Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mae West: 28 March 1927

In March 1927, in reaction to the Broadway aspirations of MAE WEST's play "The Drag," the New York State Legislature passed a law banning all depictions of homosexuality on the stage.
• • After the Grand Jury's indictments were finished, the courtroom trial began in earnest on 28 March 1927. First on the agenda was jury selection.
• • A few days later, Norman Schloss would open the case for the defense, pointing out the most obvious details: that "Sex" had already run for 339 performances, and it had been seen by more than 325,000 patrons, including members of the police department and their wives, by judges of the criminal courts, by seven members of the district attorneys’ staffs, and by citizens of the city who showed no moral impairment. A Broadway “play jury” had previewed the show, and belated prosecution was unreasonable.
• • The prosecutor would argue that the play "Sex" was obscene and he would be calling a series of detectives who became courtroom actors.
• • Sergeant Patrick Keneally of the Midtown Vice Squad seemed to relish reciting the more ribald lines from "The Drag," and imitating the walk and gestures of "the fairies" on stage.

• • The full-length stage play "Courting Mae West" dramatizes the trial and other matters leading up to it — — and, of course, the colorful aftermath.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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