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:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
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Mae West.


  1. What a brilliant piece of work- Joan and her new doc. I saw it in ny the other day and it lives up to its glowing reviews, like the ny times.

  2. Joan Rivers has been an has-been for 30 years now. Her attempts to use racism, 'reality TV' and plastic surgery to continue to get a poke into the public eye is pitiful.