Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Mae West: Usher Recalls

When MAE WEST performed onstage, she was outstanding and memorable. A Pittsburgh college student recalled being an usher when "Diamond Lil" delighted the ticket-holders during April 1950 at the storied Nixon Theatre.  Let's enjoy this together.
• • "Nixon Theatre was spectacle itself for young usher" • •
• • Vincent DiRicco recalled:  April 1950 holds special memories for me.  I watched the legendary Mae West perform at the Nixon Theatre Downtown in “Diamond Lil.” More significantly, it marked the end of that grand and beautiful theater at the corner of Sixth Avenue and William Penn Place.
• • Vincent DiRicco continued: When the curtain came down on the final performance of “Diamond Lil” on April 30, one of the city’s finest playhouses closed its doors for good. The site had been sold to the Aluminum Company of America to make way for construction of Alcoa’s corporate headquarters.
• • Vincent DiRicco explained: Then a college student, I ushered at the Nixon on evenings and weekends. It was my first extended exposure to live stage shows and marked the beginning of a love of the theater that remains strong to this day.   What a showplace the Nixon was! . . .
• • Source: Article "Storytelling: Nixon Theatre was spectacle itself for young usher" written by Vincent DiRicco for Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; published on Wednesday, 20 May 2015.
• • On Friday, 3 June 1911 in The Clipper • •
• • The New York Clipper (a.k.a. The Clipper) was a weekly entertainment newspaper published in New York City from 1853 to 1924.  It reviewed many forms of artistic endeavor from the circus to vaudeville to the legit. Two items in The Clipper, on 3 June 1911 and on 2 September 1911, covered "A Florida Enchantment." This touring show featured "a little French adventuress" played by Mae West and "young Goldberg" played by Frank Wallace, who became her husband in April 1911. The Clipper applauded their "coon shouting."  Mae sang a number "Tiger Love," backed by a burlesque chorus and also delighted the reviewer when she made "several changes down to full tights with good effect."  
• • This is just one of her vaudeville performances where Mae showed off her skill in "coon shouting," a talent she had practiced from childhood.  It was very popular on the variety circuit in those years.
• • On Wednesday, 3 June 1936 • •
• • The Straits Times wrote an unfavorable review of "Klondike Annie" and ran it on Wednesday, 3 June 1936. Not realizing how the censors affected the script, the critic from England blamed it all on her.  Unfair, of course.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West, the most spectacular figure in the current Broadway theatrical world, makes her debut as a screen star in Paramount's "She Done Him Wrong," a lusty melodrama which she herself wrote.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I never understood drinking. It isn't good for your looks, and it cuts down on what you are. I never wanted to cut down on what I am."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A syndicated newspaper series discussed Mae West.
• • "Mae West in Roads of Romance" • •
• • Harry Lee and Winfield Meggs wrote: One of the funniest of her suitors was a giant prospector from Alaska, who came to see her play the starring role in "Diamond Lil" every night for weeks, and haunted the stage door after the performance was over. Mae playfully christened him "Dangerous Dan McGrew" and had to threaten to shoot him to shake him!
• • "A swell guy, too!" Mae says.  . . .
• • Source: Article:  "Mae West in Roads of Romance" by Harry Lee and Winfield Meggs, Side Glances columnists and illustrators for The Winnipeg Evening Tribune; published on Friday, 1 June 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 3,497 visitors. And 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 3192nd 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 1928

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