Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Mae West: Fan's Favorite

On July 1st Detroit News ran this headline: "MAE WEST, Fan's Favorite" and other news outlets reprinted it. Let's investigate this interesting felicity together.
• • The last count of fan mail, one of the measures of the drawing power of its players, reveals at least one surprise. It finds Mae West still topping the list of those who move the film public to take its pen in hand.
• • We can understand Shirley Temple's prodigious mail from children; and the tap dancing public alone should account for a large part of Ginger Rogers mail. It isn't surprising that a brisk, bright young blade like Dick Powell is much written to by the matinee trade, or that George Brent, Lyle Talbot, and Francis Lederer are frequent targets for mash mates.
• • Mae's pull at the post office is less comprehensible.
• • Her appeal is not to the instinct that moves a man to sit down and tell it all in a letter. In fact, the standing invitation to come up some time implies an impatience with so vicarious an approach as the mails.
• • "Mae is a natural force — — like the law of gravity" • •
• • After all Mae is something of a natural force, to be accepted like the law of gravity, not written to. We suspect a sizable part of her fan correspondence grows from a reputation for generosity, which, by all accounts, is deserved. To friends who have fallen on evil days, her  purse and compassion are always available. Whether this applies to strangers as well, we do not know. We only know that the stranger would be apt to assume that it does.
• • Source: Article in Detroit News rpt in Urbana Daily Courier; published on Monday, 1 July 1935.
• • On Saturday, 1 July 1933 • •
• • A Mickey Mouse cartoon, "Mickey's Gala Premiere," was released on Saturday, 1 July 1933. Mae West is one of the celebrities who makes an appearance.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West wore the famous West diamonds, and made a late entrance very impressively.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I can do more with my voice and eyes than another woman can do turning herself inside out.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in a men's magazine discussed Mae West, Assistant D. A. James G. Wallace, and the New York D.A. Joab Banton.
• • "When Mae West Went to Jail for ‘Sex’" • •
• • But though they were facing trial, the plays continued. On February 13, 1927, the newspapers reported that "Sex" and the other two raided shows were playing to jammed houses.
• • “There goes Sex” • •
• • The name Mae West became synonymous with SEX. Wherever she went people pointed and said, “There goes Sex.”
• • On February 16, Magistrate G.W. Simpson ordered the trial of the Sex company, charging them with putting on an indecent show. The trial was to be conducted in the Court of Special Sessions.
• • Testifying before the magistrate, Inspector James Bolan cited his personal and tempered opinions against the play. He read from a long list of notes and often paused to collect his thoughts, attempting to express in chaste language the shocking goings-on in "Sex." (Scores of spectators left because his notes were not as lurid as they anticipated.) Bolan, a naive drama critic, referred to “sugar daddy,” as “sugar dandy” and quoted a line as, “Don’t call this place a dump.” He was quickly corrected by Assistant D. A. James G. Wallace who amended the line to, “Don’t call this joint a dump.”
• • Wallace was accused of bias and of trying to hold the court in session for as long as he could so as to make the actors miss their evening performance. But quick action on the part of the defending attorneys closed the proceedings at an early hour. However, Wallace became a key figure in the court drama. With a loud and garish display of histrionics, he managed to bring the state’s case to a triumphant conclusion.
• • In court, on March 5th, the Sex company pleaded not guilty. Miss West, who had been seemingly withdrawn and uninterested throughout the previous proceedings (often keeping herself busy by applying her make up and blowing court dust from the fur collar of her coat, finally broke her long silence to state, “I think that 'Sex' is one of the cleanest plays on Broadway. There is no nudity, and no obscene language in the whole play.”   . . .
• • Source: Article "When Mae West Went to Jail for ‘Sex’" written for Popular Mechanics;  published in the issue dated for November 1959 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •
• • Thank you for reading, sending us 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 2947th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West in 1935

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