Monday, August 31, 2015

Mae West: Baby Face Benny

In her final motion picture "Sextette," MAE WEST enchants the leaders of the world by appearing at a banquet and singing "Baby Face."  This popular number was written by Benny Davis and Harry Akst, musicians who were both born in August.
• • Harry Akst [15 August 1894  — 31 March 1963] • •
• • Benny Davis [28 August  1893 —  20 December 1979] • •
• • Like Mae West, Benny Davis was born in New York City in 1893 in the month of August — — on Monday, August 28th.
• • Benny Davis attended NYC's public schools. By the age of 14, he was appearing on the variety artist circuit. He went on to troupe in vaudeville with Benny Fields as an accompanist to Blossom Seeley.  Benny Davis wrote the Broadway stage scores for "Artists and Models of 1927" and "Sons o' Guns."  Additionally, he scored three editions of the Cotton Club Revues.
• • But 1921 was a watershed year when "Baby Face" was born with Benny as the composer and Harry Akst as the lyricist.  Enormously successful, "Baby Face" was performed and recorded by many recording artists of the time, including Al Jolson.  This number continues to be a commonly performed song.  Benny Davis collaborated with many musicians including Milton Ager, whose songs found favor with Mae West.
• • In 1921, he joined ASCAP.
• • Benny Davis died in North Miami, Florida on Thursday, 20 December 1979. He was 84.
• • On another post, we'll spend time with his collaborator Harry Akst.
• • On Wednesday, 31 August 1938 • •
• • An article complimenting Mae West and applauding her newest motion picture "Every Day's a Holiday" was published in The Queenslander (Brisbane, Australia) on Wednesday, 31 August 1938.
• • The Queenslander wrote: Mae West goes back to her favourite period, the nineties of last century, for her latest film, "Every Day's a Holiday," a Paramount picture. It has a steady flow of Westian wit, such as "Let joy be unrefined," with a plot that gives the comedienne large scope. She has surrounded herself with an imposing array of male comedy talent, including Walter Catlett, Charles Butterworth, and Charles Winninger, and has included Edmund Lowe for romantic appeal, so that the film will not disappoint even the most critical of her admirers.  ...
• • On Sunday, 31 August 1969 • •
• • "Sex is an emotion in motion," Mae West told The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, 31 August 1969. That's a pretty provocative way to end a hot month, eh?
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • All in all the "Mae West Revue" is a show that is playing to capacity audiences every performance.  It is a show that is being acclaimed as the finest on any night club stage.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:   "The score never interested me, only the game."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Former Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten mentioned Mae West.
• • John Lydon said:  So our new song “C’est La Vie” is my anthem to becoming an American. And then we have a song called “Bettie Page,” about a woman who was denigrated as a stripper.  
• • John Lydon continued:  But I think Bettie Page was absolutely emperor in her approach to life. She had to endure all manner of hell of on earth.  And I also threw in Mae West and Robert Mapplethorpe.  . . .
• • Source: Article: "Brit Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) Is Now an American Citizen" written by J. Bennett for; posted on Monday, 24 August 2015  
• • 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 3256th 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:

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