In early 1912, while still in her teens, MAE WEST was searching for material and an innovative vaudeville act that would define her. She selected a few of the latest releases to be performed with the "Girard Brothers" [— — two tall, handsome Irish dancers, Bobby O'Neill and Harry Laughlin, she became friends with during the short run of "A la Broadway"].
• • "Cuddle Up and Cling to Me," with lyrics by a 36-year-old Dubliner named Stanley Murphy [1875 — 1919] and music by Henry I. Marshall was being newly distributed in 1912 by Charles K. Harris. The celebrated composer and music publisher from Chicago was now running his Manhattan operation from the Columbia Theatre Building [707 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10036], a new presence on West 47th Street. Murphy and Marshall, who had a few hits that emphasized the phrase "cuddle up," seemed to have stitched those two lucky words into other compositions.
• • Though the lyrics are pretty lame, Mae made the most of 'em, performing the song with sin-promising wriggles as well as a scripted wardrobe malfunction that made sure one strap on her gown always seemed to come loose. Ooooops!
• • "Cuddle Up and Cling to Me" — — Lyrics — — Excerpt • •
• • • Boy and girl, day in June,
• • • Dreaming of their honeymoon,
• • • Skies above are bright and clear,
• • • Soon the threatening clouds appear,
• • • Lightning flashes in the sky
• • • Thunder clouds now burst on high!
• • • Girlies [sic] heart is filled with fear
• • • He sings — — as she draws near.
• • • REFRAIN — — Slowly
• • • Huddle up and cuddle up and cling to me
• • • Put your little lovin' hands in mine
• • • Just imagine, honey, I'm a big oak tree
• • • And you're a tender, little clinging vine, entwining.
• • • Pretty soon the sun is goin' to shine again
• • • Gladness follows sadness, Hon, you see
• • • So, Honey Mine, just like the vine, cuddle up and cling to me. . . .
• • The New Haven Morning Journal Courier hailed the threesome's stage-worthiness as clever and novel, and added that "the audience took more than kindly to them and gave them a unanimous stamp of approval at the end of the act."
• • Other critics reacted favorably, too, and this act (shored up by good notices) helped Mae and the fellows secure a contract with Frank Bohm, one of variety's top agents who booked for the Loew Circuit. It was the well-connected Bohm who arranged for the trio to appear on the cover of this sheet music.
• • Though the song sheet shows Starmer's artwork in muted autumn colors and the trio appears in sepia, Mae West is wearing a festive gold tunic with pink satin "trouserettes" and pink slippers. A red satin cummerbund was wound around her waist and finished off with a flat Japanese style bow in back.
• • The men are in patent leather dancing pumps edged with flat black bows, well-suited to their black evening attire.
• • And notice the slenderness of Mae's petite figure.
• • An outstanding portrait — — fitted into a winsome graphic design by Starmer.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
Mae West• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1912 • •• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest