Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mae West: Evelyn Nesbit

MAE WEST has a tie to several individuals linked to January 17th. One is the infamous show girl Mae once opened for.
• • Evelyn Nesbit Thaw [25 December 1884 — 17 January 1967] was an American artists' model and chorus girl, noted for her entanglement in the murder of her ex-lover, architect Stanford White, by her first husband: Harry Kendall Thaw.
• • No doubt Mae, an aspiring entertainer, would never forget her booking on 4 August 1913 — — when Hammerstein had scheduled the vivacious teenager to perform at his vaudeville playhouse situated in Longacre [later Times] Square. The location was popularly known by New Yorkers as "the corner."
• • On this sultry August evening, Mae West was there to open for a world-famous star: Evelyn Nesbit [1884 — 1967]. Despite a low-cut gown and provocative songs, Mae failed to fire up the audience.
• • The critic from The New York Tribune [whose coverage ran on 5 August 1912] commented that even Mae's low neckline and raunchy bumps and grinds were not enough to sway the hoi polloi.
• • 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, Ethel Barrymore, 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.
• • Evelyn Nesbit was a technical adviser on the Hollywood bio-picture "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing" [1955]. At the age of 82, Evelyn Nesbit died in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
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