Monday, September 24, 2012

Mae West: Mike Donlin

MAE WEST starred in "She Done Him Wrong" [1933] and Mike Donlin was seen briefly as a tout.
• • Mike Donlin [30 May 1878 — 24 September 1933] • •
• • Michael Joseph Donlin was born in Peoria, Illinois on 30 May 1878.  At 21 he was a major league baeball player who played on seven teams during his 12-year career.  Nicknamed "Turkey Mike" because of his odd gait on the field, his career reached its peak in 1905 — 1906, when he was the star outfielder for the champion New York Giants.
• • Cupid came calling.  On 11 April 1906, Donlin wed a stunning Broadway musical comedy sensation, Mabel Hite. Sportswriters remarked that marriage had tamed him, loosening his attachment to the bottle and encouraging him to join his wife onstage.  On 26 October 1908, Mabel Hite and Mike Donlin's baseball skit debuted at Hammerstein's Victoria.  The crowd was so enthusiastic that the couple developed the material into a one-act play, "Stealing Home," and toured with this baseball-themed play for almost three years
• • By 1917, 39-year-old Donlin had migrated to Hollywood where his friend John Barrymore helped him break into the screen trade. But his age and lack of experience worked against the five-foot-nine newcomer.  From 1917 — 1933, he was cast in over fifty films but mostly in minor parts or as an extra. 
• • Months after "She Done Him Wrong" was released, Mike Donlin died in Hollywood on Sunday, 24 September 1933.  He was 55.
• • Ben Oakland [24 September 1907 — 26 August 1979] • •
• • Born in Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday, 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 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.
• • Starting on Monday, 24 September 1928 • •
• • "Pleasure Man" written by Mae West was shown at the Bronx Opera House from 17 September until 22 September 1928.  Then the play moved to the Boulevard Theatre in Queens for a single week starting on 24 September 1928.  Then Mae's provocative piece opened at the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway on 1 October 1928, at which point the police padlocked it, despite its heavy advance sale.
• • On Monday, 24 September 1934 • •
• • After a long battle with the Hays Office, "Belle of the Nineties" won its approval. Despite that, several state censor boards deemed certain portions of the motion picture objectionable. They went on to take the scissors to some of Mae West's songs and snipped bits of dialogue, reported the Boston Herald in their issue dated for Monday, 24 September 1934.  Sigh.
• • On Tuesday, 24 September 1946 • •
• • Playing a sultry, irresistible detective, Mae West took the starring role of clever Carliss Dale in the stage play "Come On Up (Ring Twice)," which toured during 1946 in California and elsewhere. This comedy was written by Miles Mander, Fred Schiller, and Thomas Dunphy.
• • A local drama critic had written a review: "Come on up to Suite B-3, Bellflower Apartments, and ask for Carliss." This was published on Tuesday, 24 September 1946.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Well, I've always had to battle for my rights."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on music mentioned Mae West.
• • Krissi Murison wrote:  Dame Vivienne Westwood happily admits that she hasn't listened to pop music "since the Sex Pistols."  But while she isn't interested in spearheading a teenage musical revolution these days, she does hope her first ever release will introduce people to some music they haven't heard before. "Link Wray, Tchaikovsky, the New York Dolls, Mae West doing Great Balls Of Fire ... now that is just fantastic."  ...
• • Source: Article: "The Sound of Next Summer" written by Krissi Murison for The Guardian [U.K.]; published on Tuesday, 23 September 2008 
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2437th 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 • 1933
• •
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