• • 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 , 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" ?
• • 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.
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • fellow vaudevillians, 1921 • •
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