It was exactly 75 years ago — — on 16 January 1934 — — that MAE WEST gave testimony in the trial of Edward Friedman, who had robbed her.
• • This coverage appeared in the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express:
• • OFFICERS GUARD MOVIE QUEEN AT TRIAL AFTER THREATS BY GANGSTERS • •
• • Amid a chorus of masculine and feminine "oh's" and "ah's," alluring Mae West herself, a riot of color and beauty, swept thorough the courtroom of Judge Harry Sewell this morning in a grand entrance before her audience, took the witness stand and told her story of how she was robbed of $12,000 worth of diamonds and $3,400 in cash.
• • Her appearance was that of the complaining star witness at the trial of Edward Friedman, charged with being one of the robber gang, and it created as much of a sensation in the crowded courtroom as at any Mae West premiere.
• • "The man with the gun said to me, ‘Give me the poke,'" Miss West testified.
• • "My purse was on the seat beside me and the bandit reached over for it. I figured he wanted it, so I picked it up and gave it to him."
• • LAVISH GESTURES • •
• • Here the lovely Mae illustrated with lavish gestures and with the aid of a brocade purse how she generously handed over her purse to a man with the gun.
• • But if she had figured that was to save her sparklers, it was a wrong move, she admitted ruefully.
• • "Then he said, ‘Give me that ring,'" she continued. "So I did. It was a diamond ring."
• • ACTRESS GUARDED • •
• • At this moment a court recess was called. Mae's screen of protective detectives and investigators closed in around her. They were there, to see that no gangster took a shot at her because of telephone threats made against her, but they acted as gallant lackeys as well.
• • "Wouldn't you like a drink of water" asked the first lucky man to reach the side of the attractive screen siren.
• • "Here's a seat for you, Miss West," interrupted another.
• • "I'm all right, boys — there's nothing wrong with me," purred the golden-haired Mae. "I'm feeling fine."
• • A Diamond Pendant Shaped Like a Champagne Bottle • •
• • The missing jewels, she already has complained, included a diamond pendant shaped like a champagne bottle, with the "laughing water" fizzing from its mouth; a diamond bracelet two inches wide and a diamond ring. The cash represented a week's pay for working in the movies.
• • Today she said she didn't want her "rocks" back, but only to find out who really took them.
Her bodyguard, Detective Lieutenants Joe Filkas and Frank "Lefty" James, were fulfilling their pleasurable task as a result of couple of anonymous telephone calls received by the blonde heroine of She Done Him Wrong and other screen hits, demanding that she stay away from Friedman's trial — — "or else."
• • However, those calls didn't bother the nonchalant Mae.
• • "I asked the guy who called me ‘So what?' and hung up on him," she drawled. "Say, phony calls and letters and stuff like that are all a part of a day's mail. I should get hot and bothered ...'
• • She said the man who called her had a 'heavy' voice.
• • "But that don't make him unusual, like a circus exhibit, exactly. Lotsa guys have deep voices, seems like I've observed," she added.
• • Friedman is said to have admitted the robbery, but later repudiated the confession, claiming it was given during a 'third degree' by police.
• • The other men also were indicted with him — Morris Cohen, alleged Detroit gangster, and Harry Voiler, who was with Miss West as a friend at the time the holdup was perpetrated. It was Voiler, according to Friedman's admission, who hired him to hold up Miss West. He is now in Chicago fighting extradition. Cohen never has been found.
— — Source: 1/16/1934 Evening Herald and Express — —
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •