Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mae West: Catherine's Court

On Monday, 30 August 1948 MAE WEST was in Los Angeles.  The newspapers described the star as trim, stylish, and "dolled up in black satin" when she took the stand in a crowded Los Angeles courtroom.
• • Take a moment to n
otice how the shape of the unusual hat Mae wore to the trial in 1948 imitated the headdress Mae wore onstage in August 1944 when she portrayed the iconic czarina on Broadway.

• • Catherine's Court Plagiarism Suit in 1948 • •
• • Every lawsuit has a back-story.  Eagerly looking for material that would appeal to her, Mae told Paramount Pictures that she yearned to play Catherine the Great.  She was disappointed in "The Scarlet Empress," commenting that Marlene Dietrich looked like nothing more than a hollow-cheeked doll. The titans of Tinseltown never envisioned comedienne Mae West in an historical drama, especially not in an epic set in Russia.  Moreover, no one else seemed interested in the topic after director Josef von Sternberg helmed such an expensive flop. Mae West had to bide her time on her Catherine concept until she returned to the stage.
• • It was quite galling when she and Mike Todd were sued for plagiarism by the writers Edwin K. O'Brien of New York City and Michael Kane of Hollywood, who tried to finagle a $100,000 payday for themselves.
• • In fact Mae has been sued before over this play — — and in a similar suit she testified that she invented the story "out of my own head" and did not draw upon other writers or stories for material.
• • The trial lasted six weeks. After the jury deliberated four days, they acquitted Mae West and Mike Todd.  Did it end there?  No.
• • Retrial • •

• • If you were reading The Los Angeles Times on Saturday, 9 October 1948, then you would have seen this headline: "Writers Ask Retrial in $100,000 Suit Against Mae West."   
• • As Mae would have said of these two characters, "The nerve of a brass monkey."
• • On Sunday, 30 August 1931 • •
• • When Mae West brought her play "The Constant Sinner" to Atlantic City for a try-out in August 1931, the crowds lined up for tickets.  
 • • Noted The New York Times: "With two rows of standees and chairs in the aisles for extra celebrants, last Monday night saw Mae West run through her latest daisy chain, 'The Constant Sinner,' at the Apollo Theatre in Atlantic City. . ."  Their man on the aisle described this play as "underworld material," leading us to assume this sheltered individual rarely ventured above the wilds of West 96th Street.
• • Source: The N.Y. Times on Sunday, 30 August 1931.
• • On Sunday, 30 August 1970 in The L.A. Times • •
• • Joyce Haber referred to Mae West as "the Last of the Living Legends" in The Los Angeles Times Calendar on Sunday, 30 August 1970.
• • Haiku featuring Mae West • •
• • On a quiet set, Mae West polishing her diamonds — (poem on an Asian web site).
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "The quality of young skin is there, isn't it? Here look at my cleavage, see how tight the skin is?"
• • Mae West said: "I've taken good care of myself all my life."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A newspaper item mentioned "Mr. Universal" and Mae West.
• • Joyce Haber wrote: Arthur, the West Coast replica of the Manhattan discotheque, opened on La Cienega Wednesday night. Everyone was there except Warren Beatty, because almost everyone is an investor.  ... And Mae West. Mae West in the flesh. Mae West with a long platinum mane, in a flip hairdo. Mae West in folds of white satin, crystal-beaded at the neckline. Mae West with Reg Lewis, who was Mr. Universal (sic) in an unidentified year.  ...
• • Source: Article: "Opening Night at Southland Arthur" written by Joyce Haber for The L.A. Times; published on Friday, 29 December 1967
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2411th 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, 1948
• •
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