Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mae West: Stanley Walker

Newsman Stanley Walker came up to see MAE WEST on many occasions. He saw her productions onstage, and he sat at her elbow several times backstage and at the night spots she frequented.
• • As a writer for the old New York Herald Tribune in the 1920s and 1930s, Stanley Walker chronicled the city in words the way Weegee did with a Graflex.
• • Published in November 1935 to great acclaim, The Night Club Era is Walker's portrait of the wicked city during Prohibition — — and how the banning of liquor gave rise to a new social setting in which, legal or not, booze flowed uninhibited and gangsters rubbed shoulders with socialites and legitimate businessmen, all unified with the single intent of having a high time with a highball.
• • Written in the aftermath of Prohibition, Stanley Walker's bestseller The Night Club Era is a lively and idiosyncratic account of the people and places that defined New York's night life during the era of "the great American madness."
• • Walker includes coverage of the leading headline-makers and shakers such as the darling of Broadway Mae West, queen of bubbly Texas Guinan, along with the most infamous murderers and millionaires, gangsters, bartenders, celebrities of the stage, screen, and society, and a host of other colorful characters who populated the city's diverse night clubs, from El Fey to the Cotton Club.
• • Mae West was a repeater attender at the Cotton Club (a Harlem hotspot owned by her lover Owney Madden) and at the El Fey, the temporary headquarters of her frequently padlocked pal, the hostess Texas Guinan (a business partner of Larry Fay).
• • Stanley Walker was born in Texas on 21 October 1898.
• • After learning that he had a fatal illness, Stanley Walker met with a few of his old friends at the Driskill Hotel in Austin and told them he was dying. The 64-year-old writer committed suicide at his Lampasas, Texas ranch on 25 November 1962.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • • none
• •

Mae West.

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