Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mae West: Along Avenue C

MAE WEST's Irish paternal grandfather worked on ships in Canada and the USA. Before the West family moved to an area on the Brooklyn waterfront, her father John ["Battling Jack"] West spent his teenage years with his parents and siblings on Avenue C.
• • A bunch of young New Yorkers (who probably never heard of John West) were singing about his daughter Mae West in mid-December — — on 15 December 1938 — — right along Avenue C, a stretch facing the East River once quite familiar to the amateur young boxer.
• • During the Great Depression, case worker Fred Romanofsky conducted interviews among impoverished shoeshine boys. He spoke to the children between the hours of 5 — 7 PM, at the street corners of East Ninth and Avenue C, and East Eleventh and Avenue C, New York City.
• • Here is a song improvised by the locals to amuse themselves, while they cleaned the footwear of businessmen, salesmen, porters, and dockworkers, lyrics popular in 1938:
• • • Song of the NYC Shoeshine Boys • • •
• • • Hei ho! Hei ho!
• • • To Hollywood we go,
• • • To see Mae West and all the rest.
• • • Hei ho! Hei ho!
• • • Me and my friend Toni
• • • We come from Italy.
• • • We drink the booze
• • • And shine the shoes
• • • Me and my friend Toni. ...
• • Source: "Text from Dead End Kids (Life on the East Side): interviews by case worker Fred Romanofsky" — — from WPA Life Stories (Library of Congress); on 15 December 1938.
• • In December, Let's Remember Edward Earle [1882 — 1972] • •
• • Born on 16 July 1882 in Toronto, Canada, Edward Earle was active in vaudeville and on the stage where he was cast in musical comedies. His theatrical work paved the road to Hollywood and the slim six-footer was seen in close to 400 motion pictures from 1914 — 1956.
• • "The Heat's On" [released in the USA on 2 December 1943] was a 79-minute musical comedy starring Mae West as Fay Lawrence. Edward Earle was cast as one of Fay Lawrence's writers.
• • Edward Earle died in Woodland Hills, California during the month of December — — on 15 December 1972. He was 90 years old.
• • On 15 December 1933 • •
• • The release date for "She Done Him Wrong" in France was on 15 December 1933. In that country, the film's title was "Lady Lou."
• • Gift Giving in December 2011 • •
• • The company Face รก Face created eyeglasses based on Mae West's lips. Inspired by Salvador Dali's Mae West lips sofa, these Senso sunglasses come in red or black.
• • These spectacles are a-MAE-zing.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said, in response to Frank Wallace's statement that they were wed in 1911: "They'll have me married to triplets next! ... Since there were no signatures on that mysterious marriage certificate, Frank Wallace better dig up his divorce and find a signature on that."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article printed in People Magazine on December 15th mentioned Mae West.
• • Brad Darrach writes: By 1930 he was playing leads on Broadway, and in 1932 Paramount signed him to a five-year contract at $450 a week and changed his name to Cary Grant. In a year Cary Grant did bit parts in seven movies. Then one day Mae West got an eyeful of his sultry good looks. "If he can talk," she's supposed to have said, "I'll take him." Cary Grant disliked the woman, but "She Done Him Wrong" made him faintly famous as the hunk she hooked with a notorious (and frequently misquoted) line: "Why dontcha come up sometime and see me?" Topper [1937] made him a star. ...
• • Source: Flashback Column: "Cary Grant Remembered" by Brad Darrach for People Magazine; written 15 December 1986; reposted on 27 April 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2146th 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 • • "The Heat's On" 1943 • •
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