Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mae West: Nils and Smiles

The critics often weighed in on MAE WEST — — and seldom were they indulgent.
• • Back on 21 April 1928, Billboard's resident killjoy was Robert Garland. He had also been reviewing for the New York World—Telegram and was a founding member of the Drama Critics Circle. Perhaps trying to insure she would get good notices from him, one hopeful changed her name from Miss Gumm to "Judy Garland," snagging his surname.
• • Well, on that date eighty-one years ago, Robert Garland actually paid "Diamond Lil" a left-hand compliment.
• • "You'd have thought that a favorite bootlegger had come back from Atlanta," wrote drama critic Robert Garland in the New York Evening Telegram [5 April 1928]. "Mae West makes Miss Ethel Barrymore look like the late lamented Bert Savoy."
• • Wouldn't you know it? We did not notice any books about Robert Garland reviewed today in the London Guardian. However, we did spot a column about the book "Heroes: From Alexander the Great To Mae West" by Paul Johnson [Orion Books]. Which brings to mind this bit of Middle Eastern wisdom: "The dogs bark — — but the caravan moves on."
• • On 21 April 1957, the world received the sad news that Nils T. Granlund had died in a taxi accident in Las Vegas.
• • Born in Sweden but raised in the USA, Nils T. Granlund [29 September 1890 — 21 April 1957] was a Broadway show producer, radio industry pioneer, and also a publicist for Marcus Loew who formed Loews Theatres and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). So well known that he went by his initials N.T.G., this powerhouse was Mae West's publicist and he also attended her wedding when she married Guido Deiro.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Robert Garland • • 1935 • •
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