In April 1976, MAE WEST was a guest on CBS-TV. This would be her final televised appearance — — and it was on a popular show called "Back Lot, USA" hosted by Dick Cavett.
• • "Mae West highlights TV special" • •
• • HOLLYWOOD — A.P. — Even though she claims she doesn't really understand women's lib, Mae West struck a blow for women years ago when she began to consult them about their reactions to her performances.
• • "I noticed there were always lots more men than women in my audiences," recalled the inimitable Miss West. "Now that's fine as far as it goes, but any business person knows you gotta get the support of the women because they often choose the entertainment." So, when women would come backstage to meet her, Miss West would quiz them on what they liked and disliked about the shows. "I decided to do shows that would appeal to women as well as men," she said. "The women, for instance, didn't approve of scantily dressed chorus girls. So I put my girls in long, clinging gowns — — and I uncovered my muscle men instead."
• • She also gave women a regal fashion show with each play, interpreting the showy styles in elegant fabrics, floating feathers, and lots of jewelry. "I was always famous for what I wore, not for what I didn't wear," Miss West emphasized. "I was interested in clothes from the time I was a child and used to window shop in Brooklyn," she continued. "I'd look at myself in the store mirrors and try to imagine me in all the fancy gowns."
• • Long fascinated by the fashions of the Gay Nineties, Miss West turned that interest into one of the great characterizations of her career — — Diamond Lil. "The women loved it and we started a whole style trend," she recalled. "They broke away from that skinny, flat-as-a-board look of the 1920s and began to let their curves show again." Although she has traditionally been associated with the flirtatious, Miss West has always counted both women and men among her devoted fans. "One reason for my success," she says, "is that I've never offended women."
• • "Dick Cavett's Backlot U.S. A ." is a special entertainment event in which Cavett relives the golden days of the motion picture industry with such luminaries as his very special guest star, the legendary Mae West, in a rare television performance.
• • Source: rpt in Anderson Herald (Anderson, Indiana); published on Saturday, 3 April 1976.
• • On Sunday, 3 April 1927 • •
• • On page 184 of his biography of Mae West, Simon Louvish wrote: "But, on 3 April, the jury had to inform Judge Bertini that they could not agree ..."
• • Gee, must have been the proof-reader's day off. April 3rd was a Sunday. The court was not in session on the weekend.
• • Portions of this trial are dramatized in the full-length play "Courting Mae West." In the case of both obscenity trials [1927 and 1930] in New York City, the outcome would possibly be known by an audience of die-hard Mae mavens: a guilty verdict and jail in 1927 and a hung jury in 1930. But the playwright was determined to stick to the facts and also surprise the audience regarding the outcome. How? Well, you'll just have to see the play to enjoy how cleverly this is managed. Ideally, a producer who likes to have a full house at his/ her productions will bring this play to a theatre once again.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • No mother roles for Mae West, who's back on Broadway in "Diamond Lil," and she won't be returning to Hollywood "until the right story with the right part comes along."
• • Wailed Mae over the phone from New York: "Hollywood works in trends and now it seems they're offering everyone, even me, mother roles. I don't want to make a picture just for the sake of making a picture. I want to make a great picture."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I like to do all day what I do all night."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The newspapers covered the libel trial when Confidential was sued by Mae West.
• • The defense in a surprise move rested its case in the criminal libel smut case against Confidential Magazine without having called a single major movie personality to testify. . . .
• • . . . De Stefano told the Jury that Confidential Magazine even lifted ideas from Mae West's own book "Constant Sinner" as the basis for passages in their scandalous articles titled "Mae West's Open Door Policy" and "Mae West's Biggest Names are Ex-Cons" and "Mae West Selling Sex like Sixty — — Which Is Her True Age." . . .
• • The defense is seeking to prove that Confidential Magazine's stories were true . . .
• • Source: Associated Press rpt in The Bend Bulletin; published on Friday, 30 August 1957
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2884th blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • (top) with Dick Cavett in 1976 • •
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