MAE WEST stayed at the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix, Arizona during the 1930s — — and the owners never forgot the honor.
• • Currently, Shirley Peterson, a vivacious 80 year-old songstress is helping to reinvigorate the Hotel San Carlos by entertaining the guests.
• • There the porcelain-skinned blonde sits under a black and white portrait of Mae West [costumed for her role in "She Done Him Wrong"] and plays the grand piano in the Copper Door on Saturdays, commanding the attention of the cocktail crowd in the charmingly historic room.
• • Just before the hotel celebrated its 80th anniversary in March 2008, general manager Corrin Green contacted Shirley Peterson, asking her to play in the first-floor space that — — even with such a long history — — felt oddly empty, soulless even.
• • "And as soon as we got Shirley in here, there was no question. She owned the room," said Green.
• • How could the Copper Door feel "empty" or "soulless" with the Brooklyn bombshell presiding over the salon? Well, no doubt, Peterson and Mae West are making beautiful music on Saturdays in Arizona. We can only hope that Shirley plays a mean version of "Frankie and Johnny."
• • Did you know that the Grand Canyon State has its very own copy of Hollywood's star-studded sidewalk? The sidewalk outside Phoenix's historic Hotel San Carlos — — which opened in 1928 as the first air-conditioned hotel in the state — — has its own walk of fame.
• • Celebrities such as MAE WEST, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Carole Lombard, and Marilyn Monroe stayed at the hotel when visiting the desert. To commemorate the hotel's 65th anniversary in 1993, the walk of stars was added outside, on both Central Avenue and Monroe Street.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: Mae West • • 1933 • •