Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mae West: Joe Whitehead

MAE WEST starred in "My Little Chickadee" [1940] and Joe Whitehead was one of the townsmen.
• • Joe Whitehead [14 October 1922 — January 1969] • •
• • Born in Queens, NY, little Joseph R. Whitehead Jr. took his first breaths on Saturday, 14 October 1922.
• • By 1938, the strapping 16-year-old was playing a henchman onscreen. Though occasionally he snagged a credited role, the bit parts player was used by the casting agents more often as a background kind of guy, used for short takes that required a bartender, brakeman, cab driver, clerk, cousin, dog catcher, guest, miner, minister, pedestrian, porter, soldier, waiter, and the popular scene-filler-upper of villager or townsman.
• • Between 1938 — 1950, Joe Whitehead participated in over 50 projects for the silver screen.  In 1940, when he was 18, he got a chance to work with Flower Belle Lee and Cuthbert J. Twillie — — Mae West and W.C. Fields — — in "My Little Chickadee."
• • In 1950, Whitehead was hired for his final film, "Copper Canyon"; the cast of this Wester included a number of actors who had the privilege of working with Mae West such as "Chickadee"-alum Hank Bell, Lester Dorr, Kit Guard, and others.
• • Joe Whitehead died in the USA during January 1969.  He was 46.
• • On Sunday, 22 October 1933 • •
• • On Sunday, 22 October 1933 The N.Y. Herald Tribune drew attention to the significance of Mae West, the hottest movie star of the year.  The editors noted Mae was "as much one of the major phenomena of 1933 as the NRA, "The Three Little Pigs," or Senator Huey Long."  That's saying a great deal.
• • On Tuesday, 22 October 1935 in Hollywood • •
• • Missives flew back and forth from the Hays Office about the wicked script for "Klondike Annie" and Mae West.
• • On Tuesday, 22 October 1935 Will Hays emphasized this: "We wish to repeat our general caution, as set forth to you in our letter of October 19, regarding the photographing of Mae West's breasts.  We again remind you that there is a definite code provision which ordains the breasts must never be exposed, either in whole or in part — — nor should these be emphasized in the costume.  ..."
PHOTO: Dan Lane Williams, DLW Photography NYC
• • See "Diamond Lil" This Autumn! • • 
"Darlene Violette channels Mae West to perfection!" — Stu Hamstra
• • By popular demand, actress Darlene Violette — — and the wonderful cast who brought the Bowery denizens and Suicide Hall’s ne’er-do-wells to life — — will return in “Diamond Lil” for several evening performances at Don’t Tell Mama [343 W. 46th Street] on these dates in 2013:
• • 7:30pm on Sunday October 27th — Hallowe'en Party — come in 1890s costume!
• • 7:00pm on Sunday November 3rd — vote for Gus Jordan for Sheriff Night.
• • 8:30pm on Sunday November 10th
• • 7:00pm on Sunday November 17th
• • 7:00pm on Sunday November 24th
• • Phone after 4pm to reserve a seat: 212-757-0788; RSVP online: www.donttellmamanyc.com
• • Closest MTA subway stations: 42nd St./ Times Sq. via A, C, E, 1, 2, 3 
• • The public is invited (suitable for age 18 and over). Join us as we turn the iconic NYC nightspot Don't Tell Mama into Gus Jordan's "Suicide Hall"! 
• • The Cast: Starring Darlene Violette as Diamond Lil, Queen of the Bowery and also featuring Sidney Myer, Anthony DiCarlo, Joanna Bonaro, Gary Napoli, Juan Sebastian Cortes, Kimmy Foskett, Jim Gallagher and live music by Brian McInnis
• • Director: Co-directed by Dena Tyler, The Actors Studio, and Darlene Violette.
• • Come up and see for yourself. You might even win a swell Raffle Prize.
• • Watch a short clip: Diamond Lil meets Pablo, a gigolo
• • Read a Review of "Diamond Lil" • •
• • L'Idea Magazine's editors attended four times and had a lot to say. Here's the link: http://www.lideamagazine.com/usa-still-entertaining-mae-wests-diamond-lil-makes-new-fans-in-new-york-city/
• • Staying faithful to the gritty themes in the novel, LindaAnn Loschiavo trimmed the work to 85 minutes for a cast of eight.
• • Audience Comments about "Diamond Lil" • •
• • Gigi Garcone said:  Just saw "Diamond Lil" — — a very entertaining production! This tribute to the sultry, irresistible diva Mae West is a must see! All the actors are very talented and you can see they put their hearts into their roles. I especially liked Darlene Violette as Mae West and Joanna Bonaro as Rita, a madam from Rio. Darlene encompassed the whole persona of Mae and Joanna was sublime as the madam — — she really has such a presence on stage. Very enjoyable performance and it's worth the trip!
• • Rick Baynes of Baltimore said: I second Gigi's comments. "Diamond Lil" brings the fabulous Mae West back to life. The wonderful Darlene Violette is spot-on in her portrayal of the lusty, bawdy Mae. Do yourself a favor and go see this lovely production.

• • Mrs. Jean McLoughlin of NYC said:   I recently saw "Diamond Lil" and loved every minute. The entire cast was top-notch, and I was impressed with their creative use of the entire space. The characters really came to life and I was transported back to the raunchy days of Mae West. Darlene Violette gave a great performance as Diamond Lil  — — but Joanna Bonaro really shone as the sultry, venomous Rita. Joanna commands attention and I was more than willing to give it. Fantastic show, I highly recommend that everyone see it! Even my husband, who does not like theater, really enjoyed it.
• • At Jefferson Market Library in NYC next month • •
• • Mae West's legal woes inspired the stage play "Courting Mae West." See it on 23 November 2013 in the very same room where Mae faced off with Judge George Donnellan and 12 jurors. 

• • Darlene Violette stars as Mae West and the rest of the cast will soon be announced. 
• • The play, based on true events, is set during the Prohibition Era when Mae's plays were padlocked and she was sent to jail. Talk about a woman who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.. 
• • This free event is open to the public and there is ample seating. [Note: The humor and adult themes are not suitable for children under 13.]
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "In the first place, a woman has what it takes — — if she'll use it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An Australian newspaper mentioned Mae West was revising "Diamond Lil."
• • "Mae West Busy Re-writing Play" • •
• • London, October 21 — Mae West left the Palace Theatre, Manchester, tonight, returned to her hotel and began re-writing her 20,000-word play "Diamond Lil."
• • The play ran for three years (sic) in New York, but critics were not impressed at the British opening.  The Evening Standard said: "After two hours the audience was left wondering what it was all about. 'Diamond Lil' is merely something to show off Mae West in clinging gowns singing 'Frankie and Johnnie' and reclining on a bed which is surmounted by a huge golden swan."
• • Mae West, who is 57, said: "I am not done. I will adapt and improve the dialogue and introduce new jokes."
• • Source: Article: "Mae West Busy Re-writing Play" printed (on page 1) in Barrier Miner; published on Wednesday, 22 October 1947 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2769th 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

• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
  Mae West

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