Monday, October 17, 2011

Mae West: Tucker-ed Out

In October 1931 MAE WEST, starring on Broadway in her play "Constant Sinner," was also in talks to bring the show to Washington, DC.
• • The play had its Broadway premiere at the Royale Theatre on 14 September 1931 and would last there until November. Set in Harlem during the Prohibition Era, the play followed the escapades of a honey-haired prizefighter groupie named Babe Gordon who enjoys taking risks.
• • Since the drama was set in and around West 125th Street, the Pittsburgh Courier (a black weekly newspaper) was keeping tabs on this. Reporter Floyd G. Snelson, Jr. signaled his appreciation. On 17 October 1931, Snelson told his readers: "Mae West Employs 30 Race Artists In Her Latest Production." Praising Mae's plans to bring a bi-racial cast with her to D.C., he pronounced the project "the cleverest piece of artistry to be expected from a woman of the Caucasian race."
• • Lorenzo Tucker: Tucker-ed Out • •
• • Later on, however, when the Mid-Atlantic area theatre owners received criticism from the media along with anonymous threats about lynching the black actor Lorenzo Tucker, Mae had to hide him in a D.C. hotel for two weeks to get the local bigots off the scent, and then smuggle Tucker back to New York City. Meanwhile, George Givot, in blackface and a curly wig, had been hired by the Schuberts to portray the Harlem pimp Money Johnson on stage.
• • On 17 October 1933 • •
• • A review of the latest Mae West motion picture was published by Variety on 17 October 33. Movie critic Land wrote: "I'm No Angel" is going to help redistribute a nice chunk of the nation's coin. That the Mae West film is going to make tubs of coin was crystal-clear opening day at the Paramount. Ushers were riding herd on a permanent corral of waitees in the lobby. As to quality, "I'm No Angel" can stand alone, although without "She Done Him Wrong" as a benediction and a million bucks worth of assorted publicity, high-brow and hoi pollil, the gross probably wouldn't reach the big brackets now looming. ...
• • On 17 October 1968 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Mae West had plans for a cinema version of the stage play "Sextet" back in 1968.
• • Writing for The New York Times, Motion Picture Editor A.H. Weiler announced: Mae West, who has not appeared in movies for a quarter of a century, will return to the screen early next year in a film version of her play — — "Sextet" — — in which she starred in Florida in 1961.
• • This is how A.H. Weiler began his article about Mae West, whose producer was going to be Warner Brothers Seven Arts when Abe's article was published in The New York Times back on 17 October 1968. The actress was 75 years of age when she was interviewed.
• • "Sextet" — — explained Miss West — — is a comedy about a movie star who has six husbands. I appeared in it only in Florida [sic] because I didn't want to spend the time and the energy needed to bring it to Broadway.
• • I am also happy to say that I'm not doing this for the money, added Mae West. I'm fortunate in having a lot of young fans, who, I suppose, have been watching my old films on TV and listening to my rock 'n' roll records such as "Way Out West" and "Wild Christmas," who have been pleading with me to do a picture. I guess you could call "Sextet" a return by popular demand. Anyway, it's very flattering. I think "Sextet" is very funny and I hope they'll think it is, too. ...
• • On 17 October 1968 • •
• • Mae West was more interested in protecting her brand than chasing after Federico Fellini's carrot. When asked by reporters to confirm her role in his next film, Mae replied: "I will not sign until I see the script." Fellini had seen her cinematic character in his screenplay as "an erotic witch."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I gave up a lot. I love kids but I never had any. Never let myself eat too much. That might have been fun, once in awhile. Still I can't regret anything really."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in an Australian paper mentioned Mae West.
• • Bronwyn Haynes writes: There were many different themes during the 1920s and some included Gangsters, Prohibition, Radio, Art deco, Jazz, Silent, and Black and White movies. The Celebrities are all remembered today for changing history like Mae West, Al Capone, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel, Greta Garbo, Harry Houdini, Jean Harlow, Louis Armstrong, Henry Ford and . . . .
• • Source: Article: "Crossroads Café head back in time" written by Bronwyn Haynes for The Crookwell Gazette; posted on 13 October 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2086th 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 • • onstage with Arthur Vinton in 1931 • •
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