Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mae West: Efforts to De-Umph

"When Catherine Was Great" starring MAE WEST was in performance, reviews were mixed. In a January column — — published on 24 January 1945 — — the Boston Post was rude and dismissive, sneering "It doesn't seem that anyone over 21 would admit to having written such a play." But the play and the Broadway star found some supporters in the media, for instance, Stark Young. And the fans were in Mae's corner, buying tickets.
• • Gene Austin [1900 — 1972]
• •
• • Seven years younger than Mae, Gene Austin was born on the 24th day of the month of June in Texas — — that is, on 24 June 1900.
• • Though Gene Austin was the best-selling recording artist of the 1920s, he died virtually unknown in Palm Springs at age 71 after walking away from big-time show biz in the 1930s. His very last show was at the old Jack London restaurant on North Indian Canyon Drive on New Year's Eve, 1971.
• • Phil Moody had been Mae's musical director when she did the "Mae West Revue." Gene Austin lived with Grace and Phil Moody in Palm Springs from 1971 until his death at Desert Regional Medical Center in January
— — on 24 January 1972.
• • On Monday, 24 January 1938 in Time Magazine • •
• • The radio ruckus Mae West set in motion just before Christmas 1937 continued being discussed in the news. Time Magazine's issue — — dated Monday, 24 January 1938 — — focused on all those "right-thinking" citizens who penned complaint letters and the FCC's request for a transcript of the offending program. NBC was reluctant to release it, however.
• • On Monday, 24 January 1938 • •
• • According to Time, Mae West's cinema earnings in 1936 were $323,000, about as much salary as Bethlehem Steel's president, Eugene G. Grace, and the chairman of its board, Charles M. Schwab.
• • Time Magazine published a review of Mae West's latest film "Every Day's A Holiday" (Paramount Pictures, 1938). Time's critic had this to say:
• • In the peculiar idiom of show business, Mae West's art comes under the head of umph.
• • This quality is expressed by sinuous gyrating and prurient murmurings. That this sort of thing will make money is well established. Actress West's last recorded cinema earnings (1936) were $323,000, about as much salary as Bethlehem Steel's president, Eugene G. Grace, and the chairman of its board, Charles M. Schwab, draw down together. That umph sometimes shocks the public is established too.
• • For "Every Day's A Holiday" Paramount made a determined effort to de-umph Mae West by vacuum-cleaning the script, disguising Mae in a fantastic black French periwig. But, like trying to purify the water by white-washing the village pump, it did not work. To situations considerably less potential than the story of Adam & Eve, actress Mae West imparts a meaning all her own; despite all directorial and script-writing efforts to make her steer a straight course, she still writhes as she pleases. As sexless a game as selling a sucker the Brooklyn Bridge resembles, in the West vernacular, a bargain sale of great temptations. . . . [published in Time Magazine on Monday, 24 January 1938]
• • On Saturday 24 January 1948 in London • •
• • "Diamond Lil" starring Mae West toured Manchester, Blackpool, Birmingham, and Glasgow before opening at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London on Saturday night, 24 January 1948.
• • On Tuesday, 24 January 1950 in the Baltimore Sun • •
• • Sculptor Louis Rosenthal was interviewed and photographed in a Maryland hotel suite right next to Mae West. The article was: "Mae West Unaltered in 19 Years, Sculptor Finds." It's an enjoyable read and the photo of them together in a hotel room is priceless as the caption: "Rosenthal studies the Mae West profile." Terrific.
• • Mae West was performing in "Diamond Lil" at the Ford Theatre in January 1950.
• • On Sunday, 24 January 1993 in the L.A. Times • •
• • This "letter to the editor" was published in The Los Angeles Times in the Sunday paper on 24 January 1993.
• • MAE and MADONNA: Come Up and See a Real Star Sometime
• • Your article comparing Mae West and Madonna was bizarre. Writer Carl Anthony must be a Madonna groupie to elevate her to the status of Mae West. Sure, they both had works titled "Sex": Mae West wrote and starred in a Broadway hit by that name; Madonna posed for nude photos in a book by that name. Some comparison.
• • I know a bit about West. Carl Anthony was really stretching his facts. While Madonna must be credited with selling many pop records, Mae West was a star. I hope that Anthony's upcoming documentary about West won't cheapen her. Her fans are not easily fooled.
• • Letter written by L.A. Times reader James Greene, San Diego
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Maybe I ought to turn on a little more inspiration?"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on a boxer mentioned Mae West.
• • ESPN wrote: But as significant a boxer as Johnson was, he is often remembered more for a flamboyant lifestyle that, coupled with his skin color in "White America," inspired unprecedented controversy and even rioting.
• • ESPN wrote: He transformed himself from the docks of Galveston, Texas, to early 20th-century glitterati. He had his own jazz band, owned a Chicago nightclub, acted on stage, drove flashy yellow sports cars, reputedly walked his pet leopard while sipping champagne, flaunted gold teeth that went with his gold-handled walking stick and boasted of his conquests of whites — — both in and out of the ring.
• • ESPN wrote: Johnson kept the company of some of his era's most desired women, most of them white. Moulin Rouge star Mistinguette. German spy Mata Hari. Sex symbols Lupe Velez and Mae West. Johnson was romantically linked to all. ...
• • ESPN wrote: John Arthur Johnson was born on March 31, 1878, in Galveston. He died at age 68 in a car accident on June 10, 1946, near Raleigh, N.C.
• • Source: Article: "Jack Johnson" / Black History Month written by ESPN.com; posted on: Wednesday, 24 January 2001
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2187th 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 • Mae with W.C. Fields & Gene Austin, 1940 • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

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