Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mae West: Kloot's Kounty

MAE WEST stars in "My Little Chickadee" [1940] and Chelsea Clearview Cinema screens this comedy in NYC this evening on Thursday, 19 January 2012.
• • Manhattan's hostess with the mostess Hedda Lettuce offers a pre-film monologue that is hilarious. Yes, yes, my little chickadee. When it comes to drag queens in The Big Apple, "La Lettuce" is at the head of the class.
• • "My Little Chickadee" was directed by Edward F. Cline. The script was written by Mae West and W.C. Fields, though she maintained she wrote much more of the screenplay than he did.
• • WHERE: Chelsea Clearview Cinema: 260 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
• • WHEN: Thursday, 19 January 2012 [phone for the showtimes]
• • Dated 19 January 1889 in the city of Brooklyn • •
• • It was Saturday, 19 January 1889, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY, Battling Jack West and Tillie Delker took their wedding vows before a local minister with Jack's sister Julia West acting as maid of honor.
• • California biographer Emily Wortis Leider wrote: If they knew about it, Matilda's family almost certainly would have attempted to thwart her impetuous marriage at age eighteen to John "Battlin' Jack" West, a cigar-chomping, street-smart tough. The marriage certificate of Tillie Delker and John West, dated January 19, 1889, in the city of Brooklyn — — a separate city then, not yet a part of metropolitan New York — — lists the groom's age as twenty-two, his birthplace as New York City, and his occupation: "mechanic."
• • Emily Wortis Leider explained: His parents' names are entered in the appropriate slots: Father, also John West, a native of New York (the U.S. Census for 1920 contradicts this, naming Newfoundland as his father's birthplace); and Irish-born mother, Mary Cobley, a misspelling of Copley. Copley is also the name listed for one of the witnesses (E. Frances). The second witness was Julia West.
• • Emily Wortis Leider continued: The presence of two witnesses standing up for the groom and none from the bride's family supports the theory that while his family favored the marriage, hers did not. Perhaps the young couple's decision to marry had been made in such haste there wasn't time to arrange a full-tilt Event. Perhaps, fearing obstruction, Tillie didn't inform them of the wedding until afterward. Very likely, Tillie's father [Jacob Delker], a former chemical engineer at a sugar refinery in Germany, Mae claimed, who had a liquor business in 1892 and whose occupation in the 1900 census was given as "salesman — — coffee" disdained the modest earning capacity of a mechanic son-in-law. ...
• • Source: CHAPTER ONE of "Becoming Mae West" written by Emily Wortis Leider [NY: Farrar Straus Giroux] — — an excellent biography, highly recommended to all.
• • On Friday, 19 January 1973 • •
• • Released theatrically in the USA on Friday, 19 January 1973 was a frisky color cartoon starring Mae West — — "Kloot's Kounty." This Old West styled animated feature was written by John W. Dunn, who created the storyline: Mae West comes to visit Sheriff Kloot. It seems that her sheep are missing — — and she says Chief Crazywolf has taken them. Sheriff Kloot rockets into action but, by the end of the toon, he looks as if he has been hit by a rocket.
• • The cartoon characters — — Mae West, Hoot Kloot, Fester, Crazywolf — — were animated by Bob Richardson, Don Williams, Bob Bemiller, John Freeman, Reuben Timmins.
• • Hawley Pratt directed "Kloot's Kounty," which was produced by David H. DePatie, Isadore Freleng / DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, Mirisch Cinema Company.
• • Distributed by: United Artists
• • On Monday, 19 January 1981 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Readers of The N.Y. Times opened their newspaper on Monday, 19 January 1981 and they read this startling headline: "Mae West Left Million, Mostly to Her Sister." A reporter based in California filed the story for Reuters, which was date-lined from Los Angeles.
• • LOS ANGELES, January 18 — Mae West, who died in November [1980] at the age of 87, left $1 million, according to her will filed in court here.
• • Paul Novak, a former ''muscleman'' in her stage act who was her constant companion for the last 25 years, was not mentioned in the will, filed on Friday in Santa Monica Superior Court.
• • A petition for probate estimated the value of Miss West's personal property at $1 million with an annual income of $50,000. She left the bulk of her estate, including her jewelry, to her sister, Mildred West. Other bequests included one for $3,500 to the Mae West Fan Club of Ontario.
• • Miss West, unlike the character she played on the screen, led a quiet private life and invested much of her money in property.
• • On Friday, 19 January 2007 • •
• • Starring Mae West and W.C. Fields, the comedy "My Little Chickadee" was screened at the W. C. Fields Exhibition in Beverly Hills.
• • "The Peregrinations & Pettifoggery of W. C. Fields" was the amusing Dickensian title of the new Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exhibition showcasing the work of comedian W. C. Fields, which opened to the public on Friday, 19 January 2007, in the Academy's Fourth Floor Gallery in Los Angeles.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Mmm, funny, every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from." [a line from "My Little Chickadee"]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A biography mentioned the 1970 premiere of "Myra B" and Mae West.
• • Born on January 19th, Janis Lyn Joplin [19 January 1943 — 4 October 1970] was a singer and songwriter from Port Arthur, Texas.
• • Johnny Winter told biographer Myra Friedman this story: During Janis Joplin's December 19 Madison Square Garden concert she was joined on stage by Johnny Winter and Paul Butterfield.
• • Johnny Winter [born 23 February 1944] was also Janis' date to the premiere of "Myra Breckinridge" [in June 1970]. Johnny was 26 years old then. Janis was 27 years old; the singer died a few months later in October of a drug overdose.
• • In "Buried Alive," Johnny Winter recalled, "Janis and I were so dressed up. She used to do that all the time, but I do remember that she was wearing her big ole cape and has all these feathers in her hair. I was all in black velvet and stuff. Boy. How many times do you get to see Mae West and Raquel Welch in one evening! So we get to the theater, with all those lights and those Hollywood people. We felt we were just a couple of freaks in the middle of that. So, I remember we walked down the aisle to get our seats, and suddenly there was all this applause. We looked at each other because we knew it couldn't be for us. Then we heard somebody say something — — and we realized they had thought I was Mae West!" . . .
• • Source: "Buried Alive: The Biography of Janis Joplin" written by Myra Friedman [NY: Crown, September 15, 1992]
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2182nd 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 • 1940 • •
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  1. R. Mark Desjardins8:48 PM

    Mae West' had promised Paul Novak that he was to have been the main beneficiary of her will, but she held off updating it. Mae fully anticipated outliving her sister Beverly. The Mae West Fan Club of Ontario, operated for years by female impersonator, Craig Russell was bequeathed $3,500, but an interview I conducted with his mother revealed that the gift was never received.

  2. In her Will, Mae West left one-third of her estate to Actors Equity Fund, a charitable affiliate of ACTORS EQUITY UNION that helps members during health emergencies, etc.

    I phoned their headquarters in Manhattan and Actors Equity Fund (a well-known institution) was never notified by Mae's lawyers nor the executors of her estate. They assured me they never received a dime.

    Mae West was, of course, a member of Actors Equity herself.

  3. Anonymous10:24 PM

    After reading your comment about The Actors Equity Fund getting stiffed in not receiving money Mae West had intended for them to get, and knowing of other beneficiaries getting shortchanged, one can't help but wonder just how committed the estate probaters were and how well they lined their pockets. Mae West's estate should still be receiving residuals for the television airings of My LIttle Chickadee. I wonder how is pocketing that chunk of change?

  4. • • MAE WEST [1893 — 1980] left a Will and it was up to the Executor(s) to administer it.
    • • Though I don't know who that was, the estate matters were taken over by lawyer Roger Richman, who had the rights assigned to him by Mae's one and only nephew (now deceased).
    • • I have been told that no blood relatives of Mae West's family members are still alive; only Mae's brother John had a child (who was not married and has now died from AIDS) and both Mae and Beverly died without children nor a living spouse.
    • • Roger Richman has sold Mae West's estate and its rights to Corbis. If anyone is collecting fees at present, it must be Corbis.
    — — — — — — — — — —
    For Reference Purposes Only -
    The Roger Richman Agency, Inc. was purchased by Corbis' owner Bill Gates in 2005. For licensing opportunities related to the following legends, please contact For other information regarding Roger Richman please contact him at

    The Roger Richman Agency, Inc. is the preeminent licensing agency specializing in protecting and promoting the personae of world-renowned entertainment and historic personalities. Located in Beverly Hills, CA, the Agency has operated for 26 years and was headed by Roger Richman, who pioneered celebrity rights legislation.