Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mae West: March 1913

It was early in March 1913 when Willie Hammerstein assembled variety artists for his mid-winter festival week and engaged MAE WEST for this saucy extravaganza.
• • In 1912 and 1913, Hammerstein booked the teenager for eleven week-long engagements at his vaudeville attraction situated in Longacre [later Times] Square. The location was popularly known by New Yorkers as "the corner."
• • In 1899, Oscar Hammerstein built his fifth showplace the Victoria Theatre at the corner of West 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue. Stars like Mae West, Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplin, Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, and Eva Tanguay were among the thousands of performers who made Hammerstein's Victoria the vaudeville "nut house" of Times Square.
• • Heading the bill for this mid-winter festival week was Fay Templeton [18651939], an accomplished singer on the light opera circuit.
• • Hammerstein also premiered "The Squealer," a dramatic sketch by William C. DeMille and Charley Case's newest monologue.
• • There will be moving pictures of the Scott South Pole Expedition, promised Willie Hammerstein. Other acts on the bill were Mae West, Genaro and Bailey, The Bird Millman Trio, The Bison City Four, Sharp and Turek, Marlin and a Pack of Cards, The Jack Dakota Trio, Violinsky, Bud & Nellie Helm, and several others.
• • How many bon-bons did a ticket-holder need to buy in Longacre Square in order to sit through such a staggering stagebill in March 1913?
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West venue • • Hammerstein's • •
Mae West.

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