Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mae West: Created a Mask

MAE WEST never stopped acting, according to a British TV drama director at the BBC, Let's hear more about this, shall we?
• • "The good girl who found when she acted bad she was better" • •
• • Robin Dashwood wrote:  In a typically droll list of "Things I'll Never Do," Mae West insisted that she would "never try to be anything but myself at all times, publicly and privately, except on the stage and screen, for that's where acting belongs." West both failed and succeeded spectacularly in her ambition. She failed in that, like most iconic figures, she created a mask for herself that never slipped;  she never stopped acting. She succeeded in that this mask seems to have been an extension of her own character. For nearly 50 years West epitomised the tough-talking, wise-cracking, man-eating vamp. And, as Simon Louvish reveals in his hugely entertaining biography, that is pretty much what she was, in private as well as in public. The mask was surprisingly transparent.
• • Mae West was her own special creation • •
• • BBC director Robin Dashwood continued: Mae West was her own special creation, turning her skills as a writer to good use, carving out her own legend. From her days as a vaudeville turn, through her conquest of the Broadway stage, to her zenith as the greatest Hollywood star of the 1930s, West remained in total control, writing and performing the roles that made her a star. No other star of her generation created themselves to the degree that she did, and no other star of her generation courted controversy as assiduously as she did.  . . .
• • Article: "The good girl who found when she acted bad she was better" by Robin Dashwood, a TV drama and documentary director at the BBC for The Times Higher Education [U.K.];  published on Friday, 21 July 2006.
• • On Friday, 21 July 1933 in Los Angeles • •
• • On Friday, 21 July 1933 a wire service photo from Wide World with an attached paper caption explained that "Mae West Blonde Stage and Screen Star Made a Sensation at the Huge Public Barbecue Given by Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz." Mae is wearing a sweet small hat in the photo, seemingly inspired by the perky paper caps worn in the 1930s by soda jerks.
• • Eugene W. Biscailuz [12 March 1883 — 16 May 1969] was the 27th Sheriff of Los Angeles County, California and organized the California Highway Patrol.
• • On Tuesday, 21 July 1936 • •
• • On Tuesday, 21 July 1936 this curious article was printed in The New York Herald.
• • "Mae West Type of Posture Is Hit by Doctor" was a health how-to, informing readers that Mae's posture and the "society slouch" for women, and the military carriage for men, were condemned as menaces to health by Dr. Olive B. Williams of Worcester, Mass. ... The Mae West figure, with its wasp waist and held-in abdomen, its squared back shoulders and upper body bent forward, is bad for feminine health, said Dr. Williams ....
• • On Monday, 21 July 2008 in Utah • •
• • A scene from Mae West's play "The Drag" was performed in Salt Lake City, in the heart of Mormon country, at 7:00 pm on Monday, 21 July 2008.
• • Who gets to decide what works are suitable to be offered to the public? That was the question on the minds of the interesting people who run Utah's Plan-B Theatre Company.
• • NPR's Doug Fabrizio was one of the show's hosts. Fabrizio introduced the presenters and also acted in a scene from a banned Mae West play called "The Drag," written in 1926.
• • Save the Dates: 3 Mondays in August 2015 • •
• • Onstage Outlaws — — Mae West and Texas Guinan during the Lawless Prohibition Era • •
• • 3 events commemorate the Brooklyn bombshell’s August birthday in the room where she faced a judge who sent her to jail • •
• • New York's Annual Mae West Tribute: to celebrate the birthday of Brooklyn bombshell Mae West, on August 3rd and on August 10th, her films will be shown at 6:00pm. The first one, "Sextette" [1978] will be screened on August 3rd. Then "Go West Young Man" [1936] will be screened on August 10th. The August 17th multi-media presentation will feature light refreshments (courtesy of East Village Cheese) and a raffle. You could win rare films starring Texas Guinan. Or maybe a rare reprint by The New Yorker’s caricaturist Alfred Freuh or by a famous N. Y. Times illustrator.
• • Refreshment sponsor: East Village Cheese

• • Details — — Mae West Tribute: Triple Treat in 2015 
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Had Mae West been available for the part that Ethel Merman played, there probably would have been even more complaints. 
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "I am captive to myself."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Urbana Daily Courier discussed censorship and Mae West.
• • "Pressure Not Always Successful" • •
• • Heywood Broun wrote:  My guess is that there will be an immediate and sweeping change In the matter of outward order and decency. And my second guess is that there will be a great increase in the practice of sneaking things over. I doubt that Mae West is the last of her line. More subtle approaches are distinctly possible.   . . .
• • Note: Brooklyn born Heywood Campbell Broun, Jr.  [1888 — 1939] was a journalist. He worked as a sportswriter, newspaper columnist, and an editor in New York City. Broun was also a member of the famed Algonquin Round Table.

• • Source: Heywood Broun's syndicated column rpt in Urbana Daily Courier;  published on Saturday, 21 July 1934 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past eleven years. The other day we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,200 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3227th 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 • in 1934

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