Friday, March 20, 2015

Mae West: Stage Censorship

The "Pleasure Man" trial put MAE WEST back in the headlines. Apparently, even the campus editors were following the case.  Columbia University students in New York City wrote this. The potential juror was, of course, "Higher Education." And, by the way, no audience members saw "Pleasure Man" six times because it was padlocked before it got that far into the run.  Now let's enjoy this Ivy Leaguer's spoof.
• • "Attorneys Pick Off Hr Ed as Juror in 'Pleasure Man' Case" • •
• • Mae West Overjoyed as Essellbee Upholds Sanctity of Home and Convention • •
• • The Off-Hour columnist wrote:   "Do you have any objection," said the prosecuting attorney, "to males impersonating females on the stage?"
• • "No! In fact I rather like it."
• • "Have you ever seen it done?"
• • "Yes."
• • "When and where?"
• • "Must I go into that?"
• • "How long ago?"
• • "After three years, a — — — !"
• • "What do you think of Miss West as a stage figure?"
• • "Adequate . . . .what I mean!"
• • "Have you seen 'Pleasure Man'?"
• • "Six times."
• • "Was the play risque?"
• • "A trifle deshabille in spots, but nothing wrong."
• • "Do you believe in censorship of the stage?"
• • "No. Art for Art's sake and if you don't like it, go home and take a cold shower!"
• • Perhaps you have seen Sarah Bernhardt, or Ada Rehan, or Mrs. Patrick Campbell . . . but you have not lived . . . ah . . . until you have seen Mae. Her's is the most irregular season on Broadway, what with occasional prison-terms interspersed.  But we like it, don't we, Mae?
• • Source: Humor on page 2 of Columbia Daily Spectator; published on Thursday, 20 March 1930. 
• • On Friday, 20 March 1914 • •
• • An item in the Columbus Journal newspaper dated for Friday, 20 March 1914 ran like this: "Love laughs at locksmiths" and Cupid takes long chances, even in vaudeville. But Guido Deiro, the accordion player now at Keith's, put him through very hard paces yesterday. Deiro braved the wrath of those who might oppose him and secretly skipped off to Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday morning in order to see his fiancee, Mae West, who is playing at the Keith house in that city. He left at 1:05 AM and got back at 3:10 PM, just in the nick of time to go on for his last act.... He played his accordion as he had never played it before, for he had the inspiration.
• • On Thursday, 20 March 1930 • •
• • The Thursday issue of The New York Times (on 20 March 1930) continued their coverage of the infamous "Pleasure Man" trial presided over by Judge Amedeo Bertini. The District Attorney's office was now headed by former State Supreme Court Justice Thomas T.C. Crain. And his prosecutor was hot-headed James Wallace who swore he would "prove that it would take the most confirmed pervert to write such a play." The star of the proceedings went first on the witness stand: NYC Police Captain James J. Coy, who led the charge of the night brigade as it descended on two different occasions on Mae's gay play at the Biltmore.
• • Though Nathan Burkan, her legal counsel, kept Mae off the stand, she told a reporter that, if anyone needs a dirty play, they should go straight to James Wallace.
• • On Friday, 20 March 1936 • •
• • "Smoke, Fire, and Mae West" read a headline in the Examiner on Friday, 20 March 1936. The editors explained: Mae West gave permission to an American firm to make dolls in her likeness. The day operations began, the factory caught fire. Now what do you make of that?
• • On Sunday, 20 March 1955 • •
• • "The Mae West Revue" was booked on Sunday, 20 March 1955 at The Italian Village. Both Mae West and Mr. America Richard DuBois signed autograph books when the show was seen at that venue.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Hollywood columnist Herb Howe wrote:  The Governor of Kentucky has made Mae West a colonel. That should calm those who worry about defense. In case of war, with Mae as Colone!, you'd never have to conscript us boys.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "My play 'Sex' was a work of art."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The  N.Y. Times mentioned Mae West.
• • "One Juror Lacking in Mae West Trial” read a headline. 
• • Source: New York Times; published on Wednesday, 19 March 1930
• • 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 3139th 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 • with attorney Nathan Burkan in 1930

• • Feed — —
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