Monday, December 12, 2011

Mae West: Morgan Wallace

Morgan Wallace got to work in two motion pictures starring MAE WEST.
• • Born in Lompoc, California, Morgan Wallace [26 July 1881 — 12 December 1953] appeared in 124 films between 1914 — 1946 often in authority roles such as in "Blonde Venus" [1932} with Marlene Dietrich, when he was cast as a doctor. He was briefly seen as J. Henry Brash in "Goin' to Town" [1935] and also as a gambler in "My Little Chickadee" [1940]. Not merely a bit parts player, he also snagged several meatier assignments during the casting.
• • Like Mae, Morgan Wallace was known for his work on Broadway, where he was active from 1904 — 1946. One play he wrote, "Congratulations," was onstage in 1929.
• • Morgan Wallace, a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, died in Tarzana, California in the month of December — — on 12 December 1953. He was 72 years old.
• • In December, Remember Mae on NBC [12 December 1937] • •
• • Perhaps no other radio segment of The Chase and Sanborn Hour has sparked more commentary than the Sunday December 12th, 1937 broadcast starring Mae West, the 44-year-old movie queen, who usually hid the fact that she could not read a script without eyeglasses.
• • The popular star of Paramount Pictures rarely appeared on radio. When she did, the sole purpose was to promote one of her films. West had guest-starred on The Shell Chateau with Al Jolson in 1936 and also Louella Parsons’ blackmailing program Hollywood Hotel on 26 April 1935, with featured guest Paul Cavanagh in an adaptation of her (then most current) screen gem: "Goin’ to Town."
• • Additionally, on 21 February 1934, the famed Mae West Jewel Robbery was dramatized on "Calling All Cars" over CBS Radio [without her personal participation in this traumatic drama].
• • When the producers of The Chase and Sanborn Hour offered the sex goddess the opportunity to appear on the weekly show — — then currently the highest-rated program of the year — — she accepted the invitation to boost the awareness of her latest film, "Every Day's a Holiday."
• • Mae West often wrote her own scripts and even produced her own plays, so she offered NBC the option of a sneak peek at some scenes from her new screen comedy set during the 1890s in New York City.
• • Interesting, but rarely commented on, is the fact that Mae wore a spectacular black gown framed by expensive furs and jewelry when she showed up at NBC's Hollywood headquarters on Sunday, 12 December 1937 — — an eyeful that could only be appreciated by the live studio audience.
• • As if to be extra-cautious, Mae donned eyeglasses and also wore a fancy lornette on a chain around her neck, not unlike the extra-careful gentleman who wears suspenders and a belt. Then she stepped up to the microphone and threw caution to the fates.
• • Skit writer Arch Obler on Mae's nearsightedness in December 1937 • •
• • "Now one thing the powers-that-be forgot," recalled Arch Oboler, "that in those days, unlike today, there were three things that an actress could not do. One was to have a child out of wedlock. Two, she could not swear. And three, she could not wear glasses. It was thought terrible for an actress to be seen in spectacles. Well, Miss Mae West, having all the usual good sense of all of us, did not wear her glasses during the rehearsals so she, being very nearsighted never saw my script. She bluffed her way through. It wasn’t until air time that she walked on stage waving these glasses, put them on . . . and for the first time saw the script. The result was a disaster. What she did to ‘Adam and Eve’ the Arabs had never done so miserably."
• • In December, Let's Remember Owen Moore [1886 — 1939] • •
• • Born in Fordstown Crossroads, County Meath, Ireland in December, Owen Moore [12 December 1886 — 9 June 1939] portrayed Chick Clark, Mae West's imprisoned ex-boyfriend in "She Done Him Wrong." The novel Diamond Lil opens with the prison inmate on page 1, chafing at Lil from behind bars, angry that she done him dirt.
• • An Irish silent film star, Owen Moore wed 19-year-old Mary Pickford [8 April 1892 — 29 May 1979] on 7 January 1911. The marriage was stormy due to Moore's drinking problem and they divorced in March 1920; she gave Owen Moore $100,000 to go along with their quickie Nevada divorce scheme. A few days later, Mary wed her dashing lover and colleague Douglas Fairbanks.
• • A long-term alcoholic, Owen Moore died in Beverly Hills, California from a heart attack at the age of 52 — — and was interred in the Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California.
• • On Sunday, 12 December 1997 in Pittsburgh • •
• • Biographer Emily Wortis Leider was at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, PA on 12 December 1997 at 7:00pm. The organizers noted: "The author of the acclaimed new biography of Mae West, Leider introduces West’s film, "She Done Him Wrong."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Personality is the most important thing to an actress's success — — the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights . . . into that big black space where the audience is."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • From an article by James D. Watts Jr. on the play "Sex" written by Mae West.
• • James D. Watts Jr., World Scene Writer, wrote: Putting on a play written by Mae West and titled "Sex" might not strike the average person as typical theatrical fare for the holiday season. But actress Sara Wilemon would politely beg to differ.
• • "One of the things about this time of year is that it's seen as a time of renewal, of regeneration," she said. "And that's one of the main themes of this show. The main character is someone who is determined to follow the path that is best for her, who isn't going to make herself over according to the demands of society. "And besides," Wilemon said, smiling, "isn't sex really the gift that keeps on giving?"
• • It's a crack that might be worthy of one of Mae West's own saucy quips. And it points out that there is a lot of humor in this 1926 play that the Nightingale Theater opened Friday. "Sex" was first presented in Tulsa in 2003, in a production by TheatreClub at the Nightingale. Most of the cast are new to the play; only Wilemon, director John Cruncleton and actor Craig Walters were in the original show.
• • For Wilemon, this production offers her a relatively unusual opportunity of returning to a role. She had never acted in a play before auditioning for the role of Margy LaMont, the part West played when the show premiered. Margy is a working-class prostitute determined to find a way to better her lot in life. As her adventures take her from Canada to the Caribbean to Connecticut, she mingles with all levels of society, from low-life gangsters to rich men's wives. In the process, she discovers that using one's sexuality as a means of commerce is not limited to the women who walk the streets.
• • "This was the play that really got Mae West noticed," Wilemon said. "It had been running for a year when it was raided by the police and she ended up going to jail for a few days on an indecency charge — — which just made it more of a success. And because Mae West wrote for this persona she had created," she said, "there isn't a lot variation in this character. That's one of the things that has been fun about revisiting this play — — discovering that maybe there are some different layers to this woman underneath that hard-shell exterior." ...
• • Source: Article: "In a Mae West sort of way, 'Sex' fits the holidays" written by James D. Watts Jr., World Scene Writer for Tulsa World; posted on 10 December 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2143rd 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.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1937 • •
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