Musician Danny Barker was often working in clubs for a few cents a night — — but thanks to a contract with MAE WEST, he said, "it was the first chance I had to make a little loot in the Depression." Afterwards he got a chance to play with the big bands and even teamed up with Cab Calloway from 1939 — 1946.
• • Danny Barker [13 January 1909 — 13 March 1994] • •
• • Interviewed by Michael White, New Orleans native Danny Barker recalled: "Dave Nelson had a band. That was King Oliver’s nephew. I went on Broadway in 1931 with Dave Nelson. I played Mae West’s show. That’s big time. I didn’t know what Broadway is. I’d heard of it, but I didn’t know the significance of it until I played Mae West’s show. The stagehands begin to talk about the show. You stand around them and you listen. They tell you. They talk about whose show is great, whose show is a success. It’s a Gershwin show. It’s a Ziegfeld show or an [A(braham) L(incoln)] Erlanger show. These people put on shows every year."
• • Danny Barker explained: It was "The Constant Sinner." Mae West's character was supposed to be the sinner for women. She had a Harlem lover, George Givot. I never seen him no more. He’s a handsome Greek. Come to Broadway and they’re going to make a big star out of him. He went from her to Los Angeles, Hollywood. He went there and for some reason . . . he must have married some rich woman . . . he got fed up with Hollywood, and he disappeared. Never heard no more of him. That was a experience there.
• • Danny Barker continued: In "The Constant Sinner" I was playing a couple of songs. Something Dave Nelson had wrote. Dave Nelson’s wife, colored woman, she had been with a great show that went to Russia. It was a sensation in Europe around 1921, 1920. Lot of shows, black shows, going all over Europe, being accepted in a civil . . . supposed to be savages ’til they see you on the stage doing that sophisticated [expletive deleted] and change your mind. . . . But the whole world did a ripoff job on us. You saw that in New York. ....
• • Danny Barker died of cancer in New Orleans in March — — on 13 March 1994. He was 85.
• • Interviewer Michael White (1954 — ) conversed with the black songwriter and musician Danny Barker on July 21 — 23, 1992 for the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Project.
• • Dave "Curlee" Williams [26 April 1920 — 13 March 1982] • •
• • For the 1972 audio album "Great Balls of Fire" Mae West performed the rock and roll classic "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On," which has been recorded by many vocalists including Jerry Lee Lewis.
• • Though the origins of the song are in dispute, it is a fact that Roy Hall made a recording of the song in September 1955 for Decca Records, and a Decca sample copy of Hall's recording lists Dave Williams as the sole writer.
• • The African American singer and songwriter Dave "Curlee" Williams [26 April 1920 — 13 March 1982] seems to have collaborated with the white pianist, bandleader, and songwriter James Faye "Roy" Hall [7 May 1922 — 2 March 1984].
• • Roy Hall died in the month of March and so did Dave Williams — — on 13 March 1982 — — a talented musician about whom very little is known. So we came to sing their praises today.
• • On Tuesday, 13 March 1934 • •
• • Correspondence was flying back and forth from the Hays Office regarding "It Ain't No Sin" starring Mae West. It was on Tuesday, 13 March 1934, that the censors objected to yet another song.
• • Joseph Breen picked up his steel-toed fountain pen. "If, in the rendition of the song, the action of the girls, or comedian, is such as to give the lines a salacious, or otherwise unsavoury, connotation," he wrote, "the entire song may be adjudged a Code violation and, as such, will have to be deleted." . . .
• • Mae West's motion picture, with a working title of "It Ain't No Sin," began production in March — — on 19 March 1934. In the script, Ruby Carter, the American beauty queen of the night club sporting world set, shifts her operations from St. Louis to New Orleans.
• • On 13 March 1937 in the gossip columns • •
• • Mae West declined Peckham's invitation to the premiere of "Lost Horizon."
• • Gossip columnists reported this on 13 March 1937: Big heartedly Ted Peckham, 22-year-old 'Gigolo King,' who values his art at $1000 per escort, donated an evening to Helen Burgess [1916 — 1937] and staked her to supper and pink lemonade. The downy-chinned, freshwater college boy (from Ohio’s Western Reserve University) compromised on Helen Burgess after Mae West showed no interest in his invitation. Clad in the sophomore class’ idea of sophisticated attire — — lofty topper, blue evening clothes and a cape — — Peckham paraded Miss Burgess to the premier of "Lost Horizon" and afterward to a supper club. The actress didn’t quarrel over the check. Peckham brought his schoolboy complexion here from New York, where he originated the escort service idea to help do a movie plot called "Gentlemen for Hire." He has spent most of his time since then in the Paramount publicity department seeing that his name gets in the papers. Probably his sortie with Burgess is charged off to publicity.
• • Released on Monday, 13 March 2006 in England • •
• • Released in the U.K. on Monday, 13 March 2006 was "Mae West, Screen Goddess Collection" (Six Discs). Subtitle Languages: English, English for the deaf and hard of hearing. The half-dozen titles in this collection included "She Done Him Wrong," "I'm No Angel," "Belle of the Nineties," "Klondike Annie," "My Little Chickadee," and "The Heat's On."
• • On Saturday, 13 March 2010 in England • •
• • Written by Caroline Boucher, "My Tea with Mae West" recalled an afternoon visit with the star at her home in 1974. Boucher's essay was published in The London Guardian on Saturday, 13 March 2010.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I have an extra thyroid gland. It gives me twice the energy and twice, the, you know, everything else I guess."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • U.K. journalist Caroline Boucher had tea with Mae West.
• • Caroline Boucher wrote: It's tricky to interview a Hollywood star when you're surrounded by nude sculptures of her.
• • Caroline Boucher wrote: Her teatime outfit might have been formal, but Mae West's conversation was anything but. Within minutes of my arriving at her Hollywood penthouse one afternoon in 1974, she was lugging her exercise bicycle out of the dining room to prove her daily fitness routine: never mind that she was 83 and the bicycle was covered in a thick film of dust.
• • Caroline Boucher wrote: But she did look amazing. Fitted pink trouser suit, teetering platform heels, towering platinum-blonde hairpiece and false eyelashes that could have inflicted paper cuts. She'd swept through the double doors of her drawing room after being announced by her live-in lover at the time, Paul Novak — — a former Mr California 30 years her junior. . . .
• • Source: Article: "My Tea with Mae West" written by Caroline Boucher for The Guardian; posted on 13 March 2010
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2237th 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/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1931 • •
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