Friday, July 19, 2013

Mae West: Joe McTurk

MAE WEST starred in "Come On Up" and was supported by a cast of 30.  Mae's character was Carliss Dale, who becomes involved with numerous men, and Joe McTurk originated the role of Mike Annegan. The production, which toured cross-country in the hopes of a Broadway run, opened on 20 May 1946 at the Oakland Auditorium in Oakland, California; it closed on 22 February 1947 at the Biltmore Theatre in Los Angeles.
• • Joe McTurk [22 December 1897 — 19 July 1961] • • 
• • Born In New York City on 22 December 1897 was a little fellow named Joe McTurk. He must have had dramatic training before Mae West hired him to play a role in "Come On Up" but his background is not well known. It's possible that he changed his stage name somewhere along the way and his prior credits got overlooked or buried.
• • After Joe finished his tour with Mae West in February 1947, he headed for Hollywood and made hay.
• • From 1948 — 1961, Joe McTurk guest-starred twice on popular TV shows during the 1960s and was seen in 30 motion pictures. McTurk must have had that "seedy" vibe written all over him because the minor bits he was accorded are hilarious. Casting agents tapped him to play a Broadway character, barfly, bookie, bar goer, gambler in courtroom, Santa Claus shooting craps, speakeasy owner, pitchman, popsicle vendor, ex-jockey Kirk, taxi driver, Seedy Movie House Patron, waiter, Angie the Ox, and the like.
• • Working right up to the end, Joe McTurk kept busy during the last months of his life, filming his scenes in "Pocketful of Miracles" [1961]. While he was on the set, he rubbed shoulders with two Hollywoodites who had once had the privilege of working with Mae West — — Stuart Holmes [seen as Dirk in "Belle of the Nineties"] and Bess Flowers, who had been a night club extra in "Goin' to Town."    
• • Joe McTurk died  in Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, 19 July 1961. He was 63.
• • On Monday, 19 July 1937 in Time Magazine • •
• • The headline was "Mr. Mae West" when Time Magazine ran with this embarrassing exposure (in their issue dated for 19 July 1937) — — Last week in Superior Court in Los Angeles it was as obvious as Mae West's best curves that Mr. Mae West had taken her advice. Even her most devoted fans chortled when they read that her now-admitted hoofer husband's real name is not Wallace but Willities or Szatkus and that the Szatkus family always knew her as Mamie. "Mrs. Mamie Szatkus" was scarcely box-office for glamorous Mae West.  ... [Where's my air-bag? I feel a szatkus coming on!]
• • Save the Dates: August 12th and August 17th and 18th • •
• • What: 2 events timed to celebrate the 120th birthday of Mae West, born in Brooklyn, NY on August 17, 1893
• • When: (A.) Monday, August 12, 2013 from 4:00pm — 5:45pm [Seating from 3:45pm]
• • Where: (A.) Hudson Branch Library, 66 Leroy St., New York, NY 10014; NOT accessible to wheelchairs
• • Who: (A.) Reader's Theatre Cast: Costumed in 1890s Bowery style, actress Darlene Violette and actor Sidney Myer present the 1932 novel "Diamond Lil" written by Mae West in Mae's words and period songs with live music by Brian McInnis.  At intervals, historian and playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo leads an "Armchair Tour" through the boisterous Bowery and Chinatown of the 1890s.
• • What else: The ever-popular Mae West Raffle.
• • August 12th Admission and Raffle Tickets: FREE.
• • RSVP: 212-243-6876 [Hudson Branch Library's phone]
• • Closest MTA subway stations: Christopher St. or West Fourth St.; or the M7 bus.
• • Closest PATH station: Christopher St.
• • The public is invited (suitable for age 18 and over)
• • All of the sex and none of the censorship . . . • •  
• • Two stagings of "Diamond Lil" on August 17th and August 18th.
• • When: (B.) Saturday, August 17, 2013 — in the evening  
• • Where: (B.) John Strasberg Studios, 555 8th Avenue, Suite 2310, New York, NY 10018;  accessible to wheelchairs  
• • When: (C.) Sunday, August 18, 2013 — 7:00 pm  
• • Where: (C.) Don't Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street, NYC
• • Who: (B. and C.) A new staged version of the 1932 novel "Diamond Lil" written by Mae West starring Darlene Violette, Sidney Myer, and TBA. Live music by Brian McInnis.  The novel, which closely follows the 3-hour production Mae performed onstage from 1928 — 1951, is more exciting than the family-friendly screen version. Playwright LindaAnn Loschiavo massaged Mae's classic opus into an 85-minute adaptation featuring all of the sex and none of the censorship. No intermission.  
• • What else: The ever-popular Mae West Raffle and birthday festivities.  
• • August 17th and 18th Admission: reserved seating only (payment info will follow)  
• • Closest MTA subway stations: 42nd St./ Times Sq. via A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "A girl in the convertible is worth five in the phonebook."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The N.Y. Daily News mentioned Mae West.
• • Lisa L. Colangelo wrote: The 225-acre cemetery — the eternal resting spot for Jackie Robinson, Mae West and composer Eubie Blake — straddles the Brooklyn-Queens border, touching Woodhaven and Glendale as well as the neighborhood of Cypress Hills. It has already played host to ceremonies and programs honoring veterans and Black History Month.
• • Lisa L. Colangelo explained: Desmond and other local leaders would like to expand community programming at Cypress Hills, similar to successful efforts at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens. ...
• • Source: Article: "Cypress Hills Cemetery hosts first 5K run to benefit family of slain NYPD officer" by Lisa L. Colangelo for The N.Y. Daily News; published on Wednesday, 17 July  2013
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2697th 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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• • Mae West 1946

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