It was not long after the new Sardi's opened on 5 March 1927 that MAE WEST arrived.
• • Sardi's is a restaurant in New York City's theater district at 234 West 44th Street (west of Broadway). Known for its "Wall of Fame" — — numerous wall-mounted, often distorted and unflattering caricatures of show-business celebrities — — Sardi's threw open the doors to its current location on 5 March 1927.
• • Vincent Sardi, Sr. [23 December 1885 — 19 November 1969] opened his first Times Square eatery with his wife Eugenia ("Jenny"), The Little Restaurant, at 146 West 44th Street in 1921. Five years later, when that building was slated for demolition, Mr. and Mrs. Sardi accepted an offer from theater moguls, the Shubert brothers, to relocate to a new building the brothers were erecting.
• • When business slowed after the move, Vincent Sardi searched for a gimmick to attract customers and attention. Recalling the movie-star caricatures that decorated the walls of Joe Zelli’s, a Parisian restaurant and jazz club, Sardi decided to recreate that effect in his establishment. He hired a Russian refugee named Alex Gard [1900-1948] to do drawings of Broadway box-office sensations.
• • Her show "Diamond Lil" [1928 — 1929] at the Royale Theatre made her the new darling of the Great White Way and Alex Gard had to have her head. His friend Sidney Skolsky introduced them. Though we do have an early draft of the sketch, it is too unflattering to duplicate. In his malicious portrait, Alex Gard cast Mae West not unlike an early version of Miss Piggy. And that's all, folks, on this topic.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •