Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mae West: Blue Washington

MAE WEST starred in "Belle of the Nineties" [1934] and a tall handsome black actor made his mark as the doorman at Sensation House.
• • Blue Washington [12 February 1898 — 15 September 1970] • •
• • Born in Los Angeles, California in February — — on Saturday, 12 February 1898 — — Edgar Washington Blue began his onscreen odyssey during the silent film era playing a train porter in a shortie "Rowdy Ann" [1919] when he was 21 years old.
• • In 1921 he had a role in a silent drama "A Virginia Courtship" along with George Reed, who would be cast as Brother Eben in "Belle of the Nineties" [1934]; it's possible George Reed helped his colleague gain access to an audition for this Mae West classic.
• • From 1919 — 1961, Blue Washington participated in 86 motion pictures. Directors expected him to play the stereotypical role of an easily intimidated wide-eyed, menial type, which was rather more startling since he stood six-foot-two. He was used when a scene needed a black servant, coachman, cook, henchman, porter, prisoner, doorman, spectator, "Native Bearer," Nubian slave, chicken thief, or "Shantytown Man."  
• • He played a limping poolroom attendant at Ames Billiards in "The Hustler" [1961], his final film. Interestingly, Piper Laurie was in the cast and she would go on to play Mae's Mom, Matilda West, in the TV bio-pic "Mae West" [1982].
• • In between his occasional acting assignments, Edgar Washington Blue was employed as an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department.
• • The native Angeleno died there on 15 September 1970. He was 72.
• • On Wednesday, 26 February 1936 • •
• • Hollywood Citizen News ran this article on Wednesday, 26 February 1936: "Mae West Mum in Lubitsch, Timony Debate."
• • On Saturday, 26 February 1938 • •
• • A leisurely article (317 words) published Down Under on Saturday, 26 February 1938 discussed in great detail all the ways Mae West, the real woman, was nothing like the fast-living fictional females she played.
• • The Mirror (in Perth, Australia) wrote: Mae West's characterisation of a motion picture star in "Go West Young Man," the hilarious comedy, which will be screening at the Grand Theatre, Friday next, March 4, strangely enough, is entirely unlike her own life as an outstanding film luminary.
• • The Mirror gave several examples. Here's one: "Go West Young Man" portrays a film star's touring paraphernalia as extremely elaborate, but the real Mae West journeyed to Corona, California for her first ''location" scenes of the picture, in simple fashion. Accompanied only by her driver and personal maid, Miss West's arrival was inconspicuous, and her departure the same — — a decided contrast to the film role (Mavis Arden) she portrays.  ...
• • Source: Article: "'Go West Young Man' Mae West Stars in Coming Paramount Attraction" printed on page 24 in The Mirror (Perth, Australia); published on Saturday, 26 February 1938.
• • Finale on Saturday, 26 February 1949 • •
• • A revival of "Diamond Lil" opened at the Coronet Theatre in February [5 February 1949 — 26 February 1949] on Broadway.
• • Background: On Saturday, 26 February 1949, Mae West broke her ankle when she slipped on a rug in her hotel suite, ending that engagement at the Coronet Theatre [230 West 49th Street, a Broadway playhouse later renamed for Eugene O'Neill].  The revival of "Diamond Lil" had begun on 5 February 1949. Naturally, the cancellation of a show in any legitimate theatre — — where each actor has a union contract — — is an enormous expense, not to mention the box-office losses.
• • When Mae filed a lawsuit, newspapers posted headlines: "Mae West Tosses Curve at Chatham Hotel in New York" and "Mae West Fell In Hotel, Claims Dollars." Yee-owtch!
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Honey, I've always got a new trick."
• • Mae West said: "I'll never be anything but myself, publicly or privately, except on stage or screen.  That's where acting belongs."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about the Oscar ceremonies mentioned Mae West
• • TheJournal.ie wrote: As Hollywood gears up for this year’s Oscars, we’ve been taking a look at some of the more memorable Academy Awards show through the years, from a racy rendition of "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" in the late 1950s to Marlon Brando’s award refusal in 1973. …
• • TheJournal.ie wrote: Rock Hudson and Mae West caused a stir with their ‘kingsize’ rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside at the 1957 awards show. ...
• • Source: News: "Five of the biggest Oscar night controversies" written by TheJournal.ie;  published on Sunday, 26 February 2012
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2589th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Mae West 1934
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