Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mae West: Duke York

MAE WEST starred in "I'm No Angel" [1933], and so many actors were hired for the sideshow scene which introduces the audience to "Tira the Incomparable" clad in an unforgettable costume.  Duke York was one of those amusing sideshow spectators.
• • Duke York [17 October 1908 — 24 January 1952] • •
• • When he entered this world in Danby, NY, his parents called him Charles Everest Sinsabaugh.  He was born on Saturday, 17 October 1908.  He must have been agile, fit, and fearless when he turned up in Tinseltown at age 22.  Renaming himself Duke York, he began making the rounds for opportunities as a stunt man or an actor. 
• • From 1934 — 1952, he scored work as a stunt double in four dozen productions.
• • From 1930 — 1953, he was seen in about 160 feature films and on TV in three of the top Westerns: "The Lone Ranger," "Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok," and "The Range Rider."  On the silver screen, he occasionally snagged a featured role.  More often, however, he was a bit parts player who was used as a henchman, patrolman, guard, cowboy, riveter, driver, steel mill worker, sultan, sailor, boxer, jewel thief, roustabout, or a menacing outsider.  In his last motion picture "Trail Blazers" [released in 1953], he played a character named Angus.
• • Familiar with the challenges of executing stunts and used to handling that familiar film prop, a weapon, he staged his own drama in Hollywood, California on 24 January 1952.  He committed suicide with a gun.  Duke York was 43.
• • Frank Baxter [25 March 1922 — 17 October 2009] • •
• • Frank Baxter, then 22, took the role of Vanya in "Catherine Was Great" starring Mae West, which ran on Broadway.
• • Born in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania on 25 March 1922, Frank Baxter was a stage actor who continued his career on television.  In 1949 he was seen in Kraft Theatre's TV production of "Autumn Fire." The character actor went on to featured bits in "Peyton Place," "The FBI," and other popular series. His last time on the small screen seems to have been in 1980 when he played a funeral director on "B.A.D. Cats."
• • Frank Baxter died in Broomall, Pennsylvania on Saturday, 17 October 2009.  He was 87.
• • On Saturday, 17 October 1931 • •
• • Since Mae West's drama "The Constant Sinner" was set in and around West 125th Street, the Pittsburgh Courier (a black weekly newspaper) was keeping tabs on this production. Reporter Floyd G. Snelson, Jr. signaled his appreciation. On Saturday, 17 October 1931, Snelson told his readers: "Mae West Employs 30 Race Artists In Her Latest Production." Praising Mae's plans to bring a bi-racial cast with her to D.C., he pronounced the project "the cleverest piece of artistry to be expected from a woman of the Caucasian race."
• • On Tuesday, 17 October 1933 in Variety • •
• • A review of the latest Mae West motion picture was published by Variety in their issue dated for Tuesday, 17 October 1933. Movie critic Land wrote: "I'm No Angel" is going to help redistribute a nice chunk of the nation's coin. That the Mae West film is going to make tubs of coin was crystal-clear opening day at the Paramount. Ushers were riding herd on a permanent corral of waitees in the lobby. As to quality, "I'm No Angel" can stand alone, although without "She Done Him Wrong" as a benediction and a million bucks worth of assorted publicity, high-brow and hoi pollil, the gross probably wouldn't reach the big brackets now looming. ...
• • In the same issue, Variety ran an item on page 8: "'Angel' B'klyn's Big Noise, Rousing $50,000."  Mae's hometown's ticket-buyers turned out for Tira.
• • On Thursday, 17 October 1968 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Mae West had plans for a cinema version of the stage play "Sextet" back in 1968.
• • Writing for The New York Times, Motion Picture Editor A.H. Weiler announced on Thursday, 17 October 1968: Mae West, who has not appeared in movies for a quarter of a century, will return to the screen early next year in a film version of her play — — "Sextet" — — in which she starred in Florida in 1961.
• • On Friday, 17 October 2008 in NYC • •
• • A Staged Reading of "Courting Mae West" was held on Friday, 17 October 2008 starting at 5:45 PM on West 43rd Street and Broadway.  Yvonne Sayers played the title role.  Were you there?
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I will not sign until I see the script."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in a Yankton, South Dakota paper mentioned Mae West.
• • The Yankton Press and Dakotan writes: On This Date — 75 Years Ago.
• • Two gunmen slipped into Mae West’s fashionable apartment house last night [Oct. 16th] and robbed eight persons of money and jewelry, but missed the buxom actress’s rooms. ...
• • Source: Article: "On This Date — 75 Years Ago" written by Archives Editor for The Yankton Press and Dakotan; first published on Saturday, 17 October 1936
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2460th 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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