Drama critic John Mason Brown wrote several fascinating articles about MAE WEST including a feature for The New York Post printed 82 years ago on Saturday, 25 March 1933. “Sex is for her a cartoon which she delights in animating,” he told his readership.
• • John Mason Brown [3 July 1900 — 16 March 1969] • •
• • Born on Tuesday, 3 July 1900 in Louisville, Kentucky, John Mason Brown earned his bachelor's from Harvard in 1923. He worked for the New York Evening Post from 1929 — 1941.
• • "Diamond Lil" — vivid and extraordinary • •
• • Reviewing "Diamond Lil" on Broadway in 1928 for Theatre Arrts Monthly, Brown wrote that Mae's 3-hour Bowery melodrama had "one of the most forgetful plots of recent years." Then he added, "Sorry and wooden as 'Diamond Lil' is as a script, it is little short of phenomenal in the considerable opportunities it provides Mae West as an actress. . .. West's Lil is the acme of the hard-boiled, and the epitome of deliberation, but of its kind it is peerless, so vivid and extraordinary, that it much more than justifies a visit to the play." Seeing the play again in 1949, Brown wrote: "Without her, 'Diamond Lil' would be nothing at all. With her, it is Mae West."
• • "She Done Him Wrong" — clever use of allusions • •
• • On Saturday, 25 March 1933, another interesting newspaper article was printed, this time in a daily newspaper, The New York Post. John Mason Brown had gone to see the play's cinema version, released by Paramount Picture. His article was: “Mae West as an Actress on the Stage and Screen — Her Performance in 'She Done Him Wrong'.” His New York Post essay on Mae West illustrated the clever use of allusions that characterized his writing. He noted that West's characters conquer too easily: "One slight roll of her Police Gazette figure, four measured tosses of her unholy head, and every man for miles around is supposed to be hers."
• • Upon his return from military service, Brown's column "Seeing Things" appeared in The Saturday Review starting in 1944 until his death (1969) in New York City.
• • "Mae Pourquoi?" • •
• • John Mason Brown also wrote "Seeing Things: Mae Pourquoi" for The Saturday Review [pp 50—52], a column published on Sunday, 9 October 1949.
• • In 1951, Toledo Blade book reviewer Shirley Harrison wrote: In addition to having a sharp and versatile pen, John Mason Brown has range, perceptibility, interest, background, and human sympathy. He is as interested in Mae West as he is in Charles Lamb; as analytical of Laurence Olivier's Hamlet as he is cognizant of the greatness of "Death of a Salesman." ...
• • John Mason Brown died in New York City on Sunday, 16 March 1969. Twelve years later he was elected to the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
• • On Tuesday, March 25 1924 in San Antonio History • •
• • On Tuesday, 25 March 1924 Mae West appeared on a vaudeville program at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.
• • On Friday, 25 March 1977 • •
• • From Monday, 6 December 1976 until Friday, 25 March 1977 — — this was the shooting schedule in Hollywood for "Sextette," starring eighty-three-year-old movie star, Mae West in her final screen role [citation from the book "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of the Who 1958 — 1978" written by Andrew Neill, Matthew Kent, Roger Daltrey, Chris Stamp].
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West, Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper will appear in one picture each per year.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I don't give myself any credit for that. I'm just that way — so stubborn and difficult once I get an idea into my head."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Stage mentioned Mae West.
• • "Up from Tumbling" • •
• • Katharine Best wrote: Cary Grant is one of Hollywood's most vociferous spokesmen for glamour, but it hasn't gotten him anywhere. Between 1929 and 1937, he appeared with Glamour Girls Jeanette MacDonald, Queenie Smith, Fay Wray, Lili Damita, Carole Lombard, Nancy Carroll, Sylvia Sidney, Tallulah Bankhead, Marlene Dietrich, Loretta Young, Elissa Landi, Myrna Loy, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Jean Harlow, Grace Moore, and Mae West, twice — — but they didn't get him anywhere. . . . [Huh?? What??]
• • Source: Article in The Stage written by Katharine Best; published in April 1939
• • 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 1,430 visitors. We reached a
milestone recently when we completed 3,100 blog posts. Wow!
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3142nd blog post.
Unlike many blogs, which draw
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • as Diamond Lil in 1928 • •
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