Sunday, March 04, 2012

Mae West: Adaptation

It was early March and MAE WEST was signing a contract.
• • On Monday, 4 March 1946, Mae West was seated with her manager Jim Timony, Nigel Bruce, Lee Shubert, the Broadway producer who represented the Select Operating Corporation (and had worked with Mae before), and a few other gentlemen.
• • Mae West, Adapter • •
• • These parties were there to add their signatures to a Dramatic Production Contract, an agreement that involved the Select Operating Corporation (Lee Shubert), James A. Timony (Mae West’s Manager), Fred Schiller, Thomas A. Dunphy, and California Trust Company (Nigel Bruce as Executor for the Estate of Miles Mander, deceased) — — authors of a play entitled “Ring Twice Tonight” — — and Mae West, intending to adapt this light-hearted comedy into a more commercial play or a motion picture. The paperwork included a typed "special arrangement," signed by Mae West (adapter), Lee Shubert, James A. Timony, Fred Schiller, Thomas A. Dunphy, and Nigel Bruce.
• • Both the contract and special arrangement are dated Monday, 4 March 1946, so it's assumed they met on that date. This contract presented the terms under which Mae West would be paid for her adaptation of the play and the split of royalties received by the original authors.
• • Ten months before, on May 19 — 20, 1945, Mae West had starred in “Ring Only Twice” in Oakland, California's Auditorium Theatre, however, it is not clear if Mae went any further with a brand new script for this project, or merely continued with the existing script by Miles Mander, et al, whose title evolved to "Come On Up."
• • Carliss Dale, Sultry Detective • •
• • Mae was seen in the starring role of Carliss Dale in the stage play "Come On Up (Ring Twice)," when it toured during 1946 in California, in Rochester, NY, and elsewhere. This comedy had been written by Miles Mander [14 May 1888 — 8 February 1946], Fred Schiller, and Thomas Dunphy. She also let Herbert Kenwith direct her in this play in June 1952 in Princeton, New Jersey.
• • Clearly, Mae must have taken a shine to Tommy Dunphy because she attached her name as co-writer to another laugh-fest called "Ladies, Please." Centered around two frisky fellows who attend a party in drag, when this debuted in Great Britain at Brighton's Theatre Royal in May 1948, the Hollywood icon was in residence for the premiere.
• • Rafaela Ottiano [4 March 1888 — 18 August 1942] • •
• • When Mae West watched Rafaela Ottiano portray the sinister Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd" during its 1924 Broadway run at the Frazee Theatre, she knew where to find an actress who could ably play a villainess.
• • Born in Venice in early March — — on 4 March 1888 — — of Italian parents, Rafaela Ottiano distinguished herself in Europe before relocating to New York City in 1910 when she was 22 years old. By 1912 she was winning critical praise for her performances onstage in Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre [31 West 28th Street], an auditorium where the act "Mae West and Sister" would be booked a few years later.
• • By 1920, Rafaela Ottiano was living in a boarding house in the theatre district — — 49 West 37th Street — — where many actresses and artists were in residence. In between bookings, the five-foot-five brunette worked as a sales lady in a department store.
• • For the acclaimed Broadway production of "Diamond Lil" [1928 — 1929] Ottiano created the role of Spanish Rita. She was the only member of the Royale Theatre's cast who was retained for the filmed version, where she reprised her role, renamed Russian Rita by cautious executives at Paramount Pictures who feared that they might alienate Hispanic ticket-buyers.
• • Never married, and guiding her career all by herself, plucky Ottiano managed to stay employed in Hollywood from 1924 — 1942 in between theatre work.
• • She died at age 54 of intestinal cancer on 18 August 1942 at the East Boston home of her late parents.
• • On 4 March 1936 • •
• • Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst had it in for Mae West. For years he barred his editors from giving her motion pictures any positive coverage. Naturally, the reasons that caused Hearst's animosity for the Paramount Pictures star were widely debated. Not to be out-witted, the clever publicists at Paramount managed to promote "Klondike Annie" in Hearst's publications in other ways, for instance, by inserting advertisements urging readers to call the theater for details on a special showing.
• • The flapdoodle over "Klondike Annie" was discussed in Variety's issue dated for 4 March 1936. Coverage appeared in Hollywood Citizen News on 4 March 1936 also.
• • Mae West felt that her earnings, which approximated Hearst's stupendous salary, made him envious. Perhaps Hearst reconsidered the lost ad revenue to his publications because he ended this embargo by the end of 1936.
• • On Friday, 4 March 1938 in Australia • •
• • The Mirror (in Perth, Australia) wrote: Mae West's characterisation of a motion picture star in "Go West Young Man," the hilarious comedy, which will be screening at the Grand Theatre, Friday next, March 4, strangely enough, is entirely unlike her own life as an outstanding film luminary.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said (about the police testimony during her NYC trial in March 1927): "It's all a lot of strudel."
• • Mae West said: "Do I love Jim Timony? Yes. We love each other like Potash loved Perlmutter or like Montgomery must love Ward. Like two old business cronies."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about hotel rooms mentioned Mae West.
• • Anthea Gerrie wrote: For a small country inn — — dating back to 1135 — — The Olde Bell has seen an awful lot of intrigue. ...
• • Anthea Gerrie wrote: Because of its proximity to Pinewood, movie stars have been staying here for nearly a century while filming. Mae West and Greta Garbo were followed by Cary Grant and Errol Flynn, and the place was a particular favorite of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.
• • The Olde Bell, High Street, Hurley, Berkshire, England. ...
• • Source: Article: "10 hotel rooms where history was made" written by Anthea Gerrie for; posted on Friday, 2 March 2012
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2228th 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 • 1946 • •
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