Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mae West: John Doucette

MAE WEST starred in "Come On Up" and John Doucette was in the cast in September 1946 when the comedy was staged in Washington, D.C. at the prestigious National Theatre and elsewhere.
• • The play was directed by Russell Fillmore and produced by the Shuberts. Their booking in D.C. was part of a national tour that continued into 1947.
• • John Doucette [21 January 1921 — 16 August 1994] • •
• • Born in Brockton, Massachusetts in January — — on 21 January 1921 — — John was attracted to the dramatic arts while in high school. After graduation, he enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse. He appeared in numerous plays, in repertory, over the next two years.  Since he kept changing his stage name to John Arthur and other permutations, often his earliest stage credits are difficult to track.
• • Then Doucette had a minor bit as Larsen in "Two Tickets to London" [1943], a motion picture drama that featured Mary Gordon as Mrs. Tinkle. The veteran actress had played a cleaning lady in "She Done Him Wrong" [1932] starring Mae West — — and it's just possible that the kindly Scottish matron put them in touch so he could audition.
• • John Doucette would have been 25 years old and fresh-faced when he was cast as Krafft, touring regional theatres with Mae West, who was starring as Carliss Dale. The show toured coast-to-coast and was produced, for instance, at The National Theatre in D.C. from 23 September 1946 through 28 September 1946.  Later John told an entertainment reporter: "We did seventy-eight theatres in one year. Six weeks of one-night stands, and loving every bit of it. This was 1947 and it was a wonderful year in my life."
• • When John Doucette returned to Tinseltown in 1947, his stage credits impressed the casting office; suddenly he was being offered some supporting roles.
• • Film fans might remember the five-foot-nine character actor as a balding, husky presence, who often portrayed the heavy: a menacing mongo of mobster muscle or a grimacing bad dude in a Western.
• • From 1943 — 1987, Doucette racked up 273 credits in films or TV fare. He retired from the big screen after his role in "Off the Mark" [1987} as one of Jenell's men.
• • Cancer claimed him. John Doucette died in Banning, California on 16 August 1994. He was 73.
• • Happy Birthday, Reg Lewis • •
• • Mae West hired several marvelous looking musclemen for her "Mae West Revue" and, if she was looking for a Mr. America type, she found it. On Sunday, 27 June 1954, Mae West launched her innovative show at the Sahara Hotel in Vegas (built in 1952). The first bodybuilders in the cast included: Richard DuBois, Mickey Hargitay, Zabo Koszewski, Charles Krauser [aka Paul Novak], Gordon Mitchell, Dan Vadis — — and Reg Lewis.
• • Born in Fremont, California, curly-haired Reg Lewis came into the world on Thursday, 23 January 1936. The handsome hunk is celebrating a birthday today.
• • To Reg Lewis, may you continue to blow out candles for many more years. Happy 77th Birthday!
• • On Sunday, 23 January 1927 in the New York Herald Tribune • •
• • The New York Herald Tribune sent a journalist to cover "Sex" and this newspaper printed perhaps the longest diatribe against Mae West's play in their weekend edition on Sunday, 23 January 1927.
• • Since when is it fair to mock an actress because she's carrying a few extra pounds, eh? A stunning example of what misogynists scratch out when lost for words or unable to make valid points about a woman's play they fail to understand. Pitiful excuse for a review.
• • On Wednesday, 23 January 1929 in Variety • •
• • "Diamond Lil" had its Chicago premiere on Sunday, 20 January 1929 at the Apollo Theatre. Variety reported on Mae's insufferable stomach ailments, which affected her engagement in The Windy City in their issue dated for Wednesday, 23 January 1929.
• • On Sunday, 23 January 2011 • •
• • On Sunday 23 January 2011 BookReporter posted a review by Bronwyn Miller. The title Miller critiqued was "She Always Knew How: Mae West — A Personal Biography" by Charlotte Chandler [NY: Simon and Schuster, 2009].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West was asked: "Do you mind what people say about you?"
• • Mae West said: "Not so long as they keep saying it. The time to worry is when they stop talking about you."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Hollywood on January 23rd mentioned Mae West.
• • Mollie Merrick penned a lengthy, disjointed, and ham-handed column about movie stars called "Ballyhoo — Hollywood in Person" for a Singapore newspaper. Mollie's text often reads as if she tossed words on a sheet of flypaper, so we shall not quote too much of Miss Merrick.
• • Mollie Merrick wrote: Thieves have beset Mae West and she has gone about escorted by grim and burly bodyguards who looked as if they were hand-picked by the casting department for the part. Acid throwers have made dire threats which have been printed under large photographs of Mae West ...
• • Source: "Ballyhoo ... — Mae West in the News" (page 7) written by Mollie Merrick for The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser; published on Thursday, 23 January 1936
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2555th 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 1946 Program
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice piece on Mae West and of course John Doucette and how they worked together. It was a classic period of time for entertainment. Theatre, Radio & Motion Pictures (movie ticket....55 cents), Life wasn't any better than that.