Monday, October 21, 2013

Mae West: Walter McGrail

MAE WEST starred in "My Little Chickadee" [1940] and Walter McGrail was one of the townsmen.
• • Walter McGrail [19 October 1888 — 19 March 1970] • •
• • Born (like Mae) in Brooklyn, Walter McGrail came into this world on Friday, 19 October 1888. By 1916, the 28-year-old newcomer was making his first silent film.  For a few days, he was cast in supporting roles in romantic comedies, adventure movies, action plots, and Westerns.  The durable six-footer worked with all the top names in Hollywood.
• • Between 1916 — 1953, he participated in over 150 projects for the silver screen and TV.  In 1940, when he was 52, he got a chance to work with Flower Belle Lee and Cuthbert J. Twillie — — Mae West and W.C. Fields — — in "My Little Chickadee."
• • By 1950, McGrail's credit was popping up on TV. Then, after an appearance on "The Cisco Kid," he retired altogether.
• • Walter McGrail died in San Francisco, California on 19 March 1970.  He was 81.
• • On Thursday, 21 October 1943 • •
• • Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures went to see Mae West in "The Heat's On" during the previews  Cohn had let Gregory Ratoff smooth talk him into a contract for it.  "The hicks may remember Mae West but the preview houses don't," Harry Cohn told a reporter on Thursday, 21 October 1943. "This picture is going to be a bust." The public concurred. Even Mae West would agree. Tsk.
• • On Tuesday, 21 October 1947 • •
• • It was on Tuesday, 21 October 1947 that Mae West first set foot in a playhouse in Manchester, England to present her Bowery melodrama "Diamond Lil."
• • On Thursday, 21 October 1993 • •
• • John Cohen's article on Mae West, "And West Is West," appeared in The New York Sun on Thursday, 21 October 1993.
Photo: Wayne Takenaka
• • 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:
• • 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:
• • 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: "Marilyn Monroe may come and Marilyn Monroe will go. But Mae West will always be the standard by which they judge sex."
• • Referring to the Mae West Revue, Mae West said: "I've got something for the girls — — boys, boys, boys."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The New Movie Magazine interviewed Beverly about her sister Mae West.
• • "Because . . .   Mae West Isn't Diamond Lil" • •
• • Hester Robison wrote: The first time we saw Mae was when she played in a lurid thing called "Sex," and the second time we saw her she was receiving the plaudits of a night club crowd in a gay place called "The Silver Slipper."  The difference between the Mae West of the stage and the Mae West who bowed and smiled in the spotlight of a hot-cha place was about one yard of extra bustle in back and about two yards of extra bosom in front.
• • Hester Robison wrote: That was the first time we learned that Mae West, as theater audiences know her, is a fake. She's not tough and she's not fat and she's not vulgar. She puts it on and takes it off as she puts on and takes off the extra bust and bustle in her characterizations. ...
• • Source: Article: "Because . . .   Mae West Isn't Diamond Lil" written by Hester Robison for The New Movie Magazine; published in May 1933
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2768th 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:

Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West Diamond Lil returned for Mae's birthday

• • Feed — —
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