Thursday, March 08, 2012

Mae West: Suspicions

In March 1927 MAE WEST did not take the stand but many witnesses did.
• • The N.Y. Times reported: Harry Cohen, a clothier at 260 Fifth Avenue, testifying yesterday for the prosecution in General Sessions at the trial of the three producers and twenty-three members of the cast of the play "Sex" produced (until recently) at Daly's Sixty-third Street Theatre, testified he advanced the first $2,500 for the production of the play in Waterbury, Connecticut.
• • Jim Timony convinced Harry Cohen to invest an additional $1,500 in the Broadway production. The garment manufacturer grew suspicious. On the stand he insisted that the "Sex" backers (i.e., Mae West and Timony) wanted a police raid. The N.Y. Times printed this headline the day after Cohen aired his grievances in court: "Witness Testifies Mae West Rewrote Play and Insisted on the Spicy Scenes Because City Liked Them. Clothier Also Asserts He Put In $4,000 and Started Suit When He Was Counted Out of the Profits."
• • The play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship & Secrets" dramatizes the trials of 1927 and 1930 in New York City that threatened to topple Mae's towering ambitions. This serious-minded comedy was last featured before a sold-out audience in January 2012 in Melbourne, Australia as part of their MidSumma Festival.
• • Photo: Mae West and Barry O'Neill in March 1927 in Jefferson Market Court looking very concerned. Don't you adore that woolen tri-corn on her head though? If she was going to be accused in a tribunal and pointed at, she would be the Napoleon of crime!
• • Martha Wentworth [2 June 1889 — 8 March 1974] • •
• • Born on 2 June 1889 in New York City, voice actress Martha Wentworth certainly had the right regional accent and attitude for her Brooklyn bombshell impressions — — and she was also the voice of Jenny Wren (based on Mae) for that Silly Symphony cartoon "Who Killed Cock Robin?" [1935] as well as portraying Mae West for the "Calling All Cars" episode in February 1934. After a long, busy career as "the actress of 100 voices," Martha Wentworth died in Sherman Oaks, California in the month of March — — on 8 March 1974. She was 84.
• • Thanks to the web site Radio Lovers [], several of the "Calling All Cars" episodes have been archived. Go to their site and listen to Martha Wentworth cast as crime victim Mae West in this drama based on true events. It is free to listen.
• • On Monday, 8 March 2004 in The L.A. Times • •
• • Kevin Thomas's article "A beguiling mixture of daring and dignity" appeared in The L.A. Times on Monday, 8 March 2004. The L.A. Times Staff Writer and venerable movie critic wrote: Mae West, whom I came to know well in the last decades of her life, was a truly daring performer — — a suggestive dancer and singer who discovered the shimmy in Chicago clubs and a playwright who dealt with prostitution and homosexuality. But at heart she was a lady, which is precisely why she could get away with so much when she combined a split-second timing and the famous quips that made her one of the most quoted performing artists of all time. Her innate dignity and ironclad self-confidence allowed her to be breathtakingly direct with a man who attracted her, but at the same time she valued privacy and took pains to preserve hers, which only added to her mystique.
• • Kevin Thomas continued: West was a "tough girl" in her vaudeville acts and loved to push the envelope in her singing and dancing, but evidence suggests that offstage, she did not behave in a boisterous manner. She was even described by a neighbor as a young woman who liked to stay home with her mother. This is not to say that West wasn't always a strong, determined woman prepared to stand up for herself and wasn't always fast with a comeback. ...
• • On Sunday, 8 March 2009 in The Buffalo News • •
• • In her enjoyable article "Wisecracking West was clearly a figure to be reckoned with," Carol Crissey Nigrelli ran with this first paragraph: Mae West reigns as one of the great architectural wonders of the 20th century. Her zaftig figure inspired legions of late-night comics and female impersonators. Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, who badly misjudged the actress' tiny waist measurement, made up for some ill-fitting dresses by creating a perfume bottle in Mae West's shape. ...
• • In case you missed it, Carol Crissey Nigrelli's article was published in The Buffalo News (Buffalo, NY) on Sunday, 8 March 2009.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Play dumb, ladies, just dumb enough to make a man think he's smart. It soothes his vanity."
• • Mae West said to Charley McCarthy: "I remember our date. I still have the splinters."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about a Los Angeles actress mentioned Mae West.
• • Noaki Schwartz, L.A. Times Staff Writer wrote: It's been a good week for June Fairchild. She and a friend scraped together enough to stay at the Rosslyn Hotel, a tattered building off downtown's skid row that charges about $28 a night.
• • Noaki Schwartz explained: In her eyes, it is a glorious place. She doesn't see the bars shielding the concierge or the worn patches in the deep red carpet. At 54, she would rather remember what it looked like when she was a starlet in Hollywood during the 1970s. She would rather tell you how she visited actress Mae West in a Rosslyn room during the filming of the grande dame's last movie, "Sextette." "I asked Mae West what the key to her success is," June Fairchild says. "She said, 'I'm very boring in real life. I made up the walk and the talk.'" Nobody is going to ask June Fairchild that question. . . . .
• • Source: Article: "A Fallen Star" written by Noaki Schwartz, L.A. Times Staff Writer for the L.A. Times; published on 21 February 2001
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2232nd 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 • in court, March 1927 • •
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