Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Mae West: Fate

An Apparition Shocks MAE WEST! That was the big cover line on the April 1977 issue of Fate Magazine, No. 4.
• • This monthly always came up with pretty startling titles. Who could it have been? Perhaps Rev. Jack Kelly from Lily Dale?
• • Have you read this copy of Fate Magazine? Drop us a line to comment on the article.
• • Peter Gowland [3 April 1916 — 17 March 2010] • •
• • Peter Gowland Talks about Mae West • •
• • Handsome celebrity photographer Peter Gowland told the story like this: Our friend, Joe Bardo, was part of Mae West's Las Vegas appearance. He phoned to ask if I wanted to photograph Mae in the nude. I almost dropped the phone! "When?" I asked. "And where?"
• • Joe was waiting for me, Mae at his side, when I walked into her Pacific Coast Highway home. All curtains were pulled so I couldn't tell what she looked like. She was well covered in some kind of robe. Two monkeys, in diapers, startled me as they jumped from a chaise lounge to a plush chair.
• • "Where shall we work?" I asked. Miss West pointed to a white statue of herself on an antique table. "It looks perfect where it is, don't you think?" she said.
• • Joe Bardo had tricked me! She had never intended to pose nude. The rest was a nightmare. The monkeys kept leaping onto my back while I tried to set up lights. Finally, I asked if I could take the statue to my studio-home. Mae West agreed.
• • The following Sunday, in front of a blue felt background propped against my garage door, I placed the statue on a stool. I was about to click the camera shutter when Alice shouted from the front door, "Marilyn Monroe is dead!" A gust of wind came up. It blew my background forward, knocking the statue to the ground, breaking one leg and landing that sex symbol on her face! Alice and I stood dumb-founded.
• • Finally, I put the pieces in a box then got onto my Lambretta scooter. "Where are you going?" Alice asked. "To the beach," I said, and sped off. Later, when I came home, Alice nagged at me. "You have to call Mae, you know." "No," I said, "My friend and I are going to fix it." At the beach I had run into a body and fender man I knew. He volunteered to help. Oh, was he good! He even replaced the eyelashes.
• • A few days later, I delivered Mae West's new body to her, with my photographs. She thanked me, never knowing what happened.
• • It happened on April 4th • •
• • The fourth day of the fourth month turned out to be full of many unforgettable moments. Three of these are below.
• • It was on Wednesday, 4 April 1928 that Mae's successful Bowery drama "Diamond Lil" first opened at Leo Teller's Broadway Theatre in Brooklyn, NY. Lil's stage costumes were designed by Dolly Tree. If you were standing outside on the corner of Court Street and Stockton Street, you would have heard thunderous applause and cheers. "You'd have thought that a favorite bootlegger had come back from Atlanta," wrote drama critic Robert Garland in the New York Evening Telegram on 5 April 1928. "[Mae] makes Miss Ethel Barrymore look like the late lamented Bert Savoy."
• • It was on Friday, 4 April 1930 that the infamous "Pleasure Man" obscenity trial had come to an end — — when the jury could not agree.
• • On 4 April 1976 Mae was a guest on CBS-TV. This would be her final televised appearance on a show called "Back Lot, USA" with the elfin host Dick Cavett. During this prime time program, the screen queen discussed her colorful life and performed a long, elaborately staged medley of her jaunty 1930s hits. Mae was 72 years old at the time.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'd rather be looked over than overlooked."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about the election mentioned Mae West.
• • Jenna Sauers wrote: I asked if Talley might suggest a good classic film to take anyone's mind off the political season (because sometimes Xanax gets a little same-ish). His expression softened. "There's so many. Good Lord, there's so many," he replied. "It should be any film done before 1950, in black and white. Any film with Marlene Dietrich is fantastic. Any film with Mae West is fantastic. Any film with Katharine Hepburn is fantastic. Any film that was done back in the day when Hollywood meant something is fantastic." ...
• • Source: Article: "André Leon Talley Really, Really Dislikes Rick Santorum" written by Jenna Sauers for Jezebel; posted on 19 January 2012
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2259th 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 • 1977 • •
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