Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mae West: Charles La Torre

MAE WEST starred in "Come On Up" and Charles La Torre was in the cast in October 1946 when the comedy was staged in Philadelphia at the Walnut Street Theatre and elsewhere.  La Torre played the role of General Quantillo.
• • The play was directed by Russell Fillmore and produced by the Shuberts. Their booking in Philly was part of a national tour that continued into 1947.
• • Carliss Dale • •
• • Mae was seen in the starring role of Carliss Dale in the stage play "Come On Up (Ring Twice)," when it toured during 1946 — 1947 in California, Pennsylvania, in Rochester, NY, and elsewhere. This comedy had been written by Miles Mander [14 May 1888 — 8 February 1946], Fred Schiller, and Thomas Dunphy. She also let Herbert Kenwith direct her in this play in June 1952 in Princeton, New Jersey. Her gowns were designed by Peter Johnson.
• • Charles La Torre [15 April 1894 — 20 February 1990] • •
• • Born (like Mae) in New York City, Charles (Carlos) La Torre came into a world of enormous possibilities on 15 April 1894. He spent time studying at Columbia University and pursuing his love of the dramatic arts. He had enough experience by his mid-30s when he was cast in his first Broadway play. Active on Broadway from 1928 — 1941, La Torre appeared in musicals, serious dramas, comedies, and revues. 
• • His dapper continental looks served him onscreen as well. Oscar Micheaux gave him a few featured roles (as Italian gangsters). Occasionally, he worked with Mae West's cast mates on the movie lot. For example, in "Louisiana Purchase" [1941], where he was seen as Gaston the waiter, he worked with Victor Moore (who was in "The Heat Is On").
• • Rather often, Tinseltown agents accorded him those blend-into-the-background bit parts that last but a few seconds. From 1934 — 1966, Charles La Torre participated in 65 motion pictures.
• • He must have been happy to leave behind a faceless canvas of uncredited bit parts — — such as the barber, headwaiter, flower vendor, Italian officer, Italian ambassador, Armenian passenger, curio shop proprietor, hotel clerk, wood chopper, etc. — — and resume his work performing live onstage and create the amusing character General Quantillo in "Come On Up," touring coast to coast with Mae West from 1946 — 1947.
• • In 1953, La Torre was 59 when he auditioned for one episode of "My Little Margie," a new entity, a TV sit-com. He stayed on the small screen circuit for two decades, collecting a paycheck for doing his best with 18 uncredited roles in popular family fare such as "Adventures of Superman," "Jungle Jim," "Mister Ed," "Perry Mason," "Batman,"  "I Spy," and "Bridget Loves Bernie," in which his role as a French Ambassador was his final TV credit.
• • Charles La Torre died in Los Angeles, California — — in February — — on Tuesday, 20 February 1990. He was 95.
• • On Thursday, 20 February 1936 in Hollywood • •
• • There is a Joseph Breen PCA office memo, dated Thursday, 20 February 1936, in the "Klondike Annie" PCA case file. Alas, Breen felt that Mae West was "censorable" and he never let up.
• • On Thursday, 20 February 1936 in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette • •
• • Many newspapers including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the script disputes and disagreements between Joe Breen and Mae West over "Klondike Annie" and these articles were published on Thursday, 20 February 1936.
• • On Saturday, 20 February 1937 • •
• • The headline from London, England was "Paris Fashions Mae West Curves."
• • London, February 20 — The British United Press correspondent in Paris says that fashions are going all buxom, after the style of Mae West, with curving hips and busts tending towards the styles of the "Naughty 'Nineties." Two of the leading stage and film suppliers have definitely fattened their mannequins, and even Schiaparelli is outlining the curves of the body in the form of a modified hourglass by pinching the waist. Generally, it seems that the days of slimming are ending.
• • Source: UPI and reprinted on Tuesday, 23 February 1937 in Western Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA) on page 15 of that Australian newspaper.
• • On Friday, 20 February 1998 in Seattle • •
• • "Sex" written by Mae West and directed by Ed Hawkins was onstage in Washington. It was performed at Annex Theatre, 1916 Fourth Ave., Seattle, WA.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Doncha think TV is a perfect medium for me? After all, I've always entertained the masses — — all ages and mentality."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Chicago Sun Times mentioned Mae West
• • A lucky reporter at the entertainment desk covered Mae's night club act for The Chicago Sun Times. Noticing the reaction of the males in the audience, the staffwriter noted that Mae West seemed to be able to rejuvenate even the most anemic old codgers who bought a ticket — — "wreathing middle-age males at the Chez Paree in their happiest leers since they leafed through Captain Willy's Whizz Bang or the Police Gazette." ...
• • Source: The Chicago Sun Times; published on Sunday, 20 February 1955
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2583rd 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.

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• • Mae West 1946
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