Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mae West: Charles Winninger

MAE WEST starred in "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937] and Charles Winninger was featured as Van Reighle Van Pelter Van Doon.   
• • Charles Winninger [26 May 1884 — 27 January 1969] • •
• • Born in Athens, Wisconsin on 26 May 1884, Charles Winninger honed his skills in vaudeville. When he was active on Broadway from 1912 — 1951, his specialty was musicals and he directed two. Talented and sought after, he was spotlighted in big productions such as "The Cohan Revue of 1916"; "The Cohan Revue of 1918"; "The Passing Show of 1919"; "Ziegfeld Follies of 1920"; "No, No, Nanette"; "Oh, Please"; "Yes, Yes, Yvette"; "Show Boat"; and others. He originated the role of as Cap'n Andy Hawks in the run-away Broadway favorite "Show Boat" [1927 — 1929], a role that he would reprise in the 1932 stage revival as well as the 1936 cinema adaptation.  Winninger became so identified with the riverboat captain persona that he played a sea captain type on the radio program "Maxwell House Show Boat." 
• • Van Reighle Van Pelter Van Doon • •
• • PHOTO: Charles Winninger's character celebrates New Year's Eve at Rector's with Peaches O'Day (Mae's character). He is the man blowing a horn (right) in this comical scene from "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937]..
• • Charles Winninger started in films in 1915, during the silent era. The versatile performer amassed 77 credits between his onscreen roles and his TV work. The genial-looking, paunchy, five-foot-six character actor was last seen in the movie houses starring as Santa Claus in "The Miracle of the White Reindeer" [1960] when he was 76 years old. He was also cast in popular TV series of the 1950s such as "The Millionaire" [1959] and Science Fiction Theatre in 1957.
• • Charles Winninger died in Palm Springs, California on Monday, 27 January 1969. He was 84.
• • On Monday, 27 January 1930 in The Brooklyn Eagle • •
• • The death of Matilda Delker West was reported in The Brooklyn Eagle on Monday, 27 January 1930. A heartbreaking loss for her daughter Mae, who was born and bred in Brooklyn, where her mother introduced her to the vaudeville circuit.
• • On Friday, 27 January 1933 in the USA • •
• • The red carpet premiere of "She Done Him Wrong" took place in Hollywood on Friday, 27 January 1933. What a great day for Mae West.
• • On Thursday, 27 January 1938 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Frank S. Nugent, The Times man on the aisle, gave his review of "Every Day's a Holiday" on page 17 [N.Y. Times on 27 January 1938]. Nugent didn't care for the motion picture per se but seemed to appreciate the live music played by Benny Goodman and his orchestra that was part of the New York Paramount Theatre's stage show.
• • In contrast, Variety's headline was "Benny Goodman — West Boffo B'way for $57,000" [Variety on 2 February 1938]. Considering this tally was done during the Great Depression, ticket receipts totaling $57,000 at the box office in NYC would indicate that Mae West definitely attracted a full house in her hometown.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "A man's kiss is his signature!"
• • Mae West said: "Kiss me, you dog." [Movie dialogue for Maudie Triplett]
• • Mae West said: "I have found men who didn't know how to kiss. I've always found time to teach them."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A Malaysian paper mentioned Mae West.  Which actor gave Mae West a kiss onscreen that would be monumental?
• • Singapore-based readers of The Straits Times saw this titillating tidbit on Sunday, 26 September 1937.
• • Mae West's First Kiss • •
• • Hollywood — For the first time in any of her films, Mae West has agreed to kiss a man.
• • The lucky man is Charles Winninger, who is playing the part of a social reformer in the film she is now making, "Every Day's a Holiday."
• • Said Mae in announcing the big decision: "I figured I owed just one kiss to reformers as a class. So Charlie gets it.  He's old enough not to take it too seriously."
• • Mae West is 45 and Charles Winninger is 53.
• • Source: News Item: The Straits Times (page 15) on Sunday, 26 September 1937
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2559th 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:

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• • Mae West 1937
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