Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mae West: J.P. McGowan

MAE WEST starred as the newly rich former dancer Cleo Borden in "Goin' to Town" [1935] and J.P. McGowan was used as a cowboy.
• • J.P. McGowan [24 February 1880 — 26 March 1952] • •
• • Born in Terowie, South Australia on 24 February 1880 was little John Paterson McGowan. As with many males of his generation, McGowan could handle a horse and was used as a dispatch rider during the Boer War in South Africa in the early 1900s; he was attached to the Australian contingent of a British army unit called Montmorency's Scouts. He spent time in a hospital to recover from injuries sustained during the war.
• • By 1910 he had turned his attention to the screen trade. He worked as a director, helming 247 motion pictures from 1911 — 1938. As a director, he worked mostly on genre fodder, specializing in Westerns, action, and adventure themes for low-rung production companies.
• • From 1910 — 1951, J.P. McGowan was cast as an actor in 232 motion pictures. Early on in his career, he was cast in supporting parts and often seen as a man of action: rancher, ship's captain, gang leader, swindler, prison guard, police captain, etc. Occasionally, a starring role came his way such as Whispering Smith in "Whispering Smith Rides" [1927]; in this silent film for Universal Pictures, he worked with Frank Ellis who would play a role opposite Mae West in "My Little Chickadee" [1940].
• • J.P. McGowan did it all, wearing the hat of an actor and editor along with his stints as a writer, producer, and director. Fans got one last look when he portrayed an old man in "The Lady and the Bandit" [1951], a bio-pic of the hell-raising British bandit Dick Turpin. This adventure movie also used the talents of Sheldon Jett — — an actor cast in 1935 in a Mae West comedy as the Homely Polo Player. J.P. McGowan had worked with Sheldon Jett 16 years earlier in "Goin' to Town" [1935]. 
• • Used to keeping busy, J.P. McGowan worked as Executive Secretary for the Screen Directors Guild — — later the Directors Guild of America — — holding this position from 1938 — 1951. He retired when he was 71.
• • J.P. McGowan died in Hollywood, California on Wednesday, 26 March 1952. He was 72.
• • On Monday, 26 March 1934 in Los Angeles • •
• • The soundtrack to the motion picture "Belle of the Nineties" was recorded at Hollywood Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. On Monday, 26 March 1934, Mae West did the vocals for "Hesitation Blues" backed by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra.
• • On Wednesday, 26 March 1958 • •
• • The Austin Daily Herald announced on Wednesday, 26 March 1958 that "Seventy of Hollywood's biggest flames will appear on the NBC telecast of the award proceedings staged by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Clark Gable and Mae West, among others, will be making their television debuts. ..."
• • On Wednesday, 26 March 1958 • •
• • Rock Hudson, age 32, and Mae West performed the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” together, in point style, at the 30th Annual Academy Awards on Wednesday, 26 March 1958.
• • The 1957 Academy Awards were presented at the RKO Pantages Theatre, Hollywood, California and broadcast on NBC-TV.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I picked my company with care and never became part of the social life of the town — — and I resented their intrusion into my love life — — the stories in the magazines."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Film Daily mentioned Mae West.
• • Film Daily's Ralph Wilk wrote: Mae West, stricken several days ago with an attack of influenza, left her bed yesterday and assumed her duties as hostess to the vanguard of bachelors who are arriving for a sojourn of eight days as guests of the film star. After their departure next week, Miss West will prepare for her trip to New York City, where she will start her personal appearance tour at the Broadway Paramount Theater on Nov. 18, when "Go West Young Man" has its world premiere.  ...
• • Source: News Item in The Film Daily; published on Thursday, 29 October 1936 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2613th 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 1935

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1 comment:

  1. David Donaldson8:07 PM

    Nice recognition of old JP., the first Australian in Hollywood.