Friday, August 10, 2012

Mae West: AIF Men

On Thursday, 10 August 1944, the headlines in Australia read: "AIF Men Went Up and Saw MAE WEST." 
• • The war against Hitler raged on. The sight of military men in uniform was a constant theme in newspapers.  In 1944, the Western Allies invaded France (D-Day), while the Soviet Union was focused on regaining all of its territorial losses and invading Nazi Germany and its allies. The world stage was poised for the ultimate cliff-hanger.
• • A different Russian ruler was on the radar of the RAAF, however, as the group invaded the Shubert Theatre.  Armed with geniality, decorated with medals, the top brass paid homage to Catherine the Great — — portrayed by Mae West.
• • The A.A.P. wrote this: New York, Wednesday — A party of 50 AIF and RAAF officers and men went up last night and saw Mae West in person. Previously they had attended a lavish new Broadway show, "Catherine Was Great," in which she portrays the celebrated Russian Empress.
• • The AIP men are members of a special military mission, picked from all divisions, and are led by Brigadier Eugene Gorman, KC, Chief Inspector of Army Administration. They arrived in New York yesterday.
• • When Mae West heard that they were in the theatre, she sent an invitation to them through the theatre manager to "Come up and see me not some time, but tonight in my dressing-room." They accepted to a man (sic).
• • Still in stage make-up, and wearing a somewhat revealing negligee, Mae shook hands, chatted, and autographed everyone's programme. First to greet her was Major J. Sullivan, of Melbourne, who is attached to an AIP dental unit. "I always heard you Aussies were lovely, big, strong he-men. Now I know it," she remarked in her throaty drawl.
• • One man who asked the Associated Press representative not to mention his name because he was married, and his wife might not like it, said: "You must come out and see us." "You will see me there one day," Mae West replied.
• • Captain McNulty, of Sydney; Captain Lindsay, of Melbourne; WO Cabell, of Melbourne, were the last three to meet Mae, but they were luckier than the rest. They received autographed photographs.
• • Earlier the men had attended a reception at the Anzac Club, given in their honour by Lieut-General Sir John Lavarack, head of the Australian Military Mission in Washington.
• • The party will march through the streets of New York today, when Mayor LaGuardia will welcome them to the city."
• • Source: Article: "AIF Men Went Up and Saw Mae West" wrtten by the A.A.P., printed on page 16 of The Argus; published on Thursday, 10 August 1944. 
• • Tetsu Komai [23 April 1894 — 10 August 1970] • •
• • Perhaps the casting director for Mae West's "Klondike Annie" [1936] had seen Arnold Genthe's famous black and white photographs of San Francisco's Chinatown and been impressed, especially by those fierce sullen males Genthe captured in his gelatin silver print called "The Street of the Gamblers."
• • Usually cast as a Chinese thug, Tetsu Komai was really born in Kumamoto, Japan on 23 April 1894. The five-foot-eleven actor often played villains. In "Klondike Annie," he took the role of Lan Fang.
• • Tetsu Komai began his Hollywood career in 1926 with several bit parts. Featured in 66 motion pictures, he made a final appearance in "The Night Walker" as a gardener in 1964. He died in Gardena, California of congestive heart failure on 10 August 1970.  He was 76.
• • On Monday, 10 August 1936 • •
• • Production of "Klondike Annie" starring Mae West began on Monday, 10 August 1936 and was finished by September.
• • On Tuesday, 6 August 1912 • •
• • In 1912 a teenage Mae West was invited to perform again at Hammerstein's Victoria. The singing comedienne was booked for a week-long engagement that began on Tuesday, 6 August 1912.
• • On Sunday, 10 August 1980 • •
• • Oh, dear Mae! It was one week before Mae West celebrated her eighty-seventh birthday. But on Sunday, 10 August 1980, she fell out of bed leading to a calamity. 
• • 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 have an extra thyroid gland. It gives me twice the energy and twice, the, you know, everything else, I guess."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about the entrance of "Mae West" was printed in a VolksFest Program.
• • VolksFest wrote:  "Hollywood's Golden Years" to be held in Berlin from July 19 — August 10, 1969 — A great party will be enacted on the stage, complete with the mad antics of Laurel and Hardy, heroes and villains, and the Keystone Cops. For an interlude between Part One and Part Two, there will be a Charleston number and the entrance of Mae West, one of the great legendary movie figures ...
• • Source: Article: "VolksFest" press kit, item written for The Berlin Observer; published on 9 July 1969

By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2390th 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 • 1944 clip
• •
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