Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mae West: A Dirty Matter

MAE WEST staged "The Drag" in 1927 but her gay play was shut down by the authorities before it could reach the lights of Broadway. A British theatre director decided to dust it off and present it to an English audience this summer.
• • Polly Stenham wrote this article. This is Part 4.
• • "Brutal! Vulgar! Dirty! Mae West and the gay comedy that shocked 1920s America" • •
• • Variety called it "brutal and vulgar" • •  
• • Polly Stenham  wrote:  When it opened in Connecticut, "The Drag" was a success with audiences, although Variety called it “an inexpressibly brutal and vulgar attempt to capitalise on a dirty matter for profit”. West had hoped it would run on Broadway but it never made it. One Broadway producer said it was “the worst possible play I have ever heard of contemplating an invasion of New York” and that it “strikes at the heart of decency”.
• • West’s take was that audiences were “too childlike to face like grownups the problem of homosexuals.” But "The Drag" was just too risque for the mainstream.
• • In 1928, Mae "sanitized" her play somewhat • •    . . .
• • This was Part 4.  Part 5 continues tomorrow.
• • Source: "Brutal! Vulgar! Dirty! ..." by Polly Stenham for The Guardian [U.K.]; published on Wednesday, 5 July 2017.
• • On Monday, 24 August 1931 • •
• • When Mae West brought her play "The Constant Sinner" to Atlantic City for a try-out in August 1931, the crowds lined up for tickets, noted The New York Times.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The first time W.C. Fields drunkenly stumbled into the studio, Mae shouted, "Pour him out of here!" Very quickly, everybody knew she meant business.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "My corseted silhouette — — what is it but a return to normal, the ladies' way of saying the depression is over?"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An item on the Shubert's next attractions mentioned Mae West.
• • Billboard wrote: Mae West will be the opener for the Shubert, coming September 2nd for a 3-week stay in "Come On Up." "The Fortune Teller" is supposed to follow, coming from the West Coast, with Helen Hayes . ...
• • Source: Article: "Mae West Opens Shubert" written by Billboard staff for Billboard Magazine ("Legitimate" on page 44); published on Saturday, 24 August 1946
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 13th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past eleven years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,700 blog posts. Wow!   
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started thirteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3773rd 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.

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• • Mae West • in 1932

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