Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mae West: April 19th

April 19th was a memorable date for MAE WEST.
• • By 19 April 1911, while touring on the vaudeville circuit in Minneapolis, Mae had uttered five obscenities and owed Little Gorman, treasurer of their Curse Club, fifty cents for these infractions. In truth, by cursing and acting up, Mae was showing the troupe how rapidly dissatisfied she had become with "marital bliss" and her limp biscuit of a bridegroom Frank Wallace.
• • On 19 April 1933, bombshell Jayne Mansfield [1933 —1967] was born. Twenty-three years later, the starlet would be making the moves on Mickey Hargitay, then starring in the Mae West Revue. Miss Mansfield married the muscleman in 1957.
• • On 19 April 1962, Curtis Cooksey, who had co-starred with Mae in "Diamond Lil" [1928], and had created the leading man role of the handsome Captain Cummings during the play's maiden voyage on Broadway, committed suicide. Charismatic Curtis Cooksey, who was born on 9 December 1891 in Indiana, had contracted cancer and did away with himself at age 70.
• • • • Sentenced on 19 April 1927 • • • •
• • Most unforgettably, on 19 April 1927, actress Mae West was sentenced for her performance in "Sex," the Broadway play she wrote, cast, and starred in. She was given ten days in prison and the jail time seems to have done her good — — from a publicity standpoint. As she left the courtroom, followed by reporters, friends, fans, and gawkers, Mae predicted, "I expect this will be the making of me!"
• • Though Mae West was sentenced to 10 days, she actually only served 8 days. The actress received "time off for good behavior."
• • Last summer (July 2008), the cast of "Courting Mae West" acted out the chaos inside that Greenwich Village courtroom on 5 April 1927. The scintillating Yvonne Sayers, who portrayed Mae West, was on trial with Eric Eastman, who played her "Sex" co-star and co-defendant, Barry O'Neill. The judge's verdict ended Act I.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The serious-minded comedy "Courting Mae West" by Greenwich Village playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo, set during 1926 1932, explores Mae West's legal woes surrounding "The Drag" and "Sex." Scenes in Act I dramatize Mae's interactions with her drag queen cast, the police raid on 9 February 1927, and the tense aftermath at Jefferson Market Police Court.
• • Using fictional elements, the text is anchored by true events and has several characters who are based on real people: actress Mae West; Beverly West; Jim Timony; Texas Guinan; a news seller on Sixth Avenue and West 9th Street; and Sara Starr, based on the Greenwich Village flapper Starr Faithfull, whose death inspired John O'Hara's novel "Butterfield 8" and a dozen other books.
• • "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets" has attracted the attention of a theatre owner and Is now seeking a co-producer.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1927 • •
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Mae West.

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