Martin Itjen traveled to Hollywood to kiss the hand of MAE WEST and pose for pictures with the screen queen.
• • Martin Itjen [24 January 1870 — 3 December 1942] • •
• • Born on Monday 24 January 1870 in Dorum, Germany, Martin Itjen emigrated and became a Klondike stampeder in 1898 when he was 28 years old.
• • Full of ideas, Martin Itjen made a decision to purchase Jeff Smith's Parlor. He went about the renovations with great deliberation, restoring the frontage and interior to recreate the original saloon, which he operated as a Soapy Smith museum. "It's a tourist hotel attraction devised by a sourdough who boasts he once kissed Mae West's hand," wrote one reporter.
• • Hoping to drum up innovative publicity for his enterprise, in the mid-1930s Martin Itgen took his street-car to Tinseltown to sing the praises of Skagway, Alaska's tourism potential.
• • In Hollywood, he paid homage to Mae West, who cordially posed with him. Thanks to Mae, Martin was able to attract other movie stars to take pictures with him.
• • Reading Times wrote this: The sourdough, Martin Itjen, has set up his hotel on the site of the late Soapy 's saloon. Inside are models of the outlaw and his gang, wired to buttons and switches. Itjen presses a button. Soapy fires a pistol twice and two other dummy figures fall over. Martin Itjen made a trip south two summers ago "just to see Mae West." ...
• • Source: The Reading Times (Reading, PA); published on Friday, 31 January 1936.
• • Martin Itjen died in Skagway, Alaska on 3 December 1942. He was 72.
• • On Monday, 31 January 1927 in Bridgeport • •
• • Despite the public's curiosity about the controversial vaudevillian Mae West, and her latest play "The Drag," Jim Timony could only manage to secure half a week at Poli's Park, which was then in use as a burlesque house in Bridgeport.
• • It was a dreary and wintery Monday on 31 January 1927 when the Morals Production Company hoisted a banner over the trolley cars criss-crossing Main Street. Pedestrians were intrigued by this saucy announcement: "'The Drag' by the author of "Sex" — — more sensational than Rain or The Captive!" It was Mae West’s intention to give gay characters a voice and a spotlight. The police were lying in wait for her.
• • These true events are dramatized in Act I, Scene 2 of the stage play "Courting Mae West" by LindaAnn Loschiavo. Why not bring this astonishing 95-page play to your theatre?
• • On Tuesday, 31 January 1933 • •
• • Vaudeville star Elsie Janis dated her synopsis for a "Mae West Talking Picture" for Tuesday, 31 January 1933 — — but the project was deemed unsuitable for Mae.
• • On Tuesday, 31 January 1933 • •
• • Variety ran this article "No Good Women in History, Mae West Says, During Hot Sex Selling Talk." It was published on Tuesday, 31 January 1933.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • "Sin and Sunday" • •
• • Someone asked the famous shouting evangelist, Billy Sunday [19 November 1862 — 6 November 1935], who had just visited Mae West on the Paramount lot and had his picture taken with her, what he thought of the curvacious Mae.
• • "She convinces me that sin isn't as unattractive as I thought it was," Mr. Sunday smiled, "that is, not her kind of sin."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Maybe I ought to turn on a little more inspiration?"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • "Old West-em Custom" • •
• • Mae West in "Goin' to Town" starts a third week at the New York Paramount tomorrow. This marks the fourth time a Mae West film has played three or more weeks at the Paramount. "She Done Him Wrong," Miss West's first starring picture, played three weeks. "I'm No Angel" played four weeks and "Belle of the 90's" three weeks.
• • Source: The Film Daily; published on Thursday, 23 May 1935
• • By the Numbers • •
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1936 with a Soapy figure and Martin Itjen • •
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