Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mae West: Redhead Beldame

MAE WEST had such a long talk with John Moffitt that his series on her ran through the month of December in newspapers around the world. Here we pick up the pieces from yesterday.
• • "Mae West's First Audiences Were Church Socials" • •
• • John C. Moffitt Tells the Story of Mae West • •
• • John C. Moffitt explained:  That was what was in the mother's mind when she kept saying, "Let her alone. She's different," every time her husband wanted to slap the little prodigy's ears.  Mae was to be a public institution.  
• • The "I Don't Care!" Motto • •
• • John C. Moffitt wrote: Her mother took her to the vaudeville shows and made her study the Brooklyn idols: George M. Cohan, Eddie Foy, Bert Williams, and Eva Tanguay. Eva was Mrs. West's particular idol. Everybody talked about Eva Tanguay. Her picture was in the Sunday supplements. Eva wasn't much of a dancer and she was beginning to get old. But she had good looking legs and a dress made out of dollar bills. A red-headed beldame, she would strut about the stage, pummeling her fists into the backdrop and screaming, "I don't care! I don't care!" That was the "It" of the pre-Elinor-Glyn era.
• • John C. Moffitt noted: "I Don't Care!" was Eva's theme song. The country repeated it. Men leered over it on street corners . . . . "Some day my baby's going to be like that, Tillie would say, and Little Mae took it to heart. Already she had a motto for her escutcheon.
• • John C. Moffitt added: Mae's father still didn't like all this theatrical business. He didn't like spoiled children. How was he to know it was going to lead to his having a fruit ranch in California? He was sorry Mae wasn't a boy. But that didn't keep him from teaching her how to box and do acrobatics. Mae can still wallop a punching bag away from its moorings. When a Hollywood trainer was assigned by the studio to "put her in shape," and called at her apartment, she astounded him, she said, by lifting him up to the ceiling with one hand.
• • Mugging and Plugging • •
• • John C. Moffitt observed:  It is comforting to know that pugilistic Jack West, although he was howled down at most of the family conferences, did succeed in having some effect on his celebrated daughter.  ...
• • This is Part 2. The article will continue tomorrow.
• • Source:  The Straits Times (Singapore); published on Sunday, 25 November 1934.
• • On Thursday, 26 November 1931 • •
• • The New York Herald Tribune reported on the intense displeasure to white Washingtonians when Mae West brought her Harlem play "The Constant Sinner" to D.C. where the local D.A. was Leo K. Rover. Leo roared about the profanity and the dances performed by the black cast. The D.A., apparently, had been telling the media he would "arrest the entire company of fifty one if another performance were given," noted the Herald Tribune on Thursday, 26 November 1931. Racism reared its head.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Comedy Parade Tops "Town" Date • •
• • Comedy parade was staged by Irv Stein, Bay Theatre, Green Bay, Wis., on Mae West's latest, leading off with police escort and 25 high school boys in a marathon race starting at the theatre. Boys wore "Goin' to Town" back banners and were followed by another riding donkey bannered with "don't be an ass" copy.  Other youngsters on old-fashioned tandem bikes and tricycles carrying gag comedy banners also took part.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "You see the speakeasy influence. Sit at a table, dearie, I always say. And don't forget your frills and ruffles and anything else that feminizes you."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Independent mentioned Mae West.
• • Neil Norman wrote: On radio, Charlie sparred with Mae West, W C Fields and Orson Welles among others and became a star in his own in right.  ...
• • Source: Article in The Independent [U.K.]; published on Saturday, 26 November 2005
• • 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 3057th 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 in 1932 and as a child actress

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