Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mae West: Ken Darby

MAE WEST starred in "Belle of the Nineties" [1934] — — and the quartet The King's Men performed during the spiritual "Troubled Waters."
• • Formed in 1929 in Hollywood, The King's Men quartet was comprised of 20-year-old Ken Darby, arranger and bass, the group's founder; Rad Robinson, baritone; Jon Dodson, lead tenor; Bud Linn, top tenor. The young vocalists were first hired by Paramount to sing the title song in "Sweetie" [November 1929], an assignment that opened the door to radio contracts and more movie gigs.
• • Born in Hebron, Nebraska during the month of May — — on 13 May 1909 — — Kenneth Lorin Darby worked as a composer, vocal arranger, lyricist, and conductor. During a long and lucrative tenure in Tinseltown, Darby's film scores were recognized with three Academy Awards and one Grammy Award.  He joined ASCAP in 1946.
• • Ken Darby died in Sherman Oaks, California on 24 January 1992. He was 82.
• • Frank Rice [13 May 1892 — 9 January 1936] • •
• • In "Belle of the Nineties" [1934] cinema staple and singer Frank Rice played the Best Man at a wedding — — so maybe some rice was thrown during rehearsals.
• • Born in Muskegon, Michigan during the month of May — — on 13 May 1892 — — the long-necked and balding funnyman was often the casting director's pick when a moment of comic relief was called for such as his rolling-eyeballs specialty (which was on display when he played the butler in a Laurel and Hardy movie).
• • After appearing in 131 productions, from playful shorts in 1912 to meatier bits by the 1930s, Frank Rice died prematurely at age 43 of complications ensuing from hepatitis and nephritis. He was in demand and working right up to the end in Los Angeles, when he breathed his last on 9 January 1936 two years after working with Mae West in her fascinating screen role as Ruby Carter.
• • On Sunday, 13 May 1956 • •
• • Blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield encountered the very handsome Mr. Universe 1956 Miklos (Mickey) Hargitay on 13 May 1956, while attending a performance of the "Mae West Revue" at the Latin Quarter night club in Manhattan.
• • Twenty months later, Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay wed on 13 January 1958. They had three children and, alas, would divorce in 1964.
• • On Saturday, 13 May 1961 • •
• • Mae West posed with Gary Cooper in a tavern to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. They socialized at several Tinseltown tete-a-tetes, too. On Saturday, 13 May 1961, the "Coop" lost his battle with cancer.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "His mother should have thrown him away — — and kept the stork." Happy Mother's Day to all!
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on a Philadelphia cab driver mentioned Mae West.
• • Louis Antosh wrote: Cab driver Vincent Scullin has been called into the city of Philadelphia on several occasions. On one of these, a man stopped him outside the old Ritz Hotel back in the 1940s and asked to use his cab.  But I'll ask you please not to smoke while Miss West is in the cab, said the man.
• • Vincent turned his head to the right and recalled his thoughts back then. Could it be Mae West? But she always carries those long cigarette holders in the movies. Then the hotel door opens and out walks Mae West! And brother let me tell you she looked like a million bucks. White fur coat and dark glasses. Just between you and me and the gatepost. Whoo whoo! ...
• • Source:  Article: "A Cab Driver's View of People" written by Louis Antosh for Delaware County Daily Times, printed on page 1; published on Saturday, 13 May 1967
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2299th 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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