Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mae West: Herbert Baker

Herbert Baker received a screenplay credit for a motion picture starring MAE WEST.
• • Born in New York City, Mae's hometown, on 25 December 1920, Herbert Baker had parents who were in the entertainment business. His father was Maurice Abrahams [1883 — 1931], a composer who wrote special material for vaudeville performers such as Belle Baker. His mother was the vaudevillian and actress Belle Baker [1893 — 1957].
• • Encouraged by his family, young Herbert aspired to be an author and a composer-songwriter like his dad
— — who died when the boy was eleven years old. Herbert received his BA degree at Yale University. After graduation he forged a career penning special material for Danny Kaye, Lena Horne, Ethel Merman, Beatrice Lillie, and also his widowed Mom Belle Baker. He also wrote for film and TV, and produced a Broadway stage score or two.
• • With this fleet-footed background, Herbert Baker somehow attached himself to the script for "Sextette" [1978] as a co-writer, when he was 57 years old and perhaps in great need of extra income.
• • During the month of June — — on 30 June 1983 — — Herbert Baker, age 62, died in Encino, California.
• • Sophie Tucker, a vaudevillian like Mae West • •
• • It took three writers to assemble a one-woman show on Sophie Tucker, who led a lively and fascinating life but, alas, the collaborators got it all wrong and even made Sophie seem dull, according to the Massachusetts-based drama critic Jenna Scherer, who refers to the vocalist as a bona fide sex symbol. That's interesting, isn't it?
• • “Sophie Tucker: The Last Of The Red Hot Mamas
• •
Jenna Scherer writes: Sophie Tucker blazed her own trail. She rose through the ranks of burlesque and vaudeville to become one of the top entertainers in America. Producers initially deemed her too fat and ugly to be a star, forcing her to perform in blackface and baggy clothes. But she defied them all to become a bona fide sex symbol. Her frank treatment of the female libido and her die-hard self-promotion made her a legend. Without Tucker, there would be no Mae West, Bette Midler, or even Lady Gaga.
• •
Jenna Scherer notes: But you’d never know what an earth-shaker Tucker was from “Hot Mamas.” . . .
• • Presented by New Repertory Theatre, at Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, Mass.
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Theatre Review: ‘Hot Mamas’ lacks sizzle
• • By Jenna Scherer / Theater Review: “Sophie Tucker: The Last Of The Red Hot Mamas”
• • Published in: Boston Herald
• • Published on: Monday, 28 June 2010

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mae West: Queens Gazette ERRORS

MAE WEST was born on 17 August 1893 in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York. She spent her childhood in this borough, where her parents helped launch her vaudeville career by entering the act "Baby May, Song and Dance" into many amateur competitions in Bushwick, Brownsville, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.
• • By the time she moved to Woodhaven with her parents, her sister, and her brother, Mae was within kissing distance of her thirtieth birthday.
• • And by the time Mae West was registering the copyright on her manuscripts with the Library of Congress from the family's Woodhaven address, the seasoned entertainer had already been booked for eleven week-long engagements at Hammerstein's Victoria [1912 — 1913]; she had already starred at The Palace [1922] on The Gay White Way; she had already been cast in several Broadway musicals and revues; she had already toured in variety from coast to coast; and she had already married two husbands, Frank Wallace [1911] and Guido Deiro [1914]. She had also been a witness at her younger sister's wedding, which took place on 29 January 1917 in Brooklyn City Hall, not far from the West family's Brooklyn residence.
• • A proud Brooklynite, Mae West did not move to Queens until 20 years after her career was well in progress.
• • Furthermore, Mae West never set foot in Neir’s Tavern [87-48 78th Street, Woodhaven, NY] — —
an all-male bastion in those days though she often dined at The Triangle Inn, where German dishes were served, and other neighborhood restaurants.
• • You can learn a great deal about her life by doing your own primary research or by spending time with excellent Mae West biographies written by Jill Watts and Emily Wortis Leider.
• • No one at the Queens Gazette has read those two books, obviously, nor does this humble local news sheet employ a fact-checker. That's too bad — — but why should you have to suffer because a news outlet prints misinformation?
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • Pesky Queens Gazette ERRORS • • • •
• • Recently, the Queens Gazette printed this bit of foolishness: As the 20th century progressed, local celebrities, including stars of the stage and screen, frequented [Neir's] tavern. It was in its rear ballroom that film legend Mae West, born only a few blocks from Neir’s, first performed. ...
• • It seems that the current bar owners will say anything to encourage patrons to drink at their unprepossessing corner saloon. If they are going to lie to lazy Queens-based reporters about Mae West, then are we to assume they will be truthful when the NYC Health Inspector drops in, checking on vermin or a persistent infestation? Hmmm. What's your guess?
— — Source for the QG ERRORS quoted above: — —
• • Article: "181-Year-Old Tavern Set To Re-Open: Neir’s Tavern, 87-48 78th St., Woodhaven, is among the chosen few that remain"
• • Written by: Jason D. Antos for the Queens Gazette
• • Published by: The Western Queens Gazette — — 42—16 34th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11101 — — T. (718) 361-6161
• • Queens Gazette Editor: Linda Wilson — — Email: QGazette@aol.com
• • Published on: 23 June 2010
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mae West: Regrets Only

Did MAE WEST regret starring in "Myra Breckinridge''? This motion picture was screened on the final night of the yearly Cinema Q Film Festival — — on Sunday, 27 June 2010 — — in Denver, Colorado.
• • Lou Lumenick, The New York Post's chief film critic, made some amusing remarks about 20th Century Fox's unloved, half-forgotten child of the 1970s. See if you agree.
• • Happy 40th birthday, 'Myra Breckinridge' — — by Lou Lumenick • •
• • Michael Sarne's "Myra Breckinridge'' arrived in theaters on June 24, 1970 — — 40 years ago today — — to a critical hailstorm that has not yet let up. Cults have sprung up around many other bad movies, but "Myra'' remains in a special, almost entirely unloved class by itself — — the last entry on the film's Facebook page is from nearly three months ago.
• • A rep from Fox Home Video recently told me there were no plans to include this legendary flop among the dozens of the films being reissued on DVD and upgraded to Blu-ray to mark the 75th anniversary of 20th Century Fox this year. (Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert's far less entertaining "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls'' — — which also originally carried an X rating — — did make the cut, improbably sharing a set with the religious epic "Inn of the Sixth Happiness.'')
• • Fox did put "Myra'' out on DVD in a fine special edition six years ago that includes hilarious dueling commentary tracks by Raquel Welch (who shared the title role — — a male film critic who has a sex change operation — — with real-life film critic Rex Reed) and director Sarne. There was also a half-hour "AMC Backstory'' episode on the film's scandalous history and colorful cast, which also included top-billed Mae West, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett (who died on June 25th last year), Tom Selleck, John Carradine, and Grady Sutton.
• • The film originally carried an X rating for the notorious scene where our heroine rapes a fellow drama student played by Roger Herren. Running through this scene, and much of the movie, are clips from old movies. Loretta Young threatened to sue and Fox removed footage of her and other stars who were still alive from a somewhat toned-down R-rated version of the film, which is the one on DVD.
• • "Myra Breckinridge'' has the rare distinction of being disowned by its stars, its director — — and Gore Vidal, on whose novel the movie was based (though he has repeatedly claimed he's never seen it). Hollywood did not film Vidal's forgotten sequel, "Myron,'' where the critic is trapped in a Maria Montez movie. . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: Happy 40th birthday, 'Myra Breckinridge'
• • By Lou Lumenick, The New York Post's chief film critic
• • Published on: 24 June 2010
• • Published in: The New York Post

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mae West: Naked by George

Thirty years ago, in 1980, a Hollywood photographer was sharing his naughty memories about MAE WEST as part of the promotional push linked to his California exhibition. The magazine has just reprinted the piece along with an offer to buy some signed portraits and prints originally posed for during the 1930s.
• • Back in 1980, Sharon Apfelbaum wrote: Dapper and energetic at 76, this septuagenarian artist is still going strong. While he photographs new celebrities in his grand old style, a major exhibit of his portraits, covering celluloid's last 50 years, opens December 18 [1980] at the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Entitled "The Hurrell Style," the show features photographs of such luminaries as Mae West, John Barrymore, Jean Harlow, and many others. ...
• • Mae West 'accidentally' dropped her clothes • •
• • Sharon Apfelbaum continued with this revealing recollection about Mae West: George Hurrell's glorification of beautiful women made him one of photography's highest-paid professionals. ... Hurrell's lens created a gallery of greats, all accompanied by cheeky anecdotes. "I remember when Mae West 'accidentally' dropped her clothes and stood there naked as a jaybird," he recalls, concealing a chuckle. "The studio door was locked, but still, there she was. And her boyfriend at the time, whatever his name was, got so upset he left. I had to unlock the door for him. Marilyn Monroe pulled the same routine, but it wasn't as natural with her.
• • "Of all my subjects, Joan Crawford's face was the closest to perfection," Hurrell told Sharon Apfelbaum. "She was also the most serious and relished a full day's shooting from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Crawford was tireless, but I had to take a day off after one of those sessions. Jean Harlow was the opposite of Crawford — never sweated over a shooting, was always gay and frivolous. Roz Russell was serious too, very ambitious and stagey. She wanted all her shots re-touched, with all the wrinkles in her face really ironed out. Rita Hayworth would do anything, and Marlene Dietrich had to watch herself in a full-length mirror at all times. Hepburn was the brainiest though, all spunk and spirit." . . .
• • To continue reading or to learn more about the Hurrell photo offer, see below.
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: George Hurrell — — His photographs recall Hollywood’s truly glamorous days
• • By Sharon Apfelbaum
• • Publication: Palm Springs Life / December 1980 / George Hurrell
• • Source: Reprinted from the December 1980 edition of Palm Springs Life Magazine.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • by George Hurrell, 1933 • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mae West: Myra B, Cinema Q

MAE WEST was on the mind of Cinema Q, who remembered that one of her motion pictures was released exactly forty years ago on 24 June 1970. "Myra Breckinridge" will be screened on the final night of the yearly Cinema Q Film Festival — — on Sunday, 27 June 2010 — — at 7:00 PM.
• • Mae was disappointed that the filmmakers did not use more of the material she had written for her own scenes.
• • Novelist Gore Vidal was appalled at how his bestseller looked after its turn in Hollywood's spin cycle.
• • Raquel Welch's career seemed to have declined shortly afterward.
• • Has "Myra Breckinridge" [run time: 94 minutes] improved with age? Let us know what you think.
• • WHERE: Starz FilmCenter, 900 Auraria Parkway, Denver, CO 80204.
• • Tell them you heard about it on the MAE WEST BLOG.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mae West: Hooray for Mercer

MAE WEST did not fill her household with any remnants from old wedding albums, even though she was legally married twice. But she did not mind playing the oft-married blushing bride Marlo Manners, who enters a posh London hotel lobby on the arm of her sixth husband, only to be greeted by an adoring mob of Marlo fans in "Sextette" [1978]. There is a very impressive rendition of "Hooray for Hollywood" by a large cast of performers. The iconic song was written by Johnny Mercer, who died in the month of June — — on 25 June 1976 — — from a brain tumor at age 66.
• • Unlike Mae West, the singer—songwriter has been honored by the United States Postal Service with his portrait placed on a stamp in 1996. Amazing who gets on an American postage stamp and who does not, eh?
• • Born in Savannah, Georgia, Johnny Mercer [18 November 1909 — 25 June 1976] was an American lyricist, songwriter, and singer. Though he is best known as a lyricist, he composed music, too. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as those written by others. From the mid-1930s through the mid-1950s, many of the songs Mercer wrote and performed were among the most popular hits of the time. The prolific musician wrote the lyrics to more than fifteen hundred songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows. He received nineteen Academy Award nominations, and won four. Mercer was also a co-founder of Capitol Records.
• • "Hooray for Hollywood" • •
• • "Hooray for Hollywood" is a film song first featured in the motion picture "Hollywood Hotel" [1937], a number that has since become the staple soundtrack element of any Academy Awards ceremony. Curiously enough, "Hooray for Hollywood" is even frequently played during non-American movie ceremonies, e.g. the French C├ęsar Awards. The popularity of the song is notably due to the lyrics by Johnny Mercer, which reference the American movie industry and satirize the illusory desire of many people to become famous as actors. Richard A. Whiting [1891 — 1938] composed the music, then had a heart attack at the height of his fame.
• • When I die, you are going to be very surprised! • •
• • In connection with a special Pride show on Thursday, 24 June 2010 in Manhattan, Joan Rivers got a column devoted to her in The Villager, whose hard-working reporter asked the Botoxed-to-death comedienne if there was anything yet to be revealed. “Only for you,” Joan Rivers said, referring our plea for an exclusive nugget: “I am a man. Mae West did that all her life. Mae would say to her audiences, ‘When I die, you are going to be very surprised!' Then she died and there was no surprise — — but how clever.” [Source: The Villager, Volume 80, Number 4 | June 23 - 29, 2010.]
• • 25 June 1926 • •
• • Speaking of Benefits and good deeds that were scheduled right after the first day of summer, on 25 June 1926, Mae West appeared with Houdini and other entertainers (such as George M. Cohan, Fanny Brice, the Marx Brothers, Al Jolson, Ann Pennington, Hazel Dawn, Eddie Foy, etc.) at the Polo Grounds on West 155th Street in Manhattan's Washington Heights area [zipcode 10032].
• • The fundraiser, organized for the benefit of the United Jewish Campaign, was staged by Mae's old dancing teacher Ned Wayburn.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mae West: Neir's, Far From Truth

For a few years, MAE WEST lived in Woodhaven with her parents and siblings when she had already begun to write plays with her collaborator Adeline. Despite touring in vaudeville for years and being cast in Broadway productions, the Brooklyn bombshell was finding her stage career slowing down as she approached her thirtieth birthday. Her mother advised her to put a script on paper, material tailored to her own unique talents — — instead of waiting to audition for the right production. Mae took Matilda's advice and began working on "The Ruby Ring."
• • Apparently, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER Lisa L. Colangelo is too busy or disinclined to take the time to be accurate about the people she writes about. Figuring that Mae West and Martin Scorsese are two names good enough to glam up her article on a local Woodhaven watering hole, she writes: "Neir's Tavern is where patrons of the Union Course racetrack stopped by for a drink, Mae West honed her famous act, and director Martin Scorsese shot a scene for one of his most successful films."
• • What "famous act" was that, pray tell? Fact is, though one of the former owners of Neir's had hung up a Mae West poster on a door a long time, it is doubtful that Mae ever set foot in such a blue collar saloon. And was the tin-ceilinged corner bar serving alcohol at all during the 1920s, in defiance of Prohibition, when she was in the neighborhood? If beer was quietly on tap during the padlock era at the junction of 78th Street and 88th Avenue, it would perhaps have attracted scruffy male patrons such as John West, Mae's father, and his brawling gym buddies or seedy racetrack pals.
• • If you don't mind inaccuracies — — or if you are seeking beer on tap, whose mechanism runs on an old-fashioned ice-coil system — — by all means check out her piece: "Woodhaven bar Neir's Tavern gets a time-machine fix up" [The New York Daily News, Wednesday, 23 June 2010].

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mae West: Quint-essentials

Ever hear of a "MAE WEST hold"? Well, it does sound intriguing, bringing to mind that old one-liner: "If I said I loved your body, would you hold it against me?" Baaa-bummm! Nevertheless, it turns out that it's actually one of those tricky maneuvers in the United States Senate.
• • The "Mae West Hold" • •
• • Apparently, during the 1950s, when Lyndon B. Johnson became Senate majority leader, "holds" began to come into play. When L.B.J. resorted to using so-called unanimous consent agreements in order to pass multiple bills with a single vote, his critics attempted to slow or sabotage the process by using "holds," a secretive way to block legislation and nominations — — without identifying oneself or giving a reason.
• • These "holds" have unofficial pet names. Here's a loose definition of the "Mae West hold" — — a desire to cut a deal as a condition to lift the hold. Now who came up with that one? Why not write your senator to find out?
• • Quint's "Loot in the Boot" • •
• • In 1966, the unstoppable Mae West recorded “Put the Loot in the Boot, Santa” along with a long-playing assortment of newbies, a Beatles hit [Lennon/ McCartney’s “With Love from Me to You”], parodies, double entendres, and burlesque songs. "Wild Christmas" even included an instant classic: "Santa, Come Up and See Me Sometime” (which should be sung on December 24th if you are hoping for a whopper in your Xmas stocking). Truly, nobody puts the X in Xmas like Mae West.
• • Has anyone ever asked for the lyrics to the Christmas novelty “Put the Loot in the Boot, Santa”? Honestly, no. However, the octogenarian and World War 2 veteran Quint Benedetti enjoys telling pals that he met Mae West and she was delighted to record his song, which he is "still a seasonal favorite internationally," according to him. Don't argue with the gentleman, especially since his father Quinto Benedetti was born and bred in Lucca, the hometown of composer Giacomo Puccini. Instead please go read about this title published on 16 June 2010: (My Travels with) Agnes Moorehead — — The Lavendar Lady (more Bewitching than Endora) by Quint Benedetti. Good luck, sweetheart.
• • 23 June 1922 "She rises to heights undreamed of for her . . . • •
• • During the month of June — — on 23 June 1922 — — Variety's critics briefly changed their tone, moving from dousing Mae with a bucket of glacial malice to (wow!) a reverential nod.
• • That summer, New York's air was jagged with mosquitoes as shadows stretched across vaudeville, slowly going under, a bare bright emptiness in its future.
• • Shoring up her options, Mae had written "The Ruby Ring" [1921] and "The Hussy" [1922] and she also was preparing to appear in "The Ginger Box Revue," scheduled to open in August 1922 in Greenwich Village.
• • Simultaneously, Mae was writing a new stage act for herself and an accompanist, featuring fast-paced skits and songs. Faced with choosing a pianist, Mae had auditioned two unknowns, Brooklynite Jimmy Durante [10 February 1893 — 29 January 1980] and Harry Richman [10 August 1895 — 3 November 1972], and selected the taller, more dapper fellow. Stagebills soon offered her new show: "Bits of Musical Comedy — — Mae West assisted by Harry Richman."
• • After some good notices, Mae snagged a booking at the Palace.
• • She had structured her turns to include a short version of "The Ruby Ring," a bit in which she was costumed as a Roman empress/ temptress in need of a new gladiator, and a blues segment in which she delivered a gutsy "Frankie and Johnny."
• • Reviewers sat up straight for this one. "She rises to heights undreamed of for her and reveals unexpected depths as a delineator of character songs, a dramatic reader of ability, and a girl with a flair for farce that will some day land her on the legitimate Olympus" [Variety, 23 June 1922].

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mae West: Dreamlands Exhibit

Espace Dali in Paris — — France’s only museum dedicated to Dali — — has lent the iconic MAE WEST Divano [Sofa], created by the Catalan genius during the 1940s, to be part of the "Dreamlands" exhibition organized by the Pompidou Centre, in Paris, which runs from May to August 2010.
• • This French news bulletin also stated: Based on the famous American actress's sensual lips, Dali pays homage to Mae West with this inspired and original artwork. The "Dreamlands" exhibition will be held this summer in the Grand Galerie of the Pompidou Centre.

• • Though it's unclear who named the Parisian exhibit "Dreamlands" or why an American term was selected, this word would have resonated with the Brooklyn bombshell.
• • In May 1904, Dreamland opened in Coney Island. To the right of the Surf Avenue entrance stood a building that Mae West entered, holding the hand of her father "Battling Jack" West. Almost 11 years old, but looking younger because of her petite frame, little Mae was nearly as transformed by the experience as Alice was when plunging into Wonderland.
• • Though Mae's favorite place in Coney Island came to an unfortunate end in May 1911, we wish nothing but the best for the "Dreamlands" extravaganza in The City of Light this summer.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mae West: Creamer and Sugar

In the room the women come and go, talking of Michaelangelo — — but the men are still speaking about MAE WEST. And occasionally a reporter is there to witness.
• • In beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for instance, there is a 10-year-old multiracial group of 15 — 20 golden agers who meet at the Lancaster Neighborhood Senior Center on Queen Street in the Community Action Program of Lancaster County headquarters. Their favorite topics are effective old-fashioned remedies and memorable classic motion pictures. When local journalist Susan Jurgelski was visiting on Queen Street, she overheard this:
• • • Frank Tarver holds up a black-and-white Hollywood glossy of a 1930s starlet known for her bawdy banter. "Anybody know who this is?" the 81-year-old retired plumber asks a group of fellow seniors sitting in a circle and perusing magazines like "Reminisce" and "Good Old Days."
• • • "Oh, you, know..." he prods, offering a version of the actress's memorable quote, "Come up and see me sometime .. ." but then answers his own question: "Yup, Mae West." . . . . "I tried to date her, but she refused me," he said.
• • • He's met with rolling eyes, smirks, giggles and an accusation of "being over the hill."
• • • His comeback is swift. "Not me, I can still climb that hill — — don't worry."
• • Thanks to these seniors, Staff Writer Susan Jurgelski came away with a pocketful of inexpensive home cures for the flu, sore throats, wart removal, a stuffy nose, bad breath, etc. Check these out in her interesting piece: 'United Nation' of seniors trade talk of good old days [Lancaster Online, Sunday, 20 June 2010].
• • • •
A Birthday on June 21st • • • •
• • As many Mae-mavens already know, Mae was a big fan of The Clef Club. As rehearsals began in early July 1922 for "The Ginger Box Revue," the producer had booked this exciting group — — New York's premiere African-American musicians — — to play between the acts. This organization had been established by James Reese Europe and Henry Creamer, two gentlemen whose musicianship found a lifelong fan in Mae West.
• • Born in Richmond, Virginia, Henry Creamer [21 June 1879 — 14 October 1930] was an American popular song lyricist. He co-wrote many popular songs in the years from 1900 —1929, often collaborating with Turner Layton, with whom he also appeared in vaudeville.
• • In 1918, Henry Creamer wrote the words for the hit "After You've Gone" — — and every major artist has covered it. Here's a snippet from the chorus:
• • • • After you've gone and left me crying
• • • • After you've gone there's no denying,
• • • • You'll feel blue, you'll feel sad,
• • • • You'll miss the bestest pal you've ever had . . . .
• • Mae West performed "After You've Gone" in "Sextette" [1978], a song she fondly remembered from her New York years when she frequented the hottest night spots in Harlem. That she had schemed and planned to bring recognition to The Clef Club in her 1922 show (and others) is also significant. This was at a time when many Caucasian entertainers were still refusing to appear in a mixed-race revue.
• • Henry Creamer, we're still applauding your achievements, after you've gone.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mae West: Artists and Models

Laid off from an iron foundry in 1932, Harry George "Ben" Hartman started thinking about how nice it would be to have MAE WEST in his garden at 1905 Russell Avenue in Springfield, Ohio. Disinclined to be idle, the self-taught artisan bought his first bag of cement for fifty cents and browsed in the library for pictures of Mae in the newspaper.
• • By the time he had sculpted and painted his delicately scaled tribute to the screen goddess, Hartman was also busily adding complex elements like The White House (and other famous landmarks in miniature), religious scenes, and 1930s pop culture figures — — such as boxer Joe Louis and the Dionne Quintuplets — — all made from cement embedded with small stones. By 1939, when he finally rejoined the work force, Ben had created a full tableau he named "Hartman's Historical Garden," as promoted on an antique postcard. Though Hartman died in 1944, this one-of-a-kind garden has been maintained by his widow and then youngest son, until he, too, passed away in 2007. Recently, a foundation has raised funds to catalogue and restore the figurines so that visitors can enjoy this amazing site once again.
• • Even today Mae West continues to inspire artists. An article in The Times of India, discussing a renewed passion for collecting decorative objects, quoted artist Baba Anand, who held a local exhibition recently [April
May 2010] inspired by Dali and Mae West. Anand's garishly colored Tarot card "The World" prominently featured Anand's own spin on Dali's Mae West face and lips.
• • Mae West's Saliva Sofa • •
• • Tomorrow (or the day after) we just might share the latest dish on Dali's close buddy, Oscar Tusquets Blanca, the man who helped to design the plump red “saliva sofa” in the shape of Mae West’s lips that is one of Dali’s best-known and most provocative works of art. Tusquets has been dragged into an ugly censorship tussle that Mae would certainly sympathize with. Should we even get into this? Well, tune in to find out.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Baba Anand's "The World" inspired by Mae • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mae West: Norman, Oklahoma

Wearing a costume and assuming the persona of MAE WEST, one intrepid teenager had quite an adventure in Oklahoma that began on Friday night, 18 June 2010 just before the witching hour.
• • Library Lock-In: An Overnight Mystery • •
• • It occurred to librarian Rebecca Spence that there must be students who have always wanted to wander the shadowy, spooky, creaky corridors of a library after dark. And so she created a "What If" challenge built around this L.A.R.P. fantasy: H. G. Wells had been testing his novel's time machine at a soiree but he is discovered dead in the bathroom. Who killed him? Was it Mae West, James Joyce, Isadora Duncan, T.S. Eliot, or another of the visitors?
• • It Happened One Night: Teens get "locked in" the library at 11:00 PM Friday night and will get to solve a mystery, enjoy a late night dinner, participate in a costume contest, and other fun activities until 7:00 AM Saturday morning. [This event was only available to girls and boys ages 12 — 17.] Cheers to the teen wearing the MAE WEST costume. We hope you win!
• • Where: Norman Library's Lowry Room, 225 North Webster, Norman, OK 73069.
• • Here's another mystery to consider. Why aren't there more librarians in the USA with the creative mind of Rebecca Spence?

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mae West: Show Off

An automobile owned by MAE WEST will be featured in a Midwest beauty pageant.
• • The annual Concours d’Elegance of America at Meadow Brook will showcase an unspecified vehicle once enjoyed by the Brooklyn bombshell — — as well as other motor cars owned by celebrities, including the Nash Healy seen in the 1950s TV episodes of "Superman," and cars owned by heartthrob Clark Gable and cowboy actor Gene Autry.
• • This one day event is scheduled for the last Sunday in July — — 25 July 2010 — — when almost 250 cars and motorcycles will be invited to vie for coveted trophies and awards.
• • Where: Meadow Brook Hall, Oakland University Campus in Rochester, Michigan.
• • And the timing could not be more interesting since Mae's pen was busy sketching out her first play about beauty pageants during June and July in 1927. Eighty-three years ago, shortly after the Broadway star had been released from the women's workhouse, she began working on a new drama set during modern times and focused on behind-the-scenes shenanigans at beauty contests, which were just then coming into vogue.
• • • • The dark underbelly of the beauty pageant • • • •
• • During the 1920s, a common real estate ploy to increase land values and publicize the area was the community sponsored beauty contest. In "The Wicked Age," the shady, money-grubbing politicians who run Bridgetown, New Jersey decide to stage a leg show despite negative public opinion about such an enterprise. One landowner insists: "The basis of any industry . . . for success today is based on the exploitation of the female form." The influential rascal Alec Ferguson shouts down objections: "Which plays get over and make money for their producers? Those that try to uplift the public and teach it better ways of living — — don't make me laugh — — those plays go over that exhibit the women's body in some way or another."
• • Robert Carson is one of many who will protest that the competition to be the first "Miss Bridgetown" will degrade females, since it forces half-undressed young ladies to be paraded "on exhibition like prize cattle."
• • Mae's character was the beautiful and willful Evelyn "Babe" Carson. To keep the production on a tight budget, Mae hired (as usual) a lot of no-name talent, former vaudevillians looking for work, and her aging mentor Hal Clarendon to play Evelyn Carson's uncle/ guardian Robert Carson.
• • The usual suspects financed Mae's play — — Jim Timony, Owney Madden, et al. For over two months, Mae flamed through the investors' funding with on-going revisions and frantically long rehearsing.
• • How many calories were burning while Mae's motor was running? During the summer of 1927, the actress (then in her early 30s) was on a rigorous diet, trying to shed some of the "worry weight" gained during the obscenity trial and in prison, when she often dined with the very indulgent warden on rich food and creamed sauces. Excess poundage concerned her. She knew that her frisky character "Babe" Carson would be wearing a swimsuit during some scenes, so she was doing her best to slim down before she posed for some scantily clad promotional cheesecake shots with the chic socialite photographer G. Maillard Kesslere.
• • Eventually, the play's scenes would be set at the (fictional) residence of Robert Carson, Bridgetown, New Jersey, Moonlight Park, and "Babe" Carson's Manhattan apartment.
• • Mae West and Jim Timony booked Daly's West 63rd Street Theatre again and arranged for Edward Elsner to direct. Rehearsals for "The Wicked Age" began in September 1927.
• • The newspaper reviewers on the drama desk would be waiting for "Babe" Carson with critical arson, that dangerous weapon that can speedily torch any production and incinerate the hopes of advance ticket sales — — but no one knew that in June of 1927 and the creative impulse ignited Mae's Broadway dreams all during the hot months.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1927 • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mae West: Fain and Fruit

Even MAE WEST's presence couldn't save "Myra Breckinridge" [released on 24 June 1970] — — but two numbers she performed onscreen were pressed on a promotional disk and the record has become quite a keepsake. It took the efforts of three adults worshipping at the grotto of improbable thoughts to come up with an astonishing sweetcake fat with brag like "You Gotta Taste All the Fruit," copyrighted in 1964 and only used in this particular motion picture. Maybe it became tainted fruit, especially for morose types who prefer songs about ummm . . . suffering heroically. Tsk! So many can't take a joke.
• • Born in New York City during the month of June — — on 17 June 1902 — — Sammy Fain [birthname Samuel E. Feinberg] was part of this tutti-frutti threesome.
• • After a brief career as an actor, Sammy Fain became a full-time composer. Working extensively with his writing partner Irving Kahal, this successful team cranked out chart-toppers such as "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella" [1927], an instant classic. Another lyricist who collaborated with Fain was Lew Brown, with whom he wrote "That Old Feeling" [1937].
• • Fain racked up an extensive resume of Broadway credits and also composed music for more than 30 films during the 1930s — 1950s. Though Fain was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, it probably was not for "You Gotta Taste All the Fruit," whose lyrics were penned by Marilyn Bergman and Alan Bergman.
• • Sammy Fain died in Los Angeles, California on 6 December 1989, and is interred at Cedar Park Cemetery in Emerson, New Jersey. Sammy, we summon the unseamed richness of birdspeak to chirp you a birthday song today.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mae West: Household Name

In 1971, when an interviewer asked MAE WEST to define camp, she responded: "Camp is the kinda comedy where they imitate me."
• • Born in Brooklyn, NY, Lawrence (Larry) Grobel spent most of his early freelance writing career on the East Coast working to get his byline into The New York Times, Newsday, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan, TV Guide, and Penthouse. After he relocated to California, intending to devote more time to fiction, his editor at Newsday announced they wanted to do interviews with “household names” and that they’d like to start with Mae West. When Larry Grobel asked him how I’d get to her, he said, “You’re the one in Hollywood.”
• • Grobel's recollections were prompted by his own recent interview with Melissa Parker of Smashing Interviews Magazine. Let's eavesdrop on their conversation.
• • Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): So Mae West was your first interview.
• • Larry Grobel: Right. I called Paramount Studios where she had worked when she was younger and they gave me her publicist’s number. Mae, in her late 70s at the time, was familiar with Newsday and agreed to see me. I remember that I stopped and bought flowers for her and wore a sports jacket (two things I’ve never done again). Mae was all dressed up (a la Dolly Parton), her hair (wig) was fixed, had high heels on, the whole nine yards.
• • Luckily, along with my tape recorder, I took my pad to her home because she stared in horror at the recorder and said, “No, I can’t use that.” I was thinking, “Oh no, my first celebrity interview and I can’t use the recorder.” Mae explained that a reporter once talked to her, recorded her voice, and then released it as a record. I offered to sign something saying I wouldn’t do that, but she wouldn’t budge. So I never got Mae West on tape, but fortunately she spoke slowly as I had to write down everything on the tablet.
• • The photographer from Newsday came and she posed in front of her piano where a small bust of her was located. My editor called, telling me that the photograph was great and that I should use that same photographer on other pieces. He was all about the photograph. I said, “Damn, what did you think about the interview?” He said, “Oh yeah, that was good, too.” ...
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Article: "Larry Grobel Interview: Famous ‘Playboy’ Interviewer on His Life with Hollywood’s Greatest Stars"
• • By: Melissa Parker
• • Published in: Smashing Interviews Magazine — — smashinginterviews.com/
• • Published on: 14 June 2010

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mae West: Kansas Coverlines

It was on 15 June 1935 that MAE WEST made headlines in The Hutchinson News [Hutchinson, Kansas].
• • Seventy-five years ago, here's exactly what Kansas-based reporters were telling their readers about the screen queen: A controversy developed over Hollywood starlet Mae West's sometimes marriages. Her latest film "Goin' to Town" at the air-conditioned Fox Theatre, featured West as a married woman taking two husbands and the third — — who had met an untimely demise — — all to get her clutches on the one she actually wanted. Other movies in town: "Baby Face Harrington" at the Midland; "The Hoosier Schoolmaster" at the Strand; and "The Tonto Kid" at the Iris.
• • Also making headlines in the same issue: President Franklin Roosevelt signed a resolution that extended the temporary deposit insurance for two more months. Deposits up to $5,000 in registered banks would be covered if the bank crashed. ...
• • Birthdays on June 15th • •
• • Born in Virginia during the month of June — — on 15 June 1880 — — Mahlon Hamilton was cast as a sideshow spectator in the opening scene of "I'm No Angel" [1933], one of the men pressing closer to ogle Tira in her
hilariously over-the-top "Little Egypt" costume. Stricken by cancer, the busy bit part player also died in June, on 20 June 1960, in Woodland Hills, California shortly after his 80th birthday.
• • Born in Palestine [now Israel] during the month of June — — on 15 June 1909 — — Ben Astar portrayed an Israeli delegate in "Sextette" [1978]. Always cast as an ethnic with a foreign accent, the character actor stayed busy from 1950 — 1983 and died on 20 October 1988 in Tarzana, California at the age of 79.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mae West: Stranger

MAE WEST rustled up a song in every motion picture — — but the numbers in "The Heat's On" [1943] are probably the least known. Portraying an actress Fay Lawrence, Mae opens the mish-mash musical singing “I’m Just a Stranger in Town.” When Hubert Bainbridge — — a pathetic would-be lothario [actor Victor Moore] — — comes to pitch some woo with his bad toupee unhinged, Fay says, “Don’t look now, honey, but your hair’s skiddin’!”
• • Let's give credit where credit is due. Performed by Mae West (uncredited) in the show "Indiscretions" was "I'm Just a Stranger in Town"; music by Jay Gorney with lyrics by Henry Myers and Edward Eliscu [Copyright 1944 by Mills Music Inc.].
• • Well, once is never enough, right? Performed by Mae West (uncredited) and chorus in the show "Tropicana" was "Hello, Mi Amigo"; music by Jay Gorney with lyrics by Henry Myers and Edward Eliscu [Copyright 1944 by Mills Music Inc.]. That's not all, folks.
• • Certainly, Mae deserved better. And so did musician Jay Gorney [1896 — 1990], born in Bialystok, Russia. This versatile gentleman was an author, a composer, songwriter ("Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?"), producer, and teacher. In 1906, he arrived in the USA and was educated at the University of Michigan (BA, LL.B) and was also a music student of Earl Moore. The five-foot-six composer created five Michigan Union musicals and became a U.S. Navy bandmaster during World War II.
• • After a long life filled with numerous accomplishments, awards, and acclaim, Jay Gorney died during the month of June — — on 14 June 1990 — — in New York City. His talented daughter Karen Lynn Gorney has devoted herself to singing his most popular numbers — — no, not the aforementioned "Hello, Mi Amigo" nor "I'm Just a Stranger in Town," not so far anyway. Hmmm! Wonder why....

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mae West: Nell and Joan

So many in the cast of MAE WEST's "I'm No Angel" have a link to June you might almost suspect that Tira's astrologer Rajah set it up that way.
• • Born in Princeton, New Jersey during the month of June — — on 13 June 1891 — — Nell Craig was cast as Mrs. Bond. Best known today for her recurring role as the floor nurse Parker in MGM's "Dr. Kildare" series, brunette actress Nell Craig had begun her long screen career with Essanay in Chicago as a 22-year-old fresh face in 1913. Talkies, unfortunately, reduced her chances to be anything more than a bit player although she managed to stay employed in Hollywood for decades.
• • After retiring in the late 1940s from the screen trade, Nell Craig spent her final years as a resident of the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She died there on 5 January 1965.
• • Brooklyn's Botoxed Bio-Pic Star • •
• • There may be something that's piped into Brooklyn water, though, that makes an entertainer refuse to close the book and blow out the candles. Certainly, Mae West never spent much time in a rocking chair. Ditto for Brooklynite Joan Rivers, born during the month of June — — on 8 June 1933 — — and still telling jokes about having anal sex onstage. "It's so convenient to have anal sex," Joan Rivers tells her audience, while bending over and imitating the gestures of ironing your clothes and answering mail, multi-tasking as she gets a back-door workout.
• • This weekend the documentary "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" opened in New York City.
• • As Mae West did, Joan Rivers writes her own material. She proudly points to a wall of file cabinets where jokes are filed under topics such as Sex, Cooking, Brides, Jewish, Gay, Holidays, etc. To illustrate, she plucks a card from her archives and reads a joke about why it's not necessary to be a good cook — — just so your husband can tell a hooker "My wife makes a great pot roast!" and another joke-in-progress has Joan recalling a former First Lady known as Jackie O and wanting to call Michelle Obama Blackie O. Her assistant informs Joan Blackie O is not funny at all. It's quite astonishing to see this elaborate file system when so few of the jokes featured in this bio-pic are laugh-worthy. Wince-worthy, yes. But, hey, that's why canned laughter was invented.
• • One segment in this bio-pic is devoted to the show she tried to launch in Great Britain at the Fringe and in the West End: "Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress." Ultimately, it did not win a fistful of stellar reviews, which finalized her decision not to bring it to her hometown. During this particular show, Joan Rivers had offered her views on many people including on how eccentric the elderly Mae West had become. The Botoxed-to-death comedienne claimed she invited Mae West for mandatory candlelit dinners (at River's home) where everyone was instructed to listen in silence as she reminisced in that famous "Mae West" voice. Not having seen the "Work in Progress" show, it is hard to say more except that Mae definitely made an impact on Joan. Obviously, the sadness of Mae West's funeral — — when only a handful of industry people came to pay their last respects to the Hollywood Icon — — pushes Joan Rivers forward daily, driven by her fear of being forgotten.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mae West: West End

MAE WEST enjoyed living in hotels in the theatre district, which offered very convenient housing to a busy actress who would work in a show sometimes until 11 PM or midnight. After renting for years, she did purchase a townhouse rippling with French Renaissance style at 266 West End Avenue in Manhattan.
• • That property just went on sale, reported Jen Carlson at Gothamist.
• • Sleep Where Mae West Slept — — For $30 Million — — 266 West End Avenue • •
• • According to Curbed, wrote Jen Carlson, her mansion is now on the market for $30 million; for all that cash you'll get a ballroom, a library, conservatories, a sauna, a steam room, an elevator, and whatever else is housed in the 14,000 square feet. That's quite a markup since it was last purchased in 2004, for a measly $1.2MM.

• • Specs: Built in 1896 with a limestone facade, the former Mae West home is 28 feet wide and six stories tall with nearly 14,000 square feet (generously designed with windows on all sides). The house was originally constructed for the importer Julius N. Jaros and designed by Rudolphe Daus [1854 1916], a prominent New York architect trained at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts. The Jaros family occupied it from 1896 1906 only. The property remained a single-family dwelling until the early (or mid) 1940s.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Mae's former ballroom in Manhattan • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mae West: 3 Gemini-born

MAE WEST worked with several individuals who got their start in life on June 11th.
• • These people were born under the sun sign Gemini [May 22 through June 21]. The third sign of the zodiac, Gemini is ruled by Mercury. The driving force behind a Gemini's conversation is his/ her mind. The Gemini-born are intellectually inclined, forever probing for more information. The more information a Gemini collects, the better. Sharing that knowledge later on with those they love is also fun; Geminis are supremely interested in developing relationships. Contact with these people is usually enjoyable — — Geminis are bright, quick-witted, and bound to be the life of the party.
• • Born in Naples, New York on 11 June 1875, Gilbert Emery was the stage name of Emery Bemsley Pottle, an actor who appeared in "Goin' to Town" with Mae West — — along with more than 80 movies from 1921 until his death in 1945.
• • Born in Los Angeles was Hollywood director Wesley Ruggles [11 June 1889 — 8 January 1972]. A younger brother of actor Charles Ruggles, Wesley directed "I'm No Angel" [1933] — — one of Mae West's most successful motion pictures.
• • Born in Port au Spain, Trinidad in the month of June — — on 11 June 1920 — — Hazel Scott, a classical and jazz musician, became one of America's premier pianists of her time. The West Indian beauty appeared with Mae in "The Heat Is On" [1943].

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
Source:http://maewest.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.