Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Mae West: Milton's Little Willie

MAE WEST sung "Willie of the Valley" in "My Little Chickadee" [1940]. Though the songwriter was uncredited, he is being unmasked on his birthday.
• • Born in New York City as Milton Druckman on 3 August 1916, Milton Drake was one of four children in a family that had emigrated from Romania (the Transylvania region).
• • Though Milton dropped out of school and did not study music formally, nevertheless, while still in his teens he began playing the ukulele and telling stories on his own radio program
• • During the 1930s, Milton lived in Hollywood and wrote songs for motion pictures. In 1940, he wrote "Willie of the Valley" with Ben Oakland [1907 — 1979] for the film "My Little Chickadee" and this had the distinction of being the only number in the movie and it was sung by Mae West herself.
• • He was known as The King of Novelty during the 1940s and scored a smash hit in 1943 with "Mairzy Doats," a novelty song he composed with Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston.
• • Milton Drake passed away in Palm Beach, Florida on 13 November 2006.
• • This early August date — — 3 August 1954 — — is when Colette died. The French author wrote a notable essay in 1934, assessing the impact of Mae West onscreen. Seventy-six years ago, Colette observed: "She alone, out of an enormous and dull catalogue of heroines, does not get married at the end of the film, does not die, does not take the road to exile, does not gaze sadly at her declining youth in a silver-framed mirror …. She alone has no parents, no children, no husband. This impudent woman is, in her style, as solitary as Chaplin used to be. ..."

• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1940 • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

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