Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mae West: Beer Backstage 1928

MAE WEST, a 7-minute track by Ken Moule and The London Jazz Chamber Group, was first released in the United Kingdom in the month of May  — — on 3 May 2010.
• • If you listen to "Mae West" online, then do leave a comment for this British band.
• • Jack LaRue [3 May 1902 — 11 January 1984] • •
• • Gaspere Biondolillo took the stage-name of "Jack LaRue"; in French "la rue" means the street.
• • Born in New York City on 3 May 1902, dashing Jack LaRue was part of the original Broadway cast when Mae West brought her hit "Diamond Lil" to the Royale Theatre in April 1928. Onstage Jack LaRue played Lil's Latin lover Juarez. [Gilbert Roland played that role, under a Russian moniker, in the film version: She Done Him Wrong.]
• • In 1973, when the Masquers Club honored Mae West with a "Mae Day" tribute, the ceremony was attended by Jack LaRue, George Raft, Jack Noland, and others.
• • Jack LaRue had a heart attack and died in Santa Monica, California on 11 January 1984.  The actor was 82.
• • Seance at the Royale Theatre during Diamond Lil in 1928 • •
• • Playwright, journalist, publicist Bernard Sobel [1887 — 1964] described a 1928 seance Mae organized backstage at the Royale on Broadway in his memoir. We'll bet that bootleg beer Mae was freely pouring after the show was Madden's #1.
• • Bernard Sobel wrote: In the case of Mae West, the interview led to a lasting friendship. Mae, in private life, is one degree removed from her typical stage role. Only one degree, however, for because of the tussle she has had with life, the police, the critics and herself, she has become, or seems to have become, suspicious of question and answer; she is continually on guard, revealing her full nature only to a few.
• • The first time that I met her, she was playing in her own piece "Diamond Lil," a colorful uneven melodrama which reproduced with extraordinary fidelity the atmosphere of the barroom of the 1890s, with its singing waiters, streetwalkers, tramps, and slumming swells. One of the sets revealed a real bar, just visible to the audience, and long enough to accommodate six guests. Here, at every performance during the Prohibition period, Mae entertained friends — — by serving free, real beer.
• • Interviewing Mae was a difficult job because her jerky comments and swift flashes of intuition kept me so busy writing down notes that my fingers ached. Once she swerved from self-assurance to feline acrimony to recall a famous actress who had recently snubbed her.
• • Backstage everyone in the company lauded her. "She's great. She's wonderful!" and it was obvious that their enthusiasm was genuine. She treated her company graciously and generously.
• • After the interview was published, I often took people backstage to Mae's dressing room where she would courteously show them the mechanical secrets of her hourglass figure, emphasizing the small waist and the voluptuous undulating walk.
• • Once, as a special compliment, Mae invited me to a private spiritualistic stance which took place, after the evening performance, in the downstairs lounge of the theatre. Here, about thirty of us crowded into chairs arranged in rows facing a table and a parlor screen. Our feeling of expectancy was intensified by the behavior of a small man, with a weather-beaten face, who was in charge of the stance and who kept walking up and down, impatiently consulting his watch.
• • The lounge kept getting hotter and hotter as the restlessness of the assembled guests increased. Yet nothing happened until Miss West appeared, half an hour late. She made a dazzling picture, for she wore a large hat, an enormous scarf and a huge muff, all of the purest white. As she gave us a clipped-off greeting and took the front seat reserved for her, the ceremonies began in earnest. First, there was the conventional combination of noise from behind the screen, voices, rappings, bell ringings. Next, a high voice began to recite a jargon litany: "Yaki-macho-nell-mo-do-ee-yaki-macho. . . ."
• • Then a solemn, slow-speaking male voice began to remonstrate and cajole the unseen until we became conscious that an effort was being made to communicate with the spirit of Rudolph Valentino. Tension increased and so did the cajoling, but only silence followed the effort. Obviously, the spirit was unable to make contact. A wave of disappointment swept over the company; the stance seemed to come to a standstill.
• • At this point, the little master of ceremonies stepped forward, saying; "Will Mae West please approach the table?"
• • Immediately Mae rose and approached the table as instructed; she stood there a moment, then returned solemnly to her seat. At this point, a lugubrious voice began to call, "Mae West, Mae West!"
• • The tone was so mandatory that everyone sat taut and anxious. "Mae West, Mae West" came the voice again, followed by the words, "Don't change your room!"
• • "What's that he's sayin'?" asked Mae, her matter-of-fact tone cracking the reverential silence.
• • Again the voice intoned several words, this time, however, so indistinctly that no one could understand them. Straightway, renewed efforts were made to ensnare the spirit of Valentino. There was more gibberish, high-pitched voices and rattling of apparatus behind the screen. Finally, the confusion gave way and the M.G. stepped forward again, saying succinctly: "The spirit of Valentino will not contact us tonight!"
• • All eyes turned at this moment toward Mae; and she, alert and practical, swathed herself in the white furs, rose quickly and walked directly out of the room. Five minutes later the place was entirely empty.
• • Some years later I mentioned the seance. My interest was met with lack of interest. Apparently communing with spirits no longer interests Mae.
• • Her motion pictures, when shown in Paris, stimulated the creation of a new mode that came back to America in the form of a Victorian revival. The success of her pictures saved Paramount, according to report, from bankruptcy, thereby influencing indirectly the whole movie industry.
• • During World War II, the term, "Mae West," was applied to life preservers. The lady had added a new term to the language.
• • Rich now, self-centered and independent, Mae remains an anachronism. Nothing seems to bother her. She has no twinges of conscience about the harm her pictures and plays may do. She licks her chops with contentment. What the world thinks of her doesn't matter. Even so, she's likeable and disarming.
• • Source: an excerpt from "Broadway Heartbeat — Memoirs of a Press Agent" written by Bernard Sobel [NY: Hermitage House, 1953; pages 263 — 265]
• • Sidney Skolsky [2 May 1905 — 3 May 1983] • •
• • Writer Sidney Skolsky regularly interviewed Broadway personalities such as Mae West during the 1920s. Sidney Skolsky wrote an eyebrow-raising essay about her in "Times Square Tintypes" [1929].
• • Mae West stayed on good terms with Sidney Skolsky. He was an extra in her film "I'm No Angel," he wrote about her often in his column, he cheered when the Masquers honored her in April 1973, and he attended some of the seances Mae held at her Santa Monica, California beach house.
• • When the venerable Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky died in Los Angeles in May — — on Tuesday, 3 May 1983 — — Daily Variety ran a feature obituary on page one. He was 78.
• • On Thursday, 3 May 1934 • •
• • On Thursday, 3 May 1934, the headline "Mae West Scouts Talk of Rift" appeared in The Los Angeles Times. The article quotes Mae West's denial of a rift between herself and Jim Timony. The actress emphasized that they were not sweethearts, but he's still her business manager.
• • On Tuesday, 3 May 1938 • •
• • On Tuesday, 3 May 1938, the Hollywood Reporter carried coverage about the Mae West movie "Klondike Annie."
• • On Sunday, 3 May 1959 • •
• • For "The Dean Martin Show," broadcast Sunday night on 3 May 1959, his chosen guest stars were Mae West and Bob Hope.  "Dean's guest ace on May 3rd will be Mae West, normally a reluctant TV participant," said one newspaper columnist. Timex was Dean's sponsor.
• • On Tuesday, 3 May  2011 • •
• • TV lovers who tuned in at 6:30 AM on Tuesday, 3 May  2011 were treated to a re-run of "Mr. Ed." In this episode, Mr. Ed overhears Mae West commissioning Wilbur on creating ultra deluxe stables for her horses. When Ed overhears the conversation, he starts to get discontented with his own surroundings. So much fun.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Keep a diary and one day it will keep you."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on TV specials mentioned Mae West.
• • Marie Torre said: Besides Bob Hope and Mae West, Dean Martin will import, for his guest line-up May 3, the six "most beautiful girls in Hawaii," ...
• • Source: Article: "Television and Radio News" written by Marie Torre for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; published on 30 April 1959 
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2289th 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:
Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West •  1933 • •
• •
Feed — —
Mae West.

No comments:

Post a Comment