Monday, June 06, 2011

Mae West: 10 Nights in a Bar-Room

MAE WEST was not even born yet when Timothy Shay Arthur died in 1885. But when she was a child, "Baby Mae" acted in a dramatized version of his novel for years.
• • T.S. Arthur was born in the month of June — on 6 June 1809 — and became a popular nineteenth-century author. He is most famous for writing his influential temperance work "Ten Nights in a Bar-Room and What I Saw There" [1854], which helped to demonize alcohol in the eyes of the American public.
• • Young Mae played the part of little Mary, who confronts her beer-guzzling father in the saloon and begs him to come home with her. The battle between the alcoholic father and his family is not easily won in Shay's novel, any more than it was in Mae's own household in Brooklyn.
• • Here's an excerpt of dialogue that young Mae had to memorize:
• • • • "What is it, love?"
• • • • "That you will never go into Simon Slade's bar any more."
• • • • The child raises herself, evidently with a painful effort; and leans nearer to her father.
• • • • Joe shakes his head, and poor Mary drops back upon her pillow with a sigh. Her lids fall, and the long lashes lie strongly relieved on her colorless cheeks.
• • • • "I won't go there to-night, dear. So let your heart be at rest."
• • • • Mary's lids unclose, and two round drops, released from their clasp, glide slowly over her face.
• • • • "Thank you, father — — thank you. Mother will be so glad."
• • • • The eyes closed again; and the father moved uneasily. His heart is touched. There is a struggle within him. It is on his lips to say that he will never drink at the "Sickle and Sheaf" again; but resolution just lacks the force of utterance. . . .
• • On 6 March 1885 Timothy Shay Arthur died.
• • Tyler Brooke, born on June 6th • •
• • Tyler Brooke, a native New Yorker of French descent, appeared in one classic motion picture with Mae West.
• • Born during the month of June — — on 6 June 1886 — — his real name was Victor Hugo de Biere. Tyler Brooke was cast in "Belle of the Nineties" [1934] as a comedian.
• • The versatile bit player appeared in a number of silent comedies for producer Hal Roach between 1925 — 1927, often paired with James Finlayson. Additionally, he worked frequently with both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the period just prior to their partnership. An argument cause by billiards made him sue Hardy in 1929, claiming his porcine colleague fractured his arm — — unfortunately, souring his career options with both Oliver Hardy and Hal Roach. Ouch.
• • His transition to talkies, however, otherwise went smoothly. Tyler Brooke had a beautiful voice; his earliest films showcase him performing several songs.
• • Thrice married, the five-foot-eight character actor was usually cast as a handsome society rake, a handlebar-mustached quartet singer, or musical hall comedian. He appeared in 92 films between 1915 — 1943.
• • On 2 March 1943, Tyler Brooke committed suicide in Los Angeles. The 56-year-old actor turned to carbon monoxide poisoning for his final curtain call. So sad.
• • Mae West is one of the "Icons of the West" • •
• • A fascinating oil painting of Mae West will be on display at the "Icons of the West" exhibition, a show that will debut at the Dana Gallery in Montana this month on 16 June 2011. The artist is Michele Usibelli, a Seattle native. More details to come.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Femme by Rochas is back with an updated formula. Marie-Helen Wagner writes: The shape of the flacon inspired, according to perfume lore, by Hollywood icon actress Mae West remains the same. There are archival pictures showing couturier Marcel Rochas at work with the diva. The black lace on the packaging echoes the one on the star's dress seen in those pictures as well. . ..
• • Source: Article: "Rochas Femme Has a New Bottle & More Essences" written by Marie-Helen Wagner for Mimi-Froufrou; posted on 4 June 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 1953rd 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:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • Little Mary, 10 Nights in a Bar-Room • •
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