Friday, September 04, 2015

Mae West: Midget Village

Like all the top screen stars of her era, MAE WEST attended the ambitious fair known as the California Pacific International Exposition, which opened in San Diego on Wednesday, 29 May 1935.  One of the most popular attractions built for the Fairgrounds was The Hollywood Motion Picture Hall of Fame. All the fan magazines sent reporters. Editorial coverage began appearing in magazines, for their September and October issues.
• • The Midway awaits. Let's follow in the footsteps of Mae West, shall we?
• • "Getting in personal touch with favorite Fair personalities" • •
• • Tom Kennedy wrote:  While I was wondering whether I should take a look at "Life," for adults only, too, the loud speakers on the midway announced that Mae West was entering the Fairgrounds if anyone were interested — — and it seems that just about fifty million people were.  Mae arrived in a little something in white and a train (I've seen better places for trains), and when her car was stopped at the gate, she hopped a chair and told the boy — — whose face had one of those beatific there-is-a-Santa-Claus expressions — — to take her to the Motion Picture Hall of Fame. When it comes to loyalty, Mae West is right there.
• • Tom Kennedy explained:  Mae was with the faithful Timony, and two bodyguards and two Pinkerton detectives (furnished by the Fair just in case), but if you think Mae was trying to dodge her public, then you have another think coming to you.  She signed everything from autograph books to a bag of peanuts. About the thousandth autograph, Timony got a little uneasy and whispered to Mae that it was time to duck.
• • "Listen," said Mae, "these are the people who pay to see my pictures. I'm going to sign autographs as long as they want me to." And she did, despite the fact that one adoring fan ripped the sleeve out of her dress.  
• • Mae West asked to see the midgets • •
• • Tom Kennedy reported:  After she made a personal appearance at the Motion Picture Hall of Fame, Mae asked to see the midgets, so she was driven over to the Midget Village and you would have died laughing if you had seen Mae clambering into a midget house.  The furniture being too small, she had to sit on the floor with dozens of midgets gathered about her.  The midget who impersonates Mae West in the show climbed up on her lap and I overheard this  priceless bit of conversation: "Miss West," lisped the little Mae West, "I hope they write a newspaper story about us and say that you're my mother."
• • "Oh, no, oh, no," remonstrated Mae, "not that."  . . .
• • Source: Article for Screenland written by Tom Kennedy; published in the  October 1935 issue.
• • On Wednesday, 4 September 1935 in Hollywood • •
• • Joseph Breen wrote to John Hammel on Wednesday, 4 September 1935, complaining (again) about the script for "Klondike Annie" and Mae's dialogue.
• • On Friday, 4 September 1987 in California • •
• • "I'm No Angel" starring Mae West was screened on Friday, 4 September 1987.  This iconic comedy was selected for the series "Paramount Pictures: 75 Years." Mae West's director was Wesley Ruggles.  Audiences enjoyed it at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive during Labor Day weekend. 
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The past five years, however, have seen an explosion of critical interest in Mae West, not simply in her status as a camp-and-vamp Hollywood icon, but in her controversial work as a playwright and novelist, her experimentation with sexually and racially coded performance styles.  
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "All my pictures have made big money.  And I wouldn't take on any project unless it was right for me."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A book on musical theatre mentioned Mae West.
• • Theatre chroniclers Gerald Martin Bordman and Richard Norton wrote:   Robert Baral in his history of the genre, Revue, contends that Mae West's exaggerated mannerisms were derived from Bert Savoy's flamboyant technique and that her famous "Come up and see me sometime" [sic] reflects Savoy's "You musssst come over!" ...
• • Source: From the book "American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle" written by Gerald Martin Bordman, Richard Norton (Oxford: Oxford University Press);  published on 1 March 2010
• • Note: Bert Savoy [1888 — 1923] was an American entertainer who performed in drag
• • 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 3260th 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 1932

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