MAE WEST was in the process of acquiring a second home when this interview appeared on Tuesday, 31 March 1959. She claimed it was for health reasons — — to fight the smog. She had a lot to talk about because her memoir was due to be published. She and Erskine Johnson discussed everything from the French sex kitten Brigitte Bardot to bottled water and Mae's habit of brushing her teeth a dozen times a day. Sit down and stay awhile.
• • "Mae West's Fulltime Career Now Is Fighting the Battle of Age" • •
• • Erskine Johnson wrote: Hollywood — Mae West is still saying, "Come up and see me sometime." But the traffic isn't as heavy as it once was. It has been a long time, you know.
• • Erskine Johnson explained: The indestructible Mae has lived for 26 years now in the same six-room apartment on the sixth floor of a fashionable apartment house not far from Hollywood and Vine. The aging elevator groaned, and then winced, as I went up to to see Diamond Lil who, way back in 1932, set a movie pattern for wiggling hips, mouth-twitching, and sultry voiced quips like "it's not the men in my life — — it's the life in my men."
• • Muscleman at Door • •
• • A tall, dark, and handsome muscleman opens the door and invites you into Mae's living room, all white and satin and coldly dignified. You sit there alone for a time — — time enough to see a young nude Mae West in full-bodied white marble on a white piano top, a young and nude Mae West in an oil painting which could out-sell Marilyn Monroe's calendar, and a young all-dressed-up Mae West with "come up and see me sometime" looks in several portraits, color tinted, and framed in gold. . . .
• • Erskine Johnson added: In due time, Mae is moving to a beach house she recently purchased to escape the smog. We sit in this room and Mae answers my questions about how she keeps her figure: yoga exercises, Iong walks, specially prepared fat-less foods. . . .
• • Erskine Johnson recalled: The flair for writing her own plays, often raided by police, has brought Mae West to this point: preparing the galley proofs of the autobiography she wrote during the past two years and due for publication this fall. The title of it is "Empress of Sex." She says she wrote every word. And, she smiled, "I don't believe it will be banned in Boston." . . .
• • [Ed: Maybe we will post another installment of this cheeky chat later this week.]
• • Source: Syndicated column "Hollywood Today" written by Erskine Johnson rpt in The Corpus Christi Caller-Times; published on Tuesday, 31 March 1959.
• • On Sunday, 31 March 1912 • •
• • The end of March signaled the beginning of excitement down at "The Corner" [Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street]. The New York Times announced on 31 March 1912 that "Mae West and Her Boys" would take the stage at Hammerstein's Victoria.
• • On Thursday, 31 March 1927 • •
• • On Thursday, 31 March 1927 it was reported in The New York Times that Sergeant Patrick Keneally of the Midtown Vice Squad, whose testimony was heavily flavored with a thick Irish brogue, quoted long passages from Mae's play "Sex" from memory. Moreover, "frequently, under the instructions of the Prosecutor," explained The Times, "assuming poses to demonstrate the manner in which members of the cast delivered their lines," Sgt Keneally gave the jury box quite a show.
• • On Monday, 31 March 1930 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • The N.Y. Times ran this headline to keep readers up to date on the "Pleasure Man" trial at the end of March 1930: CLASH MARKS MOVE TO FREE MAE WEST; Nathan Burkan Demands Details in Play Indictment — — Wallace Calls Motion Ridiculous. TWELFTH JUROR CHOSEN Then Panel Is Excused as Counsel Argue Over Terming Actress "Star of Case." Sales Manager Picked as Juror. Wants All Indecency Specified.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The Hollywood Legion fights on Friday night is another favorite haunt of film stars like Mae West, Johnny Weissmuller and Lupe Velez, Dick Powell and Joan Blondell, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper and many famous directors, as well as stars.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "People just don't eat right. For breakfast, I have sliced apples and raisins. Or fruit with a syrup made of powdered almonds, milk, and honey. At night all I have is a salad. During the day I drink carrot juice."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The San Bernardino Sun mentioned Mae West
• • The Mae West type: This voluptuous beauty can look far from glamorous if she isn't extremely careful about selecting the proper bra top for her swim suit. If it is cut too low or is too narrow, she will bulge above and below it in alarming fashion. This is the gal who should choose a well constructed bra top suit with inner uplift construction, and be sure it is long enough and deep enough to cover the subject. ...
• • Source: San Bernardino Sun; published on Friday, 31 March 1950
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2881st blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • at home in 1959 • •
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