Monday, November 07, 2011

Mae West: Ben Ellison

"I'm No Angel" has a spirited soundtrack and several numbers were performed by MAE WEST. One 31-year-old African-American composer and lyricist who worked on the movie score did not, unfortunately, receive a credit.
• • Born in Louisiana was the multi-talented Benjamin Ellison, whose birthday is in November — — on 7 November 1902. Finding employment as an occasional actor as well as a lyricist and a composer, Ellison gradually worked his way to the West Coast and took up a residence in Glendale, California.
• • Mae-mavens will recall these songs in the 1933 comedy: "They Call Me Sister Honky-Tonk"; "That Dallas Man"; "I Found a New Way to Go to Town"; and "I Want You, I Need You" in "I'm No Angel," frisky lyrics furnished by Ben Ellison. He also worked on five other motion pictures.
• • In the documentary "The Love Goddesses" [1965] viewers will hear "They Call Me Sister Honky-Tonk" — — but Ben Ellison was once again denied a credit.
• • When Ben Ellison died in Los Angeles on 1 February 1984, he was 81.
• • In November, Let's Remember Victor McLaglen [1886 — 1959] • •
• • Mae West worked with one burly British actor who relocated to Hollywood and was cast, invariably, whenever the script called out for a large, brutish, but soft-hearted man of action.
• • Born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Victor McLaglen [10 December 1886 — 7 November 1959] was an English boxer and World War I veteran who became a leading American film actor.
• • Tsk-tsking over "Klondike Annie" in his film review for The New York Times on 12 March 1936, Frank S. Nugent wrote: As a Westian improvisation, the story is no worse than most of her English compositions, but that, alas, does not apply to its dialogue and treatment. It is downright discouraging to hear Miss West perplex Mr. McLaglen by saying she was "heading for the arms of Morpheus" and it is worse when McLaglen remarks, "I can always tell a lady when I see one" and she comes back with a "Yeah? What do you tell 'em?" If that is what the Legion of Decency meant when it rated "Annie" as objectionable in part, then we agree with the legion. ...
• • Victor McLaglen eventually became a U.S. citizen. He died of a heart attack in the month of November — — on 7 November 1959. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
• • In November 1931 • •
• • Imagine how Mae West felt, after all that effort, when the final curtain came down at the Royale Theatre on "The Constant Sinner" starring and written by Mae West.
• • Set in Harlem, the play opened on 14 September 1931 and ran for 64 performances on Broadway. There were three acts, each with six scenes. A "jack-knife" set-up permitted the drama to be staged efficiently and performed smoothly from scene to scene. "The Constant Sinner" ran for sixty-four performances, closing in early November in 1931 after eight weeks.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I like to see how I'm doin'!" [in answer to why does she have a mirror over her bed]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about a wax museum mentioned Mae West.
• • Steven Mikulan writes: The Hollywood Wax Museum has announced plans to auction off Mae West, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and nearly 200 other wax figures on May 1. The housecleaning sale is the first in the museum's 44-year history and offers something for every genre of celebrity: politics (Bill Clinton), sports (Tiger Woods), film (Will Smith) and music (Cher — — please no wax or waxing jokes). The auction, according to A.P., will be operated by Profiles in History, with "a portion" of the proceeds benefiting the preservation of Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
• • A link to the auction's inventory reveals what appear to be the ashtrays of every Hollywood Boulevard souvenir store, only transformed into five-foot-ten wax beings whose estimated average value ranges between $2,000-$3,000. There's Charlie Chaplin and Mae West, of course, along with slightly campier fare represented by Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West (comes with Flying Monkey) . ...
• • Source: Article: "This Tallowed Ground" written by Steven Mikulan for The L.A. Weekly; posted on Thursday, 2 April 2009
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2107th 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 • • Screen Play, July 1933 • •
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