Friday, December 02, 2011

Mae West: William Gaxton

MAE WEST played Fay Lawrence in "The Heat's On," a motion picture released in the USA in early December — — on 2 December 1943. It's interesting that two gentlemen in the cast are linked to the date December 2nd as well.
• • The character Tony Ferris was played by William Gaxton. The vaudeville song and dance man was born as Arturo Antonio Gaxiola in San Francisco in early December — — on 2 December 1890. During 1922 — 1945 he could be found headlining on The Gay White Way. During the 1930s, he was in a Broadway musical with actor Victor Moore [1876 — 1962], who was cast as Hubert Bainbridge in "The Heat's On." The theatre was his metier and he was only seen in eleven motion pictures between 1926 — 1945. William Gaxton died of cancer in New York City on 2 February 1963. He was 72 years old.
• • Colin Kenny was seen briefly as a night club patron in "The Heat's On." Born in Dublin, Ireland on 4 December 1888, the veteran character actor was featured in more than 200 projects. Active in Hollywood until 1966 and also a guest star on TV until the mid-1960s, Colin Kenny died in Los Angeles in early December — — on 2 December 1968. He was 79 years old.
• • In December, Let's Remember Sylvia Syms [1917 — 1992] • •
• • Born like Mae West in good old Brooklyn, New York, Sylvia Syms [2 December 1917 — 10 May 1992] was a jazz singer whose birthname was Sylvia Blagman.
• • When she was a child, Sylvia contracted polio — — a disease that also afflicted Mae's sister Beverly and which causes some sufferers to put on weight.
• • As a teen, Sylvia found her way to jazz joints on New York's "Prohibition Row" [West 52nd Street]. In 1941, the 24-year-old debuted at a club called Billy's Stable.
• • During 1948, Mae West went to performances at the Cinderella Club in Greenwich Village to see Rae Bourbon and listen to keyboard king Willie "The Lion" Smith. Fortunately for Sylvia Sims, Mae caught her act onstage there, too. Mae West gave her the part of Flo the Shoplifter in a Broadway revival of "Diamond Lil."
• • Thanks to this big break and the exposure Mae West afforded her, Sylvia Syms appeared on the stage as Bloody Mary in South Pacific and as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! — — and also acted in straight roles. Sinatra was among the biggest fans of Miss Syms.
• • On 2 December 1943 in Hollywood • •
• • • • "The Heat’s On" [released 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.
• • On 2 December 1989 • •
• • "Mae West, Wilt, and the King" was written by Ira Berkow, who had interviewed Charles Miron. This article appeared in The N.Y. Times on 2 December 1989.
• • On 2 December 2001 in The N.Y. Times Book Review • •
• • Reviewing a biography of Potemkin on 2 December 2001, NYT critic Harlow Robinson begins with this sentence: When Mae West starred on Broadway in her critically panned but crowd-pleasing entertainment ''Catherine Was Great,'' she apologized nightly for omitting many events in the rich and ribald life of the brilliant 18th-century Russian sovereign: ''Catherine was a great empress. She also had 300 lovers. I did the best I could in a couple of hours.''
• • Harlow Robinson continues: In fact, according to Simon Sebag Montefiore, the reliable count of Catherine's lovers was more like a baker's dozen. But about which lover occupied the No. 1 spot there is no doubt, as Sebag Montefiore makes abundantly clear in ''Prince of Princes,'' a discursive, meticulously researched and mostly absorbing new biography of Prince Grigory Alexandrovich Potemkin [1739 — 1791]. ...
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often."
• • Mae West said: "Saving love doesn't bring any interest."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Does the sham marriage (onscreen) between Flora Belle Lee and card sharp Cuthbert remind you of anyone? Mae West is mentioned in this spoof by parody writer William Russo, who has confused her film "Every Day's a Holiday" with "My Little Chickadee," co-starring W.C. Fields as Cuthbert J. Twillie.
• • Satirist William Russo writes: Kris Humphries now realizes how he was duped by Kim Kardashian. He has now admitted that he also considered buying the Brooklyn Bridge.
• • Old film star Mae West once played a woman of dubious morals who sold the famed New York bridge to gullible young men who were attracted to her.
• • Mae's counterpart, W.C. Fields, even starred in a movie called "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break." Kim Kardashian clearly was not about to let this 'live one' jump off the bridge before forcing nuptials upon him.
• • If the Queen of Calculated Videotape Sex was going to subject herself to a fraudulent marriage, she chose wisely. Kris Humphries was big, handsome, and dumb.
• • In the old movie "My Little Chickadee," Mae West "married" W.C. Fields out of convenience [sic]. She had no intention of sleeping with him — — ever. Each night she would turn out the lights and put an old goat in the bed with Fields who was so near-sighted that he felt she was cold, wearing a fur coat to bed. When the old goat cried out, "mmmaaaa," Fields was touched that the nervous girl was calling for her mother.
• • We suspect that Kris Humphries may have fallen into the same trap game.
• • Of course, the other side of the coin was that Kris
Humphries was locked out of his NBA job. He feared that there would be no paychecks for the season, and his wife was one of the greatest moneymakers in cable television history. He knew a sucker when he bedded one. ...
• • Source: Satire: "Kris Humphries: Dumb, Dumber, and Snookered" written by William Russo for The Spoof; posted 1 December 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2133rd 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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1 comment:

  1. As a big fan of Mae, I will always consult this column for the real dope before I make myself look like a dope.
    Thanks for the mention.