Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mae West: Alan Brooks

"Pleasure Man" written by MAE WEST had its opening night on 1 October 1928 padlocked by the police. Alan Brooks who portrayed Rodney Terrill died at the end of September — — on 29 September 1936 — — in Saranac Lake, NY, at age 48. Did the stressful 1930s obscenity trial contribute to his early demise?
• • Actor Alan Brooks, who played the title role, swore on the witness stand that he was astonished to discover that his character in "Pleasure Man" had died from being castrated. The debonair 42-year-old leading man testified in smart-looking spats and a gorgeous suit.
• • In January 1917, the performer also had to sue The Palace over a salary dispute. The court ruled in his favor and the determined vaudevillian walked away with his weekly wages of $665.
• • Born as Irving Hayward on 25 January 1888 in New York City, Alan Brooks was active on The Gay White Way from 1909 — 1932. During that interval, Brooks was cast opposite Lionel Barrymore in "The Piker" [1925] and helmed his own Broadway trifecta when he wrote, directed, and starred in the comedy "Merchants of Venus" [1920].
• • The life of an actor has never been an easy one whether onstage or during the drama of the witness stand.
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Alan Brooks are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Watch a scene on YouTube.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West's 1930 trial • • left to right: a lawyer, Mae West, Alan Brooks, Texas Guinan • •
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Mae West.

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