Monday, October 24, 2011

Mae West: Dressing Table

The artist who helped create the cover for the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — — the icon album front-side that featured MAE WEST — — is having an exhibition of additional works inspired by The Empress of Sex.
• • Once based in London (while married to the painter Peter Blake), and now a resident of Sundance, Utah, Jann Haworth returned to England two years ago for a gallery show at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in December 2009. This week Ms. Haworth will give a talk that's billed as "Mae West Dressing Table." This is supposed to include work from the museum's collection.
• • When: 11:30 AM on Wednesday, 26 October 2011
• • Where: Pallant House Gallery, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.
• • On 24 October 1935 • •
• • Mae West's pal Texas Guinan got on the wrong side of Arthur Flegenheimer, better known as "Dutch Schultz" [6 August 1902 — 24 October 1935], the NYC-born mobster slaughtered at age 33 by a rival's gunmen in The Garden State. Briefly, during the late 1920s, all three were regularly in the same premises on West 54th and Seventh Avenue. Bad feelings began to brew and dangerous Dutch was actively pursuing Texas Guinan for awhile (until she died after a performance in Vancouver, Canada in November 1933).
• • Gunned down: The Calabrian immigrant Albert Anastasia was ordered to arrange Schultz's assassination and assigned Jewish mobster Louis Buchalter to take care of it. At 10:15 PM on 23 October 1935, Schultz was shot at the Palace Chophouse at 12 East Park Street in Newark, New Jersey, an eatery that he was using as his new headquarters. Two bodyguards and Schultz's accountant were also killed. Schultz was in the men's room when he was shot.
• • Extreme Unction: Before Schultz was taken into surgery, he received Last Rites from a Roman Catholic priest at his request. Schultz lingered for 22 hours, speaking in various states of lucidity with his wife, mother, a priest, policemen, and hospital staff, before dying of peritonitis. The career criminal was only 33.
• • On 24 October 1942 • •
• • Short-tempered policemen, court officers, and judges were not some of the Brooklyn bombshell's favorite folks. But James C. Morton had been cast as all of them during his long silver screen career. In his modest role as an 1890s bartender, James C. Morton had appeared with Mae in "Every Day's a Holiday" [released in the USA on 18 December 1937]
• • Born in Helena, Montana on 25 August 1884, the balding character actor often worked for Hal Roach and, typically, he was the the butt of shenanigans by such comics as The Little Rascals, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, The Three Stooges. As Mae did, he had worked with W.C. Fields.
• • James C. Morton died in Reseda, California in the month of October — — on 24 October 1942. He was 58 years old.
• • In October, Let's Remember John Kenley [1906 — 2009] • •
• • Fifty Years Ago: In 1961, the Kenley Players featured Mae West in a play billed as "Sex-Tette" and staged in Warren, Ohio. That happened half-a-century ago.
• • John's group, the Kenley Players, was a summer stock circuit that had its beginnings in 1957 in Dayton, Ohio. Over time, this theatre company would feature a galaxy of stars: Mae West, Arthur Godfrey, Ethel Merman, Burt Reynolds, Billy Crystal, Gypsy Rose Lee, Tommy Tune, William Shatner, and Robert Goulet.
• • According to The New York Times, John Kenley was born John Kremchek in Denver on 20 February 1906. His parents were saloon keepers who later moved the family to Cleveland. In the 1920s he made his way to New York, hoping to break into show business.
• • The vibrant Midwestern impresario was celebrated for his producing clout, casting coups, and a passion for live entertainment that brought pleasure and glamor to hundreds of thousands of hard-working coal miners and Ohio residents.
• • John Kenley died at the Cleveland Clinic from complications of pneumonia in the month of October — — on 23 October 2009. He was 103.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I don't like myself — — I'm crazy about myself."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A book chapter on another actress mentioned Mae West.
• • Brian Kellow writes: Tired of having her achievements overlooked, Ethel got a little testy with the Hollywood press when it was suggested that her performing style owed something to Mae West's. Although they occupied different floors of the Ravenswood, West had not been particularly friendly, and Ethel got even by telling reporters that it was she who had started the Mae West vogue, not the other way around. "I was singing 'Eadie Was a Lady' all dressed up with the wiggly hips an' everything before Mae West's first picture, Night After Night, came out," Ethel said, ". . . so I shall always claim Mae sailed to glory on my vogue." In fact, West's style was fully evolved by the time of her big stage successes of the 1920s, long before she hit Hollywood. But Ethel's rewriting of history was a good indication of her defensiveness over her treatment in Hollywood. ...
• • Source: Biography: "Ethel Merman: A Life" written by Brian Kellow (Chapter 5)
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2093rd 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 • • 1967 album • •
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