Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mae West: Dorothy Hall

How many performers could say they were arrested with MAE WEST?
• • It was on 9 February 1927 that Mae — — along with the cast of "Sex," and the cast of "The Captive," and the cast of "The Virgin Man" — — was cuffed and brought to Night Court.
• • Born in 1906, Dorothy Hall was the youngest actress to face the judge after the raid. And unlike the 10-month-long box-office bonanza "Sex" had become, "The Virgin Man" had only debuted on 18 January 1927 on West 39th Street and was struggling to find an audience before the purity police targeted it, arousing new interest.
• • Before coming to The Great White Way, "The Captive" had enjoyed success in France. That prestige perhaps persuaded Helen Menken [1901 — 1966] to take the (then) quite unusual role of a married woman who falls for another female.
• • Playing the role of Mr. Clean, attempting to disinfect the sewer Broadway had become, New York City's Acting Mayor Joseph V. McKee made sure the news men were informed the night before.
• • After 10:00 PM, Helen Menken, Dorothy Hall, and Mae West were charged with "contributing to a common nuisance" and "obscene exhibition" and found themselves face to face with each other and answerable to Magistrate John Flood Wells, who set bail at $1,000 each.
• • On February 10th, the local newspapers focused more on Miss Hall and Miss Menken than on Mae West. All three producers sought restraining orders permitting them to reopen. Under fire, Dorothy Hall immediately quit the play and Lucille Lortel replaced her.
• • Dorothy Hall continued her Broadway career, starring in a number of plays until 1941. Hall died in the month of February — — on 3 February 1953 — — at age 47.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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