Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mae West: Variety

An article in Variety — — whose publisher Sime Silverman [May 1873 September 1933] was well-known to MAE WEST — — applauded her big box office assets in Hollywood. But back in the days when Sime was slamming Mae's turns in vaudeville, his publication was housed on the East Coast at 154 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036.
• • Robert Hofler writes: It had to be the worst time to launch a new publication. Daily Variety put out its first issue on September 6th, 1933. The economically challenged year had already weathered Franklin Delano Roosevelt's inauguration, the launch of the New Deal, a bank holiday and, in Hollywood, an industry-wide pay cut of 25% to 50% for all movie-studio employees.
• • Immediately following the 1929 stock market crash, the novelty of the talkies spared Hollywood the catastrophic downturn that quickly decimated Broadway and many other businesses across the country. But in 1933, the Great Depression finally worked its lethal charm on Hollywood, too, and all the studios felt the need to cut, cut, cut in a way that had nothing to do with judicious film editing. Only MGM felt no pain. But thanks to Louis B. Mayer's sense of patriotic empathy, he called upon his staffers to join the sacrifice of across-the-board pay cuts in a way that effectively increased his company's bottom line.
• • Paramount Pictures, on the other hand, faced bankruptcy and would have closed its doors if not for sexpot Mae West, who came to the rescue with her twin laffers, "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel," the top-grossing film of the year.
• • Early in its game, Daily Variety picked up on the naughty B.O. trend with its "Mae West Ditto Sought in Vain," an article that revealed:
• • "Success of Mae West has many Hollywood agents on the hunt for girls of the same type. Search is not only in the usual spots, but in burlesk and carney shows. So far there have been few gals of the West type uncovered, chief trouble being that those who have acquired the West hey hey are too decrepit for the camera."
• • Before Daily Variety was born to make such piquant observations, publisher Sime Silverman put out a vaudeville-focused weekly newspaper — — known simply as Variety — — beginning in 1905. Nearly 30 years later, he gambled on a daily newspaper that would pay more attention to Hollywood and the movie biz. No sooner did he bring his lucky 13th copy of the new Daily Variety to the newsstands than he died of a heart attack, at age 61, on September 22nd.
• • Indeed, 1933 was quite a year. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • "Depression doesn't stop Daily Variety: Newspaper set up shop in Hollywood in 1933"
• • Byline:
Robert Hofler
• • Published in: Daily Variety — —
• • Published on: 28 October 2008

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:


• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none
• •

Mae West.

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