Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Mae West: Foot Engineering

An article and slideshow on the superb fashion sense of 1930s films mentioned MAE WEST — — and showed photos of the platform shoes Mae wore in her nightclub act during the 1950s.
• • Susan Stamberg wrote: Mae West, the Marilyn Monroe of the 1930s, is represented by a surprisingly modest high-necked purple gown by designer Elsa Schiaparelli. It shrouds two of her best features. There is, however, a pretty vampish flowering vine that snakes up her body from hem to neck.
• • A feat of foot engineering • •
• • Susan Stamberg explained:  Mae West was petite, between 4 feet 11 inches and 5 feet 2 inches tall. On screen, however, she looked larger than life, and this exhibition shows why: She wore shoes that made her 8 1/2 inches taller. A feat of foot engineering, each shoe has two layers: white platform shoes with ankle straps bolted on top of a pair of wooden silver pumps.  "Under a long dress you wouldn't notice that these shoes were being worn," says co-curator Emily Stoehrer. "These silver toes would just peep out thru the hem of the dress." West is said to have worn them all the time — — on screen and off.
• • Susan Stamberg continued:  Her jewelry was also larger than life: a ring, pin and bracelet made of massive aquamarines and diamonds. "And she of course would have worn them all together and likely with other jewels as well," Stoehrer says.  Stars used their own jewelry in films — — it showed off their wealth and power . .  . .
• • Source: Article "Gold-Plated Gowns and 8-inch Pumps: The Stuff That Made Starlets Shimmer" written by Susan Stamberg for NPR: published on Friday, 28 November 2014.
• • On Tuesday, 5 December 1933 • •
• • On Tuesday, 5 December 1933, the night Prohibition was repealed, while Mae was being photographed in a Hollywood speakeasy with Gary Cooper, her sister was performing in Chicago, Illinois. Beverly had bookings for her popular "Mae West Act" in the heartland during most of the winter of 1933.
• • According to a newspaper reporter: Beverly West, actress Mae West’s little sister, recalled that an usher on the house staff of a theatrical production that she was starring in ran to the stage and handed her a drink. She said, “I downed it before you could bat an eye. After all, I learned everything I know from my sister!”
• • Source: Article: “Borough Thirsty — — Ready to Celebrate Repeal Tonight on Wave of Liquor” printed by The Long Island Star-Journal; published on Tuesday, 5 December 1933.
• • On Tuesday, 5 December 1933 in The L.A. Times • •
• • The Mae West robbery led to a trial and this was covered by numerous newspapers. The L.A. Times printed some of Mae's remarks in their edition dated for Tuesday, 5 December 1933.  On the witness stand, Mae had said: "I have known Voiler for a number of years. He has now turned out to be a snake in the grass."
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Miss West said she was doing imitations at church socials when she was two years old.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "It's harder to write for the screen because of the censors. I have to ask the censors whether I could even sit on the arm of a man's chair."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Film Daily mentioned Mae West.
• • Mae West in "Appearance" • •
• • "Personal Appearance," a Broadway stage hit recently purchased for the screen by Emanuel Cohen, will be a Mae West vehicle for Paramount release.
• • Source: Item in Film Daily; published on Tuesday, 19 May 1936 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. Yesterday we entertained 1,430 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3061st 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 platform shoes from 1953

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  Mae West

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