Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mae West: Gunmen 75 Years Ago

MAE WEST was attracted to tall, dark, and handsome gents. Calvin Lockhart certainly fit this description.
• • Born as Bert Cooper in Nassau in the month of October — — on 18 October 1934 — — he was raised in the Bahamas before relocating to The Big Apple with ambitions of becoming a civil engineer. He entered Cooper Union but dropped out to forge a performing arts career. The story goes that he was a cabdriver when he was discovered by playwright Ketti Frings, who was so impressed with his arrogance that she cast him in her play "The Cool World" [1960]. From there the six-foot-two hunk aroused controversy on Broadway when he played a black sailor in love with a white girl in the racially-themed "A Taste of Honey" starring Angela Lansbury.
• • The year 1970 was a high-profile time for the actor. A strong, confident, smoothly handsome presence, Bahamian-born Calvin Lockhart first caught moviegoers' attention in the supercharged urban films "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970) and "Halls of Anger" (1970) before becoming a fairly steady fixture in the "blaxploitation" movies of the early-to-mid 1970s.
• • In "Myra Breckinridge" [1970] Calvin Lockhart was cast as Irving Amadeus.
• • Complications from a stroke brought about his demise. He died on 29 March 2007 in his homeland, Nassau, Bahamas.
• • On 18 October 1923 • •
• • Connie's Inn in Harlem was where Mae West had encountered Louis Armstrong. Conrad Immerman's first night spot had opened in 1921 on Seventh Avenue and 131st Street in the section of Harlem known by the locals as "Jungle Alley."
• • Two Caucasian brothers Conrad (Connie) and George Immerman had emigrated from Germany and they had started out by running a delicatessen in Harlem; Fats Waller was their delivery boy. Eventually, they purchased the club that came to be known as Connie's Inn. Connie had one of the best revues and, in 1929, trumpeter Louis Armstrong was first featured there with an orchestra.
• • Between the terrific music, the splendid stage shows, and the new acts, Mae easily became a fan. Cementing her bond to the extraordinarily good-looking lady-killer Connie Immerman may have been the fact that both shared a German connection. Matilda, Mae's mother, had been born and raised in Bavaria.
• • Fueled by the success of Connie's Inn on West 131st, the brothers launched their second jazz club two blocks away on West 133rd, The Nest — — on 18 October 1923.
• • Mae West featured an underground hot spot in her novel Babe Gordon. She called this fictional rendezvous Tony's.
• • On 18 October 1936 • •
• • The East Coast readers of The New York Times read this frightening headline on 18 October 1936 — — MAE WEST ESCAPES APARTMENT HOLD-UP; Other Residents, Victims in Hollywood, Are Glad She and Her Bodyguard Were Away.
• • That happened seventy-five years ago.
• • On 18 October 2010 • •
• • The release date of the song "Mae West's Dress" — — inspired by the Brooklyn Bombshell — — was on 18 October 2010. If you check online, then you'll find the sites where you can download this track from Desmond Star's debut album "Boxette" [Bullhit Records, catalogue number: BULL001CD].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said about her trial in 1927, which had an all male jury: "This was a case of Men versus One Woman."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in a Yankton, South Dakota paper mentioned Mae West.
• • The Yankton Press & Dakotan writes: On This Date — 75 Years Ago
• • Two gunmen slipped into Mae West’s fashionable apartment house last night [Oct. 16th] and robbed eight persons of money and jewelry, but missed the buxom actress’s rooms. . . .
• • Source: Article: "On This Date — 75 Years Ago" written by Archives Editor for The Yankton Press & Dakotan; first published on Saturday, 17 October 1936
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2087th 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 • • 1936 • •
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Mae West.

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