Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mae West: Fine Lines

MAE WEST had it and you don't. Quick-witted and a life-long scribbler of funny comebacks, Mae is known for her ability to create dozens upon dozens of memorable lines.
• • Ask yourself: how many times have you been at a gathering hungering for a pert and shameless canape to toss to the attendees who are within earshot, wishing to pretend to strangers that you are far wittier than you really are? Now there's a solution.
• • The people at iphone are selling (for ninety-nine cents) "Mae West Quick Quotes 1.05." The download is 2.3MB, which is the same size as Jane Austen's quotes. Let us know if you like this shareware.
• • Tell them you heard about it on the Mae West Blog.
• • In November, Let's Remember Marion Morgan [1881 — 1971] • •
• • Mae West, best known for her friendships with homosexuals and drag queens, also had gay women in her circle.
• • New Jersey native Marion Morgan [born on 4 January 1881] — — in the spotlight as a young dancer and then as a 34-year-old choreographer — — relocated to the West Coast. In 1930, she moved into the Hollywood Hills house owned by her lover, film director Dorothy Arzner. They lived openly together for over 40 years until Marion's death in 1971.
• • Morphing into a screenwriter, the very versatile and attractive Marion Morgan worked on the script for "Goin' to Town" [1935] and "Klondike Annie" [1936].
• • This career move was quite a change. Audiences and critics had known her because of the Marion Morgan Dancers, formed in 1915, which was originally comprised of six young women who had studied with Marion Morgan in California. The troupe specialized in ballets adapted from classical legends, such as 'Helen of Troy,' and usually danced in togas and bare feet.
• • Marion Morgan lived to be 90 years old. She died in the month of November — — on 10 November 1971 — — in Los Angeles, California.
• • On 10 November 1928 • •
• • The New Yorker published a lengthy Mae West interview (illustrated with sketches and definitely not fact-checked) by the journalist Thyra Samter Winslow. Her article "Diamond Mae" appeared in the issue dated for the week of 10 November 1928.
• • On 10 November 1951 • •
• • "Diamond Lil," after a regional tour, returned to the Broadway Theatre for a victory lap. Gus Jordan's Gay Nineties saloon on the Bowery was seen again on The Great White Way beginning on 14 September 1951.
• • Two months later, Mae West and her gaudy retinue took their final bows on 10 November 1951 after this "last stand" on Broadway — — yes, sixty-seven performances.
• • In November 2003 • •
• • Mae West's West Coast residence was in Apartment # 611 at the Ravenswood Apartments, 570 S. Rossmore Avenue, Los Angeles. The building was designated a landmark in the month of November — — on 7 November 2003.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "It isn't what I do, but how I do it. It isn't what I say but how I say it — — and how I look when I say it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on "The Constant Sinner" in Brooklyn written by Vernon Parker mentioned Mae West.
• • Vernon Parker wrote: One of show biz’s most famous personalities came back to her birthplace to perform on the stage of the Majestic Theater, as reported in the Brooklyn Eagle of November 8th, 1931. The headline to the item had a double entendre: “Mae West Majestic Star in ‘Constant Sinner’”: “Mae West, the famous star of Diamond Lil, Sex and other past successes, has a new character to add to her list of portraits — this time as Babe Gordon, the heroine of The Constant Sinner, Miss West’s own dramatization of her ‘best-seller’ novel of the same title. After its run on Broadway this hit will be offered by the Constant Productions, Inc., at the Majestic Theater this week.
• • “In the central role, Miss West is again invested with the type of characterization, which she portrays so shrewdly and so well — — that of the hard-boiled, super-sophisticated, wise-cracking woman of easy morals. The swaggering walk, drawling voice and impudent bearing so familiar to theatergoers are again manifested in her latest sensation.”
• • [The Majestic remains at 651 Fulton St., restored and now named the BAM Harvey Theater after Harvey Lichtenstein, president of BAM from 1967 — 1999].
• • This article was written by Vernon Parker (1923 — 2004) for The Brooklyn Eagle; reposted online on 8 November 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2110th 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 • • 1999 • •
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