Friday, June 21, 2013

Mae West: Mack Gordon

In 1933, when Paramount Pictures was seeking new numbers for MAE WEST's upcoming picture "It Ain't No Sin" (a.k.a. "Belle of the Nineties"), they signed up two musicians for the job: Harry Revel and Mack Gordon. Although this was announced in Motion Picture Daily and many other publications, it turns out that they never actually worked with Mae.
• • Mack Gordon  [21 June 1904 — 28 February 1959] • •
• • Born in Warsaw, Poland in the month of June — — on Tuesday, 21 June 1904 — — was a sweet little Jewish boy named Morris Gittler. In 1908, his parents emigrated to The Big Apple and his name was Americanized to Mack Gordon.
• • He was still a boy when Mack Gordon took his first steps into show business as a boy soprano in a minstrel show. Before long, he developed comedy skits, preparing himself to be a singing comic on the vaudeville circuit.
• • He teamed with up with a British ex-pat pianist Harry Revel to create songs for the 1931 Ziegfeld Follies. They were impressive enough to be offered a contract by Paramount Pictures. Gordon's lyrics were first heard in motion pictures in the film "Pointed Heels" [1929]. The director was Eddie Sutherland who would worked with Mae West a few years later in "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937].
• • Mack Gordon went on to collaborate with notable composers such as Harry Warren, Josef Myrow, Jimmy Van Heusen, Vincent Youmans, James Monaco, and Edmund Goulding. He wrote and/ or collaborated on nearly 50 film scores
• • Eleven years after his death he would be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame [in 1970].
• • Mack Gordon died in New York City on 28 February 1959. He was 54.
• • On Wednesday, 21 June 1933 • •
• • It was on Wednesday, 21 June 1933 when Russell Holmon of Paramount Pictures tried to explain to the Hays Office that the title of a song "No One Does It Like that Dallas Man" was essentially innocent and the lyrics were harmless.  Hays wanted changes though and got them.
• • On Sunday, 21 June 1936 • •
• • The headline read "Mae West Has Laugh at Studio — Producers Are at a Loss When Star Outsmarts Their Plans."  This coverage was published on page 20 of the Charleston Gazette on Sunday, 21 June 1936.  
• • Obviously the studio was behind this smack-the-naughty-girl's-hand story because the article explained that "It is no secret that she is very difficult to handle and that censor problems of the Mae West pictures caused the folks a notable series of delays ...." This one-sided piece also stated "There's another Mae West story going on here.  Mae stipulates that she must be credited with writing the script but it's whispered out loud that often times she hits an impasse and is unable to work out a scene to either her own or her director's satisfaction. ..."  Hmmmm.....
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Keep cool and collect."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Motion Picture Daily said: Mack Gordon and Harry Revel signed to write the songs for Mae West's next "It Ain't No Sin" (Paramount)  ...
• • Gossip Column: "Hollywood Personals" for Motion Picture Daily; published on Tuesday, 24 October 1933
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started eight years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2676th 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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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:25 PM

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