Monday, April 30, 2012

Mae West: Adolf Hitler

There is no indication that MAE WEST, whose mother was a German native, ever met Adolf Hitler [20 April 1889 — 30 April 1945].  Nevertheless, their names danced a bizarre tango in the press for a number of years.
• • As hot an issue as Hitler • •
• • It seems it was Variety's columnist "Land" whose provocative paragraph first linked the names of Mae West and Adolf Hitler in 1933.  "Land" wrote:  Needless to say this opus will scarcely get on the reformers' recommended lists.  But with the tide running the opposite way, perhaps the spleen of the moralists isn't such a factor right now. And anyway, Mae West is today the biggest conversation-provoker, free space grabber, and all-around box office bet in the country. She's as hot an issue as Hitler.  [Source: Variety, 17 October 1933.]
• • Mae's Best Bit-Ler • •
• • During the mid-1930s, a slim cartoon romance appeared entitled "Mae's Best Bit-Ler." The plain cardstock cover gave no indication what sort of peculiarity awaited inside. Printed by Tabasco Publishing Co., Havana, Cuba, the red booklet had 16 pages with the story printed on one side of the page in blue ink alternating between the front and back sheets. The narrative has Mae West involved with Hitler.  Here is one drawing showing the smitten tyrant and the curious movie star.
• • Hitler and Mae West — A Broadcast Cancelled • •
• • In 1935, this headline appeared in a newspaper in Melbourne, Australia: "Hitler and Mae West — A Broadcast Cancelled!" The article began: At the request of the Vice Consul for Germany, Dr. Koeltzoch, an imaginary conversation between Herr Hitler and Miss Mae West was not broadcast over the national network on Saturday night as had been arranged. "The proposed item was a brief sketch of the type often given on the vaudeville stage," the Victorian manager of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, Mr. T. W. Bearup, said to-day. "We did not believe anyone could take exception to it. But we cancelled it in deference to the wish of the consul." [The newspaper was dated Tuesday, 31 December 1935 when the dictator was alive.]
• • Should Mae West Marry Hitler? • •
• • During 1939 — 1945 the British tabloid, The Daily Mirror well and truly cornered the market in outlandish accounts and weird stories meant to amuse rather than to educate, and peculiar human interest stories. One early example was their front page headlines that wondered “What would have happened if Hitler had married Mae West?” — — jaw-dropping.  During the 1930s, a Los Angeles fan magazine also ran with this cover-line: "Should Mae West Marry Hitler?" Mind boggling.
• • Adolf Hitler ended his own life in Germany during the month of April.  Monday, 30 April 1945, was Walpurgisnacht. There had been ferocious street-to-street combat in Berlin and, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Adolf Hitler and his bride Eva Braun committed suicide. The leader of the Nazi party was 56.
• • John Lorenz [6 December 1886 — 30 April 1972] • •
• • More than anything, variety artist Mae West wanted to be "in the legit" — — on The Gay White Way — — and Jesse Lasky gave her an opportunity. The extravaganza, produced by Ned Wayburn, Mae's dancing teacher, was titled "A La Broadway."
• • In 1911, Jesse Lasky opened the Folies-Bergere, a plush dinner theatre restaurant on West 46th Street and he cast a pretty 18-year-old Mae to appear in the revue along with a comedy duo, Cook and Lorenz.
• • John Lorenz was cast as Nick O'Teene in "A La Broadway." Born in Buffalo, NY on 6 December 1886, his Broadway career began in 1909 when he was attached to a musical comedy "The Motor Girl." After doing several shows, he took his final bows in "Ramshackle Inn," a farce, in 1944.
• • Lorenz seems to have teamed up with a mature performer James Cook by 1910 and they actively toured on the vaudeville circuit. Considered to be one of the "monarchs of minstrelsy," James Cook had done a blackface act in 1885 with Rankin's Minstrels. (Blacks were recognized as musicians of talent, due to the popularity of minstrel shows.) Additionally, James Cook was an early member of the White Rats. James Cook was cast as Jim Jamb in "A La Broadway" and he may have been cast in another production on the Gay White Way in 1932.
• • John Lorenz died in Paramus, New Jersey during April — — on Sunday, 30 April 1972.   He was 86.
• • On Monday, 30 April 1956 in N.Y. World-Telegram Sun • •
• • It was on Monday, 30 April 1956 that Robert W. Dana's felicitous coverage of "The Mae West Review" appeared.
• • Robert Dana's popular daily dish "Tips on Tables" was published in the now defunct New York World-Telegram and Sun.
• • His column "Mae West's Show Grows" [dated April 30th] indicated Dana had seen the routine previously.
• • Robert W. Dana wrote: The old belief that everything should be bigger and better — — a thought most forcefully pronounced by Hollywood trailers — — can be applied with forthright honesty to Mae West, who has returned to the Latin Quarter [in New York City on West 48th Street], where she scored heavily in the fall [sic] of 1954.  ...
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969 in Los Angeles • •
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969, on light blue note paper (engraved Miss Mae West at the top), the Hollywood icon took time out to send a warm letter to her cousin Tillie.
• • The Delker Family: Mae's mother Matilda (Delker) West had 5 siblings who emigrated from Germany to the USA together. By the time the family reached New York, they were Lutherans.  Her brother Carl Delker married Miss Mathilde Misdorn on 26 May 1889. Notice the reference to Mae's "Aunt Tillie," her mother's sister-in-law. [Also note the absence of the surname "Doelger." On Mae's marriage license in April 1911, her mother's maiden name was given as Matilda Dilker, probably a clerical error.]
• • Mae West wrote: Dear Tillie:  For a long time I have been wanting to write to you, and also send you these little gifts. Some years ago, I received them from Aunt Tillie Delker.  I believe they belonged to her daughter, our Cousin Eleanor.  I thought you might enjoy wearing them.  They are a lovely necklace of garnets and a cameo pin.  . . .
• • April 1978 in Club • •
• • An interview with Mae West appeared in the men's magazine Club.  The issue was dated April 1978 and the byline was Ellis Nassourin.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "It's all a lot of strudel."
• • Mae West said: "He's the kind of man a woman would have to marry to get rid of."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on voices mentioned Mae West.
• • NPR stated:  Commentator Brian McConnachie has been asking listeners to describe in poetic language their impressions of famous voices.  In his last challenge, he asked listeners to describe the voices of Sean Connery, Bob Dylan, Odetta, and Mae West.  . . .
• • Source: Article: "Vocal Impressions: Hearing Voices, Round Four" written by NPR for the website NPR Radio; posted on 30 April 2007
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2286th 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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