Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mae West: Roger Pryor

MAE WEST's co-star in "Belle of the Nineties" (aka "It Ain't No Sin") was the handsome native New Yorker Roger Pryor who came into the world (like Mae) in August; he was born on 27 August 1901/2. In Tinseltown, Roger Pryor was considered the "poor man's Clark Gable." Certainly he seems to sweep Ruby Carter [Mae's character] off her feet in his fictional persona as the prizefighter Tiger Kid. This would turn out to be his most memorable role.
• • The son of a composer and band leader, Roger Pryor launched his own foray into show business as a teen performing with Connecticut's Myskle-Harder Stock Company. In 1925, his feet finally landed on Broadway via a production of "The Back Slapper" and then other opportunities on The Gay White Way soon followed.
• • Hollywood started paying attention and offered the handsome six-footer a role in "Broken Hearts" [1933]. A half-a-dozen films later, this leading man would be romancing Ruby Carter, the American Beauty queen of the night club — sporting world, on the silver screen.
• • But after 52 cinema projects between 1933 — 1945, his prospects seemed less rosy. He turned to radio hosting and other means of making a living.
• • Roger Pryor had a heart attack at age 72. Some sources say he died in California; others claim he met his end in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. It was a loss to his loved ones when he closed the book of January — — on 31 January 1974.
• • On Thursday, 31 January 1918 in The Big Apple • •
• • In 1898, in New York City, an ambitious young immigrant went into business as "William Morris, Vaudeville Agent." Incorporated in New York State on 31 January 1918, William Morris was joined by son William, Jr., and a former office boy Abe Lastfogel as directors of the company. As the silent film industry became more popular, Morris encouraged his performing clients to embrace opportunities in the screen trade. Stars such as Mae West along with the Marx Brothers, Al Jolson, and Charlie Chaplin helped build the Agency's position in movie houses.
• • On Monday, 31 January 1921 on Broadway • •
• • On 31 January 1921, the Cort 63rd Street Theatre was opened on Broadway and West 63rd. In 1922, the theater was renamed Daly's 63rd Street Theatre, in honor of Augustine Daly. Four years later, Mae West premiered her show "Sex" right there. The limousine line was long and the box office burned up in 1926.
• • On Monday, 31 January 1927 in Bridgeport • •
• • Despite the public's curiosity about the controversial vaudevillian Mae West, and her latest play "The Drag," Jim Timony could only manage to secure half a week at Poli's Park, which was then in use as a burlesque house in Bridgeport.
• • It was a dreary and wintery Monday on 31 January 1927 when the Morals Production Company hoisted a banner over the trolley cars criss-crossing Main Street. Pedestrians were intrigued by this saucy announcement: "'The Drag' by the author of SEX — — more sensational than Rain or The Captive!" It was Mae West’s intention to give gay characters a voice and a spotlight. The police were lying in wait for her.
• • These true events are dramatized in Act I, Scene 2 of the stage play "Courting Mae West" by LindaAnn Loschiavo. Why not bring this astonishing 95-page play to your theatre?
• • On Tuesday, 31 January 1933 • •
• • Vaudeville star Elsie Janis dated her synopsis for a "Mae West Talking Picture" for Tuesday, 31 January 1933 — — but the project was deemed unsuitable for Mae.
• • On Friday, 31 January 1936 • •
• • According to the archives of The Hutchinson News [published in Hutchinson, Kansas]: In Hollywood, police raided an alleged "indecent" stage show and arrested the business manager for Mae West, along with 13 of the cast of "Ladies by Request." The play had run for several weeks. [This news item ran on Friday, 31 January 1936 and refers to a Los Angeles production produced by Jim Timony in a theatre owned by Mae.]
• • On Tuesday, 31 January 2006 • •
• • The Original Air Date for the episode "Dead Famous: Mae West" was broadcast on Tuesday, 31 January 2006. Stars: Gail Porter, Chris Fleming, and Mae West in archival footage.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I used to like to play Post Office. Mamma didn't object. But she got mad if I started giving special deliveries to one boy all the time. She wanted me to play with them all."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in Singapore discussed Mae West.
• • John C. Moffitt wrote: She's proud of those vaudeville days and she's particularly proud of the fact that two of her "professors" (piano accompanists) since have become big shots in the entertainment world. Harry Richman and Jack (Whispering Baritone) Smith both pounded the ivories while she wiggled. ...
• • Source: Article: "At School Mae West Found Boys Were the Best Playmates" written by John C. Moffitt for The Straits Times; published on page 6, on 2 December 1934

• •
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2194th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Mae West: Lord Byng at Tea

Lord Byng and Lady Byng were having tea with MAE WEST along with some friendly persuasion. The Straits Times in Singapore ran an article with all the particulars on page 6 on Wednesday, 30 January 1935. The headline read "Lord Byng at a Mae West Tea-Party — Star Will Be In London For Jubilee Celebration."
• • The dateline came from New York, the movie queen's hometown, and the reporter revealed that Mae West, "the bad, bad girl of the movies," is going to London. She will be there during the King's Jubilee. And she will be there at the suggestion of Viscount Byng of Vimy.
• • The NYC newsman wrote: "Miss West entertained Lord and Lady Byng at tea in her dressing room at Paramount Pictures. She soon put her guests at their ease with a few simple Westisms." ...
• • Before he left, Lord Byng suggested that she should come to London. "Sure," said Miss West. "It would fascinate me." ...
• • "Tea began formally but Miss West soon broke the ice," the journalist noted.
• • King George V [1865 — 1936] began his reign on 6 May 1910, celebrating his Silver Jubilee on 6 May 1935. Special commemorative coins and medals were struck to honor this anniversary. No doubt many speeches were made on this occasion. Eight months later the monarch died on 20 January 1936. The reign of his son King George VI (who stuttered) began on 11 December 1936. He was the father of the current monarch Queen Elizabeth, who ascended the throne in 1952.
• • Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy Ridge, died one month after the royal festivities on 6 June 1935.
• • The Chicago Tribune and other American newspapers also followed this story, announcing a few times that Mae West would definitely attend the party in London. However, it was not to be — — and the busy performer would not sail for Great Britain until after World War II when she toured in her Bowery melodrama written for the stage "Diamond Lil."
• • Herbert Kenwith [1917 — 2008] • •
• • Herbert Kenwith, a director and producer for both Broadway and TV, and also a former summer stock director at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, died in the month of January — — on 30 January 2008
— — at his home in Los Angeles, California. He had been battling prostate cancer.
• • The birthdate that had been given for Herbert Kenwith was 14 July 1923. However, according to the Princeton Packet, he was 90 when he died, therefore, July 1917 seems to be the correct year.
• • During six summers, from 1947 — 1952, Kenwith produced and directed all 65 productions for McCarter Theater. The stars in his productions included Mae West and also Lucille Ball, Charlton Heston, Shelley Winters, Cesar Romero, Walter Matthau, Maureen Stapleton, Eve Arden, Constance and Joan Bennett, Paul Muni, Miriam Hopkins, Gloria Swanson, Jeanette MacDonald, Zazu Pitts, and Nancy Davis.
• • Born in New Jersey, he started his career as an actor and appeared in several Broadway productions. He took his final Broadway bow in “I Remember Mama” with Marlon Brando, produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
• • Herbert Kenwith was interviewed for television celebrity profiles of Mae West and Joan Crawford. He appeared in "Intimate Portrait: Mae West" [1995] and — — more recently — — in footage devoted to the career of Mae West aired by The Biography Channel.
• • Mae West Movie Trivia • •
• • An intriguing newspaper article printed in 1950, illustrated with the photos of Mae West and Jane ["The Outlaw"] Russell, explained that Mae West would co-star in a new motion picture and play the mother of Jane Russell's character.
• • Mae West and Jane Russell will team together in "Mother Knows Best," RKO Studio announced today. Mae West will portray "Mother."
• • A fascinating premise indeed from RKO — — and too bad the picture wasn't made. Jane Russell [1921 2011] was 29 years old in 1950 and Mae was in her mid-50s.
• • On Sunday, 30 January 2011 in Germany • •
• • On 29 — 30 January 2011, the Mae West sculpture at Effnerplatz (in Munich, Germany) had its final assembly.
• • On Sunday, 30 January 2011 in Florida • •
• • Words of Mae West come to life in “The Drag” • •
• • Orlando-based columnist Dawnn Behrens wrote this for Examiner.com: Originally written in 1926, the words of Mae West come to life in “The Drag” tonight [on January 30th] at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center (Studio B). Directors Michael Wanzie, John DiDonna and their group received permission from the estate of the late Mae West to present the show. It will be present tonight as the last night of an exclusive 2 night performance as part of their “Dangerous Plays Series – Giving breath to dissenting voices” series. . . .
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "When you dare you don't care. And when you care, you don't dare."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in Maitland, Australia on an exhibit mentioned Mae West.
• • Emma Swain writes: Images depicting the sex appeal of Sophia Loren, comedic wit of Jack Lemmon and the New York neuroticism of Woody Allen have taken up space at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
• • Emma Swain writes: Donated by new gallery patron Pat Corrigan, the exhibition features a collection of signed photographs of Hollywood stars including Mae West, Lauren Bacall, and Mickey Rooney. “This exhibition is a real who’s who of old movie stars, but it’s also very interesting,” the gallery’s deputy director Kim Blunt said. ...
• • Source: Article: "Famous take up temporary residence at gallery" written by Emma Swain for the Maitland Mercury; posted on 30 January 2012
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2193rd 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mae West: January Decadence

One highlight of a fundraiser in the mid-Atlantic region will be a special appearance by MAE WEST and W.C. Fields.
• • Taking place today on January 29th, the event, which has a Roaring Twenties theme and music from the Charleston era, is called "An Evening of Decadent Desserts" — — and has been organized to raise cash for the 19th Annual Frederick Festival of Arts. Only 150 tickets will be sold.
• • WHEN: Sunday, 29 January 2012 — — from 5:00pm — 7:30pm
• • WHERE: Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, 40 S. Carroll St., Frederick, Maryland; Tel 301-662-4190
• • Tell them you heard about it on The Mae West Blog.
• • Jimmy Durante [1893 — 1980] • •
• • During 1922, Mae West was writing a new stage act, material for herself and an accompanist, featuring fast-paced skits and songs. Faced with choosing a pianist, Mae had auditioned two unknowns, Brooklynite Jimmy Durante [10 February 1893 — 29 January 1980] and Harry Richman [10 August 1895 — 3 November 1972]. Mae selected Richman, a tall, handsome, dapper fellow. Stagebills soon offered her new show: “Bits of Musical Comedy — — Mae West assisted by Harry Richman.” After some good notices, Mae snagged a booking at the Palace.
• • Even though he missed his chance to appear with Mae, Jimmy’s career continued to blossom.
• • Unfortunately, a stroke in 1972 left Durante confined to a wheelchair. He died of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California in January — — on 29 January 1980. He was 86.
• • Happy Birthday on the 29th of January • •
• • Happy Birthday to actress Ann Jillian (born on 29 January 1950), who portrayed Mae West in the 1982 TV bio-pic of the same name. Jillian was 32 when she starred in "Mae West" on the small screen.
• • Happy Birthday to actor Tom Selleck (born on 29 January 1945). It's been said by a few people that Mae West first noticed Tom Selleck in a Pepsi commercial. She was responsible for getting Selleck cast as The Stud in "Myra Breckenridge" [1970] when he was 25 years old.
• • On Monday, 29 January 1917 in Brooklyn • •
• • Mae West was a witness at her younger sister's wedding, which took place on a weekday, Monday, 29 January 1917 in Brooklyn City Hall, not far from the West family's Brooklyn residence.
• • January 1971 in Playboy Magazine • •
• • An interview with Mae West was featured in Playboy, Vol. 18, No. 1 — January 1971. Naturally, the Hollywood legend was invited to tell all about the men on her mattress. She did volunteer that the fellows who drink make the worst lovers.
• • Mae West told Playboy readers: "I don't remember how many lovers I've had, there were so many. I was never interested in the score, though — — only the game. Like my line, 'It's not the men in my life that counts but the life in my men.' ... I'm never dirty, dear. I'm interestin' without bein' vulgar. I have taste. I kid sex. I was born with sophistication and sex appeal. But I'm never vulgar, and I don't like obscenity. I just suggest."
• • Mae West explained to Playboy's interviewer: "I've liked the boys for as long as I can remember. When I was 12, I'd have about six of 'em around me and we'd kiss and I'd play with their — — umm, you know. But I didn't know I had this sex personality."
• • On Sunday, 29 January 1978 in Sunday Express • •
• • Since "Sextette" had a British director, articles discussing what happened on the set in Hollywood popped up in the British tabloids. An article discussing a scene filmed in a mock elevator appeared in Sunday Express on 29 January 1978.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in The L.A. Times on parlor games mentioned Mae West.
• • Jack Smith wrote: Others picked Charles Lindbergh, Mark Twain, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and Mae West. Of that group, I would pick Mae West first. I interviewed her once, and she certainly was a wit. . . .
• • Source: Article: "Look Who's Coming to Dinner: Hitler, Jesus, Mae West" written by Jack Smith for The L.A. Times; published on 29 January 1991
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2192nd 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mae West: Courting Mae in Oz

This Saturday — — today on 28 January 2012 — — Marie-Therese Byrne will take the role of MAE WEST in "Courting Mae West," a serious-minded comedy written by LindaAnn Loschiavo. A one-time only presentation Down Under, the play will have a rehearsed reading under the direction of Cameron Menzies during the Midsumma Festival, now in its 24th year.
• • Australia's trendy L.O.T.L. Magazine said: "Those in the mood for some titillating theatre should consider 'Courting Mae West,' part of Midsumma's Playing in the Raw season."
• • She broke the law — — but the law didn't break her! • •
• • Based on true events during the Prohibition Era — — from December 1926 until December 1932 — — the play follows a pre-Hollywood Mae West, age 33, as she socializes in the drag cabaret where she had cast "The Drag" (in Act I, Scene 1), a daring production she plans to bring to Broadway. Unfortunately, she gets arrested and jailed instead (Act 1, Scene 3). Censorship, courtroom battles, bankruptcy, and other crises will dog her footsteps, forcing the Brooklyn bombshell to climb the ladder of success wrong by wrong. Finally, a Paramount Pictures star at 39 years old, Mae gets to bring her box-office blockbuster "Diamond Lil" to the silver screen on her own terms by the end of 1932.
• • Veteran actress Marie-Therese Byrne will portray the 33-year-old Broadway star — — and outspoken Jefferson Jail inmate. Her bio notes that Bryne's vast experience stretches across decades and includes theatre, opera, film, and television. A consummate performer with a powerful presence, she has thrilled audiences in productions as versatile as Five Minute Call, The Secret Garden, Dimboola, Seven Little Australians, The Sound of Music and Summer of the Saw. Her stunning voice has seen her work with the Victorian State Opera on Joan of Arc, Aida and Carmen along with The Merry Widow and Di Fledermaus. On screen she appeared in the Aussie films The Castle, and Evil Angels along with appearances on Blue Heelers, Neighbours, Sons and Daughters, Phoenix, Prisoner, Australia's Most Wanted and Flying Doctors.
• • The various men, judges, attorneys, news dealers, directors, and drag queens in Mae West's life will be brought to life by the actors Marc Opitz, Sarah Roberts, Kathryn Tohill, Gabrielle Llewelyn-Salter, Glen Moore, Tom Beaupaire,
and Joshua Hackett.
• • WHAT: "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship & Secrets" by US playwright and Mae West authority LindaAnn Loschiavo
• • WHEN: Saturday, 28 January 2012 — — from 2.00pm — 4:30pm
• • WHERE: Midsumma Playing-In-The-Raw at The Chapel [Prahran, Australia]
• • VENUE: Chapel Off Chapel, in the City of Stonnington, has earned, both nationally and internationally, an excellent reputation as a progressive arts and entertainment venue.
• • Restrictions: R18
• • Special thanks to Robert Chuter for selecting "Courting Mae West" for Midsumma Playing-In-The-Raw's series.
• • Tell them you heard about it on The Mae West Blog.
• • Colette [1873 — 1954] • •
• • Colette was the pen name of the novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette [28 January 1873 — 3 August 1954]. Born in January in Yonne, France twenty years before Mae West, Colette praised the Brooklynite as the ultimate woman who did not defer to a man — — on celluloid or in reality.
• • The frisky French author wrote a notable essay in 1934, assessing the impact of Mae West onscreen. Colette observed: "She alone, out of an enormous and dull catalogue of heroines, does not get married at the end of the film, does not die, does not take the road to exile, does not gaze sadly at her declining youth in a silver-framed mirror …. She alone has no parents, no children, no husband. This impudent woman is, in her style, as solitary as Chaplin used to be. ..."
• • Zora Neale Hurston [1891 — 1960] • •
• • January is an ideal time to look back at another sharp-eyed female scribe, Zora Neale Hurston.
• • Born in Alabama, Zora Neale Hurston [7 January 1891 — 28 January 1960] was a folklorist and an author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Her best known work was the novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God" [1937]. In 2002, scholars listed Zora Neale Hurston among the 100 Greatest African-Americans.
• • It seems that Mae West had tinted some photographs to make herself resemble her black maid. And chronicler Zora Neale Hurston in a 1934 essay, ''Characteristics of Negro Expression,'' said that Mae West ''had much more flavor of the turpentine quarters than she did of the white bawd.''
• • On Thursday, 28 January 1937 in Maryland • •
• • "At the Tivoli today and tomorrow!" announced the paid notice in the Frederick News-Post, covering the arts and entertainment scene for Frederick, Maryland. "Mae West in Paramount's 'Go West Young Man' with Warren William, Randolph Scott, Alice Brady." This bold-faced stand-alone ad stood out in the Frederick News-Post on Thursday, 28 January 1937.
• • On Friday, 28 January 1938 in The Harvard Crimson • •
• • The Moviegoer, W.B., informed his student readers with this headline: "Fred Warning and Pennsylvanians Cut Capers on Stage; Mae West Takes Lead in a Clean Picture."
• • The Moviegoer, W.B. wrote: Fred Warning and his mad, merrymaking Pennsylvanians top the bill at the Metropolitan Theatre this week with an hour of swing punctuated by the informal capers of the orchestra. On the screen Mae West plays the rather weak part of a confidence girl with an honest heart in "Every Day's A Holiday." ...
• • The Moviegoer, W.B. continued: The picture is not of the best, but it does sustain interest, and Charles Butterworth and Charles Winniger should get top honors for the many laughs they provide in this drama of New York at the turn of the century. Both dialogue and action are definitely clean, perhaps suspiciously so. Miss West's fans will find, however, that she wears the gowns of the era to perfection, although they may not like the change from blonde to brunette. ...
• • These excerpts are from a longer feature published in The Harvard Crimson Friday, 28 January 1938.
• • On Saturday, 28 January 1978 in Los Angeles • •
• • Trying to catch up on paperwork on a Saturday, Mae was paying bills. A personal check was signed by Mae West on 28 January 1978. It was payable to "Dept. of Water & Gas" for the sum of $18.47.
• • On Friday, 28 January 2011 in New Jersey • •
• • Known for screening motion picture classics, The Landmark Loews Jersey Theatre located on Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey, showed "She Done Him Wrong" [1933] starring Mae West, Cary Grant, and Noah Beery, Sr. on Friday night, 28 January 2011. The brochure noted: Mae West's first and best film, since it was not watered down by the subsequently production code censors. It is the ultimate distillation of her charismatic persona of simmering seductiveness and innuendo-laced one liners. Directed by Lowell Sherman (65 Minutes).
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: Don’t confuse procreation with recreation. She’s married. Maybe she can’t breed in captivity. (long pause) So is your cash disappearing? Mmm. How safe are the FAMILY JEWELS? [one line from the play "Courting Mae West"]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Lillian Schlissel wrote: "The vulgarity of Mae West plays was meant to disrupt the standards of propriety. The speech was intended to sow the seeds of revolution.”
• • Source: "Three Plays by Mae West: 'Sex,' 'The Drag' and 'The Pleasure Man'," edited by Lillian Schlissel [Routledge, 246 pages]. A good book to own.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2191st 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Mae West: That Mae Ingredient

MAE WEST owned the part of "Diamond Lil" and toured with her Bowery melodrama, off and on, until November 1951.
• • The first (and last) revival without the Mae ingredient was staged in northern California, eight years after the icon's death with another Broadway mainstay, Gretchen Wyler [1932 — 2007], in the title role. Mae's script was adapted by Dennis Powers and Paul Blake and staged at The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
• • The premiere was on Wednesday, 27 January 1988 and there were twenty-seven performances in all.
• • Actress Gretchen Wyler told the news media: "We haven't spoofed it. We haven't made it silly. And I dare say Mae might have liked it."
• • It seems the critics enjoyed it, too.
• • Dan Sullivan and Rebecca Crandall Reviewed the Revival • •
• • In March 1988 L.A. Times Times Theater Critic Dan Sullivan had explained to his readers: No one has tried to revive "Diamond Lil" in 100 years. Or at least since 1951, which was the last time Mae West did it. One reason is that Mae can't be imitated, although everybody tries. Another reason is that her script is pure cardboard. ...
• • Dan Sullivan wrote: Gretchen Wyler may not be Mae West, but she is still Gretchen Wyler, a lady who knows how to take stage. Rather than making Diamond Lil voluptuous, even kiddingly so, she makes her a cash-on-the-barrelhead dame who knows where all the bodies are buried, having disposed of half of them herself. ... [N.B.: Sullivan's comments are continued below.]
• • In her review for Synapse in March 1988, Rebecca Crandall was enthusiastic: Mae West's wisecracking sense of humor pervades the script, smoothly switching between the objective and subjective to enlighten her audience. In several asides to the audience, which Gretchen Wyler pulls off with skill, Diamond Lil drops delicious lines such as: "When women go wrong, men go right after them." These zingers add a spirited tone to West's view of women and the subtle sexual warfare taking place in the early 1920s. . . .
• • Rebecca Crandall continued: All the songs are performed with personality and pleasing choreography, integrating color and life into the show instead of dating or trivializing it. And after seeing Gretchen Wyler float across the stage in her voluptuous affairs, it is no surprise that her several songs in the second act match her former vivacious skill.
• • According to Rebecca Crandall: "Diamond Lil" presents melodrama at its best, and where it belongs, in a turn of the century burlesque comedy brimming with dance, song, slapstick, seduction, and plot tricks. Gretchen Wyler's interaction with the audience enchants in the true style of Mae West, who surprises us with her ability to create a crisp, sharp, and thoroughly entertaining script. For an evening of pure fun, go see Mae West's "Diamond Lil" and become seduced by a truly glamorous woman who was ahead of her time.
• • Source: Theatre Review: "Come up and see her sometime — — 'Diamond Lil' at The American Conservatory Theater, 450 Geary, Through March 19" written by Rebecca Crandall for UCLA's Synapse Magazine, Volume 32, Number 21; 10 March 1988.
• • Gerald Marks [1900 — 1997] • •
• • Mae West recorded a popular old standard in her album "The Fabulous Mae West" [for MCA Records, Inc., 100 Universal Plaza, Universal City, California] — — "All of Me" by composer Gerald Marks.
• • Born in Saginaw, Michigan in the month of October — — on 13 October 1900 — — Gerald Marks began writing songs as a boy. He was best known for the song "All of Me," which he co-wrote in 1931 with bandleader Seymour Simons, and which has been recorded more than 1,000 times (including four versions by Frank Sinatra). Al Jolson was the first to make it a hit. Marks also wrote the songs "That's What I Want for Christmas" for a Shirley Temple film, and "Is It True What They Say About Dixie?" recorded by Al Jolson and Rudy Vallee.
• • After a long, exciting career, Gerald Marks died on 27 January 1997. He was 96 years old.
• • Screenland's January 1934 cover • •
• • Directly under a striking color portrait of Mae West on the cover of the January 1934 issue of Screenland, the Smart Screen Magazine, the editors promised that you would find "Mae West's Personal Message to You!" on page 24.
• • On Monday, 27 January 1930 in The Brooklyn Eagle • •
• • The death of Matilda Delker West was reported in The Brooklyn Eagle on Monday, 27 January 1930. A heartbreaking loss for her daughter Mae, who was born and bred in Brooklyn, where her mother introduced her to the vaudeville circuit.
• • On Friday, 27 January 1933 in the USA • •
• • The red carpet premiere of "She Done Him Wrong" took place in Hollywood on Friday, 27 January 1933. What a great day for Mae West.
• • On Thursday, 27 January 1938 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Frank S. Nugent, The Times man on the aisle, gave his review of "Every Day's a Holiday" on page 17 [N.Y. Times on 27 January 1938]. Nugent didn't care for the motion picture per se but seemed to appreciate the live music played by Benny Goodman and his orchestra that was part of the New York Paramount Theatre's stage show.
• • In contrast, Variety's headline was "Benny Goodman — West Boffo B'way for $57,000" [Variety on 2 February 1938]. Considering this tally was done during the Great Depression, ticket receipts totaling $57,000 at the box office in NYC would indicate that Mae West definitely attracted a full house in her hometown.
• • On Sunday, 27 January 1985 in The Sun Sentinel • •
• • Florida Staff Writer Shari Roan wrote: Fred Astaire, Mae West, and Wrigley Field have it. Warren Beatty, Kim Novak and the Superdome do not. Astaire, West and Wrigley Field have staying power, say writers Betty Cornfeld and Owen Edwards. They will never go out of style. They are quintessential. Quintessence: The Quality of Having It (Crown, $12.95) is the title of Cornfeld and Edwards` book about things forever trendy. ...
• • The Sun Sentinel published her feature in the weekend edition on Sunday, 27 January 1985.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Diamonds is my career."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on the revival of "Diamond Lil" in San Francisco mentioned Mae West.
• • Ed Hastings of the American Conservatory Theatre (450 Geary) sat down with with a visitor from Los Angeles, L.A. Times Staff Writer Dan Sullivan.
• • Dan Sullivan wrote: This year Ed Hastings's giving 'em "Diamond Lil" with Broadway musical-comedy star Gretchen Wyler in the Mae West role. This is San Francisco, after all. ...
• • Dan Sullivan wrote: No one has tried to revive "Diamond Lil" in 100 years. Or at least since 1951, which was the last time Mae West did it. One reason is that Mae can't be imitated, although everybody tries. Another reason is that her script is pure cardboard. ...
• • Dan Sullivan wrote: Gretchen Wyler may not be Mae West, but she is still Gretchen Wyler, a lady who knows how to take stage. Rather than making Diamond Lil voluptuous, even kiddingly so, she makes her a cash-on-the-barrelhead dame who knows where all the bodies are buried, having disposed of half of them herself. You think of that great San Francisco madam, Sally Stanford. True, it's hard to believe Wyler when she tells us that she thought Donat was sending all those girls to Havana to become reading teachers. But we wouldn't have believed Mae either. Wyler looks terrific and uncorks Mae's great old wisecracks as if she wrote 'em herself. That's about all you can expect from "Diamond Lil." We are not talking heavy drama here. . . .
• • Source: Article: "STAGE: ACT Is Back on Course as S.F.'s Leading Theater" written by Dan Sullivan for The L.A. Times; published on 6 March 1988
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2190th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • in April 1928 • •
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