Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mae West: When Fay Met Franz

In the role of Fay Lawrence, MAE WEST starred in "Tropicana" — — renamed "The Heat's On" [1943].
• • Underwhelmed by this rag-bag disguised as a musical for the screen, T.S. from The N.Y. Times wrote: After an extended sabbatical in which she streamlined her figure to more svelte proportions, Mae West, none other, has returned in a hit-or-miss item entitled "The Heat's On," now at Loew's State. The title is a misnomer. For the heat is off, but definitely. . . . Even so, the sumptuous siren — — and Victor Moore and William Gaxton, as well — — is nearly crowded out of her own picture by a series of dull production numbers. Miss West, you see, is the turbulent musical comedy star caught in the intrigues of two rival crooked producers, and the plot has been used as little more than an excuse to place Hazel Scott, Xavier Cugat, and some lesser folk through their paces — — none of which are particularly startling. So said The Times.
• • Walter Plunkett dressed Mae West. But her mountain-high headdresses and spectacular sequined gowns never reached the wide audience the producers hoped for. Clearly, Mae especially enjoyed Plunkett's serpent seductress creation because she had a similar costume made for a number she performed in the 1950s with Richard Du Bois in the "Mae West Revue."
• • Franz Planer [29 March 1894 — 10 January 1963] • •
• • It was bad planning on the part of Franz Planer, A.S.C. to get involved with "The Heat's On," a film credit that Wikipedia omits in his entry.
• • Born in Karlsbad, Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic) at the end of March — — on 29 March 1894 — — Franz Planer prepared to be a portrait painter. It seems he felt that photography would overtake the work that used to fall to artists and he turned to the film industry as his new vocation. Beginning in Germany as a director of photography, he gained experience. In 1937, he wisely left Hitler and Europe behind and headed to Hollywood.
• • With more than 125 films to his credit, Planer certainly had his successes. For instance, the cinematographer shot five of Audrey Hepburn's films including the iconic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" [1961]. And though "The Heat's On" is tepid fare, at least he got to work with Mae West.
• • Franz Planer suffered a heatstroke in Spain while working on the Sermon on the Mount sequence of "King of Kings." He died in Hollywood on 10 January 1963. He was 68.
• • On Sunday, 31 March 1912 • •
• • On Sunday, 31 March 1912 • •
• • The end of March signaled the beginning of excitement down at "The Corner" [Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street]. The New York Times announced on 31 March 1912 that "Mae West and Her Boys" would take the stage at Hammerstein's Victoria.
• • On Thursday, 31 March 1927 • •
• • On Thursday, 31 March 1927 it was reported in The New York Times that Sergeant Patrick Keneally of the Midtown Vice Squad, whose testimony was heavily flavored with a thick Irish brogue, quoted long passages from Mae's play "Sex" from memory. Moreover, "frequently, under the instructions of the Prosecutor," explained The Times, "assuming poses to demonstrate the manner in which members of the cast delivered their lines," Sgt Keneally gave the jury box quite a show.
• • On Monday, 31 March 1930 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • The N.Y. Times ran this headline to keep readers up to date on the "Pleasure Man" trial at the end of March 1930: CLASH MARKS MOVE TO FREE MAE WEST; Nathan Burkan Demands Details in Play Indictment — — Wallace Calls Motion Ridiculous. TWELFTH JUROR CHOSEN Then Panel Is Excused as Counsel Argue Over Terming Actress "Star of Case." Sales Manager Picked as Juror. Wants All Indecency Specified.
• • In March 1934 • •
• • Mae West was featured on the cover of the March 1934 issue of Radio Stars Magazine.
• • In March 1978 • •
• • Hollywood Studio Magazine featured a colorful Mae West cover on their issue for March 1978.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars. That's subtraction."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about a shoe designer mentioned Mae West.
• • Luke Leitch writes: Those tourists and the odd Bath-based Sex and the City fan aside, Manolo Blahnik says he remains blissfully undisturbed in Bath, free to haunt Topping's for books and HMV for films ("They get me everything. Yesterday, it cost £10 for five movies; I got a whole box of Mae West and Orson Welles.") ...
• • Source: Article: "Bath time with Manolo Blahnik" written by Luke Leitch for The Telegraph [U.K.]; posted on 28 March 2012
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2255th 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 • as Fay Lawrence in 1943 • •
• • Feed — —
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Mae West: Dennis O'Keefe

MAE WEST made a splash in "Night after Night" [1932]. Bit parts player Dennis O'Keefe was seen briefly as Maudie Triplett storms through Joe Anton's speakeasy. He was cast as a drunk asleep at a table. You might recall him as the courtroom reporter in "I'm No Angel," as well.
• • His birthname was Edward Vance Flanagan when he started out in life in Fort Madison, Iowa in the month of March — — on 30 March 1908. He was born in the business, accompanying his vaudevillian parents, "Flanagan and Edwards, the Rollicking Twosome," in their act. While enrolled in college, Bud Flanagan tried his hand at writing screenplays. After he started to be hired as an extra, he signaled his Irish heritage in a new stage name, Dennis O'Keefe.
• • Between 1930 — 1966, he was seen in 259 projects on the silver screen and on TV. The tall, genial, outdoorsy character actor transitioned from walk-on bits to Hollywood B movies.
• • Until the mid-1960s, Dennis O'Keefe kept busy with guest-starring roles in Kraft Theatre, Studio One in Hollywood, Lux Video Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse, all produced on the small screen. Lung cancer claimed him. He died in Santa Monica on 31 August 1968. He was 60.
• • Ned Wayburn [30 March 1874 — 2 September 1942] • •
• • Born in Pennsylvania at the end of March — — on 30 March 1874 — — Ned Wayburn was a choreographer and a producer. His promotional campaigns pictured some of his most successful dance pupils — — and though Mae was not featured on those testimonials, Ned taught her to dance and cast her in several shows, adding heft to her resume and stage career.
• • On Wednesday, 30 March 1927 • •
• • By Wednesday, 30 March 1927, twelve male jurors had been selected for Mae West's "Sex" trial set for Jefferson Market Court on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Mae hired four attorneys to represent her. Her defense team was headed by Harold Spielberg, Herman "Beansie" Rosenthal's former associate. Trial coverage appeared in the N.Y. Herald Tribune, The N.Y. Times, Variety, and elsewhere.
• • On Tuesday, 30 March 2010 • •
• • On Tuesday, 30 March 2010, Urban Art & Antiques wrote this: One of the great surprises of the auction came in the form of a Paramount 1933 Style A one sheet for the pre-Code classic "She Done Him Wrong," one of Mae West’s most famous films, based on a play the famous vamp wrote herself. West’s performance as Lady Lou remains, to this day, a virtuoso accomplishment of wit and innuendo that garnered the film an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, as well as devotion from fans more than 75 years after its release. The poster, which came into the auction with a $7,000 estimate rapidly outpaced that prediction and, with several determined bidders, rose to nearly three times that amount to finally find a new home at $19,120.
• • Heritage Auctions held this movie poster sale in 2010.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • In an interview with Parade in 1929, Mae West said: "Many of our famous lawyers, doctors, bankers, and judges are homo-sexualists."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about television networks mentioned Mae West.
• • Stephen Battaglio introduced his TV Biz column like this: Mae West once said, "All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else." Several TV networks couldn't agree more. ...
• • Source: "The Biz: Second-chance Successes" written by Stephen Battaglio, TV Guide; posted on 30 March 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2254th 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:
Source: to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • 1932 • •• • Feed — —
Mae West.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mae West: Cowboys & Indiana

The Jasper Public Library had an a-Mae-zing idea — — to host "Mae in March," a 5-part series of MAE WEST movies. The fifth of these is “My Little Chickadee” on Thursday, 29 March 2012 in the library’s theater at 5:30 pm. Attendees are invited to bring their own cushion and non-alcoholic beverage. Free popcorn will be served. Call 812-482-2712 for more information.
• • "My Little Chickadee" was originally released during March on 15 March 1940.
• • Where: Jasper Public Library, 1116 Main St., Jasper, IN 47546.
• • Where: Dubois Branch Library, 5506 E Main St., Dubois, IN 47527.
• • Tell them you heard about "Mae in March" on the Mae West Blog.
• • Arthur Fields [6 August 1888 — 29 March 1953] • •
• • Mae was close to her 19th birthday when she was invited back by Oscar Hammerstein for a weeklong booking that began on 6 August 1912 at Hammerstein's Victoria. She shared the stagebill with several acts — — including the inimitable Fields and Carroll.
• • Half of the team was Arthur Fields [born on 6 August 1888] who hailed from Philadelphia, where he started out in life as Abe Finkelstein — — and who toured for years with Harry Carroll. Arthur Fields was just 11 years old when he turned pro, booking singing engagements in Utica, New York and then branching out to Coney Island.
• • Sadly, in March 1953, after a long career, Arthur Fields had a stroke and went under the care of the Littlefield Convalescent Home in Largo, Florida. Most unfortunately, the institution had a fire, which ended his life at the end of March — — on Sunday, 29 March 1953. He was 64 years old.
• • On Saturday, 29 March 1930 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • As reported by The N.Y. Times on Saturday, 29 March 1930, the "Pleasure Man" trial presided over by Justice Amedeo Bertini was not without its own impromptu entertainment value. Called to the stand by Nathan Burkan, cast member Chuck Connors II sang the controversial "She's the Queen of the Beaches" for Judge Bertini and the jurors. Though somber and bereaved, Mae West had to stuff a black handkerchief in her mouth to keep from laughing as Chuck Connors, "clasping his hands together, crooned the song."
• • Prosecutor James Wallace insisted the title really was "I'm the Queen of the Bitches" — — and the lyrics to that and another number "Cruising for the Moon" were rife with homosexual argot and innuendo. Wallace had explained to the jury that Police Captain Coy was an expert on the swishy vernacular of gents given to female impersonation off, as well as on, the stage.
• • The defense counsel had no luck rattling the two police witnesses, the theatrical Captain Coy, who delighted in mimicking the girlish soprano "whoops" of the brassiere-wearing drag queens, and the much more somber police stenographer, the dour Mr. Powers.
• • Chuck Connors also testified for the defense that he and his co-star Ed Hearn (who had also been his vaudeville partner), performed traditional gags and routines in "Pleasure Man," skits that had been used in variety for decades and seen by thousands of people.
• • Mae did get a bit of relief in mid-March when the court ruled out the count of "public nuisance" from the indictment.
• • On Sunday, 29 March 1936 • •
• • "Has Mae West Done Herself Wrong?" was the intriguing headline teasing readers of the Atlanta Journal Magazine in their issue dated for Sunday, 29 March 1936. The byline went to Frank Daniel. Congressional hearings being conducted in February and March 1936 by the U.S. Senate were peppered with the name of Mae West, whose new motion picture "Klondike Annie" caused a lot of concern on Capitol Hill. Ramona Curry has written well-researched articles on this topic of how censorship tightened its noose around Mae's neck.
• • On Saturday, 29 March 2008 in NYC • •
• • Offered for free in the Times Square area on Saturday afternoon, 29 March 2008 was a reading of the play "Courting Mae West" at The Producer's Club [358 West 44th Street, NYC]. Louis Lopardi directed the cast. Based on true events 1926
1932, the play dramatizes moments from both of the obscenity trials.
• • On Monday, 29 March 2010 • •
• • During the month of March in 1970, there were rumors about a feud between Raquel Welch and her co-star Mae West during the filming of "Myra Breckenridge." Quarreling over the gowns and costumes had started. Raquel also said a few “very unflattering things” about the director, Michael Sarne.
• • On Monday, 29 March 2010, Raquel Welch's autobiography, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, was released. Thanks to this book being published, she found the need to include disparaging remarks about her co-star Mae West. Silicone can make things look bigger, Raquel, but a small mean-spirited mind keeps its shape, eh?
• • On Thursday, 29 March 2011 • •
• • An auction for a rare autographed b/w still from "The Heat Is On," showing Mae West surrounded by top-hatted gentlemen in a dance number, was auctioned last year in New Hampshire by LiveAuctioneer. Mae West signed her name on it. That internet auction began at 7:00 pm on Thursday, 29 March 2011.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I like to see how I'm doin'."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about body image mentioned Mae West.
• • Mae West said: "I don't like myself, I'm crazy about myself."
• • Patricia Biesen wrote: I recently came to the point in my life when I really needed to adopt a spiritual badass. I needed to be inspired by a larger-than-life persona. Maybe other people prefer more serene spiritual guides but Mae West works for me. Why? She is the exact opposite of me. She was extremely extroverted, curvy, spicy and always confident womanly woman. I did a little research and my admiration grew. Not only was she a sex symbol but she was a successful playwright and producer. The character of Samantha Jones from Sex and the City is a modern day Mae West in many ways. She is a take charge woman in the boardroom and bedroom. . . .
• • Source: Article: "Mae West: A Body Image Icon" written by Patricia Biesen for Chicago Now; posted on 21 March 2012
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Rocker Alice Cooper was in the cast of "Sextette" starring Mae West. Kevin Blair notes this comment by Cooper: While Lady Gaga is a huge fan of Alice Cooper, the macabre rocker also finds himself a fan of hers. Cooper said, "She's a cross between Madonna, Mae West and Liberace... She's a spectacle." ...
• • Source: Article: "Lady Gaga Meets Her Idol Alice Cooper" written by Kevin Blair for; posted on 29 March 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2253rd 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:
Add to Google
• • Photo: • • Mae West • 1940 • •
• • Feed — —
Mae West.