Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mae West: Billy B. Van

In 1932, during the filming of "She Done Him Wrong," MAE WEST worked with Billy B. Van, who was seen as the pianist in Gus Jordan's Bowery saloon.
• • Born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania on 3 August 1878 as William Webster Vandergrift, Billy B. Van had a long career in variety as an actor as well as a comedian, dancer, singer, and songwriter. For over three decades he was seen in the legit and numerous vaudeville houses. He did an act at one time with the Beaumont Sisters, Rose and Nellie (and was married to Nellie). He also toured as half of Van and Corbett (with the former heavyweight champion James J. Corbett). After retiring from the stage in the 1920s, he made two attempts to conquer the silver screen. In 1922 he was seen as Sobini in the silent film "The Beauty Shop." After his modest role in Mae's film, he turned to corporate life. He became the President of the New York City based Pine Tree Products Company, manufacturers of cleaning solutions.
• • Billy B. Van died in Newport, New Hampshire in the month of November — — on 16 November 1950. He was 72 years old.
• • In November, Let's Remember W.C. Handy [1873 — 1958] • •
• • Mae West introduced the songs of many black composers to a new audience. For instance, she adored the music of W.C. Handy, and chose to sing his blues numbers in her Broadway hit "Sex" [1926 — 1927] as well as in the motion picture "Belle of the Nineties" [1934].
• • Born in Alabama in the month of November, William Christopher Handy [16 November 1873 — 28 March 1958] was a blues composer, musician, and music publisher. "The Memphis Blues" is a song described by its composer, W.C. Handy, as a "Southern Rag." It was self-published by Handy in September, 1912 and has been recorded by many artists over the years. He also wrote "The Saint Louis Blues" and published it in September 1914.
• • Mae West Favorites on November 16th • •
• • "I'm No Angel" [1933, 1 hour, 45 mins.] starring Mae West will be broadcast on TCM on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 12:45 A.M.
• • "She Done Him Wrong" [1933, 1 hour, 15 mins.] starring Mae West will be broadcast on TCM on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 at 11:30 P.M. Note: This film will be aired as a "closed captioned" feature for the hearing impaired.
• • Mae West Movie Trivia • •
• • Question: What song did Mae West and Timothy Dalton perform in 1978's "Sextette"?
• • Answer: "Love Will Keep Us Together" was their duet.
• • On 16 November 1915 • •
• • It was on 16 November 1915 that a new era for Coca-Cola began when the soft drink manufacturer moved away from servicing soda fountain machines and produced their first glass bottle. Eventually, Coca-Cola would patent a brand-new shape known as the “Mae West” or “hobbleskirt” bottle for its resemblance to the famously curvy Hollywood star.
• • On 16 November 2003 • •
• • "One of her assignments was a session with the octogenarian sex goddess, Mae West," writes Peter Conrad in his review of the book "Revelations" by Diane Arbus. His review appeared in the book journal Dawn on 16 November 2003.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West wrote this line for the character Lady Lou in 1932: "Men's all alike — — married or single — — I happen to be smart enough to play it their way." [Movie dialogue from "She Done Him Wrong"]
• • Mae West said: "I'm no angel — — but I've spread my wings a bit."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on Broadway stars and a famed NYC illustrator mentioned Mae West.
• • Texas reporter Melissa Fletcher wrote: Mae West, her skirt raised a few tantalizing inches above her ankle, throws a flirtatious glance at Orson Welles. Mildly amused, Jack Benny folds his arms and smirks. In a nearby corner, Zero Mostel sits in all his majestic corpulence, glowering. A beaming Judy Garland, her cap at a rakish slant, does a few quick jazz steps, then juts out a hip.
• • No, we're not in some magical realm of Hollywood past, where famous ghosts rise up and mingle with the living. We're in an art gallery, looking at flat, black and white drawings hanging on wood-paneled walls. But even though Jack Benny and pals are confined to the two-dimensional prison of paper, they seem to move and breathe as if alive, to gesture with a vitality and flair all their own. It's really no mystery at all. They're Hirschfelds.
• • Al Hirschfeld has been creating caricatures of stage and screen stars for more than 60 years now. He has become as much of an institution as the glitzy, glamorous Great White Way itself, as synonymous with Broadway as klieg lights and opening nights. In a world of fly-by-night fame and overnight flops, he is a constant.
• • It all began back in 1923, when the young Hirschfeld sold his first caricature to the now-defunct World magazine . ...
• • Source: Article: "Drawing the Line on the Great White Way" written by Melissa Fletcher for the San Antonio Light; published on 16 November 1986
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2116th 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 • • with Cary Grant, 1933 • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment