Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mae West: On His Mind

An Oscar-winning director was so bowled over by MAE WEST that he planned to make a TV bio-pic about her in 1968.  The Hollywood icon was enthusiastic, too, about this project.  Let's hear what this was all about.
• • "Two Women on His Mind" • •
• • Nan Musgrove wrote:  Famous Hollywood movie director Robert Wise had two women on his mind when he was in Sydney recently — — fresh, sparkling Julie Andrews and famous temptress Mae West. Mr. Wise was in Australia for the invitation preview performances of his latest film, the Twentieth Century Fox production "Star!" — — the story of Gertrude Lawrence.  Wise directed Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence in "Star!" and hopes to direct Mae West in her first TV special — — and his first TV production — — the story of Mae's life.
• • Amazing Mae • •
• • Nan Musgrove explained: The other woman on Robert Wise's mind, Mae West, is today "a marvellous old girl of 77."  Mr. Wise met her at the University of Southern California.  Mae was not taking a degree. She was addressing the cinema fraternity at the university where they have a cinematic course. Mr. Wise was elected an honorary fellow some years ago and was chosen with another famous director, George Cukor, to talk about films. Mae was the other guest-of-honor, scheduled to talk about her career for 15 minutes.
• • Nan Musgrove continued with Mr. Wise's comments:  "Mae West was amazing. We got so carried away with her reminiscenses and memories that we all kept her on the stage for 45 minutes and she ended up singing 'Frankie and Johnny.'  She never got to saying 'Come up and see me some time,' but at the end she said, 'Thank you for your loud applause and heavy breathing,' and sat down amid terrific applause."
• • Robert Wise remarked: "I was so struck with Mae and her memories that I plan to make a TV show about her.  Later, I called on Mae in Hollywood to make arrangements for the show. What an experience that was!  She still lives in the same apartment she had at the height of her career and the door was opened by a 45-year-old muscleman who looked me over before I was admitted. The apartment has miles of deep pile white carpet, white furniture, gilt ornaments. It is a perfect setting for her. I was so struck with it, I decided we couldn't just follow TV style and have Mae on a stool talking. We had to produce her, white carpet and all."
• • Robert Wise added: "When I told her, she was very pleased. She is such a professional, she insisted on coming to the studio to see that the set reflected her way of life.  Mae is a real production. I am sure nothing just happened in her career. Her success wasn't an accident, she really worked at it."
• • Nan Musgrove added:  Mr. Wise, 54, is a pleasant, quietly spoken American. He has two sides, I'm sure, the mild-mannered social personality and the dynamic director he is.  He has enough Academy Awards, "Best Director" Oscars, to fill a shelf, starting with "West Side Story" in 1961 and going through to "Sound of Music" in 1965,  . . .
• • Source: Article: "Two Women on His Mind" written by Nan Musgrove for The Australian Women's Weekly (on page 2); published on Wednesday, 16 October 1968.
• • Oscar Wilde [16 October 1854 — 30 November 1900] • •
• • Mae West said: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
• • Oscar Wilde said: "Nothing succeeds like excess." Born on 16 October 1854, Oscar Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. Like Mae, he appeared on the cover of "Sgt. Pepper." And like the controversial Brooklynite, Mr. Wilde was hounded and dragged through courtroom trial. Oscar Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on 30 November 1900.
• • On Monday, 16 October 1933 in Time • •
• • Time Magazine's review of "I'm No Angel" ran in the issue dated for Monday, 16 October 1933.
• • On Monday, 16 October 1939 • •
• • When they were collaborating on a screenplay, both Mae West and W. C. Fields signed a Universal Films contract. The document is dated Monday, 16 October 1939.
• • On Friday, 16 October 1959 • •
• • The sympathetic headline in The Hollywood Reporter was "Mae West Too 'Person'-al; CBS Junks Interview Tape" and it was printed on 16 October 1959.
• • In Marietta, Georgia, the Journal ran this article on page 3: “Too Sexy?: CBS Cancels Mae West's TV Interview.” It was printed on 16 October 1959.
• • The Los Angeles Herald-Express ran a similar piece on Friday, 16 October 1959. The media reacted en masse to CBS's censoring Mae by taking her side.
• • On Saturday, 16 October 1965 • •
• • The song "Day Tripper" was recorded on Saturday, 16 October 1965 by The Beatles. Mae West covered the song on her album "Way Out West" [1966].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I consider myself above changing.  I haven't had time to change."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on new DVD sets mentioned Mae West.
• • Kenneth Turan wrote: Although DVD releases tend to focus on recent box-office successes, it can be more interesting to look at those that provide rarities not easily available until now.  One new boxed set is so on this wavelength, it's even got the word in its title: “Universal Rarities: Films of the 1930s." On tap here are major stars in earlier roles: Mae West appearing with Duke Ellington in “Belle of the Nineties," ...
• • Source: Article: "Rare films from Mae West, Frank Capra: Kenneth Turan's DVD pick" in The L.A. Times; published on 10 October 2012
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2459th 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 • 1969
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