Monday, November 24, 2014

Mae West: Cult Figure

MAE WEST was lionized in The Guardian, a London newspaper. Let's enjoy the column once more.
• • "The saucy looks that said it all" • •
• • Clancy Sigal remembers the inflatable, anti-hypocritical genius of the late Mae West.
• • "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."
• • "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you glad to see me?"
• • "When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better."
• • "Beulah, peel me a grape."
• • Clancy Sigal wrote:  It is tempting to remember Mae West only for her lines, verbal and visual. Her bold, sly use of innuendo and double entendre — — and her full-breasted body as a kind of slithery punctuation mark to her low-down humour — — made her a legend in her own time. It pleased her greatly when the RAF dubbed its inflatable life-jacket a "Mae West" during the second world war. By then, her showbiz career was virtually over.
• • Clancy Sigal noted:  She died a cult figure, a sex goddess from Hollywood's Golden Age who mercilessly subverted conventional morality by not only insisting, but demonstrating, that carnal pleasure was fun and could be guiltless. For West the only sin was hypocrisy.
• • Clancy Sigal wrote:  "I take it out in the open and laugh at it," she said à propos sex. Under those sequined, form-hugging, floor-length gowns she always wore was a fully self-conscious artist who wrote her own dialogue, produced her own plays, bossed her own movies.
• • Clancy Sigal continued:  "It isn't what I do, but how I do it," she said with accuracy. "It isn't what I say, but how I say it and how I look when I do it and say it."
• • A late-Victorian stage performer who survived • •
• • Clancy Sigal explained:  Essentially, West was a late-Victorian stage performer who survived into the atomic age because she was toughly independent as well as a comedienne of genius who understood, and was capable of exorcising, her audiences' sexual terrors. She was the Lenny Bruce of the 1930s.
• • She was always impersonating herself • •
• • Clancy Sigal added:   She was always impersonating herself impersonating Mae West parodying a male impersonation of a woman. Depression cinema patrons, chuckling over her hip-swaying caricatures of Diamond Lil or Klondike Annie knocking lecherous men over like ninepins with her fliply insolent sensuality, knew only that she was shrewdly spoofing something that was supposed to be too sacred or sinful to joke about.
• • Clancy Sigal concluded:  Censorship, her mortal enemy, eventually brought her down. Among her self-appointed agents of public purity, the publisher William Randolph Hearst used his vast newspaper chain to pillory her ("Isn't it time Congress did something about Mae West?"); at the same time he was keeping Marion Davies in an adulterous affair. Mae West would have seen this as typically male behaviour.
• • Source: Obituary in The Guardian; published on Monday, 24 November 1980.
• • On Tuesday, 24 November 1931 • •
• • On Tuesday, 24 November 1931 the newspaper Washington Herald reviewed "Constant Sinner." The D.C.-based drama critic wrote about the Greek-American actor George Givot's portrayal of the Harlem pimp Money Johnson as well as "the aroma of Mae West's hybrid dialogue."
• • On Wednesday, 24 November 1976 in Australia • •
• • An article "The Two Hidden Faces of Mae West" appeared in The Australian Women's Weekly on Wednesday, 24 November 1976.
• • On Monday, 24 November 1980 • •
• • British journalist Clancy Sigal fondly recalled the inflatable, durable, and anti-hypocritical genius of the late Mae West in London's Guardian. A lovely tribute.
• • Source: Article: "The saucy looks that said it all" written by Clancy Sigal for The Guardian; published on Monday, 24 November 1980
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • In its heyday, Madame Wu's Garden in Santa Monica was where smartly dressed Hollywood A-listers vied for seats amid white-tablecloth splendor.  ...
• • Princess Grace of Monaco, the former Grace Kelly, raved about the Peking duck. Mae West ate bird's nest soup every Sunday.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Yeah, the [flotation] jacket idea is all right and I can't imagine anything better than to bring you boys of the RAF soft and happy landings. But what I'd like to know about that life-saving jacket is — — has it got shapely shoulders?"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Las Vegas Review-Journal mentioned Mae West.
• • "Debbie Reynolds leads family of stars on stage" • •
• • Actress Debbie Reynolds, joined by her daughter Carrie Fisher, son Todd Fisher, and granddaughter Billie Lourd, shows off a pair of Mae West's shoes.     
• • See photo of Todd Fisher with Mae's heels.
• • Source: Item in The Las Vegas Review-Journal; published on Tuesday, 11 November 2014
• • 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 3055th 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 her shoes

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