Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mae West: Life of Riley

MAE WEST backed into a screenplay that had been a Broadway box-office blockbuster.
• • In "Go West Young Man" — — released on 18 November 1936 — — Mae West stepped into a role created as a Broadway comedy that poked fun at "Hollywood dementia" and featured Gladys George [1900 1954] in the role of a sultry jezebel. The long-running stage hit told the story of a movie star and diva, Carole Arden, who is on a tour giving personal appearances to promote her latest film, "Drifting Lady." Her car breaks down, which leads to her amorous encounter with a young, handsome gas station attendant, Chester "Bud" Norton.
• • Lawrence Riley [1896 — 1974] was a successful American playwright and screenwriter, who died in the month of November. In 1934, he became famous as the author of the Broadway hit "Personal Appearance," which was tuned up by Mae West into the leading role of Mavis Arden.
• • The big screen version of "Personal Appearance," starring Mae West, was directed by Henry Hathaway. The film situates Mae in a role not originally conceived for her. Randolph Scott co-starred and the film was released by Paramount Pictures. The success launched the playwright on his second career as a screenwriter — — a somewhat ironical development in view of Riley's satire of Hollywood in "Personal Appearance," a Broadway bonanza that ran for 501 performances.
• • Born in 1896 in Warren, Pennsylvania, Riley set his breakthrough play "Personal Appearance" in Pennsylvania. This play earned him a fortune. During his career as a screenwriter, he maintained homes in both New York City and Hollywood.
• • Later in life, the Rileys had been long-time residents of Riverside, a section of the town of Greenwich, Connecticut. On 29 November 1974, Lawrence Riley died at Stamford Hospital (Stamford, Connecticut) at the age of 78.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1936 review • •
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