Friday, November 30, 2012

Mae West: "Holiday" Gift

Set in NYC during the late 1890s, "Every Day's a Holiday" starring MAE WEST has long been available in VHS format. The DVD was released last month on 15 October 2012. This 79-minute film directed by Eddie Sutherland is being sold on Amazon (on demand) in a DVD-R format.
• • Many thanks to a loyal Mae maven in NYC who reads this blog, the very handsome "Platinum Johnny" who sent in a timely update about the DVD. This is a wonderful gift.
• • Adrian Morris [12 January 1903/ 1907 — 30 November 1941] • •
• • Born in Mount Vernon, NY on 12 January 1903/ 1907, Adrian Michael Morris was the younger son of the prominent Broadway actors William Morris and Etta Hawkins. Adrian was the younger brother of stage and film star Chester Morris.
• • In 1931, he made his (uncredited) screen debut in "Arizona" and his parts were usually the minor supporting roles: a policeman, a gangster, etc.
• • He was a henchman in "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937] starring Mae West.
• • The other colorful characters he played included the chatty carpetbagger — — who promised a gathering of freed slaves that they'd each receive "40 acres and a mule" — — in "Gone With the Wind" [1939]. He was memorable as the heartless hiring agent who delivers impossible ultimatums to the transient "Okies" in "The Grapes of Wrath" [1940].
• • In the space of a decade, Adrian Michael Morris appeared in over seventy features — — often unbilled or sometimes billed as Michael Morris.
• • His career was cut short. Adrian Morris died in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, 30 November 1941. He was in his 30s.
• • In November 1933 in The Nation • •
• • In the November 1933 issue of The Nation, an article on Mae West appeared on page 68. This piece is reprinted in the anthology "Cinema Nation: The Best Writing on Film, from the Nation, 1913 — 2000."
• • On Tuesday, 30 November 1948 • •
• • Brooks Atkinson reviewed the New Jersey revival of "Diamond Lil" and his comments were printed in The New York Times on Tuesday, 30 November 1948 (on page 2). The title was "Mae West Hits Montclair" and Brooks Atkinson called Mae West "the goddess of sex."
• • In his admiring review of her 1948 reinvigorated Bowery queen romp through her popular "naughty nineties" hit, The New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson admitted he was moved to acknowledge what he called — — in an atypically poetic effusion — — ''the sublime fatalism of the entire business,'' and he went on to ask: ''Is she kidding or is she serious?''
• • On Sunday, 30 November 1980 in Los Angeles • •
• • An article by Richard Meryman, "The One and Only Mae West," was printed in the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner on Sunday, 30 November 1980.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "It's what they see in my eyes that counts."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • When Mae West joined her first stock company in 1907, opened that year by Hall Clarendon in Brooklyn, she was often assigned male roles.
• • An article about the play "East Lynne" mentioned Mae West's portrayal of Little Willie.
• • The Washington Elm staff wrote: There is still the jealous, forgotten lady who is the real cause of all the trouble; a weak and good for nothing brother; a faithful maid, and Little Willie. This last part — — to be played Friday evening by Hazel Lynch — — was portrayed by Mae West when she was starting her stage career. ...
• • Source: Article: "Washington Players Announce Schedule"  written by The Washington Elm Staff; published on Saturday, 30 November 1935 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2501st 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 with Edmund Lowe, 1937
• • Feed — —
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mae West: Letter to the RAF

MAE WEST has a letter in a new title released this month: "Letters of Note."
• • Shaun Usher, a 33-year-old from Manchester, England, began a web site called "Letters of Note," which unearthed various letters written by celebrities. His discoveries attracted many fans and, eventually, a book deal.  Mae West's letter begins "Dear Boys of the RAF" and discusses how she feels about the flotation device named for her. Check out this new release. Good luck to Mr. Usher.
• • Dale Van Sickel [29 November 1907 — 25 January 1977] • •
• • Dale Harris Van Sickel hailed from Eatonton, Georgia where he was born in November — — on Friday, 29 November 1907.  First he was an All-American football player at University of Florida. Then the handsome six-footer headed to Hollywood when he was 25 years old, where he found work as a double for Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, and Dana Andrews.
• • Mae West starred in "Goin' to Town" [1935] and Dale Van Sickel was seen as a party guest.  As an actor, Dale Van Sickel was attached to 288 titles on TV and in the cinema between 1932 — 1971. As a stunt man, Dale Van Sickel was attached to 165 titles between 1933 — 1976. Founding member of Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures, he was their first president.
• • After a long illness, Dale Van Sickel died in Newport Beach, California on 25 January 1977. He was 69 years old.
• • On Tuesday, 29 November 1932 • •
• • Mae West's script had been playing hide-and-seek with the Hays Office. However, on Wednesday, 30 November 1932, the project finally had a title that would not change: "She Done Him Wrong." A day earlier, there had been delicate negotiations on the part of Paramount's rep Harold Hurley. He mamboed around the play's references to white slavery, he massaged away any suggestion that Lil was a kept woman, and he agreed that the Salvation Army uniform had to be made into a safe generic. For all that, Mae got some zingers by the censors.
• • On Monday, 29 November 1948 • •
• • An American revival of "Diamond Lil" opened out of town on Monday, 29 November 1948 at Montclair, New Jersey.
• • On Tuesday, 29 November 1960 • •
• • As costume designer at Paramount Pictures, Edith Head took on a side chore: the custodian of a score of costumes — — worn by Mae West, et al — — that had been sentimentally preserved because they contributed to movie history.
• • On Tuesday, 29 November 1960, an article in The New York Times discussed the final appearance of these glamourous gowns. "I'm only managing to hold them together with emergency sewing now. This will be about their last time out," said Edith Head. The collection, referred to as a "million dollar" affair, included Mae West's emerald green, jewel-encrusted come-up-and-see-me-sometime gown from "She Done Him Wrong," Texas Guinan and Clara Bow outfits, and Ginger Rogers's mink dress from "Lady in the Dark." . . .
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "In the first place, a woman has what it takes — — if she'll use it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An item in the Kingsport Times of Tennessee mentioned Mae West.
• • Kingsport Times wrote: Mae West returns to the State Theatre in her latest comedy "Go West Young Man" ...
• • Source: Item (page 9): Kingsport Times; published on Sunday, 29 November 1936
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2500th 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 1932
• • Feed — —
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mae West: Frank Tinney

When interviewed in 1934 for an article, "Me and My Past," MAE WEST revealed that when she was young and working with the top comics, certain men influenced her stage presence.  Among other matters, Mae West discussed "How Her Famous Gait Was Born with Ed Wynn and Frank Tinney" — — i.e., the development of her slow, studied, slouchy strut which commandeered attention onstage.
• • Frank Tinney [29 March 1878 — 28 November 1940] • •
• • Born in Philadelphia on 29 March 1878, Frank Tinney became a top-ranked blackface comedian who was earning $2,500 a week in vaudeville and on Broadway during the interval prior to World War I.
• • Mae West first worked with Tinney, briefly, in 1911 in "Vera Violetta." Gaby Deslys got Mae booted altogether. She also had issues with Tinney, who was cut from the show proper and asked to do his special material alone in Part D of "The Continental Idea of Variete," which preceded the musical. Tinney possessed a "particular box of vocal tricks" that critics called "an ear-filling reverberation," a curious voice that tickled his listeners.
• • In 1912 Mae West got to work with Tinney in the box office blockbuster "A Winsome Widow"; their esteemed cast mates included Emmy Wehlen, Leon Errol, Harry Connor, Elizabeth Brice, Charles King, and the Dolly Sisters. 
• • On 17 August 1913, the 35-year-old funnyman wed musical comedy actress Edna Davenport on Long Island. They had a son together and quite a pleasant life in their country house. Tinney posed with his yacht and dabbled in polo, cars, and community affairs.
• • But while the missus was home with their baby in Baldwin, nightlife columnists were also reporting on Tinney and his mistress making merry at Texas Guinan's cosy Three Hundred Club, where an orchestra played as couples danced. "By twelve-thirty the fifty tables are full. Lady Diana Manners, William Beebe, Ann Pennington (the Scandals star with the dimpled knees) and millionaire escort, Bill Fallon (the great mouthpiece), Mae West, Frank Tinney and Imogene Wilson, the latter the most beautiful of all Follies girls."
• • Lovely newcomer Imogene Wilson [1905 — 1948] had a rocky relationship with the married stage star.  Tinney, age 46, was arrested on 29 May 1924 at his residence in Baldwin, Long Island, and brought to Manhattan to face charges of brutally assaulting the 19-year-old Ziegfeld Follies dancer, blue with bruises. Since the tabloids made much of this sex scandal, Ziegfeld fired her and Tinney's bookings dried up. In August Edna Davenport filed for divorce.
• • Tinney's health suffered, after this reversal of fortune, and he was hospitalized in October 1926. His career never recovered. After a long stay at Veterans Hospital, Northport, Long Island, struggling with a pulmonary condition, he died on Thursday, 28 November 1940. He was 62.
• • Jack Roper [25 March 1904 — 28 November 1966] • •
• • In "My Little Chickadee" starring Mae West [1940], Jack Roper played a henchman.
• • Born in Mississippi on 25 March 1904, Jack's birthname was Clifford Byron Hammond.
• • In 1939, the muscular six-footer fought Joe Louis for the world heavyweight boxing championship in Wrigley Field, Los Angeles.
• • His second calling was acting. From 1928 — 1954, Jack Roper was featured in 80 projects for the movies and on TV series like "Boston Blackie." The busy bit parts player frequently was cast as the heavy, the fella with more brawn than brains.
• • Jack Roper died of throat cancer in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California on Monday, 28 November 1966. He was 62.
• • On Monday, 28 November 1932 • •
• • At the MPPDA board meeting on Monday, 28 November 1932, Adolph Zukor made promises to Will Hays that only "suitable material" would find its way into the script and the "Diamond Lil" title was already gone.
• • On Saturday, 28 November 1936 • •
• • Did you spot Mae West in the animated cartoon "The Coo-Coo Nut Grove" [1936]?
• • Take an amusing visit to a Hollywood night club. The illustrators created caricatures of  Mae West as well as Walter Winchell, Hugh Herbert, W.C. Fields, Katharine Hepburn, Johnny Weissmuller, Harpo Marx, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Clark Gable, Groucho Marx, Edward G. Robinson, etc.
• • The 60-minute cartoon feature was first aired in November — — on Saturday, 28 November 1936.
• • On Saturday, 28 November 1959 • •
• • Many celebrities had released a bio around this time. A round-up review "Often, It's Written by the Star" was written by Alan Arnold. He was unimpressed with all the rodomontade Mae West marshalled up for "Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It." His remarks were printed in The Saturday Review (pages 23 — 24) dated for Saturday, 28 November 1959.
• • On Thursday, 28 November 1996 • •
• • London, South Kensington was the place for Christie's sale on Thursday, 28 November 1996 of two 8x10 b/w publicity photographs of Mae West, inscribed to a man named Alex. These keepsakes sold for $424.00.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "The dumbest woman in the world can outsmart a man when she has to."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Mae West's early career mentioned Frank Tinney.
• • Leicester Wagner quoted Mae: "They called me the Baby Vamp then, around 1920, and I was just that. They shoved me on a bill with two of the sure-fire comedians of the day, Ed Wynn and Frank Tinney. I was considered blond background for the act. ..."
• • Source: Article:  "Me and My Past" written by Leicester Wagner for The Pittsburgh Press; published on Thursday, 6 September 1934
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2499th 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 fellow vaudevillians, 1921
• •
Feed — —
  Mae West.