Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mae West: Pursuit of a Man

"MAE WEST Crashes Into Society" was a headline on page 5 in Australia on Thursday, 19 December 1935.  Let's investigate this vintage movie review, shall we?
• • "Pursuit of a Man in 'Now I'm a Lady' Starring Mae West" • •
• • First-Nighter wrote: Mae West's latest picture, "Now I'm a Lady," presents her at the outset as a girl from the western cattle country, who comes into a large fortune because the man she was about to marry is shot by the sheriff, and she inherits his wealth. Oil on her property has provided her with fabulous wealth, and she runs a racing stable, and dazzles society with the splendour of her entertainments.
• • First-Nighter explained: Part of the social gate-crashing scheme consists in marrying Monroe Owsley, in the role of Fletcher Colton, a wastrel scion of society. This young man's aunt tries to ruin the heroine by hiding a man in her bedroom. And when the husband — — whose demands for money have become exorbitant — — searches the bedroom looking for money, he encounters the other man with tragic results. The rest of the story is worked out in swift, melodramatic fashion. In the end, Mae West gets the man she wants and becomes a real lady. Marjorie Gateson appears as Mrs. Crane Brittony, a society leader, who snubs Mae West to her own undoing. "Now I'm a Lady" will be presented at the Winter Garden Theatre on Saturday.
• • Source: "Hashes from the Screen" by First-Nighter for The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Queensland; published on Thursday, 19 December 1935.
• • On Sunday, 19 December 1936 in Picturegoer • •
• • Picturegoer's issue for the week of 19 December 1936 featured these three: Mae West, Merle Oberon, Alfred Hitchcock.
• • Picturegoer was a magazine published in the United Kingdom between 1913 — 1960. Its primary focus was on contemporary films and the performers who appeared in them. During the silent film era, it started as a weekly movie review, then evolved into a weekly listing of films being shown at UK cinema houses when talkies became popular. Eventually, it became a bi-weekly movie magazine featuring the screen's biggest stars that was sold at all movie theaters in the UK.
• • On Sunday, 19 December 1937 • •
• • Forbidden fruit, unlawful carnal knowledge, the serpent in the garden — — and maybe the real "snake" all along was the self-righteous head of the purity police, the Catholic League.
• • NBC Chairman Frank R. McNinch was still dealing with the fallout after Mae West's appearance on his network. The FCC took the position that, though it had no power to censor radio guests, NBC had a moral duty to shield its listeners from offensiveness. An article about the outraged public outcry and protest letters that NBC had received over the Mae West Biblical skit on radio was published in The Sunday Morning Herald in Washington, DC on Sunday, 19 December 1937.
• • Eventually, NBC would ban Mae for 15 years over this curious flapdoodle.
• • On Sunday, 19 December 1948 • •
• • The date was Sunday, 19 December 1948. Mae West sat in the VIP section of the audience during the famed TV variety favorite hosted by Ed Sullivan.  The actress was in rehearsal in New York City at that time, auditioning for a new cast and preparing for a revival of "Diamond Lil," a production that would open on Broadway on 5 February 1949.
• • During the program's place in its own line-up [for Season 2, Episode # 15], it was still being called "Toast of the Town."
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • According to Broadway.com, the "Mae West" bio-pic will show the infamous incident in which “City officials raided the theater [that West was performing in] at a performance, arresting and prosecuting West on morals charges, sentencing her to ten days in jail for ‘corrupting the morals of youth.’ Now a media sensation, West continued to find success on the stage; even if her gay-themed "The Drag" didn’t make it to Broadway, she had a big hit with "Diamond Lil." The play took the rising star to Hollywood, where she became one of the highest-grossing stars of the 1930s, never losing her bawdy flavor.”
• • Hmmm. Maybe the script-writer sneaked a peek at "Courting Mae West" — — which dramatizes the suspenseful February 9th police raid so cunningly.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "The challenge of a new writing form would cloud my grief, I hoped." 
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about Hollywood movies discussed Mae West.
• • "Mae West Plays New Screen Role with Familiar Technique" • •
• • Schenectady Gazette wrote: Mae West is become not only a tradition but an institution. Her style of comedy is unique and, it might be added, unchanging. She has a splendid cast int his [in "Go West Young Man"] and the comedy is well worked out. ...
• • Source: Article in Schenectady Gazette; published on Monday, 23 November 1936
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2813th 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 in 1935

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