Monday, February 04, 2013

Mae West: Walter Catlett

MAE WEST starred in "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937] and Walter Catlett was seen as Nifty Bailey.
• • Walter Catlett [4 February 1889 — 14 November 1960] • •
• • Born in San Francisco — — in early February — — on Monday, 4 February 1889,  Walter Catlett trouped in vaudeville, rubbed shoulders within the opera circuit, and bounded onto a Broadway stage in a song-filled farce "So Long, Letty" (produced at the Shubert Theatre) in 1916 when he was 27 years old. Musical theatre was his metier from 1916 — 1929.  When he was featured in "Treasure Girl" (produced at the Alvin Theatre, 1928 —1929], he worked with 18-year-old newcomer Constance Cummings [1910 — 2005], who was earning her first Broadway credit in this musical comedy. Constance would soon head to Hollywood and be seen in "Night After Night" [1932] as George Raft's love interest; the cast would be totally upstaged by Mae West in her first film role.
• • From 1924 — 1957, Walter Catlett was in 148 feature films and made four appearances on TV.

• • PHOTO: Mae West with Walter Catlett [1937].
• • A gifted stage comedian and a veteran of opera buffo, he was adept at portraying humbugs, rascals, amusing villains, and excitable, officious blowhards. He was often cast in authority roles as emcees, colonels, constables, professors, physicians, senators, sergeants, and stage managers.
• • The five-foot-ten actor took the role of New York Governor Alfred E. Smith in "Beau James" [1957], a motion picture about NYC's colorful Mayor Jimmy Walker, which would be his final serenade to screenland. 

• • He had a stroke and died in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California on 14 November 1960. He was 71.
• • On Tuesday, 4 February 1930 in NYC • •
• • New York City's "picture newspaper" The Daily Mirror reported that Mae West "collapsed in  her dressing room at the Shubert Riviera Theatre" [sic]. Nevertheless, her attorney Nathan Burkan dismissed the idea that his client's uncustomary breakdown was due to her upcoming court appearance. The author of "Pleasure Man," insisted Burkan, "is not in the least worried about the outcome of her impending trial."
• • Scheduled to begin on Tuesday, 4 February 1930 in Manhattan, the "Pleasure Man" trial was not brought before Judge Bertini until 16 March 1930. Mae looked plenty worried in several photos taken when the trial was in session.
• • The "Pleasure Man" trial is intriguingly dramatized in Act 2 of the stage play "Courting Mae West." The audience gets to see how Mae first behaves very cagily around her friend Texas Guinan, and then later hears the terrible truth when Mae's sister enters as Nathan Burkan exits.
• • Source: The Daily Mirror (NYC); published on Monday, 3 February 1930.
• • On Friday, 4 February 1949 on WOR • •
• • NYC broadcast journalist John Wingate interviewed Mae West backstage before the opening of a revival of "Diamond Lil" on Broadway. Their 2-minute exchange is quite funny and was heard in the NYC area over the popular radio station WOR.
• • On Wednesday, 4 February 1998 in Sammy • •
• • The raunchy comic book, Sammy, released their Mae West issue in early 1998. The panels were drawn by Raoul Cauvin and Jean-Pol. The cover has a maritime theme. An odd looking fellow in a beige raincoat looks mesmerized by Mae West, who is clad in a chic sailor outfit with her midriff exposed. Sammy's issue was published as a board book on Wednesday, 4 February 1998 by Dupuis.
• • In Her Own Words • •

• • Mae West said: "'Every Day's a Holiday' came to me in 56 seconds."
• • Mae West said: "You have to outfight everyone else to succeed."
• • Mae West said: "I'm gonna play the love interest in a big Bible play all about Cain and Mabel." [unused movie dialogue written by Mae West]
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about her monkey "Bad Boy" mentioned Mae West's habits.
• • Why don't you ever see candid photos of Mae West, casually shopping in Hollywood or buying souvenirs while on vacation? Ever wonder?
• • Concerned about her deteriorating vision but too vain to be seen in eyeglasses, Mae purchased luxury goods in an unusual place: the backseat of her car as it was parked. Maybe the Los Angeles reporters were too star-struck to investigate her motives or too willing to accept this as an eccentric's perogative.
• • But one day in October 1932, as Mae sat in her vehicle, parked in front of the Ravenswood, she was in the company of her black wooly monkey "Bad Boy," Isaac Licht, a diamond trader, and security personnel when Frank Roberts (there to guard the jewels) recoiled in horror.
• • The L.A. Times wrote: "What's that monkey eating?" asks Roberts.
• • "Whee! he's got the diamond," screams Mae. "But don't get excited," she spluttered. "If he swallows it, I'll buy it." ...
• • Source: Article: "Gem Missing — Monkey Has It" in The L.A. Times; published on Monday, 10 October 1932

• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2567th 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

• • Photo:
• • Mae West 1937
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