Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mae West: Cliff Shirpser

Cliff Shirpser was a camera assistant for "She Done Him Wrong" starring MAE WEST.
• • Born in San Francisco on 4 August 1906, he began his Tinseltown career during the silent era with the classic "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" [1921] when he was 15 years old. Always plying his trade within the confines of the studio's Camera and Electrical Department, Cliff Shirpser was attached to a diverse number of motion pictures including several Marx Brothers classics, "Destry Rides Again," and "Gone with the Wind." Eventually, he switched to children's series on TV. For six decades, from 1921 — 1981, he was behind the camera on 188 projects. He also distinguished himself as a producer.
• • Cliff Shirpser died in Los Angeles in December — — on 18 December 1977. He was 71.
• • Internet-Only Auction • •
• • An Internet-only auction, featuring rare autographed photos of Mae West in 1933, etc., will end on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 at 5 o'clock in the evening (Pacific).
• • Contact: Nate D. Sanders Auctions at 11901 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025 to see the list and view all the lot numbers.
• • In December, Let's Remember Legs Diamond [1929 — 2009] • •
• • The blue-eyed writer-actress was already comfortable with convicts, jailbirds, con artists, pistol-packing bodyguards, and killers when she moved into shoot-out central, the mob-controlled hotel on West 54th Street where she worked on her play "Diamond Lil" in 1927. The storyline was incited by the actions of angry inmate Chick Clark and his plot to escape and confront the dame who done him wrong, Diamond Lil.
• • Persistent efforts to kill a dapper neighbor nicknamed Legs Diamond were afoot when Mae West and George Raft were in residence, a few floors above Texas Guinan's speakeasy in the cellar.
• • Born in Philadelphia on 10 July 1897 to two Irish immigrants, Jack Nolan became known on the street as Legs Diamond and sometimes as Gentleman Jack. The handsome risk-taker rose to fame on the East Coast during the Prohibition era. A close associate of gambler Arnold Rothstein and a bootlegger, the flamboyant criminal survived a number of attempts on his life between 1916 and 1931, causing him to be known as the "clay pigeon of the underworld."
• • In 1930, after several unsuccessful attempts to rub him out in his rooms on West 54th Street went awry, Diamond's nemesis Dutch Schultz remarked to his own gang, "Ain't there nobody that can shoot this guy so he don't bounce back?" It's interesting that when the police contacted his wife at home in Albany to inform her that her husband had been shot several times and wounded, Alice's first words were, "It wasn't me."
• • In the month of December — — on 18 December 1931 — — 34-year-old "Legs" Diamond was finished off when he was laying low on Dove Street in his Albany, NY hideout after a night party. Alice Diamond, his long suffering wife, was murdered two years after Legs was buried. It's been suspected that the local police did him in.
• • On 18 December 1937 • •
• • "Every Day's a Holiday," a Gay Nineties motion picture comedy film starring and co-written by Mae West, was released in the USA in December — — on 18 December 1937.
• • On 18 December 1993, Auction in NYC • •
• • Christie's held a "Collectibles & Hollywood Entertainment" sale in New York City on 18 December 1993.
• • Among the rare star-dusted keepsakes was this curiosity: "Lot Description: A Letter to Groucho Marx from Mae West." The catalogue notes that this was an original letter on Mae West's stationary signed in black ink to Mr. Marx. Dated 29 September 1971 it states in part ... "I've always been crazy about your crazy comedy. I remember how I howled watching your rushes in the projection room at Paramount, when I was there too, waiting to watch my own. ... I have to tell you you're the greatest of all the funny men ... whenever you're in L.A. come up and see me." Price realized was $2,530.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: ”Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A book review of a bio on Oscar Levant mentioned Mae West.
• • Alexander Milne wrote: Oscar Levant’s post-movie career as a TV chat show host came to a grinding halt in 1960, when TV executives got tired of apologising to Eisenhower-era corporate sponsors for their star’s risque quips about then-unspeakable topics such as Mae West’s sex life. In retrospect, it is amazing that he survived on air so long in that censorious and puritanical climate. He had even managed to keep his job after making the following remark about Marilyn Monroe’s conversion to Judaism: “Now that Marilyn Monroe is kosher, Arthur Miller can eat her.” ...
• • It is ironic that he was canned for joking about Mae West’s bedroom behaviour; after all, she made a whole career out of self-penned jokes and double entendres about her sex life . ...
• • Source: Review: “The Memoirs of an Amnesiac” by Oscar Levant (1906 — 1972) written by Alexander Milne, a freelance features writer based in South-East England; posted 12 July 2009
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2149th 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 • • filming in 1932 • •
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