Saturday, August 04, 2012

Mae West: Joseph Calleia

MAE WEST was Flower Belle Lee in "My Little Chickadee" [1940] and Joseph Calleia played a dual role as town boss Jeff Badger and the masked bandit, who makes off with Flower Belle. When the lady refuses to reveal what noctural naughtiness she was forced into, the prudish townsfolk ask her to leave.  
• • Later on, when W.C. Fields (Cuthbert J. Twillie) is appointed sheriff of Greasewood City by Joseph Calleia (Jeff Badger), things get hairy.
• • Photo: Calleia (in white top hat) next to W.C. Fields
• • Joseph Calleia [4 August 1897 — 31 October 1975] • •
• • Born in St. Julians, Malta on 4 August 1897, his original name was Giuseppe Maria Spurrin-Calleja. He began his entertainment career as a singer. When he was in his late twenties, he was cast in the first of seven plays he did on Broadway, where he received good roles and sterling reviews from 1926 — 1935.
• • In 1931 his cinema career began. Casting agents appraised his dark features and heavy-lidded eyes and tended to place him either in villain roles or whenever the script called for a foreigner.  The five-foot-ten actor took part in 57 feature films (often playing a Latin man) and in four TV series until he retired in 1963.
• • Joseph Calleia had returned to Malta, where he died on 31 October 1975.  He was 78.
• • Cliff Shirpser [4 August 1906 — 18 December 1977] • •
• • Cliff Shirpser was a camera assistant for "She Done Him Wrong" starring Mae West.
• • Born in San Francisco on 4 August 1906, he began his Tinseltown career during the silent era with the classic "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" [1921] when he was 15 years old. Always plying his trade within the confines of the studio's Camera and Electrical Department, Cliff Shirpser was attached to a diverse number of motion pictures including several Marx Brothers classics, "Destry Rides Again," and "Gone with the Wind." Eventually, he switched to children's series on TV. For six decades, from 1921 — 1981, he was behind the camera on 188 projects. He also distinguished himself as a producer.
• • Cliff Shirpser died in Los Angeles in December — — on 18 December 1977. He was 71.
• • On Monday, 4 August 1913 • •
• • On Monday, 4 August 1913 Mae West opened for Evelyn Nesbit, who gave ballroom dancing lessons to an adoring audience at Hammerstein's Victoria on 42nd Street. Overshadowed by the notorious Nesbit, Mae's good work was unappreciated that evening.
• • 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: "A thrill a day keeps the chill away."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about a death mentioned Mae West.
• • The Gazette wrote:  It is generally assumed the cake was named for the bawdy U.S. actress Mae West, the star of a popular wartime movie, My Little Chickadee. But Rene Brousseau’s son, Jacques, said the dessert got its name because the cake was so puffy, it resembled a life preserver that was also nicknamed Mae West.
• • The spelling of the brand name was changed to May after the actress died in 1980, to avoid a lawsuit from West’s estate. ...
• • Source: Article: "Inventor of May West snack cake dies" written by The Gazette for; published on 4 August 2007
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2384th 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's castmates • 1940
• •
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