Friday, July 20, 2012

Mae West: This Bed Stuff

"MAE WEST to Star in TV Special" was the headline on Saturday, 20 July 1968. The byline belonged to Dick Kleiner, NEA Hollywood Correspondent, who had visited the movie queen in her Los Angeles residence. Let's eavesdrop.
• • Dick Kleiner wrote: In most people's minds Mae West and sex go together like apple pie and vanilla ice cream. And you might expect her to be all in favor of today's anything goes movies. She isn't.
• • Mae sat in her living room, all white and gold and mirrored and adorned with cupids and nude statues and paintings, and she primly clutched a long pale green wrap-around robe about her. She's rumored to be in her mid-seventies but her hair is still platinum and there aren't too many wrinkles noticeable and her figure is still an hour glass on daylight savings time. 
• • "My old movies," she said, "used to be thought of as pretty racy. I did a lot with movement — — like this and like that — — all very animated, you know. Lots of animation. But there was never anything indecent in them. Why I don't think I ever even kissed anybody. I'd get close but never kiss."
• • She clutched the robe tighter around her legs. "But nowadays," she said, "all this bed stuff in pictures. I suppose it's all right if the people are attractive but too many of the girls are skinny. They have nothing up here and who wants to see them?" ...
• • Source: Article: "Mae West to Star in TV Special" written by Dick Kleiner; syndicated and reprinted on page 27, El Paso Herald Post, on Saturday, 20 July 1968. 
• • Rae Bourbon [11 August 1892 — 20 July 1971] • •
• • Born in Texas as Hal Wadell, the vaudeville comedian and female impersonator called himself either Ray or Rae Bourbon onstage. Bourbon kept his bookings buoyant by navigating a shifting terrain of social attitudes about gender, censorship, bisexuality, transgression, transvestism, bawdiness, and sheer snark.
• • A memorable date for Rae Bourbon took place on 2 August 1944 — — the Broadway debut of "Catherine Was Great," when Mae West portrayed the Empress of Russia and Bourbon had a minor role as a courtier named Florian.
• • Rae Bourbon was also cast in Mae's revival of "Diamond Lil" [1948 — 1950]; he played the role of Bowery Rose, a "pansy shoplifter," a humorous cameo designed for his talents. 
• • Unfortunately, the spirited stage personality died in a Texas jail cell while serving time on 20 July 1971.
• • On Saturday, 20 July 1935 • •
• • On 20 July 1935, The Evening Capital let its readers know about an unusual evening when they printed this headline: "Mae West Dines With Gov. Nice."  Harry W. Nice [1877 — 1941] was Governor of Maryland for four years, from 1935 to 1939.
• • On Monday, 20 July 1942 • •
• • Subscribers of the Reading Eagle opened their morning edition dated for Monday, 20 July 1942 and saw this juicy bit on page 14: "Mae West Requests Divorce from Wallace on 'Cruelty'."
• • Los Angeles, July 20, AP — Mae West and her onetime vaudeville partner Frank Wallace planned today to end their marriage, a ceremony kept secret for years, then widely publicized. 
• • Mae asked for a divorce on the ground of cruelty. Her complaint contained no specific charges.   ...
• • Frank Wallace had come into court with "unclean hands," inasmuch as he had married Rae Blakesley in New York in 1916 without seeking a divorce from Mae. ... He admits he lived with his second wife for 19 years
• • On Sunday, 20 July 1952 • •
• • Connecticut reporter Joe De Bona interviewed Mae West and asked her, "If all the men in the world suddenly died, would you want to go on living?"
• • Her reply was printed in the Connecticut Sunday Herald on 20 Juy 1952. She said, "No, there would be no sense in it."
• • On Monday, 20 July 1964 • •
• • The Hollywood Reporter published an article on Mae West,  "Very Warm for Mae." It ran in their issue dated for Monday, 20 July 1964.
• • 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: "After all, men is my business."
• • Mae West said: "A man in the house is worth two in the street."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Mae West appeared in Newsday. Apparently, Blake Green did not know that Mae initially wrote the "come up sometime" line for Winnie, a drag queen character in her stage play "The Drag" [1926].
• • Here is Winnie's line of dialogue:  "So glad to have you meet me. Come up sometime and I'll bake you a pan of biscuits." That was Mae West's intentional echo of the very well-known line of the late great female impersonator Bert Savoy, who used to say, "Oh, Margie! You must come over!"
• • Blake Green wrote: Few quips have achieved the immortality of Mae West's sultry invitation, "Come up and see me sometime." (sic)  She issued it first on the New York stage in 1928 in "Diamond Lil," and then a slight variation on the screen in "She Done Him Wrong," where its eternity was cemented by the guy on the receiving end: a virtually unknown actor named Cary Grant.
• • From that same 1933 movie came two other memorable West-isms: Lady Lou, when asked, "Haven't you ever met a man who can make you happy?," retorted: "Sure. Lots of times." And, as reassurance to another shady lady, she observed, "When women go wrong, men go right after them." ....
• • Source: Article: "Mae West: The Woman Who Fashioned Herself a Big Star" written by Blake Green for Newsday; published on 7 January 2000
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2368th 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 • 1965
• •
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