Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mae West: Cook and Lorenz

More than anything, variety artist MAE WEST wanted to be "in the legit" — — on The Gay White Way — — and Jesse Lasky gave her an opportunity. The extravaganza, produced by Ned Wayburn, Mae's dancing teacher, was titled "A La Broadway."
• • In 1911, Jesse Lasky opened the Folies-Bergere, a plush dinner theatre restaurant on West 46th Street and he cast a pretty 18-year-old Mae to appear in the revue along with a comedy duo, Cook and Lorenz. Supposedly, these comedians could not master their props in time to accompany her, therefore, Mae was unable to perform her first song, a ballad called "They Are Irish," the way it had been staged originally. But what if the real explanation had to do with racial bias instead? James Cook was black and maybe that's why the producers yanked the team away from sharing a spotlight with Mae.
• • Cook and Lorenz — — who were these vaudevillians anyway?
• • John Lorenz was cast as Nick O'Teene in "A La Broadway." Born in Buffalo, NY on 6 December 1886, his Broadway career began in 1909 when he was attached to a musical comedy "The Motor Girl." After doing several shows, he took his final bows in "Ramshackle Inn," a farce, in 1944.
• • He seems to have teamed up with a mature performer James Cook by 1910 and they actively toured on the vaudeville circuit. Considered to be one of the "monarchs of minstrelsy," James Cook had done a blackface act in 1885 with Rankin's Minstrels. (Blacks were recognized as musicians of talent, due to the popularity of minstrel shows.) Additionally, James Cook was an early member of the White Rats. James Cook was cast as Jim Jamb in "A La Broadway" and he may have been cast in another production on the Gay White Way in 1932.
• • John Lorenz died in Paramus, NJ in the month of April — — on 30 April 1972.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • London-based journalist Michael Petry writes about the Mae West brooch and other gems: Historically, artists have worked with jewellers, too. Yves Tanguy had a pair of miniature-painting earrings made for Peggy Guggenheim, while Georges Braque had some of his paintings turned into jewellery by well-known jeweller Baron Heger de Loewenfeld. Salvador Dali designed several metal pieces based on his paintings and sculptures, including a 1949 ruby-lips brooch modelled on his celebrated Mae West lips sofa. He made the designs on paper, and most of the pieces were produced by the Argentinian silversmith Carlos Alemany. ...
• • Source: Article: "Artisans who turn ideas into art" written by Michael Petry for The Independent (UK); posted on 29 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1916th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Mae West: Harry Pilcer

In 1911 MAE WEST first met dancer Harry Pilcer when both were involved with Ned Wayburn's productions at the short-lived showcase in Times Square, the Folies-Bergere. Mae, then 18 years old, was cast in "A La Broadway," which alternated with "Hello, Paris," which featured 26-year-old Harry Pilcer.
• • Born in New York, NY in the month of April — — on 29 April 1885 — — Harry Pilcer made his stage debut at the age of fourteen. In 1912 he began a high-profile partnership with the French diva Gaby Deslys [1881 — 1920]. They met during rehearsals for "Vera Violetta," shortly after he was tapped for the role of Andrew Mason. Mae West was in the cast as well, but gamely attempted to upstage Gaby and was soon shown the door.
• • Harry impressed his lady love by inventing the "Gaby Glide" for her, which they danced in "Vera Violetta" [1911 — 1912]. When the show closed, they continued to work and canoodle together. Rumor has it that, when the French performer died at age 38, Harry was wilting at her side.
• • After 1920, Harry quickly recovered his balance. He would partner for the next ten years with that iconic beauty with the million dollar legs, Mistinguette; tour the circuit of European music halls, Parisian cafes, and Berlin cabarets; appear on Broadway until 1922; make seven motion pictures (from 1915 — 1946) and choregraph musicals for Hollywood directors as well.
• • He spent his later years in the south of France. After World War II, he found work as an M.C. in high-end French gambling dens at LaBaule and Cannes. He had just concluded a show at the Ambassador Casino on the French Riviera on 14 January 1961 when he had a fatal heart attack at age 75.
• • Image: song sheet from "Vera Violetta" [1911] with Gaby and Harry.
• • Ms. Mamerow as Mae in Greater Green Bay • •
• • Barb Mamerow, dressed as Mae West, greeted people on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 during the Attraction Showcase hosted by the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau in Shopko Hall in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin.
• • PHOTO CREDIT: Evan Siegle/ Press-Gazette
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Jeffrey Kirkpatrick leads off his review with Mae on his right side: To borrow the old and overused Mae West line, when Tom Welling is good, he's good; but when he's bad, he's better. ...
• • Source: Article: "Smallville Review: Leaving It All Behind" written by Jeffrey Kirkpatrick for TV Fanatic; posted on 15 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1915th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Barb as a Mae look-alike, 2011 • •
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mae West: Charlotte's Sextette

In 1978, director Ken Hughes worked with MAE WEST and everybody knows it. Raise your right hand if you realize that the Brooklyn bombshell did not write "Sextette"! Bonus points if you can name the Englishwoman who did.
• • In 1994, Christie's auctioned off a most intriguing bit of memorabilia: a bound copy of the stage play "Sextette" [1927] by the British actress and dramatist Charlotte Francis. The auctioneer's lot also included these tag-alongs: a bound soft-cover copy of Mae West's "Sextette"; a copy of a 1952 contract between Charlotte Francis and her American manager in which she refers to her agreement with Mae West for an adaptation by Miss West of said play; and a May 1952 agreement letter between Mae West and the William Morris Agency for her to appear in a play entitled "Come On Up" (changed from "Sextette"), signed in original ink by Mae West; and a negative photostat of a Dramatic Production Contract between Charlotte Francis and Alexandre Ince to perform "Sextette" at the Piccadilly House on 1 April 1952.
• • Clearly, there was an intrinsic appeal to the 85-year-old to be back in the game. The last time she was in a film had been in "Myra" [1970] and her last stage appearance had been the starring role in "Come On Up," which toured briefly during the 1960s. The stage play "Sextette" by Charlotte Francis was centered on the sixth marriage of a famous sex goddess and the amusing demands of her former husbands. (The movie grafts a sub-plot of global diplomacy onto this rom-com.)
• • If you can put aside its "artistic merit" and your quibbles about the cinematic production, it will become much clearer how much is purely biographical and thus a fitting farewell to Mae's unique career
— — that swan bed replica, a fond echo about "Catherine Was Great," a fashion show of Edith Head's delightful diva-wear, a parade of bodybuilders, reminders of the Diamond Lil persona, a walk-on for faithful friend George Raft, and a poke at Paramount foe Ernst Lubitsch (when her filmmaker ex is called a "son of Lubitsch"), not to mention a liberal borrowing of well-loved Mae West one-liners, etc. Moreover, Marlo Manners is called an "American institution" and Mae saw herself as nothing less. .
• • There are defects, to be sure, however, as Marlo Manners strokes her breast in front of the mirror and purrs, "It's real, it's all real," there's another meaning, too. In every way, Mae West was the real thing and she still has no equal.
• • Ken Hughes died 28 April 2001 • •
• • On 19 January 1922, Kenneth Graham Hughes was born in Liverpool, England.
• • The Hollywood director developed Alzheimer's disease and died in the month of April — — on 28 April 2001 in Los Angeles. Several of his obituaries reminded the public that "Sextette" was a camp disaster and, furthermore, that the writer/ director had had a prolific but "remarkably inconsistent career" with only one hands-down triumph: "The Trials of Oscar Wilde." Hard to believe, perhaps, that the same individual directed the family musical and moneymaker "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," the James Bond loser "Casino Royale," and "Sextette."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Before she goes to the polls, Canadian columnist Adrienne King is thinking about Mae West and writes: Why not take the Mae West approach? “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.” New, fresh evil is bound to be more interesting than the same old evil we’ve become mind-numbingly used to. Maybe the other evil will be the “light” version. Maybe it won’t be evil at all. ...
• • Source: Article: "Contractors, frenemies, and being prepared" written by Adrienne King for The Independent (Canada); posted on 27 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1914th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mae West: Welfare Island Exit

MAE WEST was the inspiration for a sofa — — but, hey, move over, Dali.
• • In case you think, at a glance, that this is another view of Salvador Dali's Mae West Lips Sofa, look again. This is a colorized scanning electron microscope image of a diatom — — a tiny single-celled marine creature invisible to the naked eye. A type of algae, diatoms typically measure just 0.002 inches across. Scientists believe that diatoms pre-date the dinosaurs. Artist Faye Darling has used a digital paint program in order to colorize this image of a diatom.
• • Photo Credit: Dr. Paul Hargreaves and Faye Darling — — BNPS.co.uk
• • 27 April 1927 • •
• • On 20 April 1927 the headlines read: "Mae West Goes to Workhouse to Start Sentence" and the subhead explained further: Actress-Author of "Sex" Taken to Welfare Island With Two Negresses. The Women's Workhouse on Welfare Island was self-described as a "place of quiet reformatory meditation for the vicious." When Mae West was released on 27 April 1927, her beloved mother was there to escort her home along with Mae's younger siblings John and Beverly.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Brad Darrach writes: By 1930 he was playing leads on Broadway, and in 1932 Paramount signed him to a five-year contract at $450 a week and changed his name to Cary Grant. In a year Cary Grant did bit parts in seven movies. Then one day Mae West got an eyeful of his sultry good looks. "If he can talk," she's supposed to have said, "I'll take him." Cary Grant disliked the woman, but "She Done Him Wrong" made him faintly famous as the hunk she hooked with a notorious (and frequently misquoted) line: "Why dontcha come up sometime and see me?" Topper (1937) made him a star. ...
• • Source: Flashback Column: "Cary Grant Remembered" by Brad Darrach for People Magazine; written 15 December 1986; reposted on 27 April 2011
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Mae West was one of the first in Hollywood to defy gender roles. ...
• • Source: Photo Caption used to illustrate the article "BU Film Students Make Strides in Defying Hollywood Gender Roles" by Veronica Glab for BU Quad; posted on 24 April 2011
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Jonathan Berr starts his article with this sentence: State legislators are going to be tempted to follow the dictate of that fiscal expert Mae West who famously opined that “too much of a good thing is wonderful.” Of course, the film star wasn’t talking about state budgets, but many states may soon be tempted to follow her advice as the economy continues to rebound. ...
• • Source: Daily Austerity Watch: "The States’ Tax Dilemma" written by Jonathan Berr for 24/7 Wall St.; posted on 19 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1913th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mae West: Papa Charlie Jackson

Written by "Jane Mast" and starring MAE WEST as Margy LaMont, "Sex" opened in April — — on 26 April 1926. The Broadway debut occurred a few blocks north of Columbus Circle at Daly’s 63rd Street Theatre, the only playhouse available at the time. Today is the 85th anniversary of Mae's achievement. Writing and staging "Sex" would change her life.
• • Two days later (on 28 April 1926) Variety took an early stand against the play: “Mae West … has broken the fetters and does as she pleases here. After three hours of this play’s nasty, infantile, amateurish, and vicious dialog, after watching its various actors do their stuff badly, one really has a feeling of gratefulness for any repression that may have toned down her vaudeville songs in the past. If this show could do one week of good business it would depart with a handsome profit, it’s that cheaply put on.”
• • Phooey on you, Variety. Unstoppable "Sex" not only sold out its premiere but it also offered 385 performances with general admission tickets sold for $3.50. According to Mae West, orchestra seats were $10.
• • For "Sex," Mae chose music she personally liked, songs not yet familiar to a white audience of theatre-going New Yorkers. One number she selected was by "Papa" Charlie Jackson [c.1885 — 1938], an African-American blues man and songster born in New Orleans. Jackson had appeared in minstrel shows with a hybrid instrument: a cross between a guitar banjo and a ukulele. Though
numerous details of his life as a performer remain unclear, it is known that his recording career began in 1924 when the Paramount label signed him. When he recorded "Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues" and "Airy Man Blues," these hits registered as the first commercially successful and self-accompanied recordings by a male singer of the blues. The track "Salty Dog Blues" turned out to be his most famous song. Shortly after, Jackson would cut records with Hattie McDaniel, Ma Rainey, and Ida Cox — — a vocalist billed as the "sepia Mae West." After gaining attention in the 1920s and 1930s, it seems that Jackson died in Chicago, Illinois (perhaps) in 1938 at age 53.
• • "Shake That Thing" [1925] • •
• • In 1925, with lyricist C. Johnson, Charlie Jackson composed "Shake That Thing," a 3 minute song published by Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., Inc., 488 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022. Accompanied by the group Smithsonian Blues, Papa Charlie Jackson recorded this himself — — a sultry blues number that Mae heard and introduced to her Broadway audience in her 1926 show, while backed by a jazz band. She also selected the cool blues song "My Sweet Man" (and other pieces by talented black composers such as W.C. Handy) to feature in "Sex." The police officials who came to spy and take notes were especially interested in her bare midriff as she shimmied. The exotic movements of Mae's bellybutton were preserved in the trial transcripts in 1927.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The police raid in February 1927 is dramatized in Act I of the stage play COURTING MAE WEST. This is one panel from the COURTING MAE WEST comic book written and designed by playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo and delightfully illustrated and hand-colored by artist Michael DiMotta. Do not copy this panel nor reuse it without permission. Be nice.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Here's Larry Harnisch reflecting on Los Angeles history and a friend of Mae West's. Larry Harnisch writes: April 25, 1961: You may remember Cannonball Green as the promising light-heavyweight of a quarter-century ago who once put Maxie Rosenbloom on the floor four times up in Ventura but only got a draw. Cannonball's career came to an abrupt end and his life almost followed suit one night in 1936 in a Sunset Boulevard phone booth when Chalky Wright's brother, Lee, who was a chauffeur for Mae West at the time, shot him as he was making a phone call. Now he thinks he's got a new career — — ...
• • Source: Flashback: "Jim Murray, April 25, 1961" by Larry Harnisch for The Los Angeles Times; reposted on 25 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1912th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Mae West: Singapore Swing

Come up and see MAE WEST in Asia. Visitors to the newly opened ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands will soon be able to enter the surreal mind of Salvador Dalí, one of the 20th century’s best-known artists. Dalí: Mind of a Genius — — The Exhibition, will display over 250 artworks by Dali, making this the first time ever that such a large number of his masterpieces are shown within a single venue in Singapore. A dedicated space will showcase Dalí’s surrealistic transformations in furniture, displaying pieces such as the Mae West Lips Sofa [created in 1934], Vis-à-vis Sofa, and Bracelli Lamp, announced Benjamin Levi, President of the Stratton Foundation and curator of the exhibition, who knew the artist.
• • WHEN: Dalí: Mind of a Genius — — The Exhibition: from 14 May 2011 until 30 October 2011.
• • WHERE: The ArtScience Museum is in Marina Bay Sands, along the Marina Bay waterfront. Visitors to Marina Bay Sands will find the Museum located along the north Promenade, within walking distance from The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and the Double Helix Bridge.
• • 25 April 1935 • •
• • On this date, Mae West's latest motion picture "Goin' to Town" is released in the USA.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Can Reese step into the circus spotlight once ruled by Mae West — — or will Witherspoon wither? New England based film critic and entertainment reporter Stephen Schaefer writes: The weekend’s other major release, the film version of the bestselling novel "Water for Elephants," is certainly handsomely mounted but as a story of simmering frustration, forbidden love and tragic consequences it has all the force of a pat of melted butter. The 1931 circus setting has been rendered with care and Reese Witherspoon, slender and self possessed but seemingly on sedatives, is costumed with a nod to Mae West’s "I’m No Angel" where the movies’ once notorious sexual hot momma played a circus star. Witherspoon gets points for actually getting on the horse and the elephant for her role, eschewing a double for the basics but her anemic performance once again makes you wonder who’s minding the store here. ...
• • Source: Review: "Tepid Water for Elephants" written by Stephen Schaefer for The Boston Herald; posted on Sunday, 24 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1911th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • "Goin' to Town" with Paul Cavanagh, 1935 • •
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mae West: Some Bunny

Though MAE WEST did not do any theme movies suitable for Easter, here are some remarks to suit the season quite eggs-actly.
• • "I've gotten a lot of bunnies on Easter," Mae West retorted in her throatiest, breast-heaving contralto, when confronted by a Time Magazine reporter, "but this is the first time I've ever received a husband." In 1937, Time had been making an issue of "Mr. Mae West" in an article discussing the actress's secret marriage on 11 April 1911.
• • Mae West said: I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond. And may your Easter Basket be filled with bling and beefcake.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A few years ago Peter Gomes came to Duke Chapel and preached on this theme. In that sermon he invoked the name of one of his favorite Easter theologians — — the inimitable actress Mae West, known for her friendly relationships with men. Mae West said, "It’s not the men in my life, but the life in my men." Gomes said, "Mae West got it! She got the Easter message." ...
• • Source: Sermon: "LIFE BEGINS AT EASTER John 20:1-18" by Mel Williams for The Watts Street Baptist Church; delivered on Easter Sunday, 16 April 2006
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • LEO [July 24 — Aug 23] — — Hedonistic Lions are in the mood to overindulge in hot cross buns and Easter eggs, as you adopt the philosophy of fellow Leo, Mae West: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” You’re never happier than when they have an audience and the Full Moon gives your communication skills a boost, as you entertain others and talk up a storm. ...
• • Source: Your Horoscope MOORE Stars; April 18 — 24, 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1910th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • as Leticia in 1970 • •
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mae West: Tetsu Komai

MAE WEST worked with numerous Asian actors during the making of "Klondike Annie" [1936]. Perhaps the casting director had seen Arnold Genthe's famous black and white photographs of San Francisco's Chinatown and been impressed, especially by those fierce sullen males Genthe captured in his gelatin silver print called "The Street of the Gamblers."
• • Usually cast as a Chinese thug, Tetsu Komai was really born in Kumamoto, Japan in the month of April — — on 23 April 1894. The five-foot-eleven actor often played villains. In "Klondike Annie," he took the role of Lan Fang.
• • Tetsu Komai began his Hollywood career in 1926 with several bit parts. Featured in 66 motion pictures, he made a final appearance in "The Night Walker" as a gardener in 1964. He died in Gardena, California of congestive heart failure at age 76 on 10 August 1970.
• • 23 April 1935 • •
• • They were black and white and read all over. In 1935, April's newspapers were peppered with spicy headlines about the actress's private life that probably caused a headache (if not also a certain degree of heartburn). The cover of the New York Herald wiggled its weight in woe at the city's citizens: "Actor who Claims He Is Star's Ex-husband Bares Story of Romance" [23 April 1935]. Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Examiner blasted out some immensely unflattering photos along with this cover feature: "Dancer's Story of Marriage Irks Film Star" [25 April 1935]. Mae would definitely have preferred being paired with a chimpanzee rather than a balding, skinny, unprepossessing ex-vaudevillian looking down at his threadbare socks in April 1935.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Who needs popcorn when you have a chip on your shoulder, eh? Former moviehouse manager Dennis Dermody announces: Out this week is Mae West's disastrous 1978 swan song, "Sextette" (Scorpion Releasing). Made when she was 87, this ghastly musical comedy starred West as the fabulous movie star Marlo Manners and Timothy Dalton as her husband searching for a stolen tape of her memoirs. ... And I am proud to have done the liner notes for this widescreen DVD release of this crap classic. ...
• • Source: Word Up: "Mae West's Disastrous Sextette On DVD" written by Dennis Dermody for Paper Magazine; posted on 21 April 2011.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1909th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Mae West: Lil Tilts at the Law

On 22 April 1928, The New York Times was purring about MAE WEST. On the theatre page was an announcement that "Diamond Lil" was the most prosperous of all the recent stage productions. Broadway backers paid attention, noticing that Mae had given the Royale Theatre its first hit — — a non-musical, no less.
• • How do you think Mae would feel if she saw this sign hanging over a bar in Big Bear City, California?
• • Protective of the play and the "Queen of the Bowery" prototype she created, Mae took people to court to try to prevent any other actress from styling herself as Diamond Lil. In 1959 and 1960, for instance, Mae was suing Marie Lind, who was billing herself under the audacious stage name
"The One and Only Diamond Lil" — — which offended and outraged Mae.
• • West v. Lind [186 Cal. App. 2d 563] • •
• • This is an appeal from an order denying a preliminary injunction sought by the appellant, Mae West, to restrain the respondent, Marie Lind, from using the name "Diamond Lil" and the respondent, Gay 90's, a corporation, from billing and advertising the respondent, Marie Lind, as "Diamond Lil" or "The One and Only Diamond Lil." After the hearing on the order to show cause, at which oral and documentary evidence was introduced, the court found that the description "Diamond Lil" involved words of common usage in the public domain, which were not susceptible to appropriation to a given individual, and were not subject to appropriation by the appellant in the manner asserted by the appellant.
• • On appeal, it is argued that the trial court erred in the above mentioned finding and conclusion because: (1) The appellant [Mae West] has stated a cause of action in unfair competition, as the designation "Diamond Lil" has, over a long period of time, been associated exclusively with her; (2) the appellant has created a valuable property right in a character type; and (3) injunctive relief is proper in order to prevent the usurpation of the secondary meaning attained by the name "Diamond Lil" and to prevent the pirating, counterfeiting, and imitation of the character "type" created by the appellant. ...
• • In "My Little Chickadee," the saloon has a door that swings both ways. Civil Court might as well install the same non-discriminating entryway. In 1950, an actress called Sara Allen sued for $1 million, charging Mae West, in verse, no less, for preventing her from getting stage jobs as a 'Diamond Lil' impersonator.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Manohla Dargis writes: These were the other women in women’s pictures: the black cooks, nurses and maids, maids, maids who, breaking out of the margins if only a little, joked with Mae West, fretted about Claudette Colbert and stood by white woman after white woman, scolding them and appealing to their better selves if every so often, like Chico, also playing their laughing co-conspirator. Sometimes they didn’t have names, and they didn’t necessarily make it into the credits. Still, they were there. ...
• • Source: Article: "Just a Maid in Movies, But Not Forgotten" written by Manohla Dargis for The New York Times; posted on 21 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1908th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mae West: Quint Benedetti

MAE WEST recorded a song by Quint Benedetti, who is enjoying a birthday today. Quint writes: I was born on 21 April 1926. Like Mae West, I feel ageless. Even though I am 85, I can't believe it. In 1943, the handsome 17-year-old joined the US Navy and, while in boot camp, he sang his final performance on the US Navy Hour Network radio show. Recently, he self published a memoir: My Travels with Agnes Moorehead, the Lavender Lady. In the Prologue, he notes: "Pick a hero or heroine and live your own life and theirs, too. Happiness will be yours because you will never be bored — — the scourge of most people's lives.
• • Here is an interesting account of how Quint met Mae West and participated in one of her popular seasonal LPs. This section is an excerpt from "In Search of Mae West" by R. Mark Desjardins. Please do not duplicate this copyrighted text without permission. Be nice.
• • R. Mark Desjardins wrote: Mae West signed a one record recording contract with Dagonet record and released “Wild Christmas” in December of 1966 sending up Santa Claus and other seasonal traditions. Especially entertaining were her renditions of Elvis Presley’s “Santa, Bring My Baby Back To Me”; Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby”; The Beatles’ “With Love From Me To You”; and a take-off on her trademark line “Santa, Come Up and See Me.” She loved Quint Benedetti’s song “Put The Loot In The Boot, Santa” and invited him to visit her at the Ravenswood in late 1969 when Mae was 76 years old.
• • R. Mark Desjardins explained: At the time, Mae West had mentioned she was looking for material for a possible adult fairy tale album. Benedetti and West discussed themes but no lyrics or music were written. Over the years, Benedetti’s had been Agnes Moorehead’s manager and worked with Perry Como. “I knew not to get too personal or talk too much. Mae seemed different. I told her she emerged as a positive female figure in my dreams. She understood and responded. I told her that I had undergone therapy to overcome dysfunctional family memories and that spiritualism carried me through some rough times.”
• • R. Mark Desjardins noted: During the course of their conversation, Quint Benedetti confided he had written a musical play based on her autobiography, “Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It” and he had written some tunes entitled “Come Up and See Me Sometime” and “Tall, Dark, and Handsome,” all in her distinctive style. He also mentioned he’d written “If You Want To Hang On To Your Man, Don’t Tie Him to Your Apron Strings.” Benedetti recalled “She sort of liked the song, but stated, ‘Mae West wouldn’t sing that — — it’s negative. Don’t use the word ‘don’t.’ Drop the ‘don’t’ and I might use it.’”
• • R. Mark Desjardins continued: After listening to his plan for the proposed musical, West asked Benedetti which actress he had in mind for the lead role and listened politely while he rattled off a few names. Benedetti was taken aback when she suddenly blurted out, “I’ll play the role!” He thought her comment was bizarre as she would be portraying a young Mae West and that’s when he thought to himself she was getting old and senile. Benedetti felt that, “Mae West was corny and she knew she was a big put on.” All the same, Mae West was so impressed with Benedetti that she sent him to Universal Studio to see Stanley Musgrove about a bit part in "Myra Breckinridge" though nothing came of it.
• • R. Mark Desjardins concluded: “I didn’t sell a lot of records on her, but she did a good job with the song and it was my biggest thrill having her record it,” Benedetti reminisced. “The Myra project took a lot of her energy and the proposal for the naughty fairy tale project took a back seat.” West never asked Benedetti to give her credit for writing lyrics during their discussions but indicated, “I will put my own little spice in the material.” Over the decades, Mae's vinyl Christmas album has been re-released as "Mae In December" and "Under the Mistletoe." More recently, the recording has appeared for sale on eBay in compact disc format. ...
— — Excerpt: — —
• • This is an excerpt from "In Search of Mae West" by R. Mark Desjardins. Offered exclusively to the Mae West Blog by the author, this selection was used with his kind permission.
• • Happy Birthday today to Quint Benedetti, a debonair gentleman of charm and wit.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Elaine Cunningham writes: Is there ever too much mulch for your garden? To paraphrase Mae West, 'Too much of a good thing is probably just about right.' ...
• • Source: Op-Ed: "Is There Ever Too Much Mulch for Your Garden?" written by Elaine Cunningham for Barrington Patch; posted on 19 April 2011.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1907th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West: Indiana Inventiveness

MAE WEST had a few prestigious publicists and one was known in the industry as N.T.G.
• • On 21 April 1957, the world received the sad news that Nils T. Granlund had died in a taxi accident in Las Vegas.
• • Born in Sweden but raised in the USA, Nils T. Granlund [29 September 1890 — 21 April 1957] was a Broadway show producer, radio industry pioneer, and also a publicist for Marcus Loew who formed Loews Theatres and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). So well known that he went by his initials N.T.G., this powerhouse was Mae West's publicist and he also attended her wedding when she married Guido Deiro.
• • 21 April 1928 • •
• • Critics often weighed in on the Brooklyn bombshell — — and seldom were they indulgent.
• • Back on 21 April 1928, Billboard's resident killjoy was Robert Garland. He had also been reviewing for the New York WorldTelegram and was a founding member of the Drama Critics Circle. Perhaps trying to insure she would get good notices from him, one hopeful changed her name from Miss Gumm to "Judy Garland," snagging his surname.
• • Well, eighty-three years ago, Robert Garland actually paid "Diamond Lil" a left-hand compliment.
• • "You'd have thought that a favorite bootlegger had come back from Atlanta," wrote drama critic Robert Garland in the New York Evening Telegram [5 April 1928]. "Mae West makes Miss Ethel Barrymore look like the late lamented Bert Savoy."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • In 1940 a creative and colorful fundraiser was held for St. Casimir Church in North Hammond, Indiana. Male parishioners paired up and dressed in formal attire to create a "Wedding without Women" as a way of bringing in donations during the Great Depression.
• • Past Times Coordinator Pat Kincaid writes: They organized a "Wedding without Women" event. Admission was charged. [Then 17 years old] Louis W. Mroz believes it cost either $2 or $3 to view the "ceremony," which included bride, groom, maid of honor, ring bearer and even a Mae West look-alike. The men of the parish paired off and one dressed as a woman who then was escorted by the other. Their wedding finery was handmade. The group met for one rehearsal before staging their event. They were all "guest couples" at the "wedding" and participated in a grand march, too, at a "reception" held in the church gym afterward. The bride was Walter Pelczar, maid of honor was Ray Kaptar, ring bearer was Eugene Pietczak — — and Mae West was Richard Hildebranski. ...
• • Source: Article: "'Couples' raised funds for St. Casimir" written by Pat Kincaid for NWI.com; posted on 17 April 2011.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1906th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • look-alike in 1940 • •
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mae West: Mabel Stark

Mabel Stark was the beautiful blonde wild animal tamer who doubled for MAE WEST during some of the big top scenes in "I'm No Angel" [1933].
• • When Jack West took his young daughter to Bostock's Lions in Coney Island, Mae first became aware of beautiful female trainers such as the fearless trailblazer Marie-Louise Morelli, billed as Queen of the Jaguars. Awed by Madame Morelli's smooth command in the cage of her "treacherous pets," the curly-haired little Brooklynite (born in August under the sign of Leo) decided one day she, too, would come face to face with the King of Beasts.
• • Mabel Stark, whose real name was Mary Haynie, was born in Kentucky on 9 December 1889. In 1922, she joined the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus and performed in Madison Square Garden with snarling tigers and a black panther. By the end of that season, of the six wild animal acts featured with the circus, Mabel Stark's was the most popular and she was featured on a poster with her favorite big cat Rajah. At one point in her career, she would face eighteen snarling beasts in the ring.
• • This colorful circus poster from the 1920s shows Mabel Stark with her beloved Rajah, whom she adopted as a mistreated, sickly cub, and shared her home with.
• • During a photo shoot with Mabel Stark, Mae West was asked if she could see herself trading places with anyone and she said: "Yes, it would be this Mabel Stark, the Tiger Girl!" To which Mabel responded, "Fine with me. I'd love to be Mae West!"
• • Unfortunately, in 1968 her employer Jungleland was sold to a new owner who disliked Mabel Stark and fired her. Soon after she left, one of her tigers escaped and was shot. Stark was angry and hurt about the animal's destruction and felt that she could have safely secured the tiger if the owners had asked for her assistance. Three months later, she killed herself by an overdose of barbiturates.
• • In the last pages of her autobiography, Hold That Tiger, Mabel Stark writes: "The chute door opens as I crack my whip and shout, 'Let them come,' Out slink the striped cats, snarling and roaring, leaping at each other or at me. It's a matchless thrill, and life without it is not worth while to me."
• • At the age of 78, in her home in Thousand Oaks, California, Mabel Stark drew her last breath and left the world in April — — on 20 April 1968.
• • Thursday 20 April 1933 is the birthdate of Monte Landis, an American character actor who had worked with Mae West when he played the role of Vince in "Myra Breckinridge" [1970]. We wish the funnyman a Happy Birthday!
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Dr. Birute Regine writes: Some women use the negative gender schemas against them to their advantage. These women play along as if they don’t know what’s going on, when in reality they are five steps ahead of the guys. As Mae West put it, “Brains are an asset, if you hide them.” ...
• • Source: Article: "Why Is It That Women Are Seen As Less Competent?" written by Birute Regine, Ed.D. for Forbes Magazine; posted on 14 April 2011.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1905th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • with Mabel Stark in 1933 • •
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mae West: Poli's Palace

"The Beaux arts-style Palace, originally called the Loew's Poli Theater, opened in 1922 and was once the biggest venue in the state, seating about 3,600 for live entertainers including MAE WEST," writes Ken Dixon today in his article for the CT Post. "It closed about 35 years ago. ... Scared off by estimates that a study of Bridgeport's long-vacant vaudeville-era theaters would cost about $619,000, a legislative committee Monday voted to require state officials to perform the study with existing funds. ..."
• • Mae-mavens already know that in 1927, "The Drag" premiered at Poli's, a stock burlesque house in Bridgeport, Connecticut located on the most prominent boulevard downtown.
• • During the early 1920s, impresario Sylvestre Poli brought the Poli Palace to the Nutmeg State.
• • Designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb and eventually renamed Loew's Palace Theater [1325 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT 06604], this landmark was the biggest movie theater ever erected in Connecticut — — and the largest among Bridgeport's 20-plus theaters. Poli's was actually one of two theaters built inside a single building (the other being the Majestic).
• • Despite the public's curiosity about the controversial vaudevillian Mae West, and her latest play "The Drag," Jim Timony could only manage to secure half a week at Poli's Park, which was then in use as a burlesque house in Bridgeport. It was a dreary and wintery Monday on 31 January 1927 when the Morals Production Company hoisted a banner over the trolley cars criss-crossing Main Street. Pedestrians were intrigued by this saucy announcement: "The Drag" by the author of SEX — — more sensational than Rain or The Captive!"
• • While they were lodging at the Arcade Hotel, Beverly West and Edward Elsner (Mae's sister and director) were arrested at 5 AM on 2 February 1927. Both the play and the arrest were the talk of Bridgeport.
• • 19 April 1927 • •
• • The sentencing of Mae West, Jim Timony, and the cast of "Sex" took place on 19 April 1927 in Jefferson Market Court. That trial and the dramatic verdict end Act I of the stage play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets."
• • This is a photo of that pivotal moment in the courtroom when the play was last presented in New York City at the Algonquin Theatre in July 2008. Mae West was portrayed by actress Yvonne Sayers. The role of Texas Guinan went to Eileen Glenn and Gloria M. Buccino was Matilda West.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The British author Graham Greene [2 October 1904 — 3 April 1991] was inspired by Mae West when he was creating his character Ida, a barmaid, buxom and sentimental, and a busybody-ish Good Samaritan.
• • Writing about the cinema version of Brighton Rock, Peter Craven notes: Brighton Rock may be an advertisement for Graham Greene's novel and an introduction of it to a new audience. The thing that's so hard to film — — perhaps to dramatise in any medium — — is indicated by Greene's outline of what he was after. On 9 April 1939, he wrote to his agent Nancy Pearn: "The real point ... is the contrast between the ethical mind (Ida's) and the religious (the Boy's and Rose's) in thriller terms." In the novel Ida — — who, believe it or not, Greene partly based on Mae West — — is preoccupied with a world of an eye for an eye. Murder has been committed and justice — — conceived of as the vengeance of society — — must prevail. ..."
• • Source: Article: "Greene's pastures" written by Peter Craven for The Australian; posted on 16 April 2011.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1904th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Mae West: Life and Kentucky

Imagine mingling with movie screen legend MAE WEST or feeling the force from Princess Leia of "Star Wars" — — that is the enticing first sentence of a notification about this year's Small Business Expo in Northern Kentucky organized by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. These clever planners selected a Tinseltown theme for their annual event, scheduled for 28 April 2011 — — "Hollywood: Small businesses are the stars of the community!"
• • Writing for nky.cincinnati.com, Gannett reporter Jeff McKinney explains that Northern Kentucky's exhibitors will be dressed as Mae West and other celebrities, "representing small businesses that are stars in the local economy. ..."
• • The half-day gathering will be at Receptions Inc. on 1379 Donaldson Road, Erlanger, Kentucky. Title sponsor is Hollywood Casino and the exhibitor booth space has already been sold out. If you are in the Bluegrass State, let us know how well the Mae West impersonator was chosen and did her job.
• • 18 April 1969 • •
• • Nationally, the news racks on 18 April 1969 held the hot-off-the-presses issue of Life Magazine with Mae West on the front cover.
• • The rather startling visual composition revealed the 75-year-old actress in her mirrored bed, garbed in white satin, and — — in the foreground — — was the exotic black long-tailed Tricky, Mae's pet woolly monkey, who had joined her Hollywood household in Apartment 611 just two years before. Reflecting on his 20 hours of conversations with the screen legend, reporter Richard Meryman called the actress a "masterpiece of self-preservation" and acknowledged with admiration her "mind-spinning version of the world" ["76
— — And Still Going Strong" in Life Magazine, issue for the week 18 April 1969].
• • Mae was photographed for Life by the 63-year-old lensman Philippe Halsman, who was born in Latvia on 2 May 1906. Aided by his friend Albert Einstein, Halsman emigrated to the United States. A portrait he took of the scientist became a US postage stamp in 1966.
• • Philippe Halsman began working with Salvador Dali and also with Life Magazine (from 1942 onwards).
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Writing about a popular hide-away and tavern in Castella, California where JFK may have rendezvoused with Marilyn Monroe, local historian Dottie Smith writes: "Marilyn Monroe signed her name in lipstick on the wall at Mike Padula's bar. That in itself wasn't unusual, because many other stars' signatures such as Mae West, Jimmy Dorsey, Lena Horn and Cary Grant graced the mirrors and the walls of Mike's Place bar. ..."
• • Source: Column: "Travelin' in Time: JFK, Monroe stayed here, so goes the story" written by Dottie Smith for Redding Record Searchlight; posted on 15 April 2011.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 1903rd blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1969 • •
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