Sunday, November 06, 2011

Mae West: Lester Allen

"The Heat's On" might not be a fan's favorite MAE WEST movie. Certainly, this is purely cinema of the Cuisinart — — take a ragged plot, dice up the most popular ingredients available (music! comedy! costumes!), toss it all in a blender, and say a prayer to Saint Genesius. Then count on the safety of numbers: acclaimed actresses and brilliant band leaders and velvety vocalists — — a hopeful cast mustering together to lend bulk and momentum to a script they suspect is threadbare. But, alas, purebred raisins cannot redeem a rotten pie.
• • Though Mae West felt she got tricked by Gregory Ratoff, she probably enjoyed working with Lester Allen, who was seen in the role of Mouse Beller.
• • Born in Utica, New York on 17 November 1891, Lester Allen was a variety artist who worked in vaudeville, burlesque, and the circus. After numerous stage bookings, Lester Allen was featured in Paramount shorts 1932 — 1933. His cinema resume lists only 19 titles.
• • Unfortunately, Lester Allen was killed by a 25-year-old driver while crossing Ventura Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley. He died in the month of November — — on 6 November 1949. Lester Allen was 57.
• • • • "The Heat’s On" [2 December 1943] • • • •
• • Critic Guy Savage summed it up: "The Heat’s On" (AKA "Tropicana") is a sly knock at censorship and how it affects the entertainment industry. Broadway legend Fay Lawrence (Mae West) is in "Indiscretions" — — a show destined to flop — — until producer Tony Ferris (William Gaxton) gets the bright idea to rustle up free publicity on an indecency issue. ...
• • The director responsible for this rum-soaked cinematic mirth-quake was Gregory Ratoff.
• • The appealing costume designs for Mae West were done by Walter Plunkett.
• • The main cast was:
• • Mae West — — Fay Lawrence
• • Victor Moore — — Hubert Bainbridge
• • Lloyd Bridges — — Andy Walker
• • William Gaxton — — Tony Ferris
• • Mary Roche — — Janey Bainbridge
• • Hazel Scott — — Herself
• • Lester Allen — — Mouse Beller
• • Xavier Cugat — — Xavier Cugat
• • In November, Let's Remember Harvey Thew [1883 — 1946] • •
• • Harvey Francis Thew massaged a famous screenplay with Mae West, who chose this collaborator herself.
• • Born in Missouri on 4 July 1883, writer Harvey F. Thew collaborated with Mae West, and screenwriter John Bright, and Lowell Sherman in 1932 on the film version of the bombshell's best-known three act stage play "Diamond Lil." For Paramount Pictures, Mae turned her 3-hour Bowery melodrama into a trim 66-minute comedy with the aid of Harvey Thew.
• • The studio released "She Done Him Wrong" on 9 February 1933. A Valentine for movie-goers!
• • At the age of 63, hard-working Harvey F. Thew died in Los Angeles on 6 November 1946.
• • On 6 November 1997 • •
• • In their weekly issue for 6 November 1997, the hip San Jose publication Metro critiqued a new compendium by Simon & Schuster called "Tijuana Bibles" (edited by Bob Adelman) — — and the book review title and sub-title were "The Ultimate Mae West Movie: Even racier than her movies was the Tijuana Bible 'The Hip Flipper,' starring the comic-book version of Mae West."
• • "The Hip Flipper" cover depicted Mae West [as shown here on the left].
• • On 6 November 1933 in Time Magazine • •
• • In October 1933, Time Magazine reported this: "The Central Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, meeting in Milwaukee last week, congratulated Mae West for popularizing plump female figures . . . ."
• • The edition of Time for 6 November 1933 printed readers' letters reacting to that group of physicians along with the publishing of Mae's measurements in the same article.
• • On 6 November 2010 in Texas • •
• • On Saturday, 6 November 2010 an exhibit opened in Dallas.
• • Publicity materials announced that the title of this show "There is Never Only One Game in Town" is (supposedly) a Mae West quote and this statement is also on one of the drawings in the project starring the Brooklyn bombshell. Did Mae ever say that? Doubtful, I'd say.
• • No stickler for veracity, Lone Star artist Mary Beth Edelson was offering a look at work created from 1981 — 1997. Most of the 46 framed mixed-media wall pieces featured collages inspired by feminine power. The artist's imagination was fed (she said) by Hollywood nostalgia, which could be seen in her renderings of marquee names such as Mae West, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich in a military uniform, Helen Reddy, and also TV's Wonder Woman Lynda Carter.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "He who hesitates is a damned fool!"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about a hotel in Tennessee mentioned Mae West.
• • The Daily Meal writes: Check in to Union Station, a splendidly restored former train station-turned-hotel with custom-made furniture and more than a century of celebrity stays including Mae West, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and mafia kingpin Al Capone, who was being escorted to a Georgia penitentiary. ...
• • Source: Article: "A Long Weekend: Eating And Drinking In Nashville" written by The Daily Meal; posted on 5 November 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2106th 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 • • 1943 • •
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