Monday, August 22, 2011

Mae West: Gonk's Dorothy

Born in August 1893, MAE WEST left a long trail of memorable sayings behind— — and she was as quotable as her clever contemporaries Groucho Marx, W.C. Fields, and Dorothy Parker, another well-known wit who was born in August 1893.
• • Dorothy Parker • •
• • Born in New Jersey and raised in NYC, Dorothy Parker [22 August 1893 — 7 June 1967] was a writer and poet who was best known for her wisecracks, caustic wit, and a sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles.
• • Unlike Mae's growing up years (tethered to her supportive, adoring mother and helpful father), Dorothy's youth became sad and troubled at 4 years old when her mother died. From this conflicted unhappy past, however, Dorothy Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, a group she would later disdain. She enjoyed several years as a high profile drama critic, a playwright, and a bon vivant. Following the breakup of the gonk's circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, would eventually be curtailed, since her involvement in left-wing politics would lead to a place on the infamous Hollywood blacklist.
• • On 22 August 1932 • •
• • On this date production began for the motion picture "Night After Night," which offered Mae West her first chance to amaze viewers on the silver screen.
• • Mae West on the Newsstand • •
• • It was the December 1957 issue of Esquire Magazine that featured Mae West, Dorothy Parker, Charlie Parker, and Dylan Thomas as cover lines. Published in New York City, Esquire offered a lot in this 282-page Christmas edition including two poems by Dylan Thomas [Fern Hill and Lament]; Eric Sevaried's article, Who Will Win In 1960, (JFK
Nixon); Ballad of the Bird, The Legend of Charles Christopher Parker, by Arnold Shaw, photography, The Best Fiction of 1957 by Dorothy Parker; and a lengthy vibrant article on Mae West, "She Made It Funny" — — Mae, the spiritual mother of all sex symbols.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Former model and showgirl Gloria Pall, who lives in a quaint pink stucco house in North Hollywood, portrayed Mae West recently at a local gathering.
• • Al Martinez writes: Gloria Pall is a strong 84, and calls herself "old Hollywood" because she was in films, television shows and commercials in the 1950s when she was slim, pretty and scantily clad on the covers of girlie magazines like Frolic, Pix, Gala, and Fun. She was called "Voluptua" for obvious reasons.
• • Al Martinez continues: A little heavier these days, she still has the naturally blond, shoulder-length curls that once made her attractive to men like Howard Hughes and Elvis Presley, and a manner of dressing that says look-at-me. On the day we talked, she was wearing tight white pants, a knitted lavender top, lavender socks and white shoes sprinkled with glitter.
• • Al Martinez recalls: The night before, wearing a black sequined gown and feathered hat, she had performed as a flamboyant Mae West before a gathering of publicists to commemorate the 118th anniversary of West's birth. She demonstrated the act with the provocative shift of a hip, the come-hither glance and the sexy, honey-coated "Come up and see me sometime." Did I say she's written and self-published 14 books? It is no surprise that they are mostly about her. ...
• • Source: Article: "She's old Hollywood, but she's 'for real'" written by Al Martinez for Los Angeles Daily News; posted on 21 August 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2030th 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's contemporary • • 1927 • •
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