Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Mae West: Extortion

MAE WEST was on the front cover of the Cornell Daily Sun on Wednesday, 9 October 1935.
• • In the autumn of 1935, Mae began to receive frightening extortion letters. Shortly after Labor Day, a stranger mailed her a demand for $1,000; he threatened to throw acid in her face if she did not comply. Naturally, Mae sent these letters to her local police precinct, and an investigation began.  Detective work helped finger the culprit: a Greek immigrant George Janios, who had been employed as a busboy in the studio cafeteria.
• • One portion of an anonymous threat from George Janios read (verbatim): "On the set, or flights, or home, 570 Rossmore, or riding or parties or studio. We see you every day.  Acid burns."
• • "G-Men Get a 'Come Up' Glance When Investigating Threats to Mae" • •
• • Los Angeles, October 8, AP — G-men made a vain effort today to inquire into the latest real-life drama starring Mae West, nonchalant despite the assertedly harrowing experiences of receiving dire threats from extortionists and helping capture a suspect. ...
• • Source: Article: Cornell Daily Sun, issue 15, cover price 3 cents; published on Wednesday, 9 October 1935.
• • Aimee Semple McPherson [9 October 1890 — 27 September 1944] • •
• • Mae West and Texas Guinan first met Sister Aimee in 1927 at an illegal but posh speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. All three women had Irish heritage and each one loved to commandeer the spotlight. Between the two world wars, Aimee Semple McPherson made herself into the most controversial and flamboyant minister in the United States.
• • Born in Ontario, Canada on Thursday, 9 October 1890, Aimee Semple McPherson, also known as "Sister Aimee" or simply "Sister," was an evangelist and a media sensation in the 1920s and 1930s; she was also the founder of the Foursquare Church.
• • In 1936, Mae West would be playing an evangelist in Nome, Alaska in "Klondike Annie" — — a motion picture released in February 1936 after a lengthy hold-up by the censors who refused to let Mae West appear as a preacher or religious worker onscreen.
• • It was in Oakland, California that Aimee Semple McPherson was found dead of an overdose of prescription barbiturates on 27 September 1944. Was it a suicide, divine retribution, or an accident? She was only 53 years old.
• • On Friday, 9 October 1931 • •
• • It was Friday, 9 October 1931 when an intriguing item appeared in The Evening Herald. Hollywood news man W.E. Oliver had written: Mae West is writing another play for herself. She plans it for next season, but reveals nothing concerning its title or theme other than: It is a historical romance of the sixteenth century and these few hints have emerged.
• • “The Greeks knew their stuff.... Aristotle you know, laid down the dictum that plays should be written about kings and queens," said Mae West. "I go Aristotle one better and insist that she be a bad queen.... When I’m seen in New York in a new role, I will be seen wearing ermine.”
• • On Sunday, 9 October 1932 • •
• • Harry Warner of Warner Bros. heard industry gossip that made him cable Will Hays on Sunday, 9 October 1932.  Harry Warner wrote:  Please wire immediately whether I can believe my ears that Paramount has arranged to make "Diamond Lil" with Mae West. Recollect it was absolutely definite that "Diamond Lil" was not to be produced. ...
• • On Saturday, 9 October 1948 • •
• • If you were reading The Los Angeles Times on Saturday, 9 October 1948, then you would have seen this headline: "Writers Ask Retrial in $100,000 Suit Against Mae West."   
• • As Mae would have said of these two scribblers who challenged her in court, "The nerve of a brass monkey."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "No, I can't talk about salary. It's getting me down. Now, you take interviews.  I gotta be careful."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in The New Masses in 1934 discussed Mae West.
• • Robert Forsythe wrote: When you consider Madame Du Barry and Nell Gwynne, it is evident that Mae West has made a mistake in confining her immorality to stage and screen. Granted that a woman of her intelligence could be prevailed upon to favor, a Congressman or a Secretary of War, the spectacle of Miss West affecting state policy as well as private temperatures is something which no future historian could afford to overlook. It is plain that on any basis of comparison she belongs to the great line. ...
• • Source: Article: "Mae West: A Treatise on Decay" written by Robert Forsythe for The New Masses; published on Tuesday, 9 October 1934
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2452nd 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

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• • Mae West • 1935
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