Friday, November 09, 2012

Mae West: Marie Dressler

In May 1904, when Dreamland opened on Surf Avenue in Coney Island, MAE WEST saw Bostock's lions for the first time. Holding the hand of her father "Battling Jack" West, the wide-eyed 11-year-old was mesmerized especially by the lead lion tamer Captain Jack Bonavita, handsome, fearless, and popular with the ladies. Actress Marie Dressler, then working a concession at Coney Island, caught Bonavita's act as often as she could.
• • In Disney's animated cartoon "Mickey's Gala Premier" [1933] the top box office stars appear.  Emerging from a limousine together are co-stars Wallace Beery and Marie Dressler along with other big names.  Entering the theater are several guests such as Charlie Chaplin (costumed as The Little Tramp) and sexy Mae West (costumed for her Bowery drama "She Done Him Wrong").
• • A book "Playbills to Photoplays: Stage Performers Who Pioneered the Talkies," says editor Brenda Loew, chronicles the lives and career paths of early twentieth-century vaudevillians and legitimate actors who transitioned from entertaining on stage before live audiences to acting in the new technological medium of sound films — — such as Mae West and Marie Dressler.
• • Marie Dressler [9 November 1868 — 28 July  1934] • •
• • Born in Ontario, Canada on November 9th, Marie Dressler [9 November 1868 — 28 July  1934] was an actress and Depression-era film star.  Marie Dressler won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as a dockside innkeeper Min Divot, who loves Bill, a hard-drinking fisherman who resides at her establishment. "Min and Bill" [1930] co-starred Wallace Beery as booze-loving Bill. 
• • Wallace Beery was the brother of Noah Beery, the actor cast as Gus Jordan, the shady saloon-keeper who is buying diamonds for Lady Lou, Mae West's character in "She Done Him Wrong" [1933].
• • Dorothy Dandridge [9 November 1922 — 8 September 1965] • •
• • Mae West shares a permanent tribute in Hollywood with black beauty Dorothy Dandridge. Both are depicted on the  "Four Ladies of Hollywood" gazebo.
• • Born in Cleveland, Ohio in November — — on Thursday, 9 November 1922 — — beautiful Dorothy Jean Dandridge made a name for herself first as a child performer who toured on the so-called "chitlin' circuit" with her sister, and later as an actress and a vocalist. Their act was "The Dandridge Sisters."
• • Unfortunately, the motion pictures Dandridge had been cast in were not always box office hits. By the end of 1961, job offers were scarce. Alone in West Hollywood and down on her luck, supposedly Dorothy Dandridge had a breakdown. Intent on her comeback, Earl Mills booked her in the prestigious Basin Street East in midtown Manhattan. But before she could get on a plane to NYC, Dorothy Dandridge died in West Hollywood of an overdose on 8 September 1965. She was only 42 years old.
• • She has received recognition on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which now terminates at the silver "Four Ladies of Hollywood" gazebo. Dorothy Dandridge was selected to be the African-American figure.
• • On Tuesday, 9 November 1920 • •
• • Mae filed for divorce from Guido Deiro on the grounds of adultery on 14 July 1920. The divorce was granted by the Supreme Court of the State of New York on Tuesday, 9 November 1920. Guido almost immediately re-married for the third time. Mae later said, "Marriage is a great institution. But I'm not ready for an institution."
• • On Wednesday, 9 November 1927 • •
• • Variety discussed "The Wicked Age" in their issue dated for Wednesday, 9 November 1927.  Variety wrote: "Miss West is well fortified with masculine support. None is less than six feet and a couple are above the 6' 3" mark.  No one will believe that Babe is exactly a lily of the valley. She knows too many fly comebacks. ..."
• • Unfortunately, Mae's bathing suit stills and other cheesecake promotional shots by Kesslere did not evoke the desired euphoria among critics that Mae hoped for. Instead Variety sneered, describing the entire enterprise as "a choice piece of limburger."  Tsk.
• • On Wednesday, 9 November 1932 • •
• • Could Mae West's drama "Diamond Lil" make the leap from the page to the stage to the silver screen?
• • On Wednesday, 9 November 1932, Paramount Pictures executive Harold Hurley wrote a memo to William LeBaron indicating the lines that must be cut in order to pacify the screenplay screeners. These included: "I ain't running no Sunday school!"; "Diamond Lil would do anything for diamonds, eh?"; "Enter a convent!"; "Gawd! You gotta give a man more than clothes!"; and "I always knew you could be had." [If you saw the movie, you know which lines Mae sneaked back in.]
• • On Wednesday, 16 November 1932, Will Hays communicated again with Adolph Zukor, insisting that his plans for a movie version of "Diamond Lil" must be scrapped. It was too filthy for Hays.
• • On Saturday, 9 November 1935 • •
• • On Saturday, 9 November 1935, Mae West's name popped up in a curious news item on page 1 of The Cornell Daily Sun, Issue 42, 9 November 1935, about a performer who could imitate the Brooklyn bombshell as well as King Kong.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I'm my own original creation."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article on Santa Monica inaccurately claimed that Mae West was in silent films.
• • Loran Smith wrote: They often ride down to the Santa Monica beach, 15 minutes away, driving by the first house they owned — — it was Mae West’s summer home on West Channel Road. There is a framed quote in their house, attributed to Mae West: “Too much of a good thing ... is wonderful.” They agree with the quote but for reasons different from the onetime vaudeville star, who was a sex symbol dating back to silent movies. ...
• • Source: Article:  "Julie Moran finds success in Hollywood, family" written by Loran Smith for Athens Banner Herald; published on Sunday, 4 November 2012
By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2480th 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

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