Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mae West: Linder Legal Woes

On Friday, 21 January 1938 MAE WEST was in many newspapers again due to more legal woes. The headline in The Argus announced "Action Against Mae West" and this item appeared in the daily Melbourne, Victoria publication (page 11) on 21 January 1938.
• • Filing the story from Los Angeles on Thursday, January 20th, a West Coast correspondent wrote: Miss Mae West, the film actress, and Paramount Pictures have been sued for 1,000,000 dollars (£A200,000) by Mr. Mark Linder, an author, who has charged them with fraud in connection with the story of the film "She Done Him Wrong," which, he alleges, was written by him. Mr. Linder claims that he was induced to sell his interest in the story for 25,000 dollars (£A5,000), while Paramount Pictures made 4,000,000 dollars (£A800,000) and Miss West earned 330,000 dollars (£A67,800).
• • "You can't copyright atmosphere and locale!" • •
• • The Bowery battles between Mae West and Mark and Jack Linder began early in 1928 and continued to rise in volume, intent, and dollar signs. As the Broadway box office bonanza barreled through 1928, Mae scooped up a larger stake in the show, buying out the shares owned by Tommy and Texas Guinan. Eventually, she was Diamond Lil's principal stockholder and calling the shots.. She was emotionally invested in the play's main character, too, identifying with the spicy stories she had heard about the original Diamond Lil, a remorseless heartbreaker who loved diamonds so much she had a sparkler set in her front teeth.
• • By July 1928, on the grounds that the showtune cost too much, Mae scrapped the theme song "Diamond Lil," which had been written by a Linder ally Robert Sterling.
• • Then in front of a reporter for Variety, Mae had a shout-fest with the Linder brothers.
• • "Atmosphere and locale!" boasted Mark. "It's all mine!
Atmosphere and locale!"
• • Hah! Battling Jack's daughter never let anyone put her in a corner. "Atmosphere and locale! You can't copyright atmosphere and locale!" And before she was through with him, Mae loudly emphasized her authorship and ownership. In case he didn't get it, she said, "There isn't even a name in 'Diamond Lil' that was in your play except that of Chick Clark and I think I'll take that out!"
• • From irritation in 1928 to lawyers and litigation in 1938 • •
• • Shortly after filing his lawsuit a decade later in 1938, Mark Linder was counter-sued by Mae West over the script of "Diamond Lil" reincarnated for the cinema as "She Done Him Wrong," a storyline Linder claimed he himself had written under the title "Chatham Square." But the judge sided with Paramount Pictures and the Brooklyn-born screen queen. Linder lost the suit and Mae West was awarded one million dollars.
• • Born in New York City circa 1881, Mark Linder was an actor, a producer, and a playwright who wrote over 100 plays. Mark Linder died of a heart attack in New York City in 1950.
• • The Argus — Established in 1846, The Argus was a morning daily newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, which closed down circa 1957. Known as a conservative newspaper for most of its history, it adopted a left leaning approach from 1949 — on. The main competitor over the life of the newspaper was David Syme's more liberal-minded The Age newspaper.
• • PHOTO: Mae West was photographed by the White Studio wearing one of her gorgeous costumes by Dolly Tree in April 1928. The Broadway star was 34 years old when she posed. A fabulous portrait.
• • On Saturday, 21 January 1950 • •
• • When the revival of "Diamond Lil" left the Plymouth Theatre on Saturday night, 21 January 1950, Mae West immediately took the show on the road. The hard-working performer has never let an understudy substitute for her onstage. How many actresses can say that?
• • On Tuesday, 21 January 2003 in the UK • •
• • Ben Southwell directed the episode "Living Famously — Mae West," which was part of a television series originally broadcast in Great Britain from 2002
2003. Starring W.C. Fields, Cary Grant, Mickey Hargitay, et al, this footage originally aired in the UK on Tuesday, 21 January 2003.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I don’t know much about politics — — but I know a good party man when I see one."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about the "Woman of the Century" award given to Mae West was revisited.
• • In 1971, Kevin Thomas had written: Sheathed in white faille and sparkling with diamonds, the star was accorded several standing ovations by the approximately 1,700 students who crowded the ballroom.
• • In the photograph, taken on Wednesday, 12 May 1971, Mae West, UCLA’s Woman of the Century, speaks to students after a screening of her 1933 classic movie “I’m No Angel.”
• • Scott Harrison writes: A different photo by L.A. Times photographer Boris Yaro — — a portrait of Mae West speaking — — was published with the Kevin Thomas article. But according to Yaro, that image did not do justice to the legendary star.
• • Scott Harrison continues: Boris Yaro says he went to the rear of the stage “because head on she didn’t look as pretty as the woman most film folks remember. I was able to make a photo from behind so that even if the face was not visible, folks would know instantly who this person was.” This iconic image has been published several times since. ...
• • Source: Article: "Mae West named Woman of the Century" re-visited and written by Scott Harrison for The Los Angeles Times; posted on 17 January 2012
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2184th 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 • 1928, White Studio; 1971, L.A. Times • •
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