Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mae West: Gaites Keeper

It was July 1931 when MAE WEST entered into a complex discussion with the Shuberts about a stage version of The Constant Sinner, based on her bi-racial novel set in Harlem and published by Macauley in hardcover [November 1930].
• • Afraid of offending ticket buyers (especially after the Wall Street meltdown in 1929), and worried about antagonizing the censors, the Shuberts disguised their legal fox-trot with Mae, hiding behind the name of one of their GMs, Joseph M. Gaites [c.1873
• • Putting a bit of elbow room between the adventurous Brooklynite and the reputable Shubert organization, Joe Gaites cleverly created an indie production company: Constant Productions Incorporated. His back and forth correspondence with the blonde bombshell has been preserved — — along with mainstage contracts signed by Mae West the playwright (on 10 July 1931) and Mae West the Broadway star (on 20 August 1931).
• • When she brought her play "The Constant Sinner" to Atlantic City in August 1931, the crowds lined up for tickets, noted The New York Times: "With two rows of standees and chairs in the aisles for extra celebrants, last Monday night saw Mae West run through her latest daisy chain, The Constant Sinner, at the Apollo Theatre in Atlantic City. . ." [NY Times 30 August 1931].
• • In the role of Babe Gordon, Mae debuted the show on Broadway in September of that year.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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Mae West.

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