Monday, January 26, 2009

Mae West: Benjamin F. Keith

MAE WEST was occasionally booked on the prestigious Keith circuit by Benjamin Franklin Keith, who was born in late January [26 January 1846 26 March 1914], a vaudeville theatre owner.
• • Before Mae worked for B.F. Keith, she fell in love with live entertainment by watching variety acts with her mother on several Brooklyn stages. And what pleasure palaces Mae and Matilda West had waltzed into. [Matilda West died on 26 January 1930.]
• • When Mae was 18 years old, not far from the elevated train's Gates Avenue station (at Broadway in Bushwick) a superb playhouse debuted: a Beaux Arts confection with Egyptian goddesses positioned on white-glazed terracotta oculi that are, simultaneously, embraced by gigantic cupids. Taken over by B.F. Keith a year later (and eventually renamed the RKO Bushwick Theatre), this was situated on a corner lot where Broadway met Monroe and Howard.
• • The Bushwick was built by showman Percy Williams — — using the popular theatre designer William McElfatrick as his architect — — and first opened on 11 September 1911 as a vaudeville house. Architect William McElfatrick was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1854.
• • In 1912, Percy Williams sold it to B.F. Keith.
• • On March 26, 1914, the little loved founder of the Keith circuit died in Florida, his 28-year-old bride nearby — — perhaps already planning for her well-cushioned widowhood.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • The Bushwick [1396 Broadway at Howard Street] • •
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment