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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