Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mae West: Howard Merling

MAE WEST always said she wrote in bed because she did her best work there.  But often she worked with collaborators, who did get money for their involvement though not necessarily any visible credit. 
• • Howard Merling, Bert Merling, and Mae got together in the month of June — — on 19  June 1931 — — and a simple handwritten statement was signed by all three. In this 2-page contract Mae West agrees to pay her collaborator Howard Merling 22 1/2% of the royalties received from the play "The Constant Sinner," based on Mae West's novel "Babe Gordon."  For this drama set in Harlem, Howard Merling (who was a Caucasian writer) had contributed research material about racy night clubs, gambling, pimps, negroes, drug addicts, drug dealers, prostitutes, speakeasies, and other low-life pleasure-seeking for this novel about a black pimp named Money Johnson, boxer Bearcat Delaney, and Babe Gordon, a white woman.
• • "The Constant Sinner" opened on Broadway in September 1931 at the Royale Theatre, had 64 performances, and closed in November 1931.  When Mae tried to stage it in Washington, DC with Lorenzo Tucker in the role of Money Johnson, Babe's lover, it was shut down by the police.
• • Ed Wynn [9 November 1886 — 19 June 1966] • •
• • While playing opposite the seasoned 32-year-old cut-up in Arthur Hammerstein's Broadway hit "Sometime" (with a music score by Rudolf Friml), Mae came to the realization that she was throwing away her lines. Observing the crafty comic timing of Ed Wynn, said Mae West, and watching how he made sure he caught the audience's attention before delivering a line, was the best lesson. Her character in this production was Mayme Dean, his was Loney Bright.
• • Born in Philadelphia on 9 November 1886, Ed Wynn was a popular comedian and actor noted for his Perfect Fool comedy character, his pioneering radio show of the 1930s, and his later career as a dramatic actor.
• • Ed Wynn died of throat cancer in the month of June — — on 19 June 1966.  He was 79.
• • On Monday, 19 June 1933 • •
• • A line eliminated from the script of "I'm No Angel" (dated for Monday, 19 June 1933) is a statement by Tira, during her sideshow performance: "That's all, boys. Now you can go home and beat your wives." Sheesh.  Did someone ever think that was funny?
• • On Tuesday, 19 June 1934 • •
• • The Sydney Morning Herald (on page 2) featured ads for "I'm No Angel" at the Artarmon, "a suburban picture theatre," in their issue dated for Tuesday, 19 June 1934.
• • On Friday, 19 June 1942 in The Baltimore Sun • •
• • The Baltimore Sun wrote: His face cut and bloodied, Baltimore's Harry Jeffra loses a 10-round TKO to world featherweight champion Chalky Wright before an announced 6,000 fans at Oriole Park. A two-time world champ himself, Jeffra attempted a comeback against Wright, who moonlights as a private chauffeur for actress Mae West. Printed on Friday, 19 June 1942.
• • On Friday, 19 June 2009 in Chicago Tribune • •
• • Chicago Trib reader Will Dix submitted his favorite movie quote (printed on 19 June 2009):
• • Captain Cummings (Cary Grant): "Haven't you ever met a man who could make you happy?"
• • Lady Lou (Mae West): "Sure, lots of times."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • To Henry Hathaway in 1936 Mae West said: "I don't need the dog's ass wiggling to get a laugh in my picture.  I get my own laughs."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about doing business mentioned Mae West.
• • Dr William Whittaker wrote:  The company now faces the task of reputation reversal and minority stakeholder re-engagement. Contact should not be like Mae West who lost her reputation and never missed it.  ...
• • Source: Article: "Directors' fee increase 'public relations disaster'" written by Dr William Whittaker for Institute of Directors in New Zealand; posted December 2011
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2336th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West • with Paul Huber, 1931 • •
• •
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  Mae West.

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