Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mae West: Marie DeVere

MAE WEST loved going to Coney Island with her father, especially when they visited wild animal exhibitions in summer.  For years, Mae talked about, and thought about, the impression that Bostock's lions left on her when she watched the king of beasts at Dreamland, that wonderful amusement park in Brooklyn, New York.
• • A Side Show Star • •
• • Excited about setting a motion picture's narrative inside a circus in "I'm No Angel," Mae might have also been enthralled by family gossip about a female cousin with a dangerous specialty — — who was booked at Dreamland's Circus Side Show.
• • On Dan Meyer's website ( he gives details about Marie Ellmore.  A cousin to Mae West on her father's side, she was billed under her stage name Marie DeVere.  According to research done by Dan Meyer and Emily Wortis Leider, Marie DeVere showed her charms in chorus lines, acted in vaude sketches, and posed with her sisters in advertisements for Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Tonic. After Dreamland burned to the ground in 1911, Marie DeVere was hired as a sword swallower by Hubert's Museum located on the Boardwalk in Coney Island. 
• • Marie did not have it easy at Hubert's; she had to fight for her rights. "Through Attorneys Henry J. and Frederick E. Goldsmith, Marie DeVere, a sword swallower, last employed at Hubert's Music Hall, Coney Island, started legal action, last week, for the recovery of $400, alleged due her on a written contract, which, the allegations charge, was breached by the Hubert people. Miss DeVere charges the management attempted to cut her salary, because of poor business, her refusal to accept the reduction resulting in her discharge, despite the written agreement," noted Variety.
• • It is probable that Mae West saw her older cousin in action since Marie DeVere enjoyed a long career onstage.  In 1905, she was featured as a sword swallower with the John Robinson Shows. New York's Watertown Daily Times printed an item about her bad luck on 28 June 1905:  "Marie DeVere, a sword swallower, is also very ill from a piece of alami (sic) sword broken off in her stomach, and it is feared she will die."
• • But twenty-three years later, the "Lady Sword Swallower" was still at her craft.  In January 1928, Marie DeVere performed at Rajah Theatre in Reading, Pennsylvania as part of the Josephine Joseph Big Circus Side Show.  We wish we knew more about Marie.
• • George Walsh [16 March 1889 — 13 June 1981] • •
• • Raoul Walsh [1887 — 1980], who directed "Klondike Annie," was an American film director, actor, founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and also the older brother of silent screen actor George Walsh, who was seen as the Quartermaster in "Klondike Annie." Yes, yes, what a surprise.
• • Born in New York City on 16 March 1889, George Walsh graduated from the High School of Commerce in 1911. Naturally athletic, he attended Fordham and Georgetown Universities and played on several campus teams. By 1914, during the silent screen era, he ventured into acting. Perhaps his brother Raoul, who was close friends with John Barrymore, and who began acting on stage in 1909, influenced him.
• • George Walsh was seen in 80 films between 1914 — 1936 and retired from the movies at age 47. He died of pneumonia in Pomona, California in the month of June — — on 13 June 1981.  He was 92.
• • On Friday, 13 June 2008 • •
• • In August 2005, media mainstay Joe Franklin enjoyed seeing scenes from the play "Courting Mae West" — — and in June 2008 he had a chance to get acquainted with an entirely different cast when he popped in on a dress rehearsal in Times Square on Friday the 13th [13 June 2008]. Joe Franklin took photos with the actresses and you can see the pictures on some earlier posts. When he hosted his TV show "Memory Lane," Joe invited Mae West to be his guest half-a-dozen times and recounted some of her naughty quips.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about the late furrier Bob Kleinman mentioned Mae West.
• • A Kentucky newspaper wrote: Kleinman's Furriers operated in downtown Louisville, KY for 71 years.  . . . Bob Kleinman began working in the family store when he was 15 years old. As the owner, his business philosophy was to greet every customer within 15 minutes, make every effort to please customers and to "tell it like it is."  The furriers' last downtown location was on Chestnut Street near Fourth Avenue in a building that was recently demolished.
• • Bob Kleinman once recalled Mae West as one of the more interesting customers he had met at that location, which was next door to the old Rialto Theatre.  Mae West once purchased three silver fox scarves when she was doing vaudeville at the Rialto. She wore all three draped over her shoulders at the same time, he said.  ...
• • Source: Obituary: "Bob Kleinman" written by a Kentucky newspaper; published on Thursday, 7 April 2005
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started seven years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2330th 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 • •
• •
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