Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mae West: Ed the Perfect Fool

In "Sometime" MAE WEST perfected her performance style. The 26-year-old vaudevillian discovered fresh inspiration in Ed Wynn, who was at the peak of his stage career.
• • While playing opposite the seasoned 32-year-old cut-up in Arthur Hammerstein's Broadway hit "Sometime" (with a music score by Rudolf Friml), Mae came to the realization that she was throwing away her lines. Observing the crafty comic timing of Ed Wynn, said Mae West, and watching how he made sure he caught the audience's attention before delivering a line, was the best lesson. Her character in this production was Mayme Dean, his was Loney Bright.
• • Premiering during October of 1918, "Sometime" — — the "musical comedy of commerce" — — was designed to showcase the talents of laughmeister Ed Wynn. The show had opened at the Shubert Theatre on Saturday 4 October 1918 (and went on to enjoy a nice healthy run until June 1919 on West 44th Street).
• • One of the most repeated jokes in "Sometime" was Ed Wynn's line: What is a man to do in wartime when he can't make both ends meet? [Answer: Make one end vegetables.] But the somber echoes of the World War were growing less oppressive by the time autumn arrived. The Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918 amid national fanfare and rejoicing.
• • Born in Philadelphia during the month of November — — on 9 November 1886 — — Ed Wynn [1886 — 1966] was a popular American comedian and actor noted for his Perfect Fool comedy character, his pioneering radio show of the 1930s, and his later career as a dramatic actor. Wynn became a headliner in vaudeville in the early-1910s, and was a star of the Ziegfeld Follies starting in 1914. Today we pay tribute to a legend on his birthday.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West.

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