Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mae West: More Fun

MAE WEST was featured on ABC Weekend News in August 1967.  On Saturday, 26 August 1967, when the network announced their upcoming color special "Blondes Have More Fun," the show was described in an odd and extraordinary way. Here's ABC-TV's listing:
• • ABC Weekend News — — "Do  Blondes Have More Fun" • •
• • Scenes from the film careers of three of Hollywood's most luscious and come hither blondes: Mae West, the late Jean Harlow, and the late Marilyn Monroe will be seen on the ABC-TV color special "Blondes Have More Fun." The program, including interviews with cartoonist Al Capp, authors Anita Loos and Betty Friedan, and psychologist Joyce Brothers will examine American attitudes to blondes and the background of the blonde mystique.
• • When:  Monday, 28 August 1967, on Channel 13 — 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
• • Hmmm.  Did you digest that little TV winner?  ABC decided to pick three Hollywood bombshells and came up with two dead actresses and the living-breathing Mae West (who was not a commentator, darn it). Granted, it's understandable that the network would invite Anita Loos [1888 — 1981], who wrote "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," even though she was 79 years old in 1967.  But why Al Capp [1909 — 1979]?  Think he was the only male ABC could snag in August?
• • Many newspapers printed this TV listing on Saturday, 26 August 1967.
• • Ben Oakland [24 September 1907 — 26 August 1979] • •
• • Born in Brooklyn, New York on 24 September 1907, Ben Oakland was a pianist, composer, and lyricist most active from the 1920s through the 1940s. A child prodigy, Oakland performed at Carnegie Hall in a piano concert at the age of nine. He later accompanied Helen Morgan and George Jessel in variety. Oakland composed mainly for vaudeville shows and Broadway, though he also worked on several Hollywood scores including for the motion picture classic co-starring Mae West and W.C. Fields.
• • Typically, Ben Oakland would focus on writing the music and collaborating with lyricists including Oscar Hammerstein II, Bob Russell, Milton Drake, L. Wolfe Gilbert, and Artie Shaw.
• • "Willie of the Valley" • •
• • In 1940, he wrote "Willie of the Valley" with Milton Drake [1916 — 2006] for the film "My Little Chickadee" and this had a double distinction of being the only number in the movie — — and it was sung by Mae West herself. Here's Mae costumed as the notorious Flower Belle Lee.
• • The Songwriter's Hall of Fame lists Ben Oakland on their notable (non-inducted) songwriters list for contributions to the American popular song. Oakland died in Hollywood on 26 August 1979.  He was 71.
• • On Friday, 26 August 1921 • •
• • "The Mimic World 1921" opened on 17 August 1921 and Jimmy Hussey's close friend, Jack Dempsey (another Irish-American) attended the premiere, and visited Mae West backstage after the show.
• • Clearly with Mae's approval and cooperation, Hussey penned the skit "The Trial of Shimmy Mae." Hussey himself played the judge as Mae demonstrated the shimmy in his topsy-turvy courtroom.
• • Variety tartly commented on 26 August 1921: "In a tent it would have been a riot."
• • On Tuesday, 26 August 1941 • •
• • On Tuesday, 26 August 1941, Mae sent a letter to Gary Cooper regarding San Quentin Prison. Mae wrote to him: "Warden Clinton Duffy is doing really wonderful work in prison administration. . . .  At this time Warden Duffy is preparing to award prizes to the men in prison who prove most worthy.  . . .  I am sure you will be glad to find room among your other donations for a contribution for the encouragement of the boys in the 'Big House' who have inspired such a lot of our screen material."
• • On Thursday, 26 August 1954 • •
• • According to vintage newspaper ads, the roving "Mae West Revue" opened their performance schedule in Reno, Nevada starting on Thursday, 26 August 1954. 
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'm not making a comeback.  I never went away!"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An advertisement mentioned Mae West.
• • From The Straits Times: "Be smart for the races!  Get your hat — — MAE WEST STYLE!"  ...
• • Source: Ad in The Straits Times (Singapore) in column 1, page II; published on 26 August 1937
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2407th 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 • 1940
• •
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