Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mae West: Hollywood Figures

In 1933, after the phenomenal successes of "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel," MAE WEST became Tinseltown's newest it girl. The reigning screen queen was interviewed at great length by the reporter Ruth Biery for the fan magazine Movie Classic. Their conversation was then parceled out in installments during 1934. Then 40 years old, the Brooklyn bombshell spoke about her figure and what she saw around her.
• • Mae West is quoted as saying this: “I never saw so many poles in my life! I wondered how Hollywood men could stand them. But everyone said I had to get thin. I figured they knew this racket and I didn’t, so I went on one of them Hollywood diets. . . . It was pretty bad, but I’d been through a lot for art’s sake so taking off twenty pounds or more was just one more piece of the routine. I got down to 103 pounds. I stood in front of the mirror to study the results. I didn’t like it. I didn’t look — — well, you know — — voluptuous. And that isn’t all. I didn’t even look healthy. And man or woman, you got to look healthy to look right. Half-starved women can’t have no life in them any more than a half-starved dog.” . . .
• • Think of that advice as you begin preparations to celebrate Thanksgiving this month.
“I never worry about diets," Mae often told reporters. "The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”
• • In November, Remember Herbert Rawlinson [1885 — 1953] • •
• • Mae West worked with a good number of handsome Britons and one was Herbert Rawlinson. In "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937], he was seen as a party guest.
• • Born in the month of November — — on 15 November 1885 — — in New Brighton, England, Herbert Rawlinson distinguished himself in the United Kingdom on the stage. In 1911, when Herbert Rawlinson launched his career in the USA with a number of silent movies, the dapper 26-year-old was often cast as the leading man, at first. On Broadway he was seen in several plays between 1929 — 1934, mainly comedies. One was the popular Rachel Crothers piece, set on West 10th Street in Greenwich Village: "When Ladies Meet." Rawlinson played the role of Rogers Woodruff from October 1932 — May 1933 at the Royale Theatre, the very same playhouse where Mae West was a box office sensation in "Diamond Lil" in 1928.
• • In sound films, the handsome six-footer was a busy character player, in demand and employed up until the year he died. With 394 titles to his credit on the big screen and also some on TV, Rawlinson was frequently seen, albeit briefly, in an authority role such as a physician, judge, colonel, sea captain, first mate, etc. In his final motion picture "Jail Bait" [1954], he took the role of Dr. Gregor, filming his last scenes until July 1953.
• • Herbert Rawlinson died of lung cancer in Los Angeles on 12 July 1953. He was 67 years old.
• • Mae West Movie Trivia • •
• • In July 1937, Emanuel Cohen announced that Mae was making a new motion picture for the studio. The title, said Cohen, was "Sapphire Sal." Naturally, it would be revised to "Every Day's a Holiday" and released in the USA on 18 December 1937.
• • Greensboro Daily News, November 15 — 21, 1934 • •
• • It was 75 years ago and newspapers were announcing the newest film by Mae West.
• • A reporter noted: Movie at the Carolina Theatre (Greensboro, North Carolina): Mae West in “Belle of the Nineties.”
• • On 15 November 1937 in Time Magazine • •
• • In their weekly issue dated 15 November 1937, Time Magazine stated: That Hollywood influences manners and morals is a fairly prevalent theory. Recent evidence: the Shirley Temple coiffure, Mae West's gusty wisecracks, Hollywood halo-hats, a break on the rising consumption of native U. S. whiskey. To relate this last-named fact to the cinema involved a statistical triumph of sorts . . . .
• • On 15 November 2009 • •
• • The N.Y. Times columnist Margo Jefferson delivered a speech in Chicago on 15 November 2009 about Mae West and Hattie McDaniel.
• • In a spirited article "Black, White and Female: Margo Jefferson on Hattie McDaniel and Mae West," the journalist Kelly Kleiman wrote this: Margo Jefferson likes unexpected juxtapositions. She takes delight in pointing out, for instance, the way sexpot Mae West adopts a man’s stride when it suits her purposes, or the fact that Hattie McDaniel’s film persona as “Mammy” was preceded by her persona as blues drummer High Hat Hattie. Jefferson, whose cultural criticism for the New York Times won her a Pulitzer Prize, will address the surprising intersections and interactions of black minstrelsy and white vaudeville in her 15 November 2009 speech at this year’s Chicago Humanities Festival, “Blackface, Whiteface: Hattie McDaniel and Mae West.”
• • Kelly Kleiman continued: The subject might be of purely historical interest had vaudeville and minstrelsy not conspired between them to create the archetypes of American film. And as Jefferson has noted in a series of articles over the past 15 years, these particular portrayals — — stereotypes of race, of class and of gender — — help dictate the way Americans see one another on the street as well as on the stage. Though the festival’s theme is “Laughter,” and both Hattie McDaniel and Mae West are actresses known for their comic chops, Jefferson knows humor to be a deadly serious business. ... [Source: Written by Kelly Kleiman for Films for Two/ www.films42.com]
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said this about fashion designer Dior in 1954: "The Dior looks good on Dior!"
• • Mae West said: "Some men are all right in their place — — if only they knew the right places."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A Canadian article with tips on packing personal adornments mentioned Mae West.
• • Amanda Shendruk began her article just like this: American film star Mae West once said, “The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.” Perhaps the first to compare jewelry and food, she is not the first women to have a healthy obsession with her accessories. If you’re like Ms. West, you probably know that travelling with your baubles often results in a mess of tangled chains and lost earrings. ...
• • Source: Article: "How to pack your pearls and pendants" written by Amanda Shendruk for The Ottawa Citizen; published on 11 November 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2115th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1934 • •
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Mae West.

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