Saturday, August 08, 2009

Mae West: Variety in August

Paramount came close to the edge of bankruptcy but was saved by its having signed MAE WEST, whose first two pics, "I'm No Angel" and "She Done Him Wrong," did boffo biz at the box office, writes Robert Hofler [Variety, Friday, 7 August 2009]. He adds, "Had she signed with Warners or another studio, Paramount Pictures today might be a mere footnote in some showbiz-history tome."
• • To relish the rest of his article — — "Showbiz not always recession proof: Film and theater can have their ups, downs" — — which is immensely readable despite the pathetic, low-cal title, tip-toe over to Variety, where they are monogramming their thinking caps.
• • Meanwhile, guess which man Mae might be thinking of when the calendar turns to August 8th?
• • Born on the 8th of August — — Dayton Lummis and "Holy" Joe • •
• • Born in New Jersey on 8 August 1903 was Dayton Lummis, an American actor of film and television who specialized in the genre of anthology and western series, often playing authority figures. He went to the West Coast and studied theatre at the Martha Oatman School, Los Angeles. His first professional engagement, at age 24, was with the Russell Stock Company, of Redlands, California.
• • Dayton Lummis remained a regional actor until his Broadway bow in 1943 opposite Mae West in "Catherine Was Great," where he was cast in the role of Chechkofski.
• • He died in Santa Monica on 23 March 1988.
• • When New York City's Mayor Jimmy Walker went out-of-town briefly, he left Joseph V. McKee in charge — — and his deputy's first act was to have three actresses arrested on 9 February 1927 and the third Broadway headliner was Mae West. The court system had a new name for her: "common nuisance."
• • The raid and arrest in 1927 are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West."
• • Bronx-born Roman Catholic Joseph V. McKee, Sr. [8 August 1889 — 28 January 1956] was originally a teacher at DeWitt Clinton High School and a lecturer in Latin and Greek at Fordham University. Eventually, he became a politically active Democrat.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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