Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mae West: TV Indecency

MAE WEST would have enjoyed reading about the latest "crack down on TV indecency." Though the Brooklyn bombshell never suffered a wardrobe malfunction on camera, the TV and radio censors pursued her like a pack of hounds. Let's revisit an article on the screen siren in USA Today.
• • Wes D. Gehring wrote: In light of the current FCC campaign to crack down on TV indecency, one cannot help but wonder what Chairman Kevin Martin would have made of the incomparable Mae West, the film legend whose comically sexy axioms ("When women go wrong, men go right after them.") helped bring about the cinema censorship code of 1934.
• • Just who or what was Mae West?
• • Wes D. Gehring continued: She most resembled a female impersonator — — with the verbal wit of Oscar Wilde. Armed with this repartee, West transformed a small, pleasantly plump, over 40 physical form into an inspired parody of sex. Like many of her contemporaries, from Will Rogers to the Marx Brothers, she came to sound films with an established persona, honed from years of stage work. Also like many of these fellow funnymen, especially Groucho Marx and W.C. Fields, her older, cynical, world-wise screen character matched the harsh climate of the Depression. This was in marked contrast to the youthfully innocent and naive screen clowns of the silent era, such as Harry Langdon, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton.  ...
• • Source:  Article: "She Done Us Right; Comedic Movie Star Mae West Was Addressing Such Then-Provocative Material as Intercourse, Homosexuality, Drag Queens and Prostitution in the 1920s" written by Wes D. Gehring for USA TODAY; published in 2006.
• • On Saturday, 21 October 1933 • •
• • The Broadway musical  "Let 'Em Eat Cake" previewed on Saturday, 21 October 1933 — — not far away from Election Day — — and played 90 performances at the Imperial Theatre [249 West 45th Street, NYC 10036]. One character in "Let 'Em Eat Cake" issues an order that Mae West should replace George Washington on the postage stamp.
• • On Thursday, 21 October 1943 • •
• • Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures went to see Mae West in "The Heat's On" during the previews  Cohn had let Gregory Ratoff smooth talk him into a contract for it.  "The hicks may remember Mae West but the preview houses don't," Harry Cohn told a reporter on Thursday, 21 October 1943. "This picture is going to be a bust." The public concurred. Even Mae West would agree. Tsk.
• • On Tuesday, 21 October 1947 • •
• • It was on Tuesday, 21 October 1947 that Mae West first set foot in a playhouse in Manchester, England to present her Bowery melodrama "Diamond Lil."
• • On Thursday, 21 October 1993 • •
• • John Cohen's article on Mae West, "And West Is West," appeared in The New York Sun on Thursday, 21 October 1993.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Harry Cohn said: The hicks may remember Mae West but the preview houses don't. "The Heat Is On" is going to be a bust.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Sometimes I grow weary of fighting to keep faith with the public."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Vassar Miscellany News mentioned Mae West.
• • Who Cares if East is East as Long as WEST is West; Nothing Else Matters!
• • Here's Mae West in "I'm No Angel" with Cary Grant. Mae takes Grant like Grant took Richmond!  ...
• • Source: Item on page 6 in Vassar Miscellany News; published on Saturday, 21 October 1933 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,223 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3030th 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 1954

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