Monday, March 05, 2012

Mae West: Dames & Diamonds

MAE WEST's hit "She Done Him Wrong" for Paramount Pictures will be shown in New Haven, Connecticut on two dates in March. You can catch it this month at 11:30 AM on Saturday, 25 March 2012, and the same time-slot on Sunday, 26 March 2012 at the Criterion Cinema (junction of Temple St. and George St.).
• • New Haven movie-goers can buy a mimosa for $2. when the Criterion Cinema shows a number of silver screen classics from the 1930s, some made during Prohibition.
• • Mae West: "Always Be Dames Wanting Diamonds" • •
• • How many remember when "She Done Him Wrong" was being advertised during mid-March 1934 in all the major newspapers in Singapore?
• • That motion picture starring Mae West and Cary Grant must have gone over big because articles about "Mae West living up to her screen nickname of 'Diamond Lil' by becoming a specialist in diamond trading" circulated in the Singapore press, especially whenever a new feature was about to be released.
• • One article remarked that Mae West had invested in calipers, forceps, small carat scales, chamois bags, black velvet trays, and magnifying glasses used by jewelers. The Hollywood icon employed no expert assistants; these transactions were all based on her own wits and knowledge of the diamond trade, explained the article.
• • "I guess that's the real fun of it," says Mae West. "Of course I like diamonds. And who doesn't? I play with 'em like a kid with a set of bricks." Regarding her trove as an investment, Mae added, "Gold goes up and down. So does everything else. But there'll always be dames wanting diamonds and guys to buy them." [Mae West was quoted in March 1937 in The Straits Times.]
• • During the week of 5 March 1923 • •
• • Citing the Billboard Index, Jon Tuska situates Mae West in a burlesque revue during the week of 5 March 1923. Jon Tuska noted Mae's appearance in burlesque shows such as "Girls from the Follies" [week of 5 March 1923] as well as others.
• • Indeed in early copies of Photoplay and similar movie magazines, Mae West bragged about her experiences on the burlesque circuit. In 1934, an interview with John C. Moffitt quotes Mae on this topic.
• • Jon Tuska published his comments in 1973, when Mae was alive. The author seems to have had Mae's cooperation, and he dedicated his book to her — — and the truthfulness of his statements was not challenged.
• • Titles written by the Portland, Oregon author include: "The Films of Mae West" [1973], "The Complete Films of Mae West" [1992], and "The Complete Films of Mae West" [Citadel Film Series 2000]. These wonderful books deserve a place on your shelf.
• • On 5 March 1927 in NYC • •
• • Not long after the 44th Street Sardi's opened on 5 March 1927, Mae West arrived. In 1928 ex-pat Russian illustrator Alex Gard sketched her, in profile, a ferociously unflattering pose that showed her costumed in a tight stage gown and made her look heavier than Kate Smith. Years later, when Sardi's published an anniversary book, they excluded Gard's portrait of Mae West.
• • Guests who take one of the Mae West walking tours in NYC during mid-August are often shown a copy of Alex Gard's curious sketch, an antique owned by writer LindaAnn Loschiavo.
• • Sardi's is a restaurant in New York City's theater district at 234 West 44th Street (west of Broadway). Known for its "Wall of Fame" — — numerous wall-mounted, often distorted and unflattering caricatures of show-business celebrities — — Sardi's threw open the doors to its current location on 5 March 1927.
• • On 5 March 1934 in The Hollywood Reporter • •
• • Their March 5, 1934 issue reported this: "IT AIN'T NO SIN" (Rehearsing); Cast: Mae West, George Raft, Duke Ellington and Orchestra.
• • Their March 5, 1934 issue noted this item: Leo McCarey is searching for a Beef Trust chorus. Director wants a bulging line for the Mae West picture, "It Ain't No Sin." The headline for this item was "Beef Trust Wanted" and it ran in the 5 March 1934 issue in The Hollywood Reporter.
• • On Thursday, 5 March 1936 • •
• • The Associated Press broke the news first: MAE WEST QUITS STUDIO; She and Paramount Accuse Each Other of Breaking Contract.
• • HOLLYWOOD, Calif., March 5, 1936 (AP). — — Mae West and the Paramount studio jointly accused each other of voiding her movie contract today. Out of a welter of conflicting statements, only one fact seemed clear — — that she would make her next picture for another company. ...
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said (in "Diamond Lil"): "Diamonds is my career."
• • Mae West said: "I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond."
• • Mae West said: “No gold-digging for me. I take diamonds! We may be off the gold standard someday.”
• • Mae West said: "Gold goes up and down. So does everything else. But there'll always be dames wanting diamonds and guys to buy them."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Famous Players mentioned Mae West.
• • The Hollywood Reporter wrote: Chester Beecroft, for many years studio executive with Famous Players and Cosmopolitan, and in more recent years active as an independent with his own studios in Florida, is in Hollywood to look over production here.
• • The Hollywood Reporter wrote: He is accompanied by William A. Dawson, scenario editor for his recent productions. Beecroft bears the sorrowful distinction of having held an option on Mae West's picture services for three years and being unable to get his Florida backers to go through with the deal. ...
• • Source: Article: "Beecroft, Fla. Filmer Views Holly Studios" printed in The Hollywood Reporter; published on 5 March 1934
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2229th 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 • 1933 lobby card • •
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