Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mae West: Floored

In 1949, when MAE WEST was starring in "Diamond Lil" on Broadway, she stayed in the Chatham Hotel — — where she was floored (alas, not in a good way).  On Sunday, 17 July 1949, her fans learned about the lawsuit on page 1.
• • "Mae West Fell In Hotel, Claims Dollars" was the headline. • •
• • NEW YORK, July 16 (A.A.P.) — Actress Mae West to-day sued New York's Hotel Chatham for 250,000 dollars, damages for injuries received in a fall in her bathroom there. She alleged that a defective floormat caused the fall, which made her "sick, sore, lame, and disabled."
• • Miss West said she was prevented from continuing to earn 3,000 dollars weekly as the star of the play "Diamond Lil " The fall, she said, broke bones in her left ankle.
• • Source: The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW), page 1, Sunday, 17 July 1949.
• • Background: On 26 February 1949, Mae West broke her ankle, ending an engagement at the Coronet Theatre [230 West 49th Street, a Broadway playhouse later renamed for Eugene O'Neill].  The revival of "Diamond Lil" had begun on 5 February 1949. Naturally, the cancellation of a show in any legitimate theatre — — where each actor has a union contract — — is an enormous expense, not to mention the box-office losses.
• • On the same date, a California paper posted this headline: "Mae West Tosses Curve at Chatham Hotel in New York." 
• • Edward Gargan [17 July 1902 — 19 February 1964] • •
• • Mae West starred in "Belle of the Nineties" [1934] and worked with numerous character actors such as Brooklynite Edward Gargan, who portrayed Ruby Carter's agent Stogie.
• • Born of Irish parentage in Kings County during the month of July — — on 17 July 1902 — — Edward Gargan was the older brother of actor William Gargan. Both were often cast as dumb Irish policemen or detectives as well as befuddled or dunderheaded sidekicks. It's odd that Edward often wound up in demeaning ethnic roles since he was a college grad with extensive stage training. After appearing in numerous plays, Edward Gargan embarked on a career in the screen trade in 1931. He was one of the most prolific bit players, logging in almost 300 films on his resume between 1931 — 1952, and a scattering of TV work from 1951 — 1953.
• • Gargan died in New York City on 19 February 1964. He was 61.
• • On Sunday, 17 July 1932 in The L.A. Times • •
• • Interviewed for The L.A. Times by California reporter Muriel Babcock,  Mae West told her, "The screen doesn't require as much acting of a certain type. The camera catches the slightest facial movements, the slightest twitch of an eye." The complete interview appeared in the weekend edition on Sunday, 17 July 1932.
• • 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: "I live to live high up."
• • Mae West said: "I enjoyed my success with no false humility and no coy hiding of my ego under a basket.  I had worked very hard since a teenager."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on Frank Wallace's marriage to Mae West popped up on Saturday, 17 July 1937.
• • Wallace Wins in West Affair
• • Husband of Famous Film Star Given Recognition • •
• • A.P. wrote: Los Angeles, July 16 — Validity of the 26-year-old marriage of film star Mae West and Frank Wallace, vaudeville dancer, was recognized judicially Friday when Judge Robert Kenny declared judgment in favor of Wallace on that point. ...
• • Source: Article: "Wallace Wins in West Affair" written by A.P. and syndicated; printed on page 1 of Billings Gazette; published on Saturday, 17 July 1937
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2365th 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 • 1949
• •
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