Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Mae West: Charles W. Irwin

In "Go West Young Man" — — released on 18 November 1936 — — MAE WEST stepped into a role created as a Broadway comedy that poked fun at "Hollywood dementia" and featured Gladys George [1900 — 1954] in the role of a sultry jezebel. The long-running stage hit told the story of a movie star and diva, Carole Arden, who is on a tour giving personal appearances to promote her latest film, "Drifting Lady." Her car breaks down, which leads to her amorous encounter with a young, handsome gas station attendant, Chester "Bud" Norton.
• • In the credited cast, two names are linked to the second day of November.
• • Born on 31 January 1887 in Curragh, Ireland, Charles W. Irwin launched his performance career in music halls and also as a monologist who toured in vaudeville. He appeared on Broadway at the Knickerbocker Theatre in a high-stepping musical revue "Gambols." The show opened on 15 January 1929 and was directed and produced by Ned Wayburn, Mae's former dancing teacher who helped many of his students get billing in the legit. One year after, he began to get regular work as a bit parts player in the cinema. Over time, Charles Irwin was seen in nearly 180 big screen roles from 1930 — 1964.
• • He played the Master of Ceremonies in "Go West Young Man."
• • His agent negotiated several speaking roles in TV guest appearances through the early 1960s in the most popular series such as "Lassie" and "The Real McCoys" and other family fare. This kept him working very nearly to the end. Charles Irwin died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California in the month of November — — on 2 November 1969. He was 82 years old.
• • The cast of "Go West Young Man" included:
• • Mae West — — Mavis Arden
• • Warren William — — Morgan
• • Randolph Scott — — Bud Norton
• • Alice Brady — — Mrs. Struthers [born on 2 November 1892]
• • Elizabeth Patterson — — Aunt Kate Barnaby
• • Lyle Talbot — — Francis X. Harrigan
• • Charles Irwin — — Master of Ceremonies [died on 2 November 1969]
• • In November, Let's Remember Alice Brady [1892 — 1939] • •
• • A daughter of an eminent Broadway producer, who waged a battle against censorship, was featured in one motion picture with Mae West.
• • Born in Manhattan in the eleventh month — — on 2 November 1892 (just nine months before Mae), Alice Brady's life was cut short and she died on 28 October 1939 — — at 46 years old.
• • Like the Brooklyn bombshell, Alice Brady was also a native New Yorker who claimed Irish descent. Her father's theatre career drew William A. Brady's daughter to the footlights early on. Her appearances in the legit attracted the attention of motion picture moguls. Her first movie was in 1914 when she was 22. When she made a transition from silents to talkies, it was because she was versatile enough to tackle a role in a serious drama such as O'Neill's "Mourning Becomes Electra" on Broadway as well as screwball comedies for the silver screen.
• • Kept busy in Hollywood dramas and lighter fare, in 1936 Alice Brady was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Carole Lombard's upper-crust mother in "My Man Godfrey" [released on 17 September 1936].
• • Directly after this success for Universal Pictures, Alice Brady was off to Paramount Pictures for a minor role in Mae West's latest project.
• • In "Go West, Young Man" [released on 18 November 1936], Alice Brady played the role of Mrs. Struthers.
• • Though a year later, Alice Brady would be winning her first Oscar, unfortunately, she never got to enjoy its powerful impact on her career. Cancer [the ultimate red-hued carpet] claimed her a few days before her 47th birthday.
• • On 2 November 1969 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • A lengthy article appeared in the Sunday magazine section of The N.Y. Times on 2 November 1969: "76 — — and Still Diamond Lil" written by Steven V. Roberts and punctuated with several photos of the Brooklyn Bombshell at various career points. The first portrait showed Mae costumed by Edith Head for her role as Leticia Van Allen.
• • From Hollywood, Steven V. Roberts wrote: "I hold records all over the world. That's my ego, breaking records. So don't say they put me in someone else's room." Mae West was not happy. Her soft voice took on a tense shrillness as she continued. "I'd like to see someone break records like that and I'll respect them as a star. 'Til someone can do that, I feel I'm in a class by myself. The only other person I know who could write his own movies and star in them was Chaplin. When I had my act with the muscle men in Las Vegas they gave me a diamond bracelet after a two-week run. When they do that you know you're making money for them. All the notables and big-money people came to see me. Someone else had the Coca-Cola crowd."
• • Steven V. Roberts explained: The tirade had been triggered by a casual remark that Miss West was getting Barbra Streisand's old dressing room at 20th Century-Fox during the production of "Myra Breckinridge," Gore Vidal's garden of sexual hybrids. (Miss West is also receiving $350,000, a limousine, and top billing over Raquel Welch.) Mae West is 76. She hasn't made a picture in 26 years. But in her own mind she is still a movie star, a reigning sex queen. And she does not like to be compared with another woman, even the fellow Brooklynite who did for the nose what Mae West did for the bust. In some ways Miss West is right. She is still there on "The Late Show," captured forever in her swirls of feathers and diamonds, purring at a practically pubescent Cary Grant, "Come up and see me sometime." There is no other Mae West. She is an institution, a living legend, as much a part of American folklore as Paul Bunyan or Tom Sawyer or Babe Ruth.
• • Steven V. Roberts continued: Visiting such an imposing personage can be a bit unnerving; it's a little like having a chat with Cleopatra. My first interview with Mae West was at her apartment, a small place in a slightly shabby Hollywood building, which she rented when she arrived here in 1932 and has kept ever since. The living room has been described often, but it is still rather startling, all off-white and gilt, fluffy chairs and sofas, ornate pottery lamps with bare-breasted maidens playing lutes, bouquets of dusty flowers, a white piano on which stands a spectacular nude statue of the young Mae West. There are photos of her swathed in furs and feathers, an oil painting of her swathed in nothing but light. This is the stage for her performances, and she keeps you waiting, building up the suspense. When she appears it is in a swirl of pink and green chiffon, bright yellow hair, false eyelashes blackened with mascara. Only slight wrinkles at the corners of her mouth and a puffiness in her throat gave away the secret. She is surprisingly small (about 5 feet 2 inches tall, 124 pounds), despite the famous 43 1/4-inch bust, and soft and feminine. There is nothing she would rather talk about than her own incredible career.
• • Steven V. Roberts filled in the back story: It started back in Bushwick, a family neighborhood of horse-drawn carriages and ragtime music, where Mae West was born . . . .
• • On 2 November 1990 • •
• • Musician Klaus Schulze recorded a long track "Face of Mae West" [08:04] for a sampler CD titled "Dalí: The Endless Enigma" and this cut was first released on 2 November 1990 on the Coriolis label.

• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I didn't start out to collect diamonds — — but somehow they just kept piling up."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about famous residents of Brooklyn mentioned Mae West.
• • David S Potts writes: While Manhattan may be the place where some of the great American creative works are published, Brooklyn is where they might have been written. Perhaps a reason for its unique culture is that Brooklyn is one great united nations. There are Jewish, Latino, Hispanic, Pakistani, Irish, African American, Haitian, Russian, Norwegian, German, Lebanese and, of course, the Dutch who were among the first here. All have left their marks on this cosmopolitan community. All are now fiercely Brooklynites. "We have the true Italian sector of New York," says second-generation Italian Tony.
• • David S Potts lists these people: A roll-call of Brooklynite luminaries will include actresses Mae West, Lauren Bacall and Rita Hayworth, actors Mickey Rooney, Eli Wallach, Adam Sandler and John Kallen (Cagney and Lacey); writers Norman Mailer, Mickey Spillane and Arthur Miller; comedians Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, Eddie Murphy, Phil Silvers and Joan Rivers. Even Bugs Bunny was from Brooklyn. The list goes on and on. ...
• • Source: Article: "New York's Brooklyn: A world away" written by David S Potts, AAP, for Yahoo News; posted on 2 November 2011

• •
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2102nd 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 • • 1936 • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment