Before MAE WEST went to trial in 1927, a new law suddenly sprouted in the fertile minds of those in Albany, New York. The Empire State's Legislature worked pretty fast in order to make sure the judge could throw the book at the Broadway bombshell and send her to jail.
• • Censorship and the Wales Padlock Law • •
• • During the 1920s in the Empire State, because law enforcement had the support of Governor Al Smith, a Roman Catholic, New York City's district attorney and the police department of New York City undertook a crackdown on "salacious plays." But, in reality, City Hall was after one individual: Mae West. Not only was she an actress, she also was daring enough to write plays like "The Drag" about homosexuals and drag queens.
• • Signed into law by the governor, in time for Mae's trial at Jefferson Market Court in early 1927, the Wales Padlock Law held writers and producers, but not actors, responsible for obscenity.
• • In the book "The A to Z of American Theater: Modernism," published in September 2009, authors James Fisher and Felicia Hardison Londré wrote this: Censors focused particularly on the plays of Mae West, whose sexually liberated play, "Sex" , in which she also played the lead, led to her arrest for indecency. . . .
• • James Fisher and Felicia Hardison Londré continued with this: Mae West's exploits led to the enactment of the Wales Padlock Law of 1927, which permitted authorities to arrest personnel, lock theatres, and ban productions viewed as indecent. This law was rarely enforced, partly because defining indecency proved complicated, but it remained on the books until the 1960s and was significant in forcing producers to tread lightly in sensitive areas. . . .
• • Source: Noted in the book "The A to Z of American Theater: Modernism" [Scarecrow Press]; published on Wednesday, 2 September 2009.
• • On Sunday, 17 September 1933 • •
• • On Sunday, 17 September 1933 readers of the New York Herald Tribune read this prediction: "It will not be at all surprising when Mae West's name and face are as popular a commercial trademark as Mickey Mouse," wrote J.C. Furnas.
• • On Sunday, 17 September 1933 • •
• • "Beware!! Dangerous Curves!!" • •
• • "Go (Mae) West! Young Woman" Say the Fashion Dictators as Big Busts and Hefty Hips Again Fill Landscape!! • •
• • Reporter Susan Shattuck wrote: Diamond Jim Brady would be right at home in New York City once more. No less an authority than Edna Woolman Chase, editor-in-chief of Vogue, a smart fashion magazine, has been widely quoted as declaring that "we are really going Mae West." . . .
• • Source: Article and photo spread in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York); published on Sunday, 17 September 1933.
• • On Wednesday, 17 September 1947 • •
• • "Mae West, with Diamonds, Arrived at 2 A.M." was the exuberant headline splashed across the United Kingdom's dailies on Wednesday, 17 September 1947. The star of stage and screen attended a Press Reception at The Savoy Hotel in London the same night.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • In Paramount Pictures' "Night After Night" some swell comedy develops through Alison Skipworth and Mae West. There are some dramatic moments — — but for the most part this speakeasy yarn starring George Raft is a thin one.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "My play 'Sex' was a work of art."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A Hollywood magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • A Little from "Lots" • •
• • Ralph Wilk wrote: More Passing Show: William Morris, Jr., Murray Feil, William Perlberg, Albert G. Ruben, Moss Hart, Harold Hecht, Bert Marx, Alexander Hall, Frankie Eastman, Arthur Lubin at Mae West's Paramount party.
• • Source: Item in The Film Daily; published on Wednesday, 28 December 1932
• • 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 3269th blog post.
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1947 • •
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