Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Mae West: Hitherto Unknown

It was September 1911 and MAE WEST was an 18-year-old vaudevillian newly crowned by her first Broadway success.
• • The New York Sun wrote that she "danced with considerable grace and agility" doing The Philadelphia Drag (a ragtime parody). "A girl named Mae West, hitherto unknown, pleased by her grotesquerie and a snappy way of singing and dancing," observed The New York Times. The New York Tribune was also smitten, applauding Mae West for showing "a bit of a sense of nonsense, which is the very latest addition to wit." And though Variety's churlish critics usually savaged Mae West in their pages, this time a reviewer gold-stamped her act: "She danced in Turkish harem trousers in a most energetic, amusing, and carefree manner" [23 September 1911].
• • The show was called "A La Broadway and Hello Paris." It opened on Friday, 22 September 1911 at the Folies Bergere Theatre, a beautiful venue that, unfortunately, did not have enough seating to make such a costly production pay off. Over budget and under-attended, the revue closed after eight performances. Fortunately, Lee and J.J. Shubert were in the house on opening night, enjoying Mae's rosy splashdown across the major New York City newspapers. 
• • Alas, this short-lived revue closed on 30 September 1911.
• • On Saturday, 22 September 1934 • •
• • In September 1934, Mae was involved in promoting her fourth feature for Paramount Pictures: "Belle of the Nineties." This motion picture was released on September 21st. The title of the movie review published in The New York Times on Saturday, 22 September 1934 was "Mae West and Her Gaudy Retinue in 'Belle of the Nineties'." Here is the first sentence — — "Of course, Miss West is her own plot," wrote Times critic Andre Sennwald.
• • On Tuesday, 22 September 1992 • •
• • An article "Way Out West" was published (on page 57) in The Advocate (issue dated for 22 September 1992).  Journalist R.L. Pela wrote about Mae West's career.  
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • In the little more than a year that Roger Pryor has been here, he has done ten pictures, among them being "I Like It That Way," "I'll Tell the World," "Belle of the Nineties," with Mae West; "Romance in the Rain," with Heather Angel; "Wake Up and Dream" in which he was co-starred with the late beloved Russ Columbo; "Lady By Choice," with Carole Lombard, "Strange Wives," and "Straight from the Heart."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Marriage must be wonderful!  Of course, I'm just guessing, but it I must be wonderful.  Already I've got for a husband a dozen guys I've never met.  Peggy Hopkins Joyce can't tie that."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Cornell Daily Sun discussed Mae West.
• • "Films in Review" by Gardner McKay • •
• • "My Little Chickadee" (Realart Pictures). With W. C. Fields, Mae West, Donald Meek, and Fuzzy Knight.  Directed by Edward Cline. Now being shown at the Willard Straight Hall Theatre.
• • An avid W.C. Fields fan, Gardner McKay wrote:  . . .  That, and of course, the fact that he happened to be an authentic comic genius, make "My Little Chickadee" well worth seeing. The film was the comedian's own creation, title, and plot.  A mild tale of the Old West, the piece gives Fields (Cuthbert J. Twillie) an excellent chance to relate some favorite stories, take a hand or two of poker, wrestle with the lady's feathered boa, and pursue her with indifferent diligence.
• • Gardner McKay wrote:  Mae West, as the Loyal Opposition, does all right for herself, too, especially shooting Indians from a moving train and later teaching school to a class of post adolescent males.  . . .
• • Source: Review for The Cornell Daily Sun; published on Saturday, 22 September 1951 
• • 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 3272nd 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 1940

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  Mae West

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