Friday, February 29, 2008

Mae West: New Book!

Mae West: The Statue of Libido is a new illustrated title that will be released in March 2008 by Taschen, a German publisher.
• • Book description: In terms of celebrity icons, few attained the highest levels of fame and controversy as rapidly as Mae West.
• • Labeled a "pornographer" by censorship boards, she was also one of 1930s Hollywood’s most lucrative box-office draws (causing Variety in 1933 to label the star "as hot an issue as Hitler"). Nicknamed by critic George Jean Nathan "the Statue of Libido" and paid homage to in the title song of Cole Porter's musical Anything Goes, her voluptuous image and signature platinum blond hair became recognizable worldwide and for decades beyond her prime years of fame in the 1930s. In fact, even by the 1960s when the Beatles wanted to use her image on the cover of their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, those long-haired icons of a new generation were required to deliver a handwritten plea to the icon (which they dutifully did), since Mae West herself always objected, as she said, to belonging to any "lonely hearts club."
• • Taschen's Movie Icon series: People talk about Hollywood glamour, about studios that had more stars than there are in heaven, about actors who weren't actors but were icons. Other people talk about these things, TASCHEN shows you. Movie Icons is a series of photo books that feature the most famous personalities in the history of cinema. These 192-page books are visual biographies of the stars. For each title, series editor Paul Duncan has selected approximately 150 high quality enigmatic and sumptuous portraits, colorful posters and lobby cards, rare film stills, and previously unpublished candid photos showing the stars as they really are. These images are accompanied by concise introductory essays by leading film writers; each book includes a chronology, a filmography, and a bibliography, and is peppered with quotes from the movies and from life.
• • More bang for your buck! "... a fast-food, high-energy fix on the topic at hand." — — The New York Times Book Review
• • Mae West: The Statue of Libido [192 pages — — ISBN 978-3-8228-2321-7]
• • Photos — — www.taschen.com/

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1932 • •

Mae West.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mae West: Hattie McDaniel

On 29 February 1940 Hattie McDaniel — — who worked with MAE WEST — — became the first black actor to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy in "Gone with the Wind" [1939].
• • After years as a radio and vaudeville performer, Kansas native Hattie McDaniel [10 June 1895 — 26 October 1952] began her film career in the early 1930s playing bit parts such as Marlene Dietrich's servant in "Blonde Venus" (1932) and one of Mae West's jovial maids in "I'm No Angel" (1933).
• • Hattie McDaniel, who starred in dozens of films and appeared briefly (often uncredited) in hundreds, was also the first black woman to sing on the radio.
• • Hattie McDaniel, who has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was also a professional singer-songwriter, comedienne, stage actress, radio performer, and TV.
• • For her contributions to radio, her star is located at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard; commemorating her achievements in motion pictures is another star at 1719 Vine Street.
• • She had just gotten signed to a TV sit-com "Beulah" when she discovered she had breast cancer. Hattie McDaniel died at age 57 in a California hospital.
• • In 1975 she was posthumously inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.
• • In 2006 she became the first black Oscar winner recognized with a US postage stamp — — a permanent postal honor Mae West has yet to receive, unfortunately, in this country.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1933 • •

Mae West.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mae West: Arthur Vinton

Brooklyn native Arthur Vinton [10 December 1889 — 26 February 1963] co-starred with MAE WEST in "The Constant Sinner" [September — November 1931] at the Royale Theatre.
• • Live theatre and radio shows offered the tall handsome leading man on-going opportunities. He was cast in several Broadway productions between 1931 — 1950. "Arms and the Girl" seems to have been his last appearance in the legitimate. His height and commanding voice brought him roles as military leaders, i.e., General George Washington, General Von Bruck, Colonel Geza, and Captain Knebel.
• • Though he was cast in dozens of motion pictures (largely from 1931 — 1935), it seems that Hollywood never regarded the six-foot-one actor as much more than a bit player.
• • In between his roles as a voice actor — — for the popular radio serial "The Shadow" and CBS shows like "The Plot To Overthrow Christmas" [1942] — — the "weekend farmer" relaxed by raising turkeys at his country home in Little Britain, New York not far from Newburgh.
• • He died in Guadalajara, Mexico in February — — on 26 February 1963 — — at 73 years old.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • Arthur Vinton • • 1931
• •

Mae West.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mae West: Simply Irresistible

MAE WEST was one of history's most phenomenal enchantresses, says Ellen T. White. In her new book — — "Simply Irresistible: Unleash Your Inner Siren and Mesmerize Any Man, With Help from the Most Famous and Infamous Women in History" [Running Press, 2007] — — White maintains that each one of us has it in us to be irresistible to the opposite sex, no matter what your shape, size, age or personality.
• • A Siren, White explains, is a woman men get excited by — — on a sexual level and on other levels, too.
• • In her book, she profiles some of history's most phenomenal enchantresses, including MAE WEST, Cleopatra, Evita Peron, and Nicole Kidman, to name just a few, and how exactly they were able to make men stop in their tracks and beg for their attention, or mercy, depending on the Siren.
• • In case you did not know, there are five types of Sirens. Ellen White, who is also the managing editor of the New York Public Library, classified them like this: The Goddess, the Companion, the Sex Kitten, the Competitor, and the Mother. According to the author, each type of Siren has a special "song" that mesmerizes men.
• • Example: the ever-elusive Goddess entraps admirers by playing hard to get; the Mother captures a man's heart through her uncanny ability to provide him with what he needs emotionally, physically, sexually; the Competitor awakens a man's primal desire to conquer or tame; the Companion satisfies the human need to connect.
• • Maybe Mae West was the Sex Kitten type.
• • Anyway, "Each of these archetypes fulfill some sort of male need or dream," Ellen White notes.
• • All Sirens have three key characteristics — — and each one describes the Brooklyn bombshell perfectly.
• • White explains: First, these seductresses have an unwavering confidence in their very special ability to charm men, and it is that kind of attitude that makes them even more appealing. Second, they absolutely love men and never view them as the enemy. Finally, they embrace life and make the most of their circumstances, which means they are doers, not complainers.
• • Author Ellen T. White was interviewed by Elise McIntosh, Staten Island Advance Staff Writer. This information is extracted from that article.
• • Published in: The Staten Island Advance — — www.silive.com
• • Byline: Elise McIntosh
• • Published on: Tuesday — 12 February 2008

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1935 • •

Mae West.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mae West: Forgeries on eBay

Signatures of MAE WEST, Britain's top rugby players, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and other notables were "systematically" forged and sold by businessmen Graeme Walker and Faisal Madani, a British jury at Chester crown court was told.
• • Other counterfeit goods, it was heard, included replicas of England international caps and Worthington and European Cup final shirts, which were sold as genuine.
• • Graeme Walker, 45, is accused of more than 50 counts of cheating the customers of his shop, Sporting Icons Ltd, which has a store in Chester city centre and also operates on eBay.
• • Faisal Madani, 43, described in court as the "middle man," faces 20 counts of supplying the forgeries.
• • Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, opened the trial saying: "Those charges are only a sample of the many hundreds of forged and counterfeit goods either sold or offered for sale by Sporting Icons.
• • "Not every item in the shop was a forgery. The bogus stock was mixed in with genuine stock. We say that was all part of the fraud — by hiding the fakes among the genuine goods it was much easier to deceive the public."
• • Andrew Thomas said that prosecutors had relied on evidence from a handwriting expert and some stars themselves . . . .
• • Graeme Walker, of Mountain View Close, Connah's Quay, Deeside, and Faisal Madani, of Grange Road, Bramhall, Stockport, Greater Manchester, deny the charges and deny the items are forgeries. The pair claim that the goods were bought in good faith and from reputable sources.
• • The jury was told that Sporting Icons sold not just sporting memorabilia. In photographs of the shop and printouts of the website they saw framed autographs and pictures of actors MAE WEST, Laurel and Hardy, Rock Hudson, and Sylvester Stallone.
• • Musicians whose autographs and pictures were on sale included the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Queen, and Nat King Cole.
• • Mr. Thomas told the jury that the bulk of the fraud took place between 2003—2005 . . . . He said: "The defendants were involved in selling effectively worthless items to the public.
• • "Customers paid premium prices — hundreds or even thousands of pounds — in the belief that they were buying genuine goods, such as items autographed by their heroes.
• • "The defendants, we say, betrayed the trust of the public. In short, they were ripping fans off." . . .
— — Excerpt — —
• • Source: The Guardian [UK] — — www.guardian.co.uk
• • BY: Press Association
• • Published on: Tuesday, 19 February 2008

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none • •

Mae West.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mae West: Next Sexpot

• • This summer MAE WEST will get an extra special birthday gift: a spotlight, according to The Italian Tribune.
• • Brooklyn-based stage director Louis Lopardi is getting ready to announce a casting call for the next MAE WEST. Can anyone fill the shoes of the Brooklyn bombshell? In preparation for a July production of the serious-minded comedy "COURTING MAE WEST" by LindaAnn Loschiavo, Lopardi will workshop the play next month in New York City.
• • "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets" (based on true events when Mae West was arrested and jailed for trying to stage two gay plays on Broadway) will be presented at The Algonquin Theatre during July 2008 as part of The Annual Fresh Fruit Festival.
According to Artistic Director Carol Polcovar, The Annual Fresh Fruit Festival encompasses theater, performance, poetry, comedy, spoken word, music, dance, visual arts and some talents that defy categorization. Artists come from around the city, nation and, indeed, the world.
• • A 95-minute play set during the Prohibition Era, "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets" will be directed by Louis Lopardi, who has also worked with The Annual Fresh Fruit Festival as their very capable Production Manager and Technical Director.
• • The Algonquin Theatre (at 123 East 24th Street, NYC 10010) houses two air-conditioned performance spaces: the 99-seat "Kaufman" and the 40-seat "Parker." The Kaufman features a proscenium stage that is 21 feet wide and 23 feet deep.
• • The larger playhouse is named in honor of George S. Kaufman [16 November 1889 - 2 June 1961], an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. The petite playing space honors another Algonquin Round Table member: author Dorothy Parker [22 August 1893 - 7 June 1967]. Both writers attended performances of Mae West's plays during the 1920s and critiqued them.
• • • • SOURCE: The Italian Tribune
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • Maebill • •

Mae West.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mae West: Paul Johnson

MAE WEST is prominently profiled in Paul Johnson latest book on heroes, who peculiarly claims her ancestry can be traced to Buckinghamshire [sic] and gets a number of other details wrong.
• • This is an excerpt from "Why two blonde bombshells are in my list of all-time heroes" by Paul Johnson [London:
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, February 2008].
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Heroes are to be found in every age and in all kinds of places. Nor are they confined to one particular sex.
• • There are many women in my pantheon of heroes — — from Deborah and Judith in the Old Testament to Lady Jane Grey, Emily Dickinson, and Queen Boudica. It was in AD61 that, from her chariot, Boudica (or Boadicea, as her statue on Westminster Bridge calls her) bared the bruises where the Romans had flogged her and dared her fellow tribesmen to help her resist the invaders of England. . . .
• • But it was that very same spirit of independence and boldness that, two millennia after [Boudica], was to be found in a more modern hero — — the sassy and indestructible Miss Mae West.
• • From the start, West made a shrewd assessment of all the physical advantages her sex gave, capitalised on her strengths, kept her weaknesses in check, and ended a long, rich life with money in the bank, men on tap, and a few jokes to the good.
• • She was born Mary Jane West in 1893 in Brooklyn, New York, though her ancestry was English, from leafy Buckinghamshire [sic]. Her stage debut, aged seven, was Baby May
— — Song And Dance.
• • As a teenager she changed her name to "Mae" because it was sexier, and by the time she was 20, she had played in Shakespeare [sic], toured in burlesque, danced on Broadway in a production of Les Folies Bergere [sic], and had her own vaudeville act.
• • She had also married and kicked out a no-good called Frank Wallace. He helped shape her views on men, which she set down in her "Ten Commandments" (there are actually 15).
• • Among "Things I'll Never Do", she swore not "to marry a man who is too handsome, a man who drinks to excess, a man who is easy to get, or is easily led into temptation — — unless I do the leading."
• • She said she would never "walk when I can sit, or sit when I can recline. I believe in saving my energy
— — for important things".
• • And she would "never take another woman's man. Not intentionally, that is."
• • In her solo vaudeville act, she specialised in suggestive jokes and dressed to exploit her sexuality.
• • To theatre audiences in the 1920s, she was the personification of sex, an image she exploited by associating, for publicity purposes, with prizefighters, wrestlers, and athletes and musclemen.
• • Her ostensible choice in men did not change. Even in her 80s she still liked to be photographed with boxers, often admiring their physiques.
• • But was it all a stunt? There is no evidence that she had a particular interest in sex or wide sexual experience or knowledge, or salacious tastes.
• • In some ways, she was prudish. She was never photographed in the nude or topless.
• • She never used four-letter words or crude, explicit expressions. She never kissed onstage or on film.
• • She devoted much of her life to derisory innuendos and double entendres of great variety and ingenuity, putting them across with remarkable skill.
• • But she never told a dirty story as such, onstage or in private.
• • Her greatest achievement was to retain control over her own career.
• • Mae was one of a generation of inspired comics, including Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Buster Keaton, and Stan Laurel.
• • The competition among them was keen, and the need for fresh, first-class material and funny scenarios was constant.
• • She soon discovered she could write better jokes, dialogue, and scripts than the ones provided for her.
• • But she had no authorial amour-propre or artistic pretensions. Everything was done ad hoc, much of it at the last minute.
• • The only criteria were applause and box office. Yet her role as author and gag-writer enabled her to keep complete control and to present herself as she wanted.
• • As a result, between the wars she turned "Mae West" into one of the most enduring and indestructible showbiz images in the world. No other female star was so completely her own invention.
• • Her efforts made her the highest-paid entertainer in America in 1934, with an income of $399,166. The following year, her earnings went up to $480,833, exceeded only by the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.
• • She made her fortune by working outside the Hollywood studio system, which kept most other actors in gilded slavery under long, exclusive contracts giving them no share in profits.
• • By making herself her own boss, she won freedom and affluence.
• • She invested her money in high-quality diamonds, which were also stage props, and by the end of the 1930s, she was probably the most celebrated owner of precious stones outside India. She wore them as often as possible.
• • When an usherette at the Hollywood Roxy exclaimed at a premiere in December 1936, "Goodness, what diamonds!" Mae West came back with her best spontaneous [sic] riposte ever
— — "Goodness has nothing to do with it." ["Spontaneous"?? Mae West used that line in a motion picture "Night After Night" in 1932.]
• • This was in the great American tradition of one-liners: "A hard man is good to find"; "It ain't the men in my life; it's the life in my men"; "When I'm good I'm very good, but when I'm bad I'm better."
• • There were also her suggestive songs such as Come Up And See Me Some Time, I Like A Man Who Takes His Time, What Do You Have To Do To Get It, and many more.
• • She worked hard on her gags, and her enormous gag book was, next to her diamonds, her most precious possession.
• • It eventually numbered 2,000 pages and 20,000 jokes. She took some from stock publications for stand-up comics, such as McNally's Bulletin and Digest Of Humour, some of them going back to the 19th century.
• • But most were originals or at least her own versions.
• • The only effective restraint upon her was censorship. In 1927 she was convicted of corrupting public morals with one of her plays
— — Sex.
• • She was sentenced to ten days in jail and served eight, with two days off for good behaviour.
• • She wove her prison term into her public image. With a proto-feminist twist, she pointed out that all the lawyers in the case against her were men, the jury was all-male and no women witnesses were called.
• • "This," she said, "was a case of Men versus One Woman."
• • That summed her up. She set out to prove that a woman can outdo men in the grand and grim task of show business, and she succeeded.
• • If Mae West was a boss-heroine, then Marilyn Monroe was a victim-heroine. The actress Shelley Winters knew them both. "I admired Mae West but I wanted to be Marilyn
— — she had all the assets."
• • Mae West agreed. She said of Monroe: "She was the only girl who ever came close to me in the sex department. All the others had were big boobs." . . .
— — excerpt — —
• ADAPTED from Heroes by Paul Johnson, to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on February 14 at £20. ° 2008, Paul Johnson.
• • Source: Daily Mail [UK] — — www.dailymail.co.uk
• • Published on: 4 February 2008
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1934 • •

Mae West.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mae West: Albuquerque

Old-time newspaper men didn't live by the almighty press release when they wanted an interview with MAE WEST.
• • Ollie Reed, Jr. tells the story of veteran reporter George Baldwin, a Texas native, who started at The Albuquerque Tribune late in 1934 and worked at the paper — as reporter, city editor, managing editor, associate editor, and columnist — for more than 60 years. He died in 1997 at age 88.
• • In his first years at the paper, George Baldwin worked news beats all day, stopped at home for supper cooked by his wife, Ruth, and then covered University of New Mexico sports well into the evening. He didn't back off that work schedule until illness overtook him in his mid-1980s.
• • "He was at the paper at 6 in the morning and 6 in the evening," remembered Harry Moskos, who started at The Tribune in 1953. "I think that's where I got my work ethic."
• • George Baldwin began his days with breakfast at the Court Cafe, which was on Fourth Street, just north of Central Avenue. Then he walked to the old Alvarado Hotel near the Santa Fe Railway tracks to see if any movie stars or other notables were stopping in town on the trains that ran between Los Angeles and Chicago.
• • Once, in the late 1930s, he got a tip that movie star Mae West was on a train. Baldwin got on to look for her, and the train departed with him still aboard.
• • "Boy, that conductor was sore," Baldwin recalled in a 1996 interview. "You weren't supposed to stop a train in those days. They finally did stop it up by Menaul School and made me get off. I had to walk (about 2 1/2 miles) back to The Tribune offices." ...
— — excerpt — —
• • "The Times of The Tribune"
• • Byline: Ollie Reed Jr.
• • Published in: The Albuquerque Tribune
• • Published on: Thursday, 21 February 2008

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1932 • •

Mae West.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mae West: Sex on Trial

On 15 February 1927, Mae West's obscenity trial began.
• • Police inspector James Bolan was called as a witness for the prosecution in West Side Special Sessions Court. "He produced a sheaf of yellow paper, adjusted his eyeglasses and read in a solemn tone that suggested a church service," went one newspaper account of the courtroom's activities published on 16 February 1927. "The inspector's lean, grave face ministered to the effect."
• • At the beginning of her trial, Mae West was still shuttling back and forth from Jefferson Market Court on Sixth Avenue in the daytime to Daly's 63rd Street Theatre in the evening to perform onstage in "Sex" — — eight times a week — — as usual. But there was nothing "usual" about this.
• • "Playing the publicity angle for all it was worth, the producers and the cast of 'Sex' applied for, and were granted, a jury trial instead of a trial before three judges in Special Session," wrote Emily Wortis Leider in Becoming Mae West. "In early March (1927) the grand jury returned an indictment against the management and part of the cast. Mae West and the other indicted cast members entered their plea: Not guilty."
• • Mae West's popularity was undiminished by the trial. During the same week as the police raid, the junior promenade committee of the Washington Square College of New York University invited the actress to attend their prom. The coeds did stop short of bestowing the title "Prom Girl" on the Brooklyn bombshell — — an honor accorded each year to only one girl among all those present — — insisted the student administration.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West 's trial • • West Side Special Sessions Court, 1917 sketch • •

Mae West.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mae West: Qualifications

Shortly after "Diamond Lil" was declared a success by New York's critics in 1928, articles poured forth about the actress, playwright, and all-around dynamo MAE WEST.
• • . . . Previous to her precipitate emergence in "Sex," Miss West had as recommendation the qualifications of Brooklyn nativity, apprenticeship as a child actress in that borough with Hal Clarendon's stock company, and the aforementioned experience in vaudeville and musical shows," the New York City newspaper ran on.
• • She takes some little pride in the fact that, during the variety era, two young men were associated with her as pianists who have since done fairly well on their own. One of them was Harry Richman, who became a somebody in the night clubs and in the last "Scandals," and the other was Jack Smith, whose claim to fame is that he combines the simultaneous accomplishments of whispering and singing baritone.
• • Among the song-and-dance pieces which boasted the blond actress's services were "Sometime" with Ed Wynn and several Shubert extravaganzas. The rumor will not down that in one of these latter she was the shimmying Cleopatra of a song called, with happy inspiration, "Shakespeare's Garden of Love," which Marc Connelly, among others, can — — and will — — still sing for you. ...
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none • •

Mae West.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mae West: Frank Loesser

How cold could it be when MAE WEST is singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" a pop standard with words and music by Frank Loesser?
• • In 1944, Loesser wrote the contrapuntal duet and premiered the song with his wife at their Navarro Hotel house-warming party. The female voice in the song is called "The Mouse" and the male "The Wolf." The lyrics consist of The Wolf's attempts to convince her to stay with him at the end of a date; her indecisive protests reveal that although she feels obligated to go home, she is tempted to stay, partially because, as the title suggests, "it's cold outside."
• • In 1958, the most memorable rendition of Loesser's duet was performed (and televised) at the annual Oscar ceremony when MAE WEST and Rock Hudson teamed up.
• • In 1948 — — after years of informally performing the song at various events — — Loesser finally had sold the rights to MGM, which inserted the song into its motion picture, "Neptune's Daughter" [1949]. The film featured two performances of the song: one by Ricardo Montalb├ín and Esther Williams, and the other by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. These performances earned Loesser an Academy Award for Best Song.
• • Many vocalists have paired up to record this light-hearted duet including Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer, and Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton.
• • A native New Yorker like Mae West, Frank Henry Loesser [29 June 1910 — 26 July 1969] was a versatile composer and lyricist.
• • Frank never studied music formally, though he couldn't help coming under its influence in his childhood. His father was a distinguished German-born teacher of classical piano and his older brother, Arthur, was a renowned concert pianist, musicologist, and music critic. Frank wrote his first song at the age of six.
• • During World War II, he wrote 1942's "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." Formerly a successful lyricist in collaboration with other composers, this was the first song for which Loesser composed the melody in addition to the lyric.
• • Frank Loesser was awarded a Grammy Award in 1961 for Best Original Cast Show Album for "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying."
• • However, he wrote well-known number for several Broadway musicals including hits for "Guys and Dolls" (1950).
• • A lifelong smoker, Frank Loesser died of lung cancer at age 59.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1958 • •

Mae West.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mae West: Booth Tarkington

No less than Booth Tarkington [1869 1946] was assigned by Collier's to write about the arrest of MAE WEST on 9 February 1927.
• • Surely, the dramatist and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner had his own feelings about the purity police interfering with the written word when he addressed himself to the magazine's readers in his essay "When Is It Dirt?" [published in Collier's, The National Weekly, on 14 May 1927].
• • It used to be said, along the coasts of Bohemia in New York, "To the pure all things are impure," a shot at the Puritans was Booth Tarkington's opening. But even a Bohemian of that day must feel some misgivings now, when he goes to the theatre or reads modern novels and many of the livelier journals, for apparently he has become purified and is in danger of being penetrated by the arrow he himself aimed at the late Mr. Comstock. ...
• • Anthony Comstock [7 March 1844
21 September 1915] was a former United States Postal Inspector and politician dedicated to ideas of Victorian morality. In 1873 Comstock created the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an institution dedicated to supervising the morality of the public.
• • "When Is It Dirt?" was illustrated with large photographs of actress Helen Menken [12 December 1901 – 27 March 1966] and actor Basil Rathbone, also arrested on 9 February 1927 — and a huge portrait of the dirt-devil herself, Mae West.
• • God-fearing editors at Collier's penned this caption: Mae West and others connected with "Sex" answer in court.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none • •

Mae West.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mae West: North to Alaska

Released on 21 February 1936 was MAE WEST's motion picture "Klondike Annie."
• • In his "All Movie Guide," Paul Brenner observed: Mae West butts heads with Victor McLaglen in Raoul Walsh's "Klondike Annie." But the real victor was the Legion of Decency, whose censorship strictures transformed a saucy and spicy gumbo into something closer to chicken noodle soup. West plays Rose Carlton, the kept woman of Chan Lo (Harold Huber), who takes her from walking the streets to pacing the floors of her high rent apartment. Rose ends up killing Chan and beats it from San Francisco to the frozen north. She boards a ship where burly sea captain Bull Brackett (McLaglen) takes a shine to her. When he finds out she killed Chan, he blackmails her into coming up and seeing him sometime. Boarding the ship in Seattle is missionary Annie Alden (Helen Jerome Eddy), who dies on the way to Alaska. Rose assumes Annie's identity and, upon arrival in Alaska proceeds to preach the Good Book, saving sinners by unorthodox methods. Mountie Jack Forrest (Philip Reed) arrives in town searching for Chan's murderer and he falls in love with Rose, unaware that the woman he loves is the killer he seeks.
• • Native New Yorker Raoul Walsh [11 March 1887 — 31 December 1980] directed.
• • This project also happened to be a reunion between Victor McLaglan and Walsh, the director who guided him to stardom in the silent war drama, "What Price Glory?" (Fox, 1926), and two of its three sequels.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1936 • •

Mae West.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mae West: Edward Arnold

Edward Arnold co-starred with Mae West in "I'm No Angel" [1933].
• • Native New Yorker Edward Arnold [18 February 1890 — 26 April 1956] was a character actor who appeared in 150 films — — along with his role as Big Bill Barton.
• • Born on the Lower East Side of New York City as Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider, he was the son of German immigrants. With his booming baritone voice, piercing blue eyes, and a heavy-set physique, Edward Arnold was an expert at playing rogues and authority figures.
• • A burly man with a commanding style, he was a popular screen presence for decades. He starred in such film classics as Diamond Jim [1935], a role he reprised in Lillian Russell [1940].
• • Edward Arnold served as President of The Screen Actors Guild shortly before his death in 1956 at age 66.
• • "I'm No Angel" Cast • •
• • Mae West as Tira
• • Cary Grant as Jack Clayton
• • Gregory Ratoff as Benny Pinkowitz
• • Edward Arnold as Big Bill Barton
• • Memorable lines • •
• • Rajah (a fortuneteller): Ah, you have a wonderful future. I see a man in your life.
• • Tira: What — — only one?
• • Tira: Beulah, peel me a grape.
• • Tira: It's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men.
• • Tira: When I'm good I'm very good. But when I'm bad I'm better.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • 1933 • •

Mae West.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mae West: Betsy Ross

"Good women are no fun. The only good woman I can recall in history is Betsy Ross. And all she ever made was a flag." — — Mae West
• • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Betsy Ross [1 January 1752 — 30 January 1836] was a woman who may
— — or may not — — have sewn the first American flag, a design that incorporated stars representing the first 13 colonies.
• • The so-called "Betsy Ross Flag" had 13 stars and stripes. The legend goes on to claim that George Washington told Betsy that all the stars should be placed in a circle so that no colony would be viewed above another. Historians, however, have found over a dozen flag makers in Philadelphia at the time.
• • The Thirteen Colonies were British colonies in North America that rebelled against British rule in 1775.
• • New York was one of the original thirteen rebellious provinces.
• • Mae West, a native New Yorker, went on to be a rebel and a STAR in her own right.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • vintage pin; artist unknown • •

Mae West.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mae West: Black Gold

MAE WEST's idol was showman Bert Williams [1874 1922], who became the first African American performer in the Ziegfeld Follies from 1910 1920.
• • A new book has just been published about this outstanding entertainer.
• • Introducing Bert Williams: Burnt Cork, Broadway, and the Story of America's First Black Star
• • By Camille F. Forbes
• • [NY: Basic/ Civitas Books, 404 pages]
• • Michael Feingold's review for The Village Voice ["The Sad Funny Man: Rethinking the career of Bert Williams, who raised blackface to the level of an art form] begins like this:
• • Melancholy was his stock in trade. All his songs deal with misery, pain, and violence, usually visited on him. His primary activity in performance consisted of being lured from one hideous situation into a worse one. Onstage, his melancholy made audiences laugh immeasurably; offstage, a deeply inward soul, he carried it with him, retreating into his dressing room or his library at home to read philosophy and poetry. One of his dearest friends among the colleagues of his later career supplied the character matrix that everyone writing about him inevitably quotes: "[He] was the funniest man I ever saw, and the saddest man I ever knew."
• • Michael Feingold continues: The sad funnyman's name was Bert Williams. That the colleague quoted above was W.C. Fields, whose own melancholy ran nearly as deep, says something not only about the sadness of great comic artists but also about America. Bert Williams (1874–1922) was black. For an African-American in that time of upheaval, he had a life that might have seemed to justify only joy. One of the most beloved public figures of his day, a star whose name and stock phrases were known to virtually everybody, in good years he earned an income substantially above that paid to any public official, including the president. Though not a crusader by temperament, he used his position to make many small breaches in the Jim Crow barriers behind which African-Americans were then trapped: He led the first black theater troupe to play in a Broadway house, and the first to give a royal command performance in England. He was the first black artist to become a recording star, and the first to play a leading role on Broadway on an equal footing with white artists. He is, unmistakably, a hero of our culture. ...
• • Clearly appreciating the showmanship of versatile Bert Williams — — if not the talents of his latest biographer Camillie Forbes — — book reviewer Michael Feingold adds: Yet he was both a hero and a great artist. That comes through clearly in Camille F. Forbes's ploddingly written but exhaustive new biography, Introducing Bert Williams. Forbes, an academic preoccupied with the social meanings she can read into Williams's career, gives only a hollowly theoretical sense of his life and achievements as an artist, and her sense of the era's theatrical culture is erratic at best, but the social questions she belabors are those with which Williams grappled, and she leaves no doubt that "realness" was indeed the driving passion behind his art. ...
• • Luckily for us, Michael Feingold points out, Bert Williams left his monument on disc: The immaculate timing and ripe musicality of his songs and spoken routines (available on a 3-CD set from Archeophone) make the optimal antidote for Forbes's muzzy prose.
• • Michael Feingold's complete review was published in The Village Voice.
— — Excerpt: — —
• • The Sad Funny Man: Rethinking the career of Bert Williams, who raised blackface to the level of an art form.
• • by Book Reviewer Michael Feingold
• • Published in: The Village Voice — — www.villagevoice.com
• • Published on: 12 February 2008

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West's idol • • Bert Williams • •

Mae West.