Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mae West: Barnstorming

In April 1938, the screen siren MAE WEST was not known for barnstorming — — the practice of touring the countryside giving lectures or presenting theatrical performances. Nor was she used to performing at a cut-rate. So perhaps Mae was sending a coded message to the Hollywood moguls when she gave this curious interview. What do you think of this peculiar news item about Mae agreeing to one-night stands at £1 per head?
• • "Mae West Free-Lancing" • •
• • Hollywood — April 28 — Mae West, who is free-lancing for the first time in her career, is planning a barnstorming tour of the United States. This includes one-night stands at £1 per head. Mae West is the only Hollywood star who has not changed her mode of living since coming here. She still lives in the same apartment, and has bought only one new car in five years.
• • Source: Advocate (Tasmania); published on Friday, 29 April 1938.
• • On Monday, 30 April 1956 in N.Y. World-Telegram Sun • •
• • It was on Monday, 30 April 1956 that Robert W. Dana's felicitous coverage of "The Mae West Revue" appeared.
• • Robert Dana's popular daily dish "Tips on Tables" was published in the now defunct New York World-Telegram and Sun.
• • His column "Mae West's Show Grows" [dated April 30th] indicated Dana had seen the hormone-fueled routine previously.
• • Robert W. Dana wrote: The old belief that everything should be bigger and better — — a thought most forcefully pronounced by Hollywood trailers — — can be applied with forthright honesty to Mae West, who has returned to the Latin Quarter [in New York City on West 48th Street], where she scored heavily in the fall [sic] of 1954.  ...
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969 in Los Angeles • •
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969, on light blue note paper (engraved Miss Mae West at the top), the Hollywood icon took time out to send a warm letter to her cousin Tillie.
• • The Delker Family: Mae's mother Matilda (Delker) West had 5 siblings who emigrated from Germany to the USA together. By the time the family reached New York, they were Lutherans.  Her brother Carl Delker married Miss Mathilde Misdorn on 26 May 1889. Notice the reference to Mae's "Aunt Tillie," her mother's sister-in-law. [Also note the absence of the surname "Doelger." On Mae's marriage license in April 1911, her mother's maiden name was given as Matilda Dilker, probably a clerical error.]
• • Mae West wrote: Dear Tillie:  For a long time I have been wanting to write to you, and also send you these little gifts. Some years ago, I received them from Aunt Tillie Delker.  I believe they belonged to her daughter, our Cousin Eleanor.  I thought you might enjoy wearing them.  They are a lovely necklace of garnets and a cameo pin.  . . .
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "I think that the most brainless woman in the world can out-smart a man when she has to."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A newspaper in Boston wrote about the huge fan base of Mae West.
• • "Clutching, Squealing Crowd Greets Mae West with Mob Scene Here" • •
• • Boston Herald wrote: Complete with the publicized curves and husky, slurring accents that have made her practically a symbol of what she is pleased to call "the sex personality," Mae West crashed into Boston yesterday morning through a clutching, squealing crowd of 3,000 eager admirers who turned the South station into a mob scene. ...
• • Source: Boston Herald; published on Friday, 29 April 1938
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2638th 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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• • Photo:
• • Mae West 1938

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  Mae West


  1. Perhaps in her way she was giving Hollywood the finger? She did have a great sense of humour.

  2. Bravissimo, AnnaLisa!