Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mae West: Chick Gets Clipped

MAE WEST enchanted several hundred people last week both onstage and in the news. In honor of her 120th birthday, a group of talented New Yorkers performed "Diamond Lil" (last seen onstage in 1951).
• • Mae West Trivia • •
• • In 1928, when Mae wrote her 3-hour melodrama of the underworld, most of the publicity images featured Mae West and the actor cast as Chick Clark. This fictional character, a Chicago jewel thief and a former lover of Diamond Lil (who "done him wrong"), had almost as many lines of dialogue in the play as Mae West herself. As written, Chick Clark (played in 1928 by Broadway mainstay Herbert Duffy) was meant to be her co-star.
• • Mae gave Chick Clark an important monologue in each of the three acts. In contrast, Captain Cummings only has three brief scenes in the play.
• • It was not until 1932, in the sanitized 66-minute film version put together by Paramount Pictures, that the "righteous" figure of Captain Cummings would emerge as the leading male figure.  Obviously, the studio executives felt it best to minimize the roles of the sex trafficker and saloon owner Gus Jordan; the procurer from Rio, Pablo Juarez; and the escaped convict Chick Clark when they reshaped "She Done Him Wrong" for an American movie-goer.  So much for the boldness of the Pre-Code era, eh?
• • On Friday, 20 August 1915 in Variety • •
• • An article "May West in Pictures" (sic) appeared in Variety's issue dated for Friday, 20 August 1915. At the time, Mae was 22 years old.
• • Spelling her name Mae with a "y," Variety wrote: "May West, the vaudeville comedienne, has signed a contract with the U [Universal Pictures] to go to the coast for four weeks."
• • Stills I've seen from this audition show Mae lying across a bed, looking frisky. Hmm.
• • On Thursday, 20 August 1970 • •
• • Hollywood types received an invitation to "Sights and Sounds of Mae West" and the event was scheduled for Thursday, 20 August 1970.
• • Mae West Walking Tours You Might Have Enjoyed • •
• • AUGUST 2006 TOUR: Our regular Mae-mavens will recall seeing the historical exhibition "Onstage Outlaws: Mae West and Texas Guinan in a Lawless Era,” which opened to the public after a Gala Roaring-20s theme Press Preview on Mae’s birthday 17 August 2006. And on Sunday afternoon 20 August 2006, more than two dozen beautiful people gathered on West Ninth Street to enjoy a special treat — — "Washington Square Women: Mae West and Texas Guinan in Greenwich Village" — — followed by a Jazz Era brunch served with champagne and the Cos-MAE-Politan cocktail, garnished with two strategically placed plump raspberries.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Woman is capable of more trickery than man ever dreamed of. I am not defending the tricky woman, but if she is forced to battle for the place due to her, she cannot be condemned for using any ruse she can."  
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article Mae West was asked to write appeared in August 1927.
• • Mae West wrote:  The court attendant leaned toward me and said, "Are you feeling all right, Miss West?"   I replied, "Quite all right."
• • Mae West explained:  He then escorted me to the side of the courtroom, through a cage effect, then out a door, where there were a few steps leading down to another door. That door was opened and two gentlemen who stood there said, "Right this way, Miss West."
• • Mae West continued: They were most courteous; they didn't want anything to happen to me before I got to Welfare Island, I guess. I was ushered into a waiting-room. There was a colored woman, with a gold badge, in charge.  . . .
• • Source: Article: "How I Was Jailed for Sex" written by Mae West for Liberty Magazine; published on Saturday, 20 August 1927   
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2722nd 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 Diamond Lil returned for Mae's birthday

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  Mae West

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