Sunday, February 05, 2012

Mae West: Lil in Billboard

Saturday night with MAE WEST at the Coronet Theatre. Billboard reviewer Bob Francis was in the crowd on 5 February 1949 and recorded his fascinations in a lengthy, generously detailed piece that was printed the following week on 12 February 1949. His was an interesting perspective, since he had seen the show in 1928, too.
• • The epitome of bustuous sirens . . . • •
• • Bob Francis wrote: The laughter is affectionate and as spontaneous as it was 20 years back. "Diamond Lil" is Mae West — — throaty, sexy — — the epitome of bustuous sirens — — and the customers howl all over again at that celebrated first act curtain: "Why doncha come up and see me sometime! . . ."
• • Bob Francis noted: From her first entrance — — which gives off the impression of being backed by a brass band — — she never gives the customers a dull moment while she is on stage. ...
• • It's a terrific essay. Maybe we'll quote more of it on another occasion. Come up sometime.
• • Irving Bacon [1893 — 1965] • •
• • A busy bit parts player, known best for an on-going role in "Blondie," hooked up with a project starring the Brooklyn blonde Mae West in 1937.
• • Born on 6 September 1893 in St. Joseph, Missouri, Irving Bacon launched his cinema career in 1913 at the Keystone Studios, where his craggy features and athletic ability was most suitable for broad slapstick.
• • There were literally hundreds of casting directors who hired him to portray a flustered foreman, bartender, soda jerk, mailman, clerk, chauffeur, handyman, cabbie, etc. — — especially if the role called for amusing frustration or pop-eyed perplexity. During the 1930s — 1940s Irving Bacon found his calling as Mr. Crumb, the postman whose bundle of mail is pre-destined to collide with late-for-work Dagwood Bumstead in the "Blondie" series.
• • In "Every Day's a Holiday" (1937), the seasoned six-footer was seen as a quartet member.
• • TV situation comedies also made use of the versatile character actor.
• • Irving Bacon died in Hollywood, California in the month of February — — on 5 February 1965.
• • On Sunday, 5 February 1933 in New York World Herald • •
• • In an interview with New York World Herald in their Sunday issue, on 5 February 1933, Mae West boasted about discovering Cary Grant and getting him the role of Captain Cummings for her motion picture.
• • On Monday, 5 February 1934 in Scandinavia • •
• • "I'm No Angel" starring Mae West made its debut in Denmark on 5 February 1934.
• • On Wednesday, 5 February 1936 in the Hollywood Reporter • •
• • An article on censorship and the making of the film "Klondike Annie" was featured in the Hollywood Reporter on 5 February 1936. Variety also ran a story on the same topic on 5 February 1936.
• • On Saturday, 5 February 1949 on Broadway • •
• • Mae West fused herself to the persona of "Diamond Lil" like no other character she had ever played.
• • In the month of February, a Broadway revival of "Diamond Lil" opened at the Coronet Theatre [5 February 1949 — 26 February 1949]. This hugely successful revival was interrupted, alas, after a few weeks. Mae West broke her ankle on February 26, causing performances to halt after she slipped on a rug in her hotel room.
• • The trade papers sent their reviewers to the Saturday night performance on February 5th and most accorded it a favorable reception. The Daily News reporters enjoyed the "Diamond Lil" revival and admitted that they were laughing until they were fit to bust.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Good sex is like good bridge; if you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on censorship mentioned Mae West.
• • Jill Watts wrote: By February 1936, when "Klondike Annie" premiered, Mae West reigned as one of Hollywood's brightest stars. She had made several blockbuster films and had achieved national and international recognition as America's first lady of the screen and streets. Although she had attracted a massive following of loyal fans and her films had saved Paramount from bankruptcy, her struggle with censorship had followed her west. With a little help from her studio, throughout her early years in the film industry, she continually fought off attempts to suppress and alter her work. "Klondike Annie" was no exception and embroiled her in one of the hardest fought battles of her career. ...
• • Source: Article: "Sacred and Profane: Mae West's (re) Presentation of Western Religion" written by Jill Watts and published in the book "Over the Edge: Remapping the American West" in 1999
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2199th 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 • 1949 • •
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