Monday, March 12, 2012

Mae West: Gus Van

MAE WEST made some lifelong friends in Ridgewood such as Gus Van.
• • According to Walter Hutter of Ridgewood: "Van and Schenck discovered each other in a tavern at Knickerbocker and Willoughby Avenues, their meeting coming through an introduction by Jack West, father of Mae West. Mae was another famous personality with a Ridgewood background."
• • Joe Schenck rehearsed with Mae and his musicians in a clubhouse located at 70-12 Cypress Hills, Ridgewood, NY.
• • Born in Brooklyn, New York on 2 June 1891, Joseph Thuma Schenck was a musician, a pianist, and a singer with strong ambitions.
• • Schenck died at age 39 while working with Van in Detroit on 28 June 1930.
• • Joe's partner was Gus Van [birthname: August von Glahn].
• • Gus Van [12 August 1886 —12 March 1968] • •
• • Born in Brooklyn, New York on 12 August 1886, Gus Van was a performer, lyricist, and composer who appeared in Broadway musicals from November 1916 — February 1947. Starting with the show "Miss 1917," directed by Ned Wayburn, Gus Van also contributed the music. Van and Schenck appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies from 1919 — 1921; Van wrote some of the music for the 1920 edition of this popular series. He was also known for his amusing novelty songs such as "Pastafazoola" and "She Knows Her Onions."
• • Van and Schenck both starred with Bessie Love in "They Learned About Women" [1930], a musical scripted by Arthur "Bugs" Baer, et al. After Schenck's death, the five-foot-seven entertainer also appeared in four other projects for the silver screen between 1935 — 1939.
• • In 1944 Gus Van sang a vaudeville song in Atlantic City written by Tommy Gray and first performed by Mae West: "That's How You Can Tell They're Irish."
• • Gus Van died in Miami Beach in the month of March — — on 12 March 1968. He was 80.
• • Mildred Katherine West [8 December 1898 — 12 March 1982] • •
• • In the month of March, we honor Mae's younger sister Beverly.
• • In March 1924, Variety noted a new act listed on Manhattan's stagebill: "Beverly West and Co., Piano and Singing." While not mentioning that she was Mae West's sister, Variety's reviewer admitted that "she puts over her numbers acceptably." Proctor's East 58th Street location had engaged Beverly and her musicians in 1924. Back in 1895, F.F. Proctor had built his playhouse, Proctor's Pleasure Palace Palm Gardens, on 154 East 58th Street, New York, NY in midtown on the eastside [now zipcode 10022]. During the same interval (mid-March in 1924), Mae West was trouping in vaudeville in Texas.
• • Born in Brooklyn on 8 December 1898, Beverly changed her stage name a few times. She was Beverly Osborne, then it was Beverly Arden. Afflicted with polio and a limp, Beverly favored long dresses that covered her imperfect legs. Beverly died two years after her older sister on Friday, 12 March 1982. She was 83.
• • Born on 12 March 1874 • •
• • Mae West was cast in "Vera Violetta," a musical that opened on 20 November 1911 at the Winter Garden Theatre when she first worked with Mr. Atteridge.
• • Most of the music was prepared by composer Edmund Eysler who was born in Vienna in March — — on 12 March 1874.
• • On Thursday, 12 March 1936 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • The reviewer for The N.Y. Times Frank S. Nugent was aware of the uproar from the Hays Office that delayed Mae's latest motion picture. Nugent wrote: Mae West's "Klondike Annie" really does not merit the agitation it has caused. His comments appeared in The N.Y. Times on Thursday, 12 March 1936.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "lt just breaks my heart when the censors take out my best cracks."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Raquel Welch mentioned Mae West.
• • wrote: Actress RAQUEL WELCH has finally spoken out about her notorious feud with MAE WEST — — accusing the late screen legend of being scared to work with her. The two appeared alongside each other in 1970 movie "Myra Breckinridge," and their feud became legendary in Hollywood.
• • wrote: Raquel Welch discusses the rift on the movie's DVD. She says, "Mae didn't really work until after 5 pm. Those were her hours, and it was even stipulated in her contract. I only had one scene with her, and she was quite apprehensive about working with me. She hadn't done a movie in a long time, and in all her previous films, she had been the only star and the only woman, and she was not very inclined to share the screen. So there were a few shenanigans."
• • wrote: Their battle came to a head just before their scene together was shot, says Welch, who recalls, "She had my costume removed from the dressing room. When I went to my closet, it wasn't there. I called my producer and told him my dress had disappeared, and he told me it had been confiscated." West's costume was white, and she objected to Welch wearing a black gown "because black is also a non-colour." Welch adds, "This poor woman was really scared — — and I've got to say some of this now because I'm doing a book." . . .
• • Source: Article: "Raquel Welch Opens Up On Mae West Feud" for; posted on 12 March 2004
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2236th 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's sister • Beverly West • •
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