Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mae West: Torso Slinging

MAE WEST recently received a lovely tribute in Canada's paper, Vancouver Sun.  Staffwriter John Mackie fondly recalled her roisterous torso-slinging. 
• • This Week In History: Mae West invites the masses to ‘Come up and see me sometime’ in I’m No Angel • •
• • Vancouver Sun staffer John Mackie wrote: November 1933 was not a cheerful time. The Great Depression had been raging for three long years, and the old world order seemed to be coming apart at the seams.
• • John Mackie explained:  In Europe, the new German chancellor Adolf Hitler was sabre-rattling. In B.C., the Liberals and CCF were fighting an election over whether to reform or replace capitalism.  People needed an escape, and Mae West was ready to provide it.
• • John Mackie observed: The platinum blonde bombshell was only five feet tall, but she had a lot of oomph. And the most oomph of her storied career came in the movie I’m No Angel, which opened at the Capitol Theatre on Nov. 3, 1933.  “Just a sensitive girl who climbed the ladder of success, wrong by wrong!” trumpeted one of several ads for the movie. “Torso-slinging in tights, tiaras and … tea-gowns.”
• • John Mackie said: I’m No Angel was West’s tour-de-force, a delightfully ridiculous yarn about a circus gal and her misadventures in love.
• • John Mackie continued: West wrote the screenplay herself, starring as Tira, a lion tamer and dancer for Big Bill Barton’s Wonder Show. Tira was sexy and could stick her head in a lion’s mouth, qualities which simply slay wealthy New Yorker Kirk Lawrence (Kent Taylor), who breaks off his engagement to a blueblood to party with Mae.
• • John Mackie noted: His friend Jack Clayton (Cary Grant) tries to get Mae to dump Kirk, and winds up falling in love with her himself. Hijinks ensue which allow West to reel off some of her most famous lines, including “Come up and see me sometime,” “Sure I’m good, but when I’m bad, I’m better,” and “Beulah, peel me a grape!”
• • John Mackie emphasized: West was 39 years old when I’m No Angel appeared. She didn’t break into the movies until 1932, after she had enjoyed a solid stage career in New York.  Her most famous (and infamous) stage show was called Sex, and landed her a 10-day jail sentence in 1927 for obscenity. When she got out, she was a star.
• • John Mackie concluded: I’m No Angel was a huge hit, and West became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the 1930s. But her double-entendres didn’t always go down too well with censors, who apparently forced her to rewrite many lines.
• • Source: Article "This Week in History: Mae West Invites the Masses" in Vancouver Sun; published on Friday, 31 October 2014.
• • On Monday, 20 November 1911 • •
• • Mae West was cast in "Vera Violetta," which opened on Monday, 20 November 1911 at the Winter Garden Theatre.  Thanks to her ill-conceived attempts at upstaging the French star of the show, Mae West was seen only in the previews. Oh! That was foolish, Mae!
• • On Sunday, 20 November 1988 • •
• • Mae West once confided to a friend: "I felt Bill Fields had no class."
• • This exchange was printed in The Orlando Sentinel on Sunday, 20 November 1988.
• • On Monday, 20 November 2006 • •
• • Radio station WFMU's "Playlist for 20 November 2006" included Mae West's version of "I'm in the Mood for Love" from the album "The Fabulous Mae West." If you're in the mood, go to their web site and have a listen. 
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Hollywood — George Eells spent every Sunday evening for two years with Mae West at the home of her manager to collect information for "Mae West: A Biography," which he wrote with Stanley Musgrove.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:   "What I mean is I was coming to the conclusion that boys made much better playmates than girls."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Cornell Daily Sun mentioned Mae West.
• • The college editors wrote: The "famous dramatic soprano" Mme. Sebela Wehe will unleash a "Mae West Dance" at 8:16 o'clock tomorrow eve in the Odd Fellow Temple. She will also "give her public a special treat by whistling 'Sweet Bunch of Daisies'." Are ya listenin'?
• • Source: Item in The Cornell Daily Sun; published on Tuesday, 20 November 1934
• • 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 3052nd 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 1933

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1 comment:

  1. Somehow I missed John Mackie's article in the Vancouver Sun, as I must have been out of town at the time. He is tuned in to local interest stories and I appreciate your tip of your chapeau to him!