Saturday, February 04, 2012

Mae West: Secret Angel

Jim Timony was a religious Roman Catholic who carried rosary beads in his suit pocket and derived comfort from going to Mass — — and MAE WEST often accompanied him. Though Mae did admit she would donate her vehicles to a local convent because she couldn't bear the sight of a nun waiting for a bus, she demonstrated her generosity very, very quietly in other ways. She did not publicize her good deeds but now and then a clever news man would get wind of it and run a story.
• • In 1928, for instance, Mae did a number of back-to-back performances of her three-hour Gay 90s play "Diamond Lil." Live theatre requires so much energy, concentration, and stamina that you might wonder what sort of star could make a commitment to an exhausting six-hour self-imposed marathon that would continue for two weeks.
• • When the doorman for the Royale Theatre had a fatal heart attack one night, and Mae discovered he had no insurance and was leaving behind an unprepared wife and small children in a measly walk-up in Harlem, she raised money for the widow through the box office. (This is just one example of Mae's kindness.)
• • Rarely, however, is Mae praised by a clergyman. What a surprise (!) to notice a guest post from Charles Wehrley, C.Ss.R. Rev. Wehrley is a retreat organizer and also the guiding light for an A.A. group at Redemptorist Renewal Center, 7101 W. Picture Rocks Road, Tucson, Arizona, 85743.
• • Rev. Wehrley wrote: Mae West was an original in every sense of the word. What I admire most about Mae was her naturalness and the way she came to terms with herself. She worked past the shame of not being who society told her she should be and grew comfortable with being the only person she could be: Herself. ...
• • It's a fascinating essay focused on Mae, and his title will help you track it down.
• • Source: "Mae West: Being True to Herself Helped Her to Be True to Everyone" written by Rev. Charles Wehrley; posted on 2 February 2012
• • On Friday, 4 February 1949 on WOR • •
• • NYC broadcast journalist John Wingate interviewed Mae West backstage before the opening of a revival of "Diamond Lil" on Broadway. Their 2-minute exchange is quite funny and was heard in the NYC area over the popular radio station WOR.
• • On Sunday, 4 February 1990 in Savannah, Georgia • •
• • TV watchers in Georgia enjoyed a re-run of "My Little Chickadee" starring Mae West and W.C. Fields on Sunday evening at 10:30 on 4 February 1990. The program guide noted that the stars had co-written this screenplay — — "this tale of a con man and a woman of questionable morals who become entangled..."
• • 4 February 1998 in Sammy • •
• • The raunchy comic book, Sammy, released their Mae West issue in early 1998. The panels were drawn by Raoul Cauvin and Jean-Pol. The cover has a maritime theme. An odd looking fellow in a beige raincoat looks mesmerized by Mae West, who is clad in a chic sailor outfit with her midriff exposed. Sammy's issue was published as a board book on 4 February 1998 by Dupuis.
• • Two Thumb Twaddle a Twerp Typed • •
• • Unaccountably stupid comments about Mae West — — who wrote the play "Diamond Lil" in order to have material she herself would perform onstage — — are posted all over the Internet, unfortunately. Take a gander at this silly stuff
about some dame named Mabel Blodok and shake your head:
• • Larry Baker wrote: "In 1928, Mabel Blodok, a talented singer and actor, was forced by a sore throat to turn down a role in a pending Broadway musical called Diamond Lil. She was replaced by the unknown Mae West."
• • Source: "The Dynasty of Harald Fairhair — — The Blodok Royal Family of Himmelsk"
• • Who wrote it: Larry Baker at Himmelsk: 10 North Main Street, Cedar City, Utah 84720
• • URL:
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: “No gold-digging for me. I take diamonds! We may be off the gold standard someday.”
• • Mae West wrote: "All the bad that's in me has been put there by men. ... I began to hate every one of them, hated them, used them for what I could get out of them, and then laughed at them." [lines for Margy LaMont in the play "Sex"]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on Pre-Code movies mentioned Mae West.
• • Calvin Wilson wrote: In the early 1930s American movies were as bold as they've ever been. Bullets flew across the screen with dizzying regularity. Tongues dripped with double entendres. Bedroom eyes abounded.
• • Calvin Wilson wrote: But more than that, characters could be bad — — very bad — — and get away with it. What have come to be known as "pre-code" films featured stars like Mae West, Jean Harlow, James Cagney, and Barbara Stanwyck thumbing their noses at propriety. That played well with Depression-era audiences, who demanded reliable entertainment for their scarce dollars. So did the rude, rowdy tales of excitable gangsters, amoral social climbers and desperate street denizens.
• • Source: Article: Before The Code, Early 1930s Was A Freewheeling Time" written by Calvin Wilson for Knight-Ridder/Tribune; published on 3 February 2000
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2198th 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 • with Billy Sunday & wife, 4 December 1932 • •
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