Monday, November 21, 2011

Mae West: Diamond Lines

November 1932 was a busy time in Hollywood for MAE WEST. The play "Diamond Lil" had been brought to live audiences from Broadway to Beantown to Baltimore to Beverly Hills. Now the Bowery drama was making the leap — — from black and white typescript to black and white cinema and the Brooklyn bombshell was excited. But every day honked with a new distress call from the head goose at the Hays Office.
• • On 9 November 1932, Paramount Pictures executive Harold Hurley wrote a memo to William LeBaron indicating the lines that must be cut in order to pacify the screenplay screeners. These included: "I ain't running no Sunday school!"; "Diamond Lil would do anything for diamonds, eh?"; "Enter a convent!"; "Gawd! You gotta give a man more than clothes!"; and "I always knew you could be had." [If you saw the movie, you know which lines Mae sneaked back in.]
• • On 16 November 1932, Will Hays communicated again with Adolph Zukor, insisting that his plans for a movie version of "Diamond Lil" must be scrapped. It was too filthy for Hays.
• • On 21 November 1932, Zukor assured the censors that the script had been "considerably cleaned up."
• • Meanwhile, in front of the cameras, Lady Lou was ramping up each nuance in her dialogue. The queen of innuendo was polishing her pearls, refusing to look dull in order to soothe stodgy Will Hays.
• • By 30 November 1932, the project had a new title: "She Done Him Wrong."
• • On 21 November 1948 • •
• • It was on 30 October 1948 that Mae West signed an Actor's Equity Association Stock Jobbing Contract on Equity's letterhead in New York. The Broadway star of "Diamond Lil" was agreeing to a weekly salary of $2,500, and the play would be opening in Montclair, New Jersey in the month of November — — on 21 November 1948.
• • A First Hand Recollection: Visiting 81-year-old Mae West • •
• • The year was 1974. Twenty-six years later, for her British readership, Food & Drink Columnist Caroline Boucher recalled an extraordinary afternoon in Apartment 611.
• • • My tea with Mae West [1974] • •
• • • It's tricky to interview a Hollywood star when you're surrounded by nude sculptures of her.
• • Her teatime outfit might have been formal, but Mae West's conversation was anything but. Within minutes of my arriving at her Hollywood penthouse one afternoon in 1974, she was lugging her exercise bicycle out of the dining room to prove her daily fitness routine: never mind that she was 83 [sic] and the bicycle was covered in a thick film of dust.
• • But she did look amazing. Fitted pink trouser suit, teetering platform heels, towering platinum-blonde hairpiece and false eyelashes that could have inflicted paper cuts. She'd swept through the double doors of her drawing room after being announced by her live-in lover at the time, Paul Novak — — a former Mr. California 30 years her junior.
• • "I have an extra thyroid gland," she announced airily. "It gives me twice the energy and twice, the, you know, everything else I guess."
• • I studied a nude portrait and several nude sculptures of Ms West while I digested this information.
• • Tea came in a silver service on a tray and was served by Novak: English tea and shop-bought shortbread, which I hogged much more of than she did. Although West was known for her curves, I got the impression she wasn't much interested in food, and certainly not in cooking it, although she talked at length about the benefits of putting coconut oil on her face.
• • When it was time to go I signed her visitors' book . . . .
• • Source: Personal Essay "My tea with Mae West" written by Caroline Boucher | Food & Drink Columnist for The Observer Food Monthly section; first published in The Guardian [U.K.]; posted on Saturday, 13 March 2010
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said (to Lou Rosenthal): "I think it is probably true that a sense of showmanship is natural to most artists in all the art forms. ..."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Here's a brief excerpt from a news item written by Kevin Thomas about his friend Mae West.
• • Mae West was the genuine article — — even if not all her diamonds were real. Such were my thoughts as Joe Gold and I, both longtime friends of Mae's, went over the jewelry and memorabilia that her longtime companion Charles Krauser had stored after her death in 1980 at 87. Krauser, who died last year at 76, and Gold, founder of Gold's and World gyms, were in Mae's fabled muscle man chorus line in her 1950s nightclub act.
• • "Goodness, what diamonds!," said a speak-easy hatcheck girl to Mae, who replied, "Goodness had nothing to do with it," sashaying into film history in an otherwise forgotten 1932 film, "Night After Night." Yet in her personal life, Mae didn't go in for much jewelry. "I have to go to the safe deposit box and get the stuff out, and that's a lot of trouble," she explained. ...
• • Source: News Item: "Up for Bid: All That Glittered on Mae West" written by Kevin Thomas, Times Staff Writer for The L.A. Times; posted on 22 September 2000
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2122nd 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 • • 1932 • •
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1 comment:

  1. thanks mae west channel for saving diamond lil article when gossip boys just came today bye