Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mae West: Warren B. Hymer

In Hollywood MAE WEST worked with many former boxers and men who looked the part.
• • Warren Hymer [25 February 1906 — 25 March 1948] • •
• • In "Belle of the Nineties" starring Mae West [1934], Warren Hymer was seen as the Saint Louis fighter who goes up against the Tiger Kid.
• • Born in New York City on 25 February 1906, Warren B. Hymer was the son of playwright John B. Hymer and actress Eleanor Kent. When he was 22, he was cast in the Broadway play "The Grey Fox," a drama set during Machiavelli's time in Florence. It had a decent run at the Playhouse Theatre from October 1928 — January 1929.
• • Hymer was a brawny, barrel-chested character actor who made his cinema debut in "Speakeasy" [1929]. The formidable six-footer racked up 128 screen credits from 1929 — 1946. Hollywood made hay of his type: the hulking he-man who was harmless either because of low intellect or an excess of bonhomie. Hymer played all these roles: big man in subway car, Greek wrestler, Bowery kid, bartender, waiter, taxi driver, cop, gendarme, thug, gunman, gangster, marine, sailor, seaman, corporal, bodyguard, "Big Foot Louie," "Maxie the Goat," "Dutch," "Crusher Howard," "Bugs Watson" (in "Destry Rides Again" with Marlene Dietrich), "Twister McGurk," "Snooker," "Louie the Lug," "Nutty Bolton," "Goofy," "Knock-Out Walters," "Pug Morini," "Lug Kaufman," "Tiger O'Keefe," "Gunboat Bimms," "Dopey Mullins," "Bozo the stoker," as well as the poetically named patsy "Percy Shelley" in the comedy "Reaching for the Sun" [1941], a motion picture produced by Mae's friend William LeBaron.
• • Unfortunately, Hymer had a serious drinking problem. According to sources, during the late 1930s when he was making a picture for Columbia, he apparently showed up for work drunk. When this was reported to the boss Harry Cohn, Hymer was thrown off the lot. Enraged, Hymer stormed into Cohn's office but he had left. So Hymer took out his frustrations by urinating on Cohn's desk. The powerful studio chief had him blackballed in the business. When Hymer was able to get hired again, he invariably got stuck with smaller parts and uncredited bits. His career ended with "Gentleman Joe Palooka" [1946] when he played Louie, the Sparring Partner.
• • He contracted a serious stomach ailment, no doubt aggravated by his alcoholism. Hymer died in Los Angeles in March — — on 25 March 1948. He was 42.
• • "She Done Him Wrong" in New Haven • •
• • WHAT: A Pre-Code program was scheduled for March 2012. "The Movies and Mimosas" series at Criterion Cinemas is offering a history lesson in “Pre-Code Films,” movies made before a jittery Hollywood initiated its own self-censoring Production Code of moral and aesthetic standards following a series of scandals in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
• • WHERE: Criterion Cinemas, 86 Temple St., New Haven, CT: T. (203) 498-2500.
• • WHEN: Saturday, 24 March 2012 and on Sunday, 25 March 2012.
• • Tell them you heard about it on the Mae West Blog.
• • March 25 in San Antonio History • •
• • On Tuesday, 25 March 1924 Mae West appeared on a vaudeville program at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.
• • On Friday, 25 March 1977 • •
• • From Monday, 6 December 1976 until Friday, 25 March 1977 — — this was the shooting schedule in Hollywood for "Sextette," starring eighty-three-year-old movie star, Mae West in her final screen role [citation from the book "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of the Who 1958 — 1978" written by Andrew Neill, Matthew Kent, Roger Daltrey, Chris Stamp].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I never get friendly with the men on the set."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on Mick Jagger's daughter mentioned Mae West.
• • UK reporter Gavanndra Hodge writes: Georgia May Jagger loves Mae West films and the deep-fried food of her mother's Southern homeland, and likes reading rock biographies. At the moment it is the Patti Smith memoir "Just Kids," which details the New York punk's doomed friendship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. ...
• • Source: Article: "Georgia May Jagger on her rock 'n' roll life" written by Gavanndra Hodge for The London Evening Standard; posted on 25 March 2011
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2249th 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 • 1934 • •
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  1. Anonymous4:31 AM

    Warren Hymer, who I just saw in Up The RIver with Bogart and Tracy, and who really is excellent, looks exactly like a contempory actor who's done well playing crime guys. Maybe even stars in a cable crime show. Looks a little thicker than Warren. Does he ring a bell for you?

  2. I don't own a TV. I don't have cable. But thank you for your visit today. And please do note all the Mae West Birthday events we've got scheduled here in New York City!