Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mae West: Charles Hart

MAE WEST starred in "My Little Chickadee" [1940], taking the role of Flower Belle Lee, and Charles Hart was seen as a schoolboy.
• • Charles Hart [21 March 1921 — 7 August 1984] • •
• • Born in Tywappity Township, Missouri, little Charles Benedict Hart made his presence known on Monday, 21 March 1921. By the age of 17, he was beginning his film career by playing a featured role (the character Squarehead) in "Juvenile Court" [1938].    
• • From 1938 — 1940, Charles Hart participated in only four motion pictures. "Girls' School" [1938] perhaps brought him to the attention of W.C. Fields. The "Girls' School" cast, by the way, included a few actors who had worked with Mae West before such as Eddie Fetherston, who played a reporter in "Go West Young Man."
• • Charles Hart got to work with Mae's co-star, W.C. Fields twice because the old veteran of vaudeville used the 19-year-old in a minor role in "The Bank Dick" [1940].
• • What happened to Mr. Hart next? Did Uncle Sam invite him to serve during World War 2?  It's quite possible.  We wish we knew more but, alas, we don't.
• • Charles Hart died in Long Beach, California on Tuesday, 7 August 1984. He was 63.
• • On Thursday, 20 March 1930 • •
• • The Thursday issue of The New York Times (on 20 March 1930) continued their coverage of the infamous "Pleasure Man" trial presided over by Judge Amedeo Bertini. The District Attorney's office was now headed by former State Supreme Court Justice Thomas T.C. Crain. And his prosecutor was hot-headed James Wallace who swore he would "prove that it would take the most confirmed pervert to write such a play." The star of the proceedings went first on the witness stand: NYC Police Captain James J. Coy, who led the charge of the night brigade as it descended on two different occasions on Mae West's gay play at the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway.
• • The trial is dramatized in Act 2 of "Courting Mae West," a full-length stage play. The scene begins during a brief courtroom recess as Texas Guinan tries to pry information out of Mae West for a newspaper article. Naturally, Mae is an artful dodger, fully aware of exposing the truth about her finances to a freelance writer. When Texas Guinan leaves and Beverly arrives, however, Mae confesses everything to her sister, which brings about the most startling change in their relationship. (And there isn't a dry eye in the theatre when Mae and Beverly have this frank exchange.)
• • On Thursday, 20 March 1930 • •
• • The Frederick News Post wrote: Mae West with her attorney Nathan Burkan are shown as they enter General Sessions court in New York after the opening day of her trial before Judge Amadeo Bertini. She is being tried on charges of producing an ''indecent, immoral, improper and obscene'' play. Several others of the cast also face prosecution. The case's most important angle is in its probable effect on stage censorship …
• • Source: Article: "Mae West Trial Opens" in the Frederick News Post; published on Thursday, 20 March 1930.
• • On Friday, 20 March 1936 • •
• • "Smoke, Fire, and Mae West" was an item in the Examiner on Friday, 20 March 1936. Editors asked: "Mae West gave permission to an American firm to make dolls in her likeness. The day operations began, the factory caught fire. Now what do you make of that?"
• • On Sunday, 20 March 1955 • •
• • "The Mae West Revue" was booked on Sunday, 20 March 1995 at The Italian Village. Both Mae West and Mr. America Richard DuBois signed autograph books when the show was seen at that venue.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Describing her attraction to gentlemen in uniform, Mae West said: "I even choke up when I see The Good Humor Man."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• •  Paul Harrison interviewed Mae West, who removed her corset for him.
• • The top left corner of page 8 of the Wednesday, 20 March 1940 issue of The Independent showed Mae West in a bathing suit or a leotard, bare legged and partially shielded by a flowing dressing gown. Her waist was trim, her stomach flat, her legs shapely. Her feet and shoes were carefully obscured by the robe.
• • The "Harrison in Hollywood" columnist Paul Harrison had snagged an interview with the movie queen. His headline was: "Mae West Suspends Posing As Lolling Nymph Long Enough to Exhibit Herself As Gymnast — — She Scorns All Hobbies, Has Quit Going to Prize Fights, Devotes Hours Writing Plays, Dictating Mae Scripts."
• • Paul Harrison explained: "It may come as a shock to some of the parishioners to hear that Mae West takes exercises." He added, "It was to me, anyway. ..."
• • Source:  "Harrison in Hollywood" columnist Paul Harrison for The Independent; published on Wednesday, 20 March 1940 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2609th 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 1940

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