Monday, October 01, 2012

Mae West: a.k.a. Gerald Kent

MAE WEST brought her blockbuster hit "Diamond Lil" to the West Coast in 1929 and the California typographers spelt her name "May West" on the stagebills.
• • Several principal cast members from the Broadway production reprised their roles.  For instance, Herbert Duffy was convict Chick Clark, J. Merrill Holmes was saloon owner Gus Jordan, Chuck Connors, Jr. was Lefty Eddie, Jack Cheatham was Kane, and Raffaella Ottiano (called "Rita" in NYC) was still the foreign villainness but renamed "Christinia" for the California tour lest the local latinos be offended.
• • Not joining the cast for the Curran Theatre's engagement was Curtis Cooksey [1892 — 1962].  Instead Mae West's leading man Captain Cummings was portrayed in California by a younger actor, Gerald MacIntosh Johnston, known professionally as Gerald Kent.  His is not a happy story.
• • Gerald Kent [1 October 1904 — 5 November 1944] • •
• • Gerald MacIntosh Johnston was born in Winnipeg, Canada to James Macintosh Johnston and Clare Maud McKay Johnston in early October — — on 1 October 1904.  He attended St. John's College before relocating to New York City in 1923 with his parents, where he got work as a model and was also cast locally in dramatic productions, some in the legit.  His stage name became Gerald Kent before 1927 when he was on Broadway in "Brass Buttons," a short-lived flop. Supposedly, in 1928 legendary producer Jed Harris offered Gerald Kent a part in his Broadway production of "The Royal Family" [28 December 1927 — October 1928], though his name does not appear in the opening night credits; handsome Roger Pryor was cast as Perry Stewart.
• • Gerald Kent stayed with "Diamond Lil" for the bookings for the Curran Theatre in San Francisco and the Biltmore Theatre in Los Angeles. After that run, he was back on Broadway between 1930 — 1936 and also seen onscreen.
• • During World War 2, Gerald Kent was in the military.  Unfortunately, he was captured at the Dieppe Raid and died in a German POW camp on 5 November 1944.  He was 40. 
• • Conway Tearle [17 May 1878 — 1 October 1938] • •
• • One actor ended his cinema career being spurned by Mae West's character Rose Carlton in "Klondike Annie" [1936].
• • Born in New York City on 17 May 1878 to a married couple in show business, Conway Tearle was raised in Great Britain.
• • Conway Tearle transitioned from leading man roles during the silent era to talkies. He lost status as he aged, however, and often ended up in "B" movies — — racking up 93 titles on his resume.
• • The handsome five-foot-ten actor was cast in "Klondike Annie" as Vance Palmer. The same year he worked in "Romeo and Juliet Escalus" and "The Preview Murder Mystery," his final productions. He had a heart attack in Hollywood and died on Saturday, 1 October 1938. He was 60 years old.
• • On Wednesday, 1 October 1913 • •
• • The New York Morning Telegraph sent reviewers to cover the show at Proctor's Fifth Avenue when Mae West had one of the top spots. "She is not volcanic in style and manifests no inclination to whoop it up," remarked a critic in the N.Y. Morning Telegraph on Wednesday, 1 October 1913. 
• • In an edition a few days later, The New York Clipper called her "one of the most vivacious soubrettes that has graced the vaudeville stage in many moons."  No doubt Mae had changed her act because she was now touring with headliner Guido Deiro.
• • On Monday, 1 October 1928 • •
• • Mae West's gay play "Pleasure Man" had a $200,000 box office advance when it premiered at the Biltmore on Monday, 1 October 1928. The police raided the show, however, and shut it down the same night.
• • On Tuesday, 1 October 1935 • •
• • In 1935, Paramount tried to rerelease Mae West's two Pre-Code hits from 1933, "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel." But Joe Breen had tightened the celluloid noose explaining, in a letter dated Tuesday, 1 October 1935, that these were "so completely in violation of the Code that it is utterly impossible for us to issue a certificate of approval." 
• • On Friday, 1 October 1937 • •
• • On Friday, 1 October 1937, Paramount Pictures announced that the venerable restaurant and hotel owner George Rector [1878 — 1947] would be co-starring with Mae West in her latest motion picture "Every Day's a Holiday."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said this: "Women like a man with a past — — but they prefer a man with a present.”
• • About Edward Elsner, Mae West said: "It was a quick smile and you could miss it if you blinked."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about "Pleasure Man" mentioned the author Mae West.
• • Variety wrote: Mae West beat the "rap" on "The Pleasure Man."  Jury disagreed.  The best show in town was over.  ...
• • Source: Variety; published on 9 April 1930
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2444th 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 • 1929
• •
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