Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mae West: Nudity, Crudity

"MAE WEST Wants Everything to be Clean" was the newspaper headline on Thursday, 18 April 1935.
• • Here's what Mae told a reporter in April 1935: "I am opposed to nudity, crudity, and vulgarity in all forms," said Mae West, the famous motion picture actress. "I brought healthy entertainment to the movies because I never took sex seriously — — l 'kidded' it," she added.
• • Miss West declared that she wanted to have something to say about the decency campaign at present sweeping the cinema world. "It is a good thing, and it had to come," she said. "Everybody was trying to outdo everyone else at being dirty. New books, the stage, magazines, the movies — — all were in the race to see how far they could go. My pictures don't shock me, but I've been genuinely shocked by some stories and some scenes I've seen in pictures. It's hard to see why people who wear next to nothing on a public beach object to nudity on the screen. But I'm for clean pictures and clean everything." [This article appeared on page 20 of The Queenslander, a weekly newspaper printed in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in their issue dated Thursday, 18 April 1935.]
• • Stephen Longstreet [18 April 1907 — 22 February 2002] • •
• • Before the versatile New Yorker began writing about jazz and musicians, and before changing his name to Stephen Longstreet, he had worked as an illustrator using the byline Henri Weiner.
• • According to the book reviewer from Time Magazine (who wrote this in 1959): With the "editorial assistance" of prolific Stephen ("High Button Shoes") Longstreet, Mae makes a determined effort at total autobiography.
• • Using a well-worn line borrowed from Texas Guinan, Mae West titled her life story "Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It."
• • Argyle Nelson Jr. born on April 18th • •
• • On Mae West's last film "Sextette," the Film Editing credit went to Argyle Nelson Jr.
• • Born in Los Angeles in April — — on 18 April 1931 — — Argyle Coe Nelson was employed as a film editor from 1965 — 1991. Half of the 30 projects he was attached to took place on television and fourteen (including "Sextette") were for the cinema.
• • We wish Argyle a very happy and healthy birthday. He is 81 years old today.
• • On 18 April 1969 in Life Magazine • •
• • Nationally, the news racks on 18 April 1969 held the hot-off-the-presses issue of Life Magazine with Mae West front and center [1969 cover price: 40 cents].
• • On page 60 was this headline: "Mae West: A Cherished, Bemusing Masterpiece of Self–Preservation Plans a Movie and a TV Show and Looks Back Over 75 Very Full Years" — — and Life's exclusive interview was done by veteran news man Richard Meryman. Reflecting on his 20 hours of conversations with the screen legend, Richard Meryman acknowledged with admiration Mae's "mind-spinning version of the world."
• • The rather startling visual composition on the colorful cover revealed the 75-year-old actress in her mirrored bed, garbed in white satin, and — — in the foreground — — was the exotic black long-tailed Tricky, Mae's pet woolly monkey, who had joined her Hollywood household in Apartment 611 just two years before.
• • Mae was photographed for Life by the 63-year-old lensman Philippe Halsman, who was born in Latvia on 2 May 1906. Aided by his friend Albert Einstein, Halsman emigrated to the United States. A portrait he took of the scientist became a US postage stamp in 1966.
• • Philippe Halsman began working with Salvador Dali and also with Life Magazine (from 1942 onwards).
• • Inside there was a lavish pictorial showing Mae West as "a chorus girl, 1918," on Broadway in 1921, in 1927 after she had been released from jail, in 1930 as "a gun moll," in several Hollywood publicity stills with leading men, and in 1948 when Mae West was signing autographs for Cub Scouts in Los Angeles, admonishing them, "come back when you're 21."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "If you select your characters and the atmosphere in which they live with sufficient care, you don't have to use much imagination to make them colorful or their story interesting. In newspaper language, you don't 'write them up' — — you 'write them down.' You really have to tone them and their actions down and make them less sensationaI than they actually are in order to make them believable."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An invitation to a tantra sensual eating event in Manchester mentioned Mae West.
• • Excerpt from this invite: Wednesday 18 April 2012 at 7:00 pm
• • A Taste of Tantra Sensual Eating Event
• • Mark Addy Restaurant, Salford, Manchester, M3 5EJ
• • "Too much of a good thing is wonderful" — — Mae West
• • After the resounding success of the first ‘Taste of Tantra’ Sensual Eating event, Manchester’s award-winning Mark Addy restaurant — — together with Tantra organisation, Shakti Tantra and Sensual Eating’s Thea Euryphaessa — — is pleased to announce another festive evening of decadent, plate-licking, moan-inducing food by candlelight amid the warm and welcoming company of gregarious gourmands.
• • Critically acclaimed chef, Robert Owen Brown, will create debauched Dionysian dishes to draw you in to reconnect with (and reconsider) the many dimensions of food. ... Please note that although this is a food-oriented event it is not your standard sit-down, three-course meal. Guests are therefore encouraged to have a light bite beforehand. . . .
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2274th 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 1935 • •
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