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.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1936 • •
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