Monday, July 23, 2012

Mae West: Bing Conley

MAE WEST starred in "My Little Chickadee" [1940] and Bing Conley was seen as a henchman.
• • Born in Lewiston, Maine as William Edward Conley Jr. on 16 August 1900, he tried his hand at boxing during the 1920s. The muscular middleweight was in the arena over three dozen times and won twenty-two fights with a respectable number of KOs.
• • At age 35, the five-foot-ten athlete turned to a new challenge: the cinema. However, Bing Conley was not a knock-out in Tinseltown. Between 1935 — 1949, he played in only fourteen films, itty bit parts as a convict, roustabout, dockhand, trucker, bartender, bruiser, heckler, and henchman.
• • Bing Conley died in Los Angeles in July — — on 23 July 1962.  He was 61.
• • James Donlan [23 July 1888 — 7 June 1938] • •
• • James Donlan appeared in one cinema classic with Mae West in 1934.
• • Born in San Francisco on 23 July 1888, James Donlan dove into the motion picture whirl during 1929 when he was 41 years old.
• • Though he sang in two motion pictures, his forte was his versatility as a character actor.
• • Between 1929 and 1938, he appeared in over 100 movies including "Belle of the Nineties" [1934], portraying Kirby, the manager of boxer Tiger Kid. He also was cast in a few comedies with the Three Stooges.
• • James Donlan died in Hollywood of a heart attack on 7 June 1938 — — a month shy of his 50th birthday.
• • On Monday, 23 July 1934 in Film Daily • •
• • W. C. Fields wrote: I have been approached by Mae West to consider collaborating. But I want my work to stand out individually. Besides Mae has the wrong slant on this thing. She says she does her best writing in bed. Well, I do my best loafing there, and consider that that is the primary purpose of a bed. . . .
• • Source: Article: "W. C. Fields Talks About His Grand Passion" in Film Daily; published on Monday, 23 July 1934.
• • Eudora Welty [13 April 1909 — 23 July 2001] • •
• • Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Eudora Welty was recognized early on for her writing ability; she was 12 when she won $25 in a jingle competition.  At 14, she published her poems in the youth magazine Saint Nicholas.
• • In July 1944 • •
• • Never a beauty, Eudora Welty was, however, an observer of beautiful moments. In the days before air conditioning, when Eudora had an office in midtown, her wide-open windows faced the Shubert Theatre — — where Mae West's "Catherine Was Great" opened on 2 August 1944. Whenever she could, Welty watched rehearsals. There was one scene when Mae, as the Russian empress, was inspecting her troops. The scene required Mae to single out one actor and look him up and down as she asked, "You're new here, aren't you?
• • It seems the writer found that exchange memorable.  One biographer noted: More than fifty years after these events, Eudora Welty continued to imitate Mae's sultry line "You're new here, aren't you?" with heady enjoyment.
• • The Pulitzer Prize winner did not marry.  She died in Jackson, Mississippi on 23 July  2001. She was 92.
• • Save the Date: Thursday, August 16th • •
• • Thursday, 16 August 2012 will be the next Mae West Tribute in Manhattan and the evening affair will start at 6:30 pm at 155 Mulberry Street.  This year Mae-mavens will enjoy an indoor event (ahhh, air conditioning), music written by Mae West's Italian husband will be played, and attendees will be seated.
• • At the Reception, Italian wine and light refreshments will be served. The ever-popular Mae West Raffle will offer rare prizes once again to a number of lucky attendees. The public is invited.
• • Mae West was born in Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, 17 August 1893.
• • Closest MTA subway stations: Grand St. or Canal St.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "You've got to fight in this world! You've got to fight to get there — — and fight to stay there."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on a notable theatre clan, The Banksons, mentioned Mae West.
• • John Phillips wrote: This is a story about the Banksons, a not-quite-forgotten family of actors from long ago. ...
• • John Phillips explained: Later, there was James “Welly” Phillips. He was Addison Phillips' son and Ray Phillips' oldest brother. Welly was on stage in the 1900 — 1910 era. He played in some of the same vaudeville shows as the legendary comedian Ed Wynn. ...  Welly played two five-string banjos simultaneously, and he told jokes for most of 90 years.
• • Mae West's Wedding at the Parkview Hotel, April 1911 • •
• • John Phillips stated: Welly Phillips claimed to have played the wedding march on his banjo at Mae West’s wedding when she was 17. That would have been about 1911. Miss West denied the marriage, but Welly probably told the story more times than she denied it: “It was in the pool room at the Parkview Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at 2 o’clock in the morning. There haven’t been many ceremonies to match that one.” ...
• • Source: Article: "Mary Bankson, actress" written by John Phillips of Kathleen, Georgia; posted in 2007
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2372nd 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 • 1940
• •
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