Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mae West: Theresa Harris

MAE WEST said, "I've always taken the rap for the Code, but it was really those Barbara Stanwyck pictures (i.e., 'Babyface') that did it."
• • Released on 1 July 1933, "Babyface" follows a young woman who uses her body and her sexuality to climb the social ladder.  The focus is on Lily "Babyface" Powers, portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck [1907 — 1990], who comes to New York City and quickly masters the fastest way up to the executive suites.  Though we see little of Lily's best friend Chico, portrayed by Theresa Harris, it's implied that she's living large, too, especially in the Christmas Day scene when the two childhood chums leave their residence bejeweled, jolly, and magnificently garbed in furs and finery.  
• • Photo of Theresa Harris in her role as fur-draped Chico in "Babyface" [1933].
• • Theresa Harris, 25, was cast in "Babyface" a year after appearing as a Ladies' Room Attendant in "Night After Night" [1932] with Mae West. 
• • Theresa Harris [31 December 1906 — 8 October 1985] • •
• • Born in Houston, Texas on New Year's Eve in 1906, by the age of 24 she was working to establish herself on the silver screen.  Petite and pretty, the black actress did not fit the "Beulah" stereotype.
• • Toiling in Tinseltown from 1929 — 1958, the actress was seen in 80 motion pictures and 5 projects for TV, hired at every major studio and paired with most of the top stars.  Occasionally, Theresa Harris was given the opportunity to play a black blues singer, an athlete, a nurse, or a wife.  More often, unfortunately, she was cast as a household servant, hat check girl, or a lady's maid.
• • Theresa Harris married well and stockpiled her savings so she could enjoy retirement. She died in Inglewood, California in October — — on 8 October 1985.  She was 78.
• • Eddie Cantor [31 January 1892 — 10 October 1964] • •
• • Born on the Lower Eastside of New York on 31 January 1892, Eddie Cantor was an American comedian, singer, actor, songwriter, and one of the most popular entertainers in the USA in the early and middle 20th century.
• • On 20 January 1934, Eddie Cantor was the M.C. during a stage show at the Paramount Theatre (Broadway and West 43rd Street). In one number, he appeared in a Mae West costume.
• • On 22 January 1934, both Mae West and Eddie Cantor entertained at the New Amsterdam Theatre — — at the 52nd annual benefit for the Actors' Fund.
• • Eddie Cantor died in October on Saturday, 10 October 1964.  He was 72.
• • On Monday, 10 October 1932 • •
• • On Monday, 10 October 1932 readers of The L.A. Times noticed this peculiar headline and sub-head: "Gem Missing — — Monkey Has It!  Mae West's Pet Chews on Diamond."
• • "What's that monkey eating?" the security guard asks in the article.
• • "Whee, he's got the diamond," screams Mae West.  "But don't get excited.  If he swallows it, I'll buy it."
• • Unsaid by The L.A. Times, and still unknown to the general public, was Mae's curious habit of meeting merchants in automobiles whether the vendor was a saleslady from Bullock's, who climbed into the backseat with an armful of garments, or anxious diamond dealer Isaac Licht, who turned up with bodyguards.
• • Actors who worked with Mae knew the truth: Mae was extremely nearsighted and refused to be seen in public wearing eyeglasses.  Self-conscious about her vision problems, Mae felt that at least in her own backseat, she could control the distance. 
• • On Tuesday, 10 October 1933 in Variety • •
• • Many articles appeared in the trade magazine Variety testifying to the run-away success "I'm No Angel" had become, thanks to Mae West.  "'Angel' Forces Open a Second House for Day-and-Date Run" was printed in Variety on Tuesday, 10 October 1933.
• • On Wednesday, 10 October 1934 • •
• • William Troy reviewed "Belle of the Nineties" for The Nation, who ran it in their issue dated for Wednesday, 10 October 1934.
• • On Friday, 10 October 1969 • •
• • The lengthy article "Mae West Draws Support From Young as Well as Old" was written by Rick Du Brow and syndicated to many newspapers including the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern on Friday, 10 October 1969. 
• • Recalling an earlier conversation with the movie queen, Rick Du Brow wrote:  At that interview by the way I inquired if she could cook and she replied, "Honey, nobody ever asked me."  The lady is news plain and simple whatever she does. ...
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "My Dad, who was sorry I wasn't a boy, taught me gymnastics and acrobatics and used to box with me."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in Singapore in 1964 discussed Mae West.
• • UPI wrote: Hollywood, Friday — Actress Mae West, 72, who was discharged from Cedars of Lebanon Hospital last Wednesday after treatment for exhaustion, is back in hospital. A hospital spokesman said she returned yesterday for observation of the same illness. Her condition was listed as good. ...
• • Source: Article: "Mae West Back in Hospital" written by UPI for The Straits Times; published on Saturday, 10 October 1964
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2453rd 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 • her castmate in 1933
• •
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