Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mae West: Queen of Sheba

An article about MAE WEST being cast as the Queen of Sheba was printed in July 1934. The location of this ancient royal kingdom, Sheba, is believed to have been in Ethiopia and Yemen. It's interesting that there is a reference to this Biblical ruler in "The Wicked Age" [1927].  The role Mae played in this drama (staged at Daly's 63rd Street Theatre) was Evelyn "Babe" Carson. When her manager takes Babe to task for her ill temper, reminding her that she is hardly the Queen of Sheba, she shoots back with a spritz of Yiddish: "That piker. She was only queen over some Pollacks — — while I'm the queen of all the bathing beauties!"
• • Throughout the years, Mae was offered many diverse roles for the screen, for example, as the mother to Jane Russell's daughter character in the film "That's My Mother"; as Madame DuBarry; and as the leading lady paired with screen idols such as John Barrymore or Clark Gable. Opportunities crossed her path as often as a city bus. Too bad these motion picture projects got side-tracked.
• • Mae West's next film will be "The Queen of Sheba" • •
• • A writer with the penname "Close-Up" offered this tidbit to film fans on 25 July 1934: I understand that Mae West's next film will be "The Queen of Sheba." That is not a joke. My information is that "the production will not be burlesque, and the star will give a 'straight' characterisation." Clearly Miss West is ambitious; but her ambition may lead her into trouble.
• • Close-Up continued: She made her name in "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel" as a type which the Americans describe as a "hot momma." Whether she will be able to change herself into the Queen of Sheba, an exotic brunette with rolls of pearls and no Bronx accent is a question that I would not care to decide in advance. Miss West may risk the part in the belief that an uptown two-time hoofer and the Queen of Sheba are sisters under the skin.  So far Mae West has appeared in parts which require her only to be Mae West.
• • Close-Up added: As the Queen of Sheba she would have to create a very different characterisation.  It remains lo be seen whether she can do that.  Cecil B. de Mille at once suggests himself as director.  He directed Betty Blythe in the original Queen of Sheba film.
• • Source: Article: "Notes on the Screen" printed in The Argus on page 5; published in Australia on Wednesday, 25 July 1934.
• • Arthur Lubin [25 July 1898 — 12 May 1995] • •
• • Arthur Lubin, a closeted gay gentleman who was a friend of Mae West, scored a coup by persuading the screen icon to guest star in one episode of "Mister Ed."
• • Born Arthur William Lubovsky in Los Angeles, California in the month of July — — on 25 July 1898 — — he was educated on the West Coast. During WWI, he served in the Navy, then returned to college. Since the screen trade showed potential, Lubin created his own film and music studio, Lubin Studios, during the 1920s and he began to act in silent films.
• • Arthur Lubin met Mae West in Hollywood in 1932 when he was hired as a production assistant for "She Done Him Wrong," a big hit for Paramount Pictures. His directing debut quickly followed with "A Successful Failure" [1934]. Comedy was his metier and he found his footing quickly by helming a series of screen gems starring the vaudevillian team Abbott and Costello during the 1940s. Shortly after, Lubin directed the best of the Francis series of talking-mule farces for the big screen. Once he knew his way around the barn, it was an easy leap to the TV series centered on a talking horse, another family friendly animal theme.
• • When Lubin's career ended in the late 1970s, he retired to a quiet life shared with his male life partner. He died in Glendale, California on 12 May 1995. He was 96.
• • On Sunday, 25 July 1926 in NYC • •
• • On Sunday, 25 July 1926, Mae met Valentino at Tommy Guinan's speakeasy. Larger than the average ginmill, The Playground was on West 52nd Street (east of Broadway).  James R. Quirk, editor-publisher of Photoplay, hosted a Reception in honor of Valentino's new silent movie "Son of the Sheik" there.  Mae West and Texas Guinan were there to greet the Apulian heartthrob.
• • On Thursday, 25 July 1946 • •
• • The famous photo of Mae West with her hand on bodybuilder John Farbotnik's flexed upper arm was taken on Thursday, 25 July 1946 after the muscleman won the Mr. Chicago title.
• • In the 25 July 1974 issue of Jet • •
• • An in-depth profile on Mae West (that Jet Magazine assigned to a writer) appeared in Jet's issue dated for Thursday, 25 July 1974.
• • 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: "Everyone else that gets in the money out here buys a forty-room house, hires a dozen servants, and gets ritzy. But not me. I'd be lonesome."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Hollywood parties mentioned Mae West.
• • Film Daily's columnist wrote: Hollywood — William Morris, Jr., Murray Feil, William Perlberg, Albert G. Ruben, Moss Hart, Harold Hecht, Bert Marx, Alexander Hall, Frankie Eastman, and Arthur Lubin at Mae West's Paramount party. ...
• • Source: Article: "More Passing Show" printed in The Film Daily; published in 1932
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2374th 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 • 1934
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