MAE WEST never turned down an opportunity to visit a zoo. Oddly enough, on Easter Sunday in 1939, when the movie queen was in Texas admiring some tropical penguins, she heard a nasal voice call her name.
• • “Who’s that?" Mae exclaimed. "Who’s talking to me?”
• • The tallest, most muscular penguin nipped her gently on the wrist, where a bracelet, glittering with channel-set diamonds, peeped out from a white embroidered glove. "It's Maxsie, Mae. I hoped you'd come up to see me sometime. And you finally did."
• • Mae inspected the three-foot-eight creature with brownish grey markings. "Maxsie Palooka! Is it really you, covered in dirty grey feathers?"
• • Maxsie cleared his throat. "I used to be snow white, but I drifted south. I prefer the temperate zones. A little birdie said you were still on the West Coast, Mae. You're lookin' good."
• • "Sounds like you're still in the ring, wearing your mouth guard, Maxsie. It's a little difficult to follow this . . . uh, conversation."
• • "I hear ya!"
• • "Howja happen to wind up behind bars?" Mae wondered aloud.
• • "I was on a yacht, ya see, with my former trainer Big Mook. And a catamaran, carrying Christian missionaries, was in distress. We hauled them up, then these mugs start blessing anything in sight. One tall bible-beater tried to baptize Champy, my faithful water spaniel, and Miss Mischief, Big Mook's macaw. Then one of the elders said: This mistake causes a problem for the Almighty, who usually only allows humans to be baptized! Next thing, my spaniel Champy starts yapping in English, praising Jesus Christ, and saying his soul is saved. I try to reach for my doggie — — but I got fluffy wings where my fingers used to be. Amazing, eh?"
• • "Maxsie! I just can't help staring!"
• • "Visitors say that all the time. But it's cool. I'd rather be looked over than overlooked."
• • "So you've been reborn — — as a flightless bird, living in a tank. Astonishing!"
• • "I was always one for the chicks. Now I'm surrounded with 'em." Maxsie gave a soft grunt. "Least I didn't come back as an entrée on a menu."
• • "Gotta be going, honey!" said Mae. "Can I peel you a grape or. . .?"
• • "Feeding time's in an hour. Yesterday we got squid. I expect they'll toss me some krill today." He sighed. "Mae, I really miss the strawberry cheesecake at Junior's on Flatbush Avenue."
• • Jim Timony was returning from the men's room and Mae asked him to take some pictures. As they walked towards the exit, Mae thought she heard a lot of agitation in the tank, churning the water like an Evinrude.
• • Happy April Fool's Day!
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Photo of Mae West and penguins — — courtesy of Damon Devine, Hollywood.
• • Do not copy this image without obtaining permission first. Be nice.
• • On Friday, 1 April 1921 • •
• • "The Ruby Ring" by Mae West was registered with the Library of Congress's Copyright Office early in the month of April — — on Friday, 1 April 1921.
• • It was during March 1921 when Mae West had mailed an envelope to the Library of Congress containing her first playscript, "The Ruby Ring." At 20 pages, this manuscript was more of an extended "sketch" than a play. Gloria, the female lead, is a mantrap who is able to pick the gents off with ease.
• • Her parents were living in Woodhaven in 1921 [705 Boyd Avenue] and Mae used this address when she registered the copyright.
• • Script Approval on Monday, 1 April 1935 • •
• • An enormous international cast was assembled to do justice to Mae West's ambitious screenplay "Now I'm a Lady" centered around the horsey set. Script approval was granted by the Hays Commission on Monday, 1 April 1935 and the motion picture was released by Paramount Pictures the following month as "Goin' to Town."
• • Starting on Wednesday, 1 April 1936 • •
• • On Sunday, 1 March 1936, The New York Times mentioned that Mae West confirmed she planned to go to Columbia Pictures with Emanuel Cohen, even though Paramount Pictures declared it had exercised its option and wanted their screen star to make two more pictures with the studio, the first one to start on Wednesday, 1 April 1936 — — and the second to start on 1 July 1936.
• • On Wednesday, 1 April 1942 • •
• • On 1 April 1942, Lou Walters opened The Latin Quarter in Manhattan. During the 1950s, Mae brought the "Mae West Revue" there twice.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West broke the record for a newcomer when her first Paramount picture was completed. She distributed envelopes to every member of the working crew, enclosing bills ranging from $20 to $100.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "People just don't eat right. For breakfast, I have sliced apples and raisins. Or fruit with a syrup made of powdered almonds, milk, and honey. At night all I have is a salad. During the day I drink carrot juice."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A Hollywood fan magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • Herb Howe wrote: I tried to join the Navy and see Mae West, but didn't get by, because sailors are now required to have a high school education.
• • Source: Item written by Herb Howe for The New Movie Magazine; published in January 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 1,430 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 3147th blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • with the penguins in 1939 • •
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