Friday, August 29, 2014

Mae West: Promised, Threatened

MAE WEST was making headlines in Ottawa in August 1977.
• • "Mae West — She still more than measures up" • •
• • Written by George Anthony — Special to The Ottawa Journal • •
• • HOLLYWOOD — — "She has more glamor per square inch than anybody in the world," said Edith Head, dismissing all other contenders with a wave of her hand. We were sitting in Head's Oscar-lined office at Universal studios, and we were talking about Mae West — — who isn't these days? — — and her finally completed "Sextette," the screen comedy she's both promised and threatened to make for the last two decades.
• • When "Sextette" went into production, West chose British actor Timothy Dalton (Heathcliff in the remake of "Wuthering Heights") as her new leading man. But just to keep the odds in her favor, she also cast Alice Cooper, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton, Tony Curtis, and (gasp) Dom DeLuise as a clutch of former lovers and husbands.
• • Before the cameras rolled, however, Hollywood's prima designing woman, the prolific and award-laden Head, was summoned to design a dozen new gowns for West. "I have always loved working with Mae," said Edith Head with a blissful sigh, "because she's so professional. Mae West is in her 80s now, but she stands for costume fittings for hours and never complains. Some of our young actresses on the way up should take lessons from her!"  ...
• • To be continued on Monday, Labor Day.
• • Source:  Interview in Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Canada); published on Tuesday, 30 August 1977.
• • On Sunday, 30 August 1931 • •
• • When Mae West brought her play "The Constant Sinner" to Atlantic City for a try-out in August 1931, the crowds lined up for tickets. 
 • • Noted The New York Times: "With two rows of standees and chairs in the aisles for extra celebrants, last Monday night saw Mae West run through her latest daisy chain, 'The Constant Sinner,' at the Apollo Theatre in Atlantic City. . ."  Their man on the aisle described this play as "underworld material," leading us to assume this sheltered individual rarely ventured above the wilds of West 96th Street.
• • Source: The N.Y. Times on Sunday, 30 August 1931.
• • On Sunday, 30 August 1970 in The L.A. Times • •
• • Joyce Haber referred to Mae West as "the Last of the Living Legends" in The Los Angeles Times Calendar on Sunday, 30 August 1970.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Even at the fourscore mark, Mae West remains a remarkable figure of a woman.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "There was the robber, waving his gun in my face, and asking me to turn over my jewels to him. I said. 'Listen, big boy, you can have the jewels, but do you mind lowering that gun a bit? I can always get more jewels, but I've got to have my face to do it with!'"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An article by Associated Press discussed Mae West.
• • Bob Thomas wrote: The interviewer wonders if this soft-voiced woman of 80 could have aroused such a clamor. The answer is yes. She continues to spout such comments as: "Sex is like a small business; you gotta watch over it." ...
• • Source: Syndicated article rpt in The Journal News (Hamilton, Ohio); published on Saturday, 18 August 1973
• • 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 2992nd 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 with Mr. America in 1977

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