Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mae West: Worst Book Ever

Give a roaring welcome to Leo the lion [July 23rd — August 22nd], the astrological sign MAE WEST was born under.
• • Borrowing details from her own life for the dialogue with Rajah the fortuneteller in "I'm No Angel" — — who says, "You were born under Leo!" — — Mae's character Tira, a novice lion tamer, replies, "Yeah, the king of beasts, huh?"
• • Perhaps the horoscope that Rajah hands Tira, often consulted in her 1933 motion picture comedy for Paramount Pictures, predicted that she would not be harmed when sticking her head in the jaws of a lion.  But surely the M-G-M lion was a tiny bit jealous.
• • The Worst Mae West Bio Ever Printed • •
• • Mae-mavens will note the deliberate use of the word "printed" — — not "written." Perhaps Julia McMahon turned out this perplexing publication by some bizarre combo of cut-and-paste in a foreign language, then she churned it through translation software.
• • Mae West chronicler Mark Desjardins kindly consented to analyze this turgid text.
• • "Mae West 169 Success Facts" [2014] by Julia McMahon • •
• • REVIEW by Mark Desjardins • •
• • The first hint that this volume may be a misstep is the cover photo which is clearly NOT of Mae West. A quick perusal of the chapter contents raises some hopes of redemption, but these are quickly dashed upon closer examination. I am not certain if the original publication of the material in this publication was translated into English, but the prose seems rather stilted and odd. 
• • For example, when McMahon examines the role of Canadian female impersonator, Craig Russell, as West's Fan Club President, she writes: "Born in Toronto, Russell grew to be leader of Mae West's fan association as an adolescent, and he momentarily operated and existed in Los Angeles as her assistant. He restored to Toronto wherever ....... he operated like a barber when following his vocation as a stage performing artist. While carrying out, he on every relevant occasion, talked and chanted in the vocals of the famous persons he was impersonating."
• • Passages like this are generously peppered throughout this odd publication.  Here is another strange entry, under the heading "Burlesque — American burlesque":
• • "The change as of Burlesque on the aged rules to Striptease was slow.  At foremost soubrettes presented off their numbers when crooning and dancing; a few remained fewer energetic however renumerated by materializing in complicated stage outfits."
• • As a somewhat  knowledgeable fan of Mae West and her humor, I found this book to be a struggle to plow through, and can only imagine the frustration of someone new to West's wit and wisdom trying to make any sense out of the hodge-podge of the "169 successful facts" alluded to, here in the title.
• • There are no other photographs in this 229-page trade paperback edition, which measures 7 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches.  
• • For the cost of this volume, there are much more fun and factual accounts of Mae West's land and varied career available.  I would not recommend this publication at all.
• • On Monday, 23 July 1934 in Film Daily • •
• • W. C. Fields wrote: I have been approached by Mae West to consider collaborating. But I want my work to stand out individually. Besides Mae has the wrong slant on this thing. She says she does her best writing in bed. Well, I do my best loafing there, and consider that that is the primary purpose of a bed. . . .
• • Source: Article: "W. C. Fields Talks About His Grand Passion" in Film Daily; published on Monday, 23 July 1934.
• • On Saturday, 23 July 1938 in Bristol, England • •
• • "At the Little Theatre — — A Mae West film" announced the Western Daily Press (Bristol, England)  on Saturday, 27 July 1938.  
• • 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: August 13th event
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Frank Wallace has court action in Los Angeles to bring about a division of community property under California law against his former spouse Mae West.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: " "Everyone else that gets in the money out here buys a forty-room house, hires a dozen servants, and gets ritzy. But not me. I'd be lonesome."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article about camp mentioned Mae West.
• • Michael T. Schuyler wrote: Mae West freely "camped it up" once she recognized the power of her camp stature in her later years.  ...
• • Source: Article: "Camp for Camp's Sake: Absolutely Fabulous, Self-Consciousness, and the Mae West Debate" written by Michael T.  Schuyler for Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 56, No. 4; published in Winter 2004
• • 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 2963rd 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 bad cover on a book to avoid

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