Monday, February 11, 2013

Mae West: Weigh This

MAE WEST turned 40 years old in 1933. Tinseltown's press corps was often armed with a sharp pen nib, the better to skin a vulnerable movie star — — but did journalists stroll around a red-carpet preview with a concealed tape measure, too?
• • "Hollywood has thinned Mae West" • •
• • "Hollywood has thinned Mae West. She no longer looks like a member of the Beef Trust," wrote a reporter for The N.Y. Daily News on Saturday, 11 February 1933. The Daily News added, "This is the same Mae West, by the way, who when a kid was always dressed in Little Lord Fauntleroy clothing." ...
• • As with most actresses, especially those ladies who are nearing menopause or who are quite short, Mae had to pay attention to her diet. When Sidney Skolsky interviewed her backstage in 1928, during the run of "Diamond Lil," he wrote in Broadway Brevities that she was about 200 pounds. Skolsky, what a joker! Surely he realized that her stage costumes wouldn't fit if she had gained that much. And yet it was common, even during the 1920s and 1930s, to judge women according to their measurements (not their talent) and try to shame them in print. Sigh.
• • John Edwin West, Jr. [11 February 1900 — 12 October 1964] • •
• • Born in February — — on Sunday, 11 February 1900 — — in Brooklyn, John Edwin West died on 12 October 1964. John was 64. His survivors included his widow and one son (who had no children and who has since died of AIDS).
• • Mae made arrangements for the body of her beloved kid brother to be sent back to Brooklyn to the family crypt. Two weeks later, Mae — — who hated to think about death — — made a Will.
• • On Saturday, 11 February 1933 in The Los Angeles Daily News • •
• • The Los Angeles Daily News ran an article on "She Done Him Wrong" in their weekend edition on Saturday, on 11 February 1933.
• • On Saturday, 11 February 1933 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Film critic Mordaunt Hall wrote: Mae West is to be seen at the Paramount in a hearty and blustering cinematic cartoon of the devilish '90s. With the haughty strut and the nasal twang which are the principal assets of her repertoire, she filled the screen with gaudy humor. Illustrating the troubled career of Lady Lou, whose heart is bigger than her sense of decorum, she rhymed "amateur" with "connoisseur" in one of her beer-hall ballads and, on the whole, gave a remarkable suspicious impersonation of Diamond Lil. In fact, "She Done Him Wrong," with a few discreet cuts and alterations, is the same "Diamond Lil" without which no bibliography of Miss West's literary works would be complete.
• • Mordaunt Hall continued: Most highly prized of the Bowery belles, Lady Lou is notable both for her beauty, which is ornate, and for her wit, which is not dull. Although her reputation is nightly torn to bits by the pious in the mission next door to the saloon where she holds court, district leaders and other local Napoleons fight for her favors. Despite the title, she did nobody wrong. While her man is doing a "rap" she has to live, and she has chosen a good location. "My career is diamonds," she says, and men fight for the privilege of adding to her collection of jewelry.  ...
• • On Friday, 11 February 1977 in Bookviews • •
• • Mae West said: "Hiring someone to write your autobiography is like hiring someone to take a bath for you."
• • Mae's comment was quoted in Bookviews, on Friday, 11 February 1977.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • About Archie Mayo, Mae West said: "He was amusing to work with — — but not at first."
• • Mae West said: "[Hollywood] is not the way it used to be."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • In 1933, The Hollywood Reporter mentioned Mae West.
• • New Pictures On B'way This Week • •
• • The Hollywood Reporter's editors wrote: New York — The big New York picture houses are getting a full allowance of new pictures this week, in addition to some interesting stage shows, The programs include:
• • Today — the Al Jolson picture. "Halleluiah, I'm A Bum," at the Rivoli, with Al in person at the opening.
• • Tomorrow — "She Done Him Wrong" with Mae West in person, at the Paramount, and "Topaze," with Amos and Andy on the stage, at the Radio City Music Hall.
• • Friday — "They Just Had To Get Married" at the Mayfair, "Child of Manhattan" at the RKO-Roxy. "Terror Trail" at the Seventh Avenue Roxy, and "What, No Beer" at the Capitol, with Ed Wynn's "Laugh Parade" on the stage.
• • Source: News Item in The Hollywood Reporter; published on Wednesday, 8 February 1933
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2574th 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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