Worm, associated for twenty years with the Shubert theatrical enterprises, died Friday in Paris of apoplexy, according to word received yesterday by his counsel, Phelan Beale, in this city.  He had gone abroad on a vacation, following a term in charge of the Shubert interests in Boston.  Surviving are several brothers and a niece, Miss Ella Scheel of Copenhagen.  
• • Source: The NY Times; published on 00day, 15  January 1922.
• • Come along as we revisit the scintillating scene of the shimmy that never was.
• • Boston Nearly Sees "Shimmy Dance" • •
• • "Mae West Foiled by Toxen Worm— Lights Turned Off" • •
• • Boston, May 4  — — Bostonians almost saw the "shimmy" for the first time at the Shubert Saturday night. The censors long ago put the ban on this dance and have kept it on, so that while it has often been promised, it has never been seen.
• • When the news got around among the members of the "Whirl of the Town" that the show was to close, Mae West, the dancer, passed the word around she was going to give those in the house one fine demonstration of the "shimmy" dance at the final performance.
• • A. Toxen Worm heard the report and, when the time drew near for this little piece of business, he took up a position near the light switches backstage.
• • When Mae was all set for the finale, Mr. Worm passed the word to the electrician and the stage was suddenly thrown into darkness. Mae may have "shimmied," but if she did she was the only one that knew about it. However, she was much Incensed and was on her way to complain to Worm — — when she discovered that he was the one who had foiled her.
• • Source: Item in Variety; published on Wednesday, 4 May 1921.
• • On Tuesday, 4 May 1886 • •
• • On Tuesday, 4 May 1886 the black composer Shelton Brooks was born. Mae and Beverly performed his dance novelty "Walking the Dog" when they toured with their act "Mae West and Sister." In her 1928 Bowery melodrama "Diamond Lil," Mae performed his jaunty song "Where Has My Easy Rider Gone?" and the number would be reprised in "She Done Him Wrong" [filmed in 1932].
• • On Saturday, 4 May 1935 • •
• • A Los Angeles Times columnist noted on Saturday, 4 May 1935, that the news about Mae West's secret marriage to Frank Wallace had "chased Hitler, the NRA, and the quintuplets off the front page of every newspaper in America for two weeks."
• • On Sunday, 4 May 1969 • •
• • Reporter Whitney Bolton wrote an article, a first person remembrance: "Critic Impressed by Mae West Role of Siren at Seance." Bolton had attended one of Mae's backstage seances and his piece was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer in its weekend edition on Sunday, 4 May 1969.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • They figured that, because of those ultra-sexy things she did on the stage. Will Hays would frown upon Mae West on the screen.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "It takes two to get one in trouble."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The May Mann papers mentioned Mae West.
• • During her summer at college, May Mann began to pursue an interview with Mae West. According to May, this stunning star evaded the press in fine Garbo fashion. It was May's dream to actually go "up and see [her] some time," and write an exclusive on it. According to the editor of the Standard-Examiner, May got the interview "after two years of repeated effort . . . after considerable maneuvering, near appointments and finally by pulling all the 'strings of power and pull' in Hollywood" (Mae West article, box 9, fd. 5, editor's note). Through her contact with Miss West's personal representative, May became one of the five women to have a personal interview with Mae West . . . .
• • Source: Item in the May Mann Papers, 1930 —1982
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,430 visitors. We reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,100 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3170th 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 • "Whirl of the Town," 1921

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Friday, May 01, 2015

Mae West: Nonpartisan

On Wednesday, 1 May 1935  MAE WEST was photographed with a bouquet of flowers.  As part of the promotional push for "Goin' to Town," which would be released in spring, Paramount Pictures decided this date would be "Mae Day."
• • Their press release indicated that "the blonde Mae is offering the nation a 'Mae Day' present for her latest Paramount Picture, 'Goin' to Town' [release date in the USA on 25 April 1935]."
• • On Friday, 1 May 1936 in Hollywood • •
• • It was on Friday, 1 May 1936, that Claude Shull, San Francisco Motion Picture Council, wrote to Paramount Pictures and sent  a copy of his dissatisfaction to Mae West.
• • Shull explained his viewpoint: "Any picture that presents its heroine as a mistress to an Oriental, then as a murderess, then as a cheap imitator of a missionary — — jazzing up religion — — is not in harmony with the other educational forces of our social set-up. And these elements are particularly objectionable when they are interspersed with smutty wise-cracks." Uh-oh.
• • On Tuesday, 1 May 1956 • •
• • "Mae West Says Every Man Has Sex Appeal," trumpeted the headlines around the country in Tuesday newspapers on 1 May 1956.
• • At the time, the Brooklyn bombshell was touring New York City's night clubs and hitting other venues with her muscleman act, and the press obliged by pumping out interviews.
• • Commenting that sometimes men who are not good-looking are even sexier than Clark Gable, Mae said, "Mr. Eisenhower's a leader, and a leader has drive and decision and power, and that makes a man a man."
• • "Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver have got it, too," Mae said.
• • The actress added that she is "strictly nonpartisan" in her views on the male species.
• • On Thursday, 1 May 1997 in Interview Magazine • •
• • In their issue dated for Thursday, 1 May 1997 Interview Magazine saluted Mae West. This May-timed issue focused on a new biography that had made a splash – – penned by the California poet Emily Wortis Leider. A highly recommended biography this is.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • To quiet growing rumors about his sexuality in the 1950s, Scott Thorson explained that Liberace would escort such famous women as Susan Hayward, Gale Storm, Rosemary Clooney, Mae West, and Judy Garland to parties and have his photo taken with them.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "That piano guy Liberace's got a lot of charm. I could go for someone that charming.  I see good in every man. That's why I'm not married."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A West Coast reporter mentioned Mae West.
• • Writing for The Los Angeles Times in November 1987, Ruth Ryon noted:  Liberace was having lunch with Mae West in the late 1950s when the actress told him about a property she sold for several million dollars. "That was when he saw gold in real estate," said Jamie James, who handled Liberace's public relations for 20 years before the musician-showman died last February.  . . .
• • Source: Item by Ruth Ryon for The Los Angeles Times; published in November 1987 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,430 visitors. We reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,100 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3169th 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 1935

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mae West: When It's Good

Our indomitable friends in Australia have tipped us off to the "MAE WEST test."
• • News.com Australia wrote:  SIRI might pass muster as a casual acquaintance but nothing puts a relationship to the test like a 2000km road trip with Apple CarPlay.
• • News.com Australia explained:  And after driving from Melbourne to Brisbane with Siri as a sidekick, it seems CarPlay doesn’t yet meet the Mae West test.  When it’s good, it’s very, very good. When it’s bad, well, it’s just bad.
• • Doesn't meet "the Mae West test"!!!  Hey!  Enough said!
• • On Monday, 30 April 1956 in N.Y. World-Telegram Sun • •
• • It was on Monday, 30 April 1956 that Robert W. Dana's felicitous coverage of "The Mae West Review" appeared.
• • Robert Dana's popular daily dish "Tips on Tables" was published in the now defunct New York World-Telegram and Sun.
• • His column "Mae West's Show Grows" [dated April 30th] indicated Dana had seen the routine previously.
• • Robert W. Dana wrote: The old belief that everything should be bigger and better — — a thought most forcefully pronounced by Hollywood trailers — — can be applied with forthright honesty to Mae West, who has returned to the Latin Quarter [in New York City on West 48th Street], where she scored heavily in the fall [sic] of 1954.  ...
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969 in Los Angeles • •
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969, on light blue note paper (engraved Miss Mae West at the top), the Hollywood icon took time out to send a warm letter to her cousin Tillie.
• • The Delker Family: Mae's mother Matilda (Delker) West had 5 siblings who emigrated from Germany to the USA together. By the time the family reached New York, they were Lutherans.  Her brother Carl Delker married Miss Mathilde Misdorn on 26 May 1889. Notice the reference to Mae's "Aunt Tillie," her mother's sister-in-law. [I also noted the absence of the surname "Doelger." On Mae's marriage license in April 1911, her mother's maiden name was given as Matilda Dilker, probably a clerical error.]
• • Mae West wrote: Dear Tillie:  For a long time I have been wanting to write to you, and also send you these little gifts. Some years ago, I received them from Aunt Tillie Delker.  I believe they belonged to her daughter, our Cousin Eleanor.  I thought you might enjoy wearing them.  They are a lovely necklace of garnets and a cameo pin.  . . .
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Not so long ago, Mae West came to Hollywood with ominous prophecies echoing in her ears.  The smart fellows on Broadway opined that she could never get into a studio, let alone get herself a lucrative contract.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "A thrill a day keeps the pills away."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The jazz radio station mentioned Mae West.
• • Arthur Johnston's "My Old Flame" • •
• • Jazz journalist Natasha Pepperl wrote: Accompanied by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, actress and vocalist Mae West first introduced "My Old Flame" in the 1934 film Belle of the Nineties.  Composed by Arthur Johnston with lyrics by Sam Coslow, it has been rumored that West - known for her "lightly-veiled eroticism" — — had some input in the song's racy (for the time) lyrics. 
• • Natasha Pepperl continued:  However, lines such as “I can’t even think of his name” and “my new lovers all seem so tame” might explain why the song never gained widespread popularity until later years.   ...
• • Source: Item in Kuvo.org; posted on Monday, 30 March 2015
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,430 visitors. We reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,100 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3168th 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 1955

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