Monday, June 17, 2013

Mae West: Bob Thompson

MAE WEST worked with the West Coast musician Bob Thompson, who recently passed away.
• • Bob Thompson [22 August 1924 — 21 May 2013 ] • •
• • "Criswell Predicts" was written — — at Mae's request — — by Bob Thompson, a native Californian born in San Jose in the month of August — — on Friday, 22 August 1924. He suffered from asthma as a child, prompting his parents to move to the rural outpost of Auburn, California, where the air seemed cleaner. During the WW2 era, when all his pals were being drafted, Bob's asthma condition earned him a 4F classification. That didn't stop him from hot-footing it to Paris to arrange music for a few French female singers, anyone who condescended to work with an American.
• • In the mid-1950s, in need of steady work, Bob Thompson toured with Mae West and her entourage of musclemen. Impressed by Bob's talent, Mae West demanded that he be her piano teacher.
• • Why Mae West Never Shook Hands • •
• • Though Mae West held Bob in high esteem, they never even shook hands.
• • "Mae West believed when you shook hands with someone, their spiritual forces could take over your being," said Paula, who trouped across the globe performing with Bob Thompson. "Mae did everything else with everyone. But she didn't shake hands."
• • After playing with a big name like Mae West, a credit that helped build his reputation, Bob Thompson got his big break in 1958 with a record deal from RCA. Thompson was signed alongside Esquivel, Billy May, Nelson Riddle, and a crop of other musicians destined to be Hollywood stars.
• • According to The Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Chawkins: Bob Thompson, 88, who also wrote and arranged radio and TV commercials, died on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 in a Los Angeles nursing home, family members said. He had Alzheimer's disease. This sad news from The L.A. Times has just reached us.
• • On Friday, 17 June 1932 • •
• • Mae West would, no doubt, be capable of delivering "curdling melodrama," predicted the publication Hollywood Citizen News in its issue dated for Friday, 17 June 1932.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Beauty may only be skin deep, but it's what's underneath that makes the skin beautiful. Keep healthy, and you'll keep good looking."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Greville Bain mentioned Mae West.
• • London gossip columnist Greville Bain offered this tidbit about potential co-stars for Mae West. See what you think about the suggestion of Al Jolson [26 May 1886 — 23 October 1950], for example, sharing the screen in Mae's next project.
• • "Mae West and Co." • •
• • London, June 11th — Greville Bain wrote: One cannot but be aware that Mae West has not been able to sustain the popularity which she enjoyed a few years ago or, at any rate, shared with Miss Shirley Temple. One does not say that the last one or two films of Miss West have been exactly 'flops' but certainly they have not maintained her record for irresistibility. It would seem, therefore, that Miss West is learning a lesson and will not, in the immediate future, rely on her unsupported attractions. She and her producer are trying to secure Al Jolson for her next picture and are, it is said, holding out an inviting hand to 'Schnozzle' Durante [10 February 1893 — 29 March 1980] and Mae Robson [19 April 1858 — 20 October 1942]. Miss West is evidently a good business woman — — as general rumor asserts her to be.
• • Source: Article printed in syndication and featured in The Advertiser (Adelaide); published on Saturday, 3 July 1937
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2672nd 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 in the mid-1950s

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