Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mae West: How Far. . .?

MAE WEST appears in a playful short story by Bess Streeter Aldrich: "How Far Is it to Hollywood?" [published in Cosmopolitan Magazine's July 1934 issue].
• • Her short story begins this way:
• • Greta Garbo and Mae West sat on the back fence and swung their legs over the tops of the milkweeds and the boxes of empty tin cans.
• • Greta was small and dark, with black hair cut like a boy's, and restless jack-in-the-box movements. Mae was fair and pleasantly plump with a wide-eyed and innocent complacency that, if one were very critical, could justifiably be termed stodginess.
• • Miss Garbo lived at the Brysons'. In fact, she was known to Mr. and Mrs. Bryson . . . and most of her playmates as Angie Bryson. Miss West lived at the Thomases'. In fact, she was known to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas . . . as Emma-Jo Thomas. To carry this statement still further . . . it was only to Emma-Jo that Angie was Greta Garbo; and inversely and frankly, it was only to Angie that Emma-Jo was Mae West . . . .
• • The girls come across an abandoned home where the previous owner has left cartons of movie magazines behind. They cannot believe their luck. Reading about these screen queens of the 1930s gives the star-struck friends the idea that they must visit Tinseltown. But how would two schoolgirls finance a trip to Hollywood? They decide to inventory their possessions and perhaps sell some of their treasures.
• • "When they met and took an inventory of resources, Miss West had accumulated a small glass of jelly, some caps for a toy gun and a package of radish seeds. Miss Garbo's plunder consisted of a pair of Louise's silk hose, a card of buttons and the current number of her father's railroad magazine. Each apologized faintly for the humble characteristics of the contributed merchandise, but hope springs eternal, and one can never tell just what a fickle public craves."
• • Bess Streeter Aldrich [17 February 1881 — 3 August 1954] was an author born in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • •
1934 • •

Mae West.

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