Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mae West: Rene Valentine

MAE WEST's friend Roderick McDowall was born in London in the month of September — — on 17 September 1928.
• • In May 1968, at the West Hollywood home of George Cukor, there was a dinner party and Greta Garbo [18 September 1905
15 April 1990] and Mae West met for the first time. This small private gathering also included Gayelord Hauser, Frey Brown, and Roddy McDowall, who was 39-turning-40. Asked about it later, Roddy McDowall claims he felt rather awestruck in the presence of two screen icons, thus he barely uttered a word.
• • McDowall's film roles included Cornelius and Caesar in the "Planet of the Apes" series. He died of lung cancer in Los Angeles on 3 October 1998. He was 70.
• • Roddy as Rene Valentine • •
• • Perhaps you recall seeing the lanky Englishman when he played the female impersonator Rene Valentine in "Mae West" [1982], a made for tv bio-pic. McDowall also received credit for [gulp!] "Technical Details" — — which is astonishing since his choices in his scenes with the Brooklyn bombshell all seem false.
• • Moreover, his rift on the elegant Julian Eltinge misses the point; Roddy McDowall looks more like one of Cinderella's ugly step-sisters than the enigmatic Broadway star of "The Fascinating Widow."
• • Shouldn't someone have noticed that the bawdy over-the-top drag queen Mae most adored was the campy cut-up Bert Savoy — — and not the inscrutable Mr. Eltinge?
• • Anyway, one happy fella was Richard F. Shepard, whose New York Times review said: "Roddy McDowall is persuasive as a female impersonator who puts Miss West on the path to stardom by fixing her stage personality and appearance; he is almost scholarly and calm, the lifelong friend and confidant" [Richard F. Shepard, New York Times, 14 August 1984].
• • Directed by Lee Phillips, the 1982 bio-pic "Mae West" also featured Ann Jillian in the title role, a far too handsome James Brolin as Jim Timony, et al.
• • On 17 September 1933 • •
• • Portraits of Mae West were featured on this date in a special black & white supplement that was included in the Sunday issues of The Philadelphia Record. This section always secured pictures of the top Hollywood stars.
• • In mid-September 2005 • •
• • After New York City playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo hosted a seance for Mae West on 17 August 2005, presided over by an East Coast psychic attached to Lily Dale, TwoFour contacted her requesting her participation in their American broadcast. "Dead Famous: Ghostly Encounters," a British paranormal reality television series featuring skeptic Gail Porter and clairvoyant Chris Fleming, began scouting haunted locations linked to the Brooklyn bombshell based on Loschiavo's research. As Porter and Fleming tried to secure the consent for access to some of these places (such as the Royale Theatre where Mae and Texas Guinan held seances backstage), the producers set up the first shoot with Loschiavo on 2 October 2005 in the West Ninth Street drag cabaret that inspired Mae to write "The Drag" in 1926.
• • Explore this link to "Dead Famous: Mae West" [Part 1]. The footage features LindaAnn Loschiavo in a dashing silk hat by Eric Javits (whose grandmother made millinery for Mae), Chris Fleming and Gail Porter.
• • Act I of "Courting Mae West" opens in this Greenwich Village drag cabaret, and dramatizes the legal troubles that will complicate the life and career of Mae West during the Prohibition Era.
• • "Courting Mae West" will be seen next in Australia on 28 January 2012. The very talented Robert Chuter will direct the cast.
• • Come up and see Mae down under, mate:
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said this: "I speak two languages — — English and body."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A fascinating and well-researched article about the various East Coast hucksters who specialized in "selling" the Brooklyn Bridge to gullible tourists mentioned Mae West.
• • John Kominicki writes: Sales of the Brooklyn Bridge dropped dramatically in the 1920s, when Ellis Island officials started handing out cards warning immigrants that public infrastructure in America was not for sale. The con had passed fully into the culture by 1937, when Mae West starred as the flim-flamstress and would-be bridge seller Peaches O’Day in the comedy “Every Day’s a Holiday.” ...
• • Source: Article: "Sewer deal has a familiar smell to it" written by John Kominicki for Long Island Business News; posted on 15 September 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2056th 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:
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • by Al Pillay • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:04 AM

    Ann Jillian was GREAT as Mae Wst in the film "Mae West". We all loved it in our house. Ann's singing was far better though then the real Mae West and her looks too. But just minutes into the film and we forgot Mae was short and Ann is tall, it made no difference because Ann Jillian delivered the essence of Mae West to a tee in her performance - no wonder Ann Jillian was both an EMMY and Golden Globe nominee. Well deserved!