Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mae West: Rising to Heights

MAE WEST and Harry Richman performed together in Manhattan during June 1922, billing their act "Bits of Musical Comedy — — Mae West assisted by Harry Richman," and most of the material was written by The Firefly of Broadway herself. One skit presented Mae as a demanding Roman empress who is interviewing for a new gladiator. Job requirements include a scanty, revealing uniform.
• • On 23 June 1922, Variety's review appeared, praising the partnership because it offered ideal opposites. Referring to Mae, Variety (normally stingy about paying her a compliment) was enthusiastic for once: "She rises to heights undreamed of for her and reveals unsuspected depths as a delineator of character songs, a dramatic reader of ability, and a girl with a flair for farce that will some day land her on the legitimate Olympus."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Edgar Bergen once said: Even if she (Mae West) says "appendecitis," it sounds like sex.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • N.Y. Times columnist Margo Jefferson wrote: No, I must disagree with Woody Allen: Mae West is a comic genius. He rated her just below Chaplin and Buster Keaton in a recent interview, and it's true that she lacks their near-infinite physical variety. She's a physical minimalist whose comedy depends on words that incessantly praise and mock her own deeds. As for Mr. Allen's other designated geniuses, W. C. Fields and Groucho and Harpo Marx, West is more daring than Fields, as smart as Groucho and has no more interest in Harpo's puckishness than she has in Chaplin's pathos or Keaton's stringent mournfulness. But she belongs in their band, as an original and an originator. ...
• • Source: Article: "REVISIONS: She Sidled Up to a Man's World and Made It Hers" written by Margo Jefferson for The N.Y. Times; published on 7 February 2000
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 1970th 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 • • 1923 • •
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