Friday, November 14, 2014

Mae West: Chewing Gum

MAE WEST chatted with a Hollywood reporter whose lengthy article was syndicated in mid-November. This is Part 2 of a fascinating conversation.
• • "All a Girl Needs Is Brains Declares Mae West" • •
• • An Exclusive Interview with Alice L. Tildesley,  AP • •
• • "Relatives and friends of my mother used to say: 'Look at that child! Why don't you stop her? She'll be the vainest creature on earth. Come away from that mirror, you bad girl!'  But my mother said: 'Let her alone. She's enjoying herself.' My mother always understood me. I found out all there was to know about me. Then when I grew up, I changed the things I didn't like and spotlighted the things I admired."   . . .
• • According to Mae West, any girl can make herself attractive, so attractive that men will mistake it for great beauty. "Let her study her hair. Maybe it Isn't the kind of hair to set her off. Maybe she ought to be a redhead, in keeping with her temperament. Maybe red hair isn't for her, it will make her seem a vixen, and who likes vixens? Then if her hair won't do, what about blonde? Maybe she needs lighting up. But maybe fair hair will wash her out. She must study herself and decide."
• • "Eyelashes are important. Sometimes a change in eyelashes will be all she needs. I have a brother, who is on the Maurice Chevalier order of coloring. His lashes were so light they took away all the character to his face. They always worried me. So one day I made him go with me to a beauty shop, and when I had him where he couldn't get away, I made them dye his lashes dark brown. You wouldn't believe what it did to that man's personality! His eyes are the go-get-'em kind now, but before that you didn't know he was around.
• • "A girl should study her coloring, too. No excuse these days for looking sallow or pasty or having a pink tip to your nose. Find out about make-up. And then study the colors that bring out your best points. Don't take somebody else's advice — — pick the colors yourself after you've found out about you  — — and select your own styles.      
• • "And if none of the current styles is becoming to you, invent your own. I did. And it looks like fifty million Frenchmen have decided I knew more than they did about it!"
• • The "Mae Westian influence," as couturiers call it, has been felt in this season's fashion shows. She held up a hand to Libby and the lights struck a dozen tiny sparks from the jewel-laden fingers.
• • Chewing Gum with Cary Grant • •
• • "Bring me some gum, Libby!"  "Miss, you want some?" "Yeah, TWO pieces of gum, Libby, and one for Cary."
• • Mae gave Cary Grant, her leading man, one of her slow smiles. "I don't smoke, so I have to do something. I don't drink, either. I think dumb girls have had their day. They're out. If you're clever, you win. Of course, you don't let men know you're clever, understand; you might as well be dumb if you do. No, you needn't be beautiful either. You must just make men think you're beautiful — — and that's not hard.
• • In Mae's philosophy of life, a women of her type with a cigarette or a cocktail glass in her hand looks too much like a bum.  She adds, "Anyway, you don't need artificial stimulants if you have real appeal."
• • Mae Collects Diamonds • •
• • Mae West moved her graceful hand again and once more the sparks flashed. "These aren't real," she explained. "I didn't need my real diamonds for this picture.  But I love diamonds. They're so brilliant, so sparkling, so thrilling, so alive, so full of color and fire! That's why I wrote 'Diamond Lil' — — so I could wear 'em!" Mae added, "My mother gave me the first diamond I ever had when I was 14. She knew how mad I was about them. It wasn't very big, because she couldn't afford it, but it was a nice little stone."
• • Mae West, age 16, gets a diamond ring from a man • •
• • "Then when I was 16, on my birthday, a man gave me another. No, I wasn't thrilled a bit! I was upstairs when he came and my mother called me to say he was there, and I said: 'Well, tell him I don't feel good.'"          
• • Mae continued her story:  "He showed the ring to my father, and my father sent for me, but I wouldn't go down. Then my brother came after me to say the fellow had brought me a diamond ring and the least I could do was show him the courtesy of accepting it. So I went down and smiled at him and took the ring. And was I disappointed? It was a little bit of a diamond surrounded by five sapphires. I didn't like it at all. "
• • Mae West gets another diamond ring from a new boyfriend • •
• • "The second diamond ring I got from a man had three stones, about twelve carats altogether. That was nice. Then I got a necklace, then a bracelet, and then a lot more. I love them all. I can't have too many!"  Mae paused to consider.  "Women today don't seem to ba smart enough to get diamonds. Don't know why it is.  Maybe they don't like 'em or something.  But women can make men do about what they want them to do, if they're clever, and they needn't be gold-diggers, either.       . . .             
• • This is Part 2. The last installment of this interview will be posted on Monday.
• • Source: Associated Press exclusive rpt by The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia); published on Sunday, 12 November 1933.
• • On Monday, 14 November 1932 • •
• • Deliberately courting the disdain and despisal of Joe Breen, William LeBaron and Emanuel Cohen were daring enough to try to rush a script into production by Monday, 14 November 1932.  "Ruby Red" was written by Mae West (assisted by John Bright). The Hays Office suspected a mutiny, however.
• • On Saturday, 14 November 1936 • •
• • Trade paper Motion Picture Herald reviewed the Mae West movie "Go West Young Man" in their issue dated for Saturday, 14 November 1936. Among their unkind remarks was this punch: "Incidentally, the fight with obesity seems to be getting her down." Ouch.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The Fiesta parade featured beautiful women and horses. A voluptuous senora leading a donkey with panniers of vegetables got wild acclaim from the boys. "There goes Mae West!" shouted a muchacho next to me.
• • "Boy!" yipped another, "if that was Mae West, the parade would be over."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "It just does me good to begin the day that way [with Mass].  My manager's a Catholic."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Columbia Daily Spectator mentioned Mae West.
• • Edward O. Ethell wrote: Professor Bryson has a small light hidden under the tablecloth near his plate, and when the zero hour approaches, the engineer gives him the big sign. No holds are barred, but with over 16 programs already passed on into history, nothing has been said to compare with Mae West's already famous radio faux pas of several months ago. ...
• • Source: Item in Columbia Daily Spectator; published on Monday, 14 November 1938
• • 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 3048th 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:

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• • Mae West with Cary Grant in 1932

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