Thursday, January 02, 2014

Mae West: Angled for Spangles

MAE WEST cut quite a figure on the Paramount Pictures movie lot, recalled columnist Hedda Hopper, who noted, "All of her costumes were usually ooed and ahed over." Let's see what else the tart-tongued Tinseltown tattler had to say.
• • "Hollywood by Hedda Hopper" • •
• • Hedda Hopper wrote: While walking over the Paramount lot on a recent afternoon, I thought of the many changes the years had brought to that studio. ...
• • Hedda Hopper continued: But real glamor came to Paramount when the dressing rooms were turned into suites tailored to the personalities of Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Gladys Swarthout, Claudette Colbert, and Mae West. During that period a singer named Bing Crosby had just moved on the lot; and Bob Hope hadn't appeared on the horizon. Jan Kiepura was imported from Poland. But he lasted for only one picture.
• • Hedda Hopper explained: It was the glamor girls who made the big noise. These goddesses of fortune kept producers, directors, designers, make-up experts and hair stylist shopping and sometimes hopping mad to keep pace with their demands. . . . Marlene Dietrich and Mae West came off with the biggest splash. Every trip Mae took from dressing room to sound stage was a major production. Surrounded by the most attractive men at the studio, she acted like a circus ringmaster, with whip in hand, in dealing with the boys. ... All of her costumes were usually ooed and ahed over. If one failed to get the attention she thought it deserved, a dozen seamstresses worked all night on it. Adding spangles by the bushels. Mae put on a honey of a show. Even the big executives were awed by it. ...
• • Source: Syndicated column rpt (on page 17) in Harrisburg Telegraph (Pennsylvania); published on Friday, 2 January 1948.
• • On Tuesday, 2 January 1934 in Chicago • •
• • On Tuesday, 2 January 1934, when Mae's sister Beverly applied for a marriage license in Chicago, it was hoped that her second Russian-born husband would be a better companion than her ex-husband Sergei Treshatny. The groom Vladimir Baikoff made Beverly's acquaintance when both were booked on a radio program. Beverly was doing her famous Mae West impersonation for a broadcast — — and Vlad was eager to conjugate some sultry Slavic verbs with her in private, after the show.
• • On her marriage license, Beverly gave her age as 27, meaning that she had been born in 1907. This was consistent with Mae's calculations; in 1934, Mae was giving her birth year as 1900 and the siblings were seven years apart.
• • Good thing the municipal clerks were not crossing checking New York State's records with Illinois — — otherwise someone might have wondered about the bride who was born in 1907, having been first married in 1917 when she was 10 years old.
• • Beverly's second marriage ceremony was performed at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. Judge Joseph Sabath (of divorce court fame) officiated.
• • On Sunday, 2 January 1938 in Singapore • •
• • A news brief appeared in Singapore on Sunday, 2 January 1938 with this headline: "Mae West, As Eve, 'Insult To Faith'" (page 13) date-lined from New York. Only two paragraphs long, the item reprinted sharp criticism of Mae's radio skit with comments that first appeared in a religious Brooklyn weekly.
• • The Straits Times wrote: Miss Mae West's interpretation of Eve in a broadcast skit, "Adam and Eve," has been attacked by the Roman Catholic weekly, Brooklyn Tablet as "an insult to every Christian."
• • Source: The Straits Times; published on Sunday, 2 January 1938.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Q. Did Mae West really make all those wisecracks, spontaneously, over the telephone to the thirteen editors in the nation-wide interview, or did she have rehearsals?
• • A. She did not have rehearsals. Mae's wit, both off the screen and on, is, apparently, as endless and as spectacular as her wardrobe.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Sure, they are right, when they say I make a parody of Sex. That's my stock in trade. Any gal can get really sexy but it takes a smart dame to make guys and women both laugh at it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The New Movie Magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • Herb Howe wrote: After seeing Miss Mae West in "Night After Night" I had a recurrence of such temperature I thought I should have to resort to ice packs. ...
• • Source: The New Movie Magazine; issue dated for February 1933 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2823rd 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

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• • Mae West in 1933

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