In August of 1976, a long interview with MAE WEST was published, timed for her birthday. Continued from last Thursday, the final excerpt from the exclusive feature by Hollywood correspondent Robert L. Rose is below.
• • "They still come up and see Mae West at home" • •
• • Written by Robert L. Rose (IUM News Service) • •
• • That was back in the early 1930s when Paramount brought her to Hollywood, an already established star of vaudeville and the legitimate stage, and in fact put her up in the very same apartment she occupies today — — 44 years later.
• • First she appeared in George Raft's first starring movie, "Night After Night," and it's her entrance that set her movie career on fire. She slowly and sexily saunters past a goggle-eyed hatcheck girl, who bursts out: "Goodness, what beautiful diamonds." Tosses off Mae, continuing up the staircase to see George Raft: "Goodness had nothing to do with it." In the same picture, she is asked, "Do you believe in love at first sight?" She replies, "I don't know. But it saves an awful lot of time."
• • "this new-style Hollywood siren" • •
• • Audiences went wild over this new-style Hollywood siren. Before they had been sinister, and heavy. She was lighthearted, breezy, tough, dominating men with a wisecrack and a leer, and showing no guilt after straying, enthusiastically. "It wasn't what I did, but how I did it," she said.
• • The two Cary Grant pictures followed immediately, "She Done Him Wrong" and "I'm No Angel." She herself, as the famous story goes, accurately picked him when she saw him strolling down the studio street at Paramount. The producers protested he'd never even been in a movie, only tests. "Call him over," she insisted. "If he can talk, I'll take him. He'll do for my leading man." He came over, said "how do you do" with a charming accent and his career was launched. She also wrote both movies. In the first, Grant plays a Salvation Army type, actually a cop in disguise, trying to get the goods on Mae, a Bowery queen who lures men to her apartment to love and rob them (sic).
• • The punchlines: "When women go wrong, men go right after them."
• • Mae: I always did like a man in uniform, and that one fits you grand. Why don't you come up sometime and see me? I'm home every evening.
• • Cary: I'm busy every evening.
• • Mae: Come up ... I'll tell your fortune ... (As he departs) you can be had." Later Cary admires her jewelry. Mae: This is just my summer jewelry. Ya outha see my winter stuff.
• • Cary reveals himself as a cop, slaps handcuffs on her (later he gives her a ring) and she protests, "Are those absolutely necessary? I wasn't born with them."
• • Cary: All those men would have been a lot safer if you had.
• • Mae: I don't know ... Hands ain't everything.
• • In the same movie, suitor Kent Taylor tells her breathlessly, "You're dazzling, you're beautiful, you're gorgeous." Mae responds, "Wait a minute ... wait a minute ... Take it slower... "
• • Kent: Do you mind if I get personal?
• • Mae: I don't mind if you get familiar.
• • Another suitor in another movie, "Belle of the Nineties," is equally eager as he gasps, "I must have you, your golden hair, your fascinating eyes, your alluring smile, and lovely arms..."
• • Mae: Wait a minute. Is this a proposal or are ya takin' inventory?
• • This excerpt concludes the article written by Robert L. Rose.
• • Source: Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, California); published on Saturday, August 21, 1976.
• • On Friday, 26 August 1921 • •
• • "The Mimic World 1921" opened on 17 August 1921 and Jimmy Hussey's close friend, Jack Dempsey (another Irish-American) attended the premiere, and visited Mae West backstage after the show.
• • Clearly with Mae's approval and cooperation, Hussey penned the skit "The Trial of Shimmy Mae." Hussey himself played the judge as Mae demonstrated the shimmy in his topsy-turvy courtroom.
• • Variety tartly commented on 26 August 1921: "In a tent it would have been a riot."
• • On Thursday, 26 August 1954 • •
• • According to vintage newspaper ads, the roving "Mae West Revue" opened their performance schedule in Reno, Nevada starting on Thursday, 26 August 1954.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • An interview with Mae West quite naturally led to talk of sex, since she was the pioneer of more permissive entertainment.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "The church people watched me like a hawk. Where are the church people today?"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article in an Australian magazine focused on Mae West.
• • "Mae Gets Top Billing" • •
• • Don Prince wrote: Interviewing Mae West is rather like talking with the Sphinx or warming up to the Mona Lisa. You are so filled with awe at conversing with one of the Wonders of the World, and with admiration of the ultimate in symbolic sex sorcery, that addlement may easily set in.
• • Don Prince wrote: You are received at her apartment by Paul, La West's constant companion, champion, and confidant. Paul has the quiet assurance of an early Karloff and gives the impression that should you even think any harm to Mae he would easily turn into Cerebus and devour you with considerable gusto. . ...
• • Source: Written by Don Prince for The Australian Women's Weekly; published on Wednesday, 1 July 1970
• • 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 2988th blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1932 • •
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