Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mae West: Typed Letter

The letter was dated for Tuesday, 10 January 1950 and MAE WEST had a pen in her hand, ready to make it official. She was signing a typed letter (one page long) employing the William Morris Agency as her sole and exclusive agent for a period of three years. The contract would go into effect on 18 February 1950.
• • This document is currently for sale by History for Sale, 3601 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada.
• • Harry Von Tilzer [8 July 1872 — 10 January 1946] • •
• • His life ended in January 66 years ago, but we hope people have not forgotten the American songwriter Harry Von Tilzer [8 July 1872 — 10 January 1946] whose frisky lyrics helped launch Mae West's act when she was billed as "Baby May, Song and Dance." One of his popular novelty songs — — "Mariutch Make-a the Hootch a-ma-Cooch in Coney Island" — — was performed by "Baby May" when her parents entered their daughter in amateur contests. Her performance of this Italian dialect number often won a prize.
• • Harry Von Tilzer was born in Detroit under the name Harry Gummbinsky (which he shortened to Harry Gumm before later taking the "Von Tilzer" monicker under which he became famous). At age 14 he joined a traveling circus, where he took his new name. He began playing piano and calliope while creating new tunes and incidental music for shows. After writing many songs, performed by well-known vocalists, Harry Von Tilzer achieved wealth and fame.
• • During the last 20 years of his life, Von Tilzer's self-imposed retirement was spent at the Hotel Woodward [210 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019], a beaux-arts beauty built in 1904; situated at the corner of Broadway and West 55th, the hotel is four blocks away from Central Park and still in service. Von Tilzer died in his suite there (perhaps from natural causes or pure boredom) in January — — on 10 January 1946. He was 74 years old.
• • In 1970, the songwriter was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
• • Photo: Hotel Woodward during the 1940s.
• • Craig Russell [1948 — 1990] • •
• • Born in Canada, Russell Craig Eadie [10 January 1948 — 30 October 1990], known by his stage name Craig Russell, was a female impressionist. As a teenager, Russell became the president of Mae West's fan club, and also worked briefly as West's secretary in Los Angeles.
• • When The Los Angeles Times ran his obit, this was the title: "Craig Russell, Actor And Widely Known Female Impersonator, Was Mae West Fan." The bio-note that touched on his career highlights, printed in the newspaper on Saturday, 3 November 1990, informed their West Coast readers that "Craig Russell, star of the 1977 film 'Outrageous,' hailed by critics as an insightful tale of the gay underworld in which a schizophrenic girl moves in with a struggling female impersonator, has died of a stroke resulting from AIDS, a Toronto hospital official said. He was 42. ..."
• • On Thursday, 10 January 1935 in Los Angeles • •
• • A newspaper gossip column reported on Thursday, 10 January 1935 that actress Lyda Roberti [1906 — 1938] lives in the same apartment building as Mae West, George Burns and Gracie Allen, George Raft, and Ida Lupino. The Ravenswood at 570 North Rossmore was the address, of course.
• • On Sunday, 10 January 1993 in The Los Angeles Times • •
• • Journalist Carl Anthony wrote an article about the "Material Girl" called "The Mae (West) in Madonna" for The Los Angeles Times. They ran it in their weekend newspaper on Sunday, 10 January 1993.
• • On Saturday, 10 January 2004 in Australia • •
• • In Australia, ABC Television broadcast this show: "Living Famously: Mae West" at 7:30pm on Saturday, 10 January 2004. ABC noted: "The life and career of Hollywood legend Mae West, a one woman sexual revolution who dominated stage and screen in the 1920s and 30s with her sex goddess looks, innuendoes and rapier wit." No doubt the TV program was completely a-Mae-zing.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: The score never interested me, only the game.
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on the handkerchief mentioned Mae West.
• • Writing from Edmonton, Canada, Jana G. Pruden explained: As a crime reporter, I don’t often write lighthearted features. So, when I was asked to contribute a story for the style section, I jumped on the chance to take a look at the most-maligned and controversial piece of common cloth: the handkerchief. The story turned out to be fascinating and fun, as I looked into some of the hanky’s historic moments, from the pocket of Rhett Butler to the mouth of Mae West. ...
• • Jana G. Pruden added: I enjoyed digging up old newspaper ads in which Kleenex intentionally tried to wipe out the competition, declaring hankies a germ-laden “menace to society.” ....
• • Jana G. Pruden continued: During her trial on obscenity charges in 1927, actress and sex symbol Mae West stuffed a hanky (black, because she was in mourning for her mother) into her mouth to keep from laughing at a police officer’s testimony. ...
• • Source: Article: "Hanky’s long blown image begins comeback" written by Jana G. Pruden for The Edmonton Journal; published on 30 December 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2173rd 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 1935 • •
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Mae West.

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