Friday, February 14, 2014

Mae West: Delta Kappa Alpha

The headline from Los Angeles was "MAE WEST Still Knows How to Steal the Show."
• • Delta Kappa Alpha hosted this unique affair on campus in the Town and Gown building. About 88 attendees made it inside including George Cukor, Mervyn Le Roy, Jimmy Stewart, and Robert Wise. Take my hand and let's enter the time machine.
• • "Mae West Still Knows How to Steal the Show" • •
• • Wednesday, Hollywood, Los Angeles — — According to reporter Bob Thomas, this memorable evening was scheduled as a tribute to James Stewart, Mervyn Leroy, and Mae West. Predictably, Miss West stole the show. It was one of those annual banquets of the honorary cinema fraternity at the University of Southern California, and the gathering was a curious mixture of the academic and entertainment worlds. Nostalgia was the keynote, and the diners viewed photographs from various films of the three honored guests as these were flashed on the wall of the campus dining room.  . . .
• • Bob Thomas explained: Next came Miss West. She agreed to accept an honorary membership in Delta Kappa Alpha — — if she could do it her way. That's the only way she operates.
• • Bob Thomas observed: After the brief scenes from "Klondike Annie" and "Every Day's a Holiday," the lights came up. The platform had been converted into a boudoir with a white fur rug, white chaise lounge, full-length mirror, candelabra, etc. Miss West, who likes to surround herself with musclemen, had three U.S.C. football players — — Adrian Young, Tim Bossavich and O.J. Simpson — — huddled around her. The three athletes, unborn when Miss West quit making movies, made their retreat, revealing her to the audience.
• • Bob Thomas added: All the trappings were there: The three golf-ball size diamond rings; the spray of diamonds above the pneumatic chest; the cascade of milk-white hair (a wig); the undulating figure, more than ample (despite tight corseting) in a jeweled white gown. Despite abundant makeup, the face showed its 71 years.
• • Bob Thomas noted: But the eyes beneath the upswept lashes were clear, and the voice still had the quality of a small girl playing the vamp. "I have been honored many times (laughter) for many things (laughter) " Her insinuating manner can still draw amusement from straight lines. The proceedings took a more historical turn as George Cukor and Robert Wise literally sat at her feet and questioned her about the Mae West career. She related her beginnings as a dancer at 8, her authorship of the play, "Sex," and her film ad-; ventures in a rambling manner that required much prompting by the two directors. Miss West picked up the pace by delivering a 1910 song, "The Grizzly Bear," to show ragtime's relationship to rock. Then she did a recitation from her "Diamond Lil" followed by a rendition of "Frankie and Johnny."
• • Bob Thomas stated: Although some of the younger members of the audience seemed baffled by the performance, the applause grew by degrees to a standing ovation. "I want to thank you for your generous applause — — and your very heavy breathing," said Miss West, remaining in character.
• • Source: Syndicated column written by Bob Thomas rpt in The Express (Lock Haven, PA) on page 12; published on Wednesday, 14 February 1968.
• • On Tuesday, 14 February 1933 • •
• • Variety's reporter "Bige" wrote an article on "She Done Him Wrong." The magazine ran it on pages 12 and 21 in their issue dated 14 February 1933.
• • Dated for the week of 14 February 1949 • •
• • Spotted for sale: Mae West on the cover of a "Diamond Lil" Playbill from the Coronet Theatre. It was dated for the week of 14 February 1949. What a Valentine!
• • On Friday, 14 February 1986 • •
• • The news sheet Winslow Mail announced on 14 February 1986 (on the front page) "Doll Show Begins Monday." The vast collection included character figures. Visitors would see Mae West and W.C. Fields in authentic clothes from their movie "My Little Chickadee," for instance.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West has as many taboos as she has curves. She doesn't like black cats, the numbers thirteen or twenty-three, and wouldn't walk under a ladder on a bet. But her greatest fear was unconsciously revealed one day by her when she told a mutual friend, "The thing that worries me most, young fella, is the reformers likin' me. When they do I'll know I'm slippin'!"
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Women with pasts interest men. They hope history will repeat itself." 
• • Mae West said: "I never play over twenty-eight."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Salina Journal mentioned Mae West.
• • She said that she.was under contract to a producer, the late Jerry Wald, vhose most lasting contribution to her career was to change her real name — Tharon Crigler.
• • "Jerry thought Jennifer Jones and Mae West were two of the biggest stars," she says, "so he made me Jennifer West."  Recalling those earlier years, she said, "I think maybe I had a latent desire to act, but I thought I was too ugly."  ....
• • Source: The Salina Journal; published on Friday, 12 February 1965 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2854th 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:

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• • Mae West 1968

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