Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mae West: Booked by Bohm

From 1912 1916, MAE WEST had an ally in vaudeville: her well-connected booking agent Frank Bohm.
• • When the Brooklyn-born tough chick was 19 years old, she described herself as "a hard-boiled, wise-cracking kid, doing anything to get a laugh."
• • Born in Hungary in 1883/4, the 29-year-old booking agent at first struck Mae as brash and rude; when first introduced, he didn't even bother to remove his hat. But he was soon exerting his influence, cautioning her against being a sidewalk cut-up and giving away her good stuff for free.
• • And not long after, Mae was influencing Bohm; she confided that the married man (with a pregnant wife) was "in trouble" over her. Soon they were sitting in a Times Square restaurant having dinner when Frank Bohm presented Mae with a diamond ring as he implored her not to encourage a rival agent: Joseph M. Schenck, the Loew circuit booking manager.
• • Mae's career took flight under Frank Bohm. In 1912, he arranged for her to appear on sheet music for "Cuddle Up and Cling to Me" with the "Girard Boys." Shortly after, he encouraged her to go out as a single in variety, promising her $350 $500 week. And knowing she was special in his eyes, Mae took full advantage of this stepping stone.
• • Mae West claimed that her father went into real estate when she signed with Frank Bohm.
• • When Guido Deiro and Mae were hot and heavy over each other, it was Bohm who was booking them both — — "engaged jointly as headline features" for 40 weeks on the prestigious Loew circuit.
• • Under Bohm's careful grooming, Mae transformed herself into a headliner for Manhattan's American Roof Theatre in January 1915 where she performed Sheldon Brooks's "Balling the Jack" and her trademark number "I've Got a Style All My Own."
• • Unfortunately, the agent who was so "generous, vital, and adoring" to Mae was cut down by tuberculosis of the spine when he was only 33 years old. Frank Bohm died in the month of March — — on 9 March 1916.
• • By March 1916, however, Mae West had fallen off the pathway to stardom. From applauded headliner at a good theatre a few steps away from Broadway in January 1915, by March 1916 Mae was slaving away at Pittsburgh's Victoria Theatre, performing in cheap, third-rate burlesque. Drat.
• • Mae West and Grapes • •
• • The name Mae West, controversial stage and film star of the early 20th century, conjures up visions of grapes. “Beulah, peel me a grape,” she said in the 1933 movie “I’m No Angel.” ... [Source: "Who and what in food lore" written by Page H. Onorato for The Dispatch; posted on Tuesday, 8 March 2011].
• • Quote, Unquote in the United Arab Emirates • •
• • 'Too much of a good thing is wonderful," the legendary Hollywood actress Mae West once said. It is arguable, however, whether the rapier-tongued diva would still have the same opinion had she spent a few hours waiting for a taxi under the scorching mid-summer UAE sun . . . [Source: Here comes the sun: National Editorial; The National in Abu Dhabi, UAE; posted on 9 March 2011].
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1912 • •
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Mae West.

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