Continuing our eye-witness coverage of the MAE WEST panel at UCLA on Monday evening, 23 February 2009, here is a fascinating first-person recollection that was duly noted by our indefatigable Hollywood correspondent, who knew we would find it quite charming.
• • This intensely devastating Angeleno, who appreciates male pulchritude, recounts this narrative: "The only truly memorable story on Monday night was when an audience member told a story of his encounter with Mae West in 1977."
• • The man said he was having dinner at Imperial Gardens in Los Angeles when he heard Mae West was in the house. He saw Paul Novak near the restroom and asked if he could meet Mae West. Paul said, "Sure, come on over to the table."
• • Since this gentleman was very good looking in February 2009, I can only imagine what he must have looked like then. Mae West asked him to sit with them — — she was sitting with a table of male friends. This guy was stunned but pleased and forgot all about his companions at his own table! Then, to his surprise, Mae West asked three of her friends to move, so HE could sit next to her! After dinner, she said, "Ya want an autographed picture?" He said he would be thrilled. She TOOK HIS HAND and they walked through the restaurant to the car with Mae's buddies in tow. The guy's tablemates saw this and almost fainted! Outside, Mae West went through her stack of photos (presumably from the trunk) and discovered she had PRE-SIGNED all of them already TO people (men's names, of course). She said, "Well, it looks like they're already signed, see. So how about this one — — 'to John?'" He said his name wasn't John. Mae West said, "Mmmm. Well, this one's to 'Robert' — — how 'bout that?" He said he couldn't. Then Mae West says, "Well, I'm havin' a party Sunday afternoon. I'll sign one then."
• • He did go to her party. He said she was lovely and gracious, with very soft hands and a smooth face. She signed a photo for him.
• • This story seemed to have woken up much of the audience — — and then the night was over.
• • Unfortunately, there were not too many voyagers into Mae West's storied past on February 23rd. UCLA's promotion coordinators put forth a rather low-energy outreach and the auditorium (which can accommodate 278 listeners) was barely half-full for this free event.
• • The Mae West blog is grateful to these stalwart screen-lovers for their patience and their comments. More front-row details will appear tomorrow.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •