Monday, July 14, 2014

Mae West: Eleven Minutes

MAE WEST was responsible for getting William Demarest into show business. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1892, the actor told the story to newspaper readers in July 1968. Let's listen in. Part 2 (posted today) continues the story in his own words.
• • As told to Bob Thomas by William Demarest.
• • William Demarest [27 February 1892 — 28 December 1983] • •
• • "11 minutes" • •
• •  . . . By then I was pretty sore at this kind of casual reception, so I stormed into the manager’s office to tell him who I was and I demanded to know what was going on. He said, “Oh, yeah, Demarest — — you have 11 minutes.”
• • I couldn’t believe what was happening. I walked outside to check the billing on the marquee to make sure I was in the right place. I noticed that the line for tickets was now halfway down the next block. I looked up at the marquee and all it said was “Mae West in ‘She Done Him Wrong.’ ”
• • So I went back to the manager to find out what in the name of grease paint was happening. He explained as patiently as he could that the Mae West film was doing such great business that they needed me only long enough to clear the house for the next screening. So I paid off the rest of my actors, and I was up on stage by myself trying to entertain half a house that is preparing to leave after seeing the Mae West picture and half a house that is just coming in to see the film. 
• • "Cut to 3 minutes" • •
• • My first line was “I’m just up here to pass the time while they’re winding up Mae West.” After a couple of performances, my act was cut to three minutes so they would be able to squeeze in an extra showing of the movie. It was depressing. I figured then and there that if that’s what films were going to be doing to vaudeville artists, then I’d have to be nuts to stay on the stage. I quit the stage once and for all after that engagement and I headed for Hollywood — — and Paramount — — yes, the very same studio that had made the Mae West picture. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I didn’t know Mae West and she didn’t know me, but she opened an entirely new world for me and I’ve been in it ever since.
• • Source: Hollywood column written by Bob Thomas, AP Movie-Television Writer rpt in Wilmington News-Journal (Wilmington, Ohio);  published on Friday, 12 July 1968.
• • On Wednesday, 14 July 1920 • •
• • Sadly, on 14 July 1920, Mae West filed for a divorce from Guido Deiro [1886 — 1950], charging him with abandonment. She had moved back with her parents, who were living in Queens.
• • On Monday, 14 July 1997 in Newsweek • • 
• • In his book review on 14 July 1997, Ray Sawhill wrote this: In her zesty "Becoming Mae West" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Emily Wortis Leider points out that by the time she barreled into movies, West had 35 years of theater and vaudeville behind her. She liked prizefighters, cross-dressers, and stealing credit from collaborators.   ...
• • On Wednesday, 14 July 1999 • •
• • Paul Novak, Mae West's companion of 26 years (the acknowledged love of her life) died on Wednesday morning, 14 July 1999. He had married late in life and left a widow.
• • Save the Date: Wednesday, August 13th • •
• • Wednesday, 13 August 2014 will be the next Mae West Tribute in Manhattan and the event will start at 6:30 pm at 425 Sixth Avenue. The theme will be: "Mae West in Bohemia — — Gin, Sin, Censorship, and Eugene O'Neill."    
• • Details:

• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Producers of Mae. West's latest film are in a quandary over a suitable name. Originally called "It Ain't No Sin," the title was pulled when the producers weathered a storm of protests from purity leagues and the Legion of Decency, so to be on the same side, they hit upon the ingenious substitute:  "That St. Louis Woman."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "She who laughs lasts."
• • Mae West said:  "Yes, they kinda went for me."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in an Australian paper mentioned Mae West.
• • "Children Dislike Mae West — Fond of Adventure Films" • •
• • LONDON, Saturday.  Mr. William Farr, acting manager of the British Film Institute, has compiled an analysis of juvenile taste for films.
• • Farr discovered that children prefer those featuring "G" men. They dislike Mae West and Greta Garbo, because they have not met anyone the least like them, and are unable to imagine that such people really exist.   . . .
• • Source: Item on page 1 of The Advocate (Tasmania); published on Monday, 13 July 1936 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade.  
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 2956th 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 bra-less on a Film Daily print ad in 1933

• • Feed — —
  Mae West

No comments:

Post a Comment