Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mae West: Roy Hargrave

MAE WEST worked with the versatile Roy Hargrave, who staged her Broadway play "Catherine Was Great," which was seen in New York City from 2 August 1944 — 13 January 1945. A few months earlier, Hargrave had done a show produced by Mike Todd's staff, thus the possibility exists that Roy was the go-between who introduced the Brooklyn bombshell to the impresario (and husband of actress Elizabeth Taylor). Mike Todd agreed to produce Mae's play about the Empress of Russia.
• • Roy Hargrave was born in the month of June — — on 14 June 1896. By 1927 the actor was cast in his first Broadway show. Shortly after, he was also writing a few dramas that made it to The Great White Way. Clearly, he loved the theatre and had the skills stage folk valued because he was attached to several shows for twenty-two years either as a performer, a lighting designer, a playwright, or a director. Roy Hargrave was active on Broadway from 1927 — 1949. At the time of his death, he was on Long Island (in Port Jefferson, New York), where he died at age 69 in April 1966.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Catherine reigned as Empress of Russia for some 34 years — — from 28 June 1762 until her death in 1796. Here is the famous curtain speech Mae West gave: “I’m glad you like my Catherine. I like her, too. She ruled 30 million people and had 3,000 lovers. I do the best I can in two hours.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Florida reporter Allen Rose wrote: Dick Gordon of Indialantic still gets a laugh recalling the day he met Mae West, late star of stage, screen and radio, as they used to say, and self-proclaimed ''last of the red-hot mamas.'' If you're under 50 and haven't seen a lot of old movies, the name might not ring a bell. Mae West died at 88 in 1980 and was seen in public, a handsome young lad always in tow, until the end, wrote Allen Rose in 1988.
• • Dick Gordon recalled this experience (which Allen Rose set down for his newspaper article): It was 1944, at the height of World War II. Stevens Hotel in Chicago. Mae was starring in Catherine Was Great, a comedy about Catherine the Great of Russia, who also found men to be the perfect pastime during a humdrum 18th century marriage to Grand Duke Peter.
• • ''I met her Mae West, not Catherine very briefly,'' Dick Gordon said. ''It was on the 17th floor of the hotel. I was stationed at a B-29 training base in Nebraska. A friend and I were in Chicago for the weekend and saw her in the show. She was headed for her suite at the end of the hall as I came out of my room. ''I told her something about how great she was in Catherine was Great. And she was. Of course, she was going to bed with everybody in the court. Especially the big guards.'' Her response was right in character. Poking an index finger into Dick Gordon's shoulder, she said: ''You bet I was, buster.'' And went on her way. Alone, for once. ...
• • Source: Article: "In Days Before Dolly, There Was Mae West" written by Allen Rose of The Orlando Sentinel Staff for The Orlando Sentinel; published on 20 April 1988
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Imagine Mae West and the embattled NYC Congressman Anthony Weiner trading "tweets" on twitter? Anyone hear the twittering of a chickadee?
• • Ryan Bakken writes: There’s Rep. Anthony Weiner, of course, who apparently waged his personal Battle of the Bulge on his cell phone. If Mae West was still around, she would have wondered if he was packing heat or just happy to see her. There’s heat on him to resign because of the “message” he sent on his cellphone. ...
• • Source: Article: "Called to our cellphones" written by Ryan Bakken for Grand Forks Herald; posted on 13 June 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 1961st 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 • • 1944 • •
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Mae West.

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