Friday, March 22, 2013

Mae West: Buron Fitts

It was Buron Fitts, a California politician, who indirectly inspired one of MAE WEST's snappiest and suggestive lines.
• • L.A. Times journalist Cecilia Rasmussen wrote: His penchant for celebrity friends often caused quite a stir, as when he sent his handsomest deputy to Union Station with orders to give the arriving Mae West a big kiss, saying, "This is from Buron."  
• • "Is that a gun in your pocket . . .?" • •
• • Her reply has entered legend.  Mae replied, "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?" ...
• • Source: Article: "D.A. Fitts Was Good Match for Scandalous 1930s" by Cecilia Rasmussen for The L.A. Times; published on Sunday, 19 September 1999.
• • Buron Rogers Fitts [22 March 1895 — 29 March 1973] • •
• • Born in Belcherville, Texas in the month of March — — on Friday, 22 March 1895 — — Buron Rogers Fitts set his mind on a legal career and earned his law degree in 1916 from the University of Southern California at the age of 21. During his student days, he clerked for Earl Rogers, a prominent lawyer. Not long after graduation, he went overseas with his unit to fight in World War I.  Shot in the knee during the Battle of Argonne, Fitts never recovered from the wound and limped for the rest of his life. Being injured had its compensations, however.  Fitts developed a strong base of political support throught the American Legion organization of war veterans since he was one of them.
• • Buron Fitts went into California politics and became the 29th Lieutenant Governor of the state for two years (from 1927 — 1928) and Los Angeles County district attorney thereafter until 1940.
• • In February 1934, when he was the D.A., The N.Y. Times ran this headline: "Mae West Robber Guilty; Edward Friedman Is Convicted in Los Angeles of $20,400 Hold-Up." Fitts was very helpful to Mae's cause when, as the D.A., he presided over the trial during January 1934.
• • With World War 2 on the horizon, Fitts joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 with the rank of major. By then 47 years old, he was not put into combat; instead he was attached to the Pacific Overseas Air Technical Services.
• • California had become home for Fitts and his final residence was in Three Rivers (Tulare County). This is where he decided to commit suicide by pointing a pistol at his head just one week after his birthday.
• • Buron Fitts died in California on Thursday, 29 March 1973. He was 78.
• • On Saturday, 22 March 1930 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • It was Saturday, 22 March 1930, and the headline in The N.Y. Times read like this: "Mae West Counsel Assailes Capt. Coy; Police Officer Admits Relying More on Sergeant's Notes Than Own in Testimony. Says Two Made 'Synopsis' Too Dark in Theatre to Write Clearly, He Asserts — — Reveals He Acted 28 Years Ago."
• • Captain James J. Coy of Inspector Mulrooney's staff, who appeared Thursday in General Sessions, told Judge Amadeo Bertini and a jury why he had raided Mae West's play "Pleasure Man" in October 1928. 
• • Why? Why indeed! Well, you can learn more about these obscenity trials from the stage play "Courting Mae West." The "Sex" trial is dramatized during Act 1 and the 1930 trial for "Pleasure Man" takes place during Act 2.
• • Broadcast on Sunday, 22 March 1964 • •
• • "Mae West Meets Mister Ed" is the twenty-first episode of the fourth season of "Mister Ed," and the ninety-ninth episode overall. Director was Arthur Lubin. Airdate was on Sunday, 22 March 1964.
• • Guest Stars: Mae West (Herself), Nick Stewart (Charles), Mae West (Herself), Jacques Shelton (1st Groom), Roger Torrey (2nd Groom).
• • Released on Sunday, 22 March 2009 • •
• • The paperback version of "She Always Knew How: Mae West — A Personal Biography" by Charlotte Chandler was released a year after the hardcover edition on Sunday, 22 March 2010 [soft cover published by Applause, 317 pages].
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "You see, most of my characters are, well, very human — — and I feel it helps my writing to have real people before my very eyes (in a rehearsal)."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A nonfiction book by David Freeland mentioned Mae West.
• • According to David Freeland, in “Automats, Taxi Dances and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure” [2009], Mae West could be found uptown at The Nest, a Harlem night spot in the basement of 169 West 133rd. In "Babe Gordon," Mae calls this hang-out for Babe Gordon and those virile young boxers "Tony's."
• • Michael Pollak wrote: While whites from downtown were drawn to the basement dives to hear often bawdy singers and pianists like Willie (the Lion) Smith, Harlemites enjoyed the area, Mr. Freeland wrote, as “simply a place where they could relax, socialize and escape the segregation of the more expensive white-oriented night spots — such as Connie’s Inn and the Cotton Club — that populated other sections of Harlem.”
• • Michael Pollak wrote:  The first speakeasy on the stretch was the Nest, which was opened by Malvile Frazier and John Carey in October 1923 in the basement of 169 West 133rd, with a floor show staged by Leonard Harper; five slim chorus dancers chanted: “Where do the birds go every night? To the Nest! To the Nest!” Mae West, rumored to be dating Mr. Carey, was an early guest, Mr. Freeland wrote. ...
• • Source: "Listening to Jazz on 133rd" written by Michael Pollak for The N.Y. Times; published on Friday, 15 March 2013  
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2611th 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 1928

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