Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Mae West: Roscoe Karns

Who would even remember "Night After Night" [1932] if it were not for MAE WEST? Without a doubt, Mae West's portrayal of Maudie Triplett stole the show from George Raft, Roscoe Karns, and Constance Cummings, who were supposed to be the stars of the 73 minute speakeasy drama. Former gangster Joe Anton falls for a Park Avenue peach, whose fortunes have fallen after the Wall Street crash of 1929. But the couple on the DVD box would turn out to be Mae in the foreground and George behind her. Heh-heh.
• • Mordaunt Hall's assessment appeared in The N.Y. Times on 31 October 1932.
• • Hall wrote: "Mr. Raft's eyes and sleek hair cause him to remind one of the late Rudolph Valentino. Roscoe Karns, as Leo, does so well that one is inclined to feel just as interested in his characterization as in Mr. Raft's."
• • Born in San Bernardino, California on 7 September 1891, Roscoe Karns started his showbiz career onstage when he was a teenager. His street-wise demeanor and five-foot-ten stature was put to use on the silver screen often as the leading man's buddy. Often given a role with a don't-him-seriously-name such as Stubby, Shorty, Cuffy, Kangaroo, Mopsy, 'Pighead' Larrabee, Irish McGurn, 'Rip' Harrigan, Doc 'Short Circuit' Wilson, Spud McGurke, etc., Roscoe Karns stayed busy from 1915 — 1964 in 149 projects for Tinseltown as well as a turn on TV.
• • His son Todd Karns was born in 1921 and worked with his father for 5 years on the live television show "Rocky King, Detective."
• • Roscoe Karns died in Los Angeles in the month of February — — on 6 February 1970. He was 78.
• • "NIGHT AFTER NIGHT," adapted from Louis Bromfield's story, "Single Night"; directed by Archie Mayo; produced by Paramount — Publix. At the Times Square Paramount and the Brooklyn Paramount.
• • Joe Anton . . . . . George Raft
• • Jerry Healy . . . . . Constance Cummings
• • Iris Dawn . . . . . Wynne Gibson
• • Maudie Triplett . . . . . Mae West
• • Mrs. Mabel Jellyman . . . . . Alison Skipworth
• • Leo . . . . . Roscoe Karns
• • Blainey . . . . . Al Hill
• • Dick Bolton . . . . . Louis Calhern
• • Jerky . . . . . Harry Wallace
• • Patsy . . . . . Dink Templeton
• • Frankie Guard . . . . . Bradley Page
• • Malloy . . . . . Marty Martyn
• • On Tuesday, 7 February 1933 • •
• • It was on Tuesday, 7 February 1933, that Mae recorded "A Guy What Takes His Time" (one of her saucy hits from "She Done Him Wrong") for Brunswick Records.
• • On Thursday, 7 February 1935 • •
• • Between 1935 — 1936 uncut movie star paper doll sets were featured once a week in the Dallas Journal newspaper. Approximately three dozen Hollywood notables appeared with an array of glamorous outfits. The paper doll published on Thursday, 7 February 1935 was Mae West. Other favorites included Ginger Rogers, Dolores del Rio, Baby Jane, Anna Sten, Phyllis Brooks, Carole Lombard, Ann Harding, Helen Vinson, Gertrude Michael, etc. On 28 March 1935 George Raft was showcased.
• • On Wednesday, 7 February 1940 • •
• • Despite the robust ticket sales for "My Little Chickadee," and the advance word that predicted a sure-fire box office hit, the Hollywood Reporter held to their narrow opinion that "the story doesn't amount to much" and printed their sniggling satisdiction (from the sidelines) on 7 February 1940.
• • "The gags are rather slim," felt the news man from Variety, whose opinions were printed on 7 February 1940. All the same, Variety did emphasize that the considerable loyalty of Mae's followers and W.C. Fields' fanbase would create a demand at the moviehouses.
• • On Monday, 7 February 1949 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • The headline in The N.Y. Times read "Mae West Back in Town as 'Diamond Lil'" and a long warm-hearted article followed on Monday, 7 February 1949.
• • Toward the end of Act III, Mae came downstage to sing "Frankie and Johnnie," "Come Up and See Me Sometime," and "After You've Gone." As the footlights caressed her face, the crowd went wild. "If Saturday night's audience had its way, she would still be singing," noted William Hawkins, recalling his excitement and enjoyment at the Coronet Theatre on the weekend.
• • N.Y. Times reporter William Hawkins wrote: Gallantly supported by four or five handsome, muscular leading men, Mae West has brought "Diamond Lil" back to New York, where it began its renowned career twenty-one years ago. She wriggled through it at the Coronet on Saturday evening, attired in some of the gaudiest finery of the century -- the femme fatale of the Bowery, bowling her leading men over one by one with her classical impersonation of a story-book strumpet.
• • N.Y. Times reporter William Hawkins continued: When Miss West restored her study of society to America last November, a bus-load of the Broadway nightwatch rolled out to Montclair to pay their respects to her artistry. ...
• • On Monday, 7 February 2004 in The Brooklyn Papers • •
• • A fascinating article "Go West: Boro Park Native Conjures the Spirit of Mae West in New Play" was the title of an interview written by NYC journalist and dramatist Paulanne Simmons published on 7 February 2004 in The Brooklyn Papers.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on curves and feminine beauty in the cinema mentioned Mae West.
• • The Courier-Mail editors wrote this: Although she has given the world of women back curves and removed some feminine angles, Mae West is not fat. She weighs but 119 1b. She believes in being nicely rounded. Because of her versatility and charm in presenting comedy, Mae West became internationally famous in "She Done Him Wrong," which introduced Mae West to the world. She turned out most of the dialogue, wrote the lyrics for the original musical score, and aided the designing of the wardrobe as well. "She Done Him Wrong," which will come to the Tivoli Theatre next Friday, presents Mae West to Brisbane in her first starring picture. Her wit and originality have made it popular. ...
• • Source: Article "Mae West, Tivoli Theatre" in The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Queensland) on page 20; published on Wednesday, 7 February 1934.
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2202nd 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 • "Night after Night" • •
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