Friday, April 11, 2014

Mae West: Bullet-Proof Lass

MAE WEST used to ride in the two armored cars owned by her friend Texas Guinan, a speakeasy hostess whose partners were gangsters. Then the day came when Mae, too, felt in need of protection as she was driving around Los Angeles.
• • "Film Star's Fears — — Armored Car Is Sought, Police Guards" • •
• • LOS ANGELES, April 12.   Mae West, the beautiful blonde film star, has decided to order an armored motor car to protect herself against attacks by gangsters.  Since she gave evidence against hold-up men who robbed her of valuable jewels, her life has been made a misery by threats, which continue to be made by letter and telephone. She was so upset today at further threats received, that she was obliged to stop work on her new picture.
• • Bullet-Proof Glass • •
• • Motor car firms have quoted £900 extra for a car made proof against guns up to .45 calibre, and £1,500 extra for a car with a tempered steel body and bullet-proof glass to withstand machine gun fire. 
• • Mae West is constantly attended by the chief detective of Hollywood's gangster squad, and his second in command. These officers say that suspicion turns to Chicago, where Harry Voiler, one of three men indicted here on the jewel robbery charges, has secured 13 adjournments of the Los Angeles authorities' application for his extradition.
• • Mae West was formerly a stage actress. She appeared in the talkies "Night After Night" and "She Done Him Wrong," which were screened in Adelaide some months ago. Another of her pictures, "I'm No Angel," is expected to be shown here soon.
• • Source: Article: News (Adelaide);  published on Friday, 13 April 1934.
• • On Tuesday, 11 April 1911 in Milwaukee • •
• • According to Time Magazine: Myrtle Lorraine Sands, a young woman who used to work in Los Angeles, where she had fun spotting film folk in public places, is now in charge of re-indexing the records of births, marriages, and deaths in the office of the County Register of Deeds, Milwaukee. One day last fortnight, when she happened upon Marriage Certificate No. 40553, Myrtle Sands's eyes bulged, her heart jumped. The certificate proclaimed the union of Frank Wallace and Mae West, of Brooklyn, N. Y., April 11, 1911. . . [Time, 6 May 1935].
• • Mae West and Frank Wallace (Frank Szatkus) tied the knot on Tuesday, 11 April 1911, but Mae claimed they did not live together. Mae described herself as a kiss-less bride. Shortly after, Wallace wed another woman and Mae married Guido Deiro. Mr. and Mrs. Wallace divorced officially on 23 July 1942.
• • On Thursday, 11 April 1912 • •
• • As a teenager, Mae West was cast in the Broadway musical "A Winsome Widow," onstage from 11 April 1912 — 7 September 1912. During the second act, one of her ensemble numbers was "Toodle-oodle-oodle on Your) Piccolo" — — billed as a performance by Willie Grow and Girls — — which did not win the favor of each and every critic in town, alas.
• • Despite the razzing she got for "Toodle-oodle . . .," Mae West's character La Petite Daffy won some acclaim for her display of vivacity and sauciness. "Mae West assaults the welkin vigorously," applauded the New York Dramatic Mirror.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Nemo sat down for an old- fashioned chat with May Robson, on the "Orchids and Onions" set, the other day.  It's a joy to talk to that blessed old trouper for she's as full of amusing personal anecdotes as Mae West is of curves. And that's something!
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "If somebody didn't know, they'd think I'm 26."
• • Mae West said: "If you want to be sexy, you've got to think about sex all the time."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The N.Y. Times mentioned Mae West
• • Howard P. Chudacoff wrote: Nor should it be thought that riotous fun was confined to one gender. Flappers and the “new woman” of the 1920s, symbolized by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Clara Bow and Mae West, used bravado and eroticism to breach patriarchy’s barriers to pleasure.  . . .
• • Source: Book Review section in The N.Y. Times; published on Friday, 4 April 2014
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started nine years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2890th 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

• • Photo:
• • Mae West in 1933

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  1. I've read your posting of the Mae West Robbery with interest. Evidently at the time this happened, Mae was working on a film and some wags thought it was all a publicity stunt. Unfortunately, the threat of extortion was very real. Several years ago, I applied for a copy of the FBI file on Mae West, as sealed documents had become available to the public. I was pleasantly surprised after waiting about three years, to be finally notified after waiting in cue for my request that as a Canadian I could obtain this file for a reasonable charge and mailing costs. Some passages were blacked out, but to my amazement, the dossier contained no "dirt" on Mae, but was entirely composed of information about the robbery, the extortion demands for the return of her stolen jewellery, and photostatic copies (from 1934) of the ransom notes. For some reason, files of a similar extortion demand on Betty Grable were part of the West file I thought there might be a file on Beverly West, but alas Mae's troubled sister somehow managed to escape the radar to Edgar Hoover! R. Mark Desjardins

  2. • • The fact that Mae West lived in crime-ridden, bootlegger-fueled New York City for the first 39 years of her life without incident, then she moves to Los Angeles (still a very sleepy place known mainly for tranquil farms and orange groves in 1932) and has a gun stuck in her face must have been very terrifying, Mark.
    • • But this was also the reason that Mae West stopped talking to Texas Guinan and never made peace with her. (Texas died on November 5, 1933 in Vancouver.)
    • • Since Mae was held up by Harry Voiler, a close pal of Texas and Tommy Guinan, Mae suspected Texas was somehow involved.
    • • That link was highly unlikely. More likely the robbery occurred because of Mae's celebrity in Hollywood, her high salary, and her vulnerability as a petite woman.
    • • Texas could not persuade Mae of her innocence. Then, of course, Texas died suddenly after a show in Canada and that was that.
    • • Interesting about the FBI file on Mae West, Mark. Good sleuthing!