That a MAE WEST motion picture such as "Belle of New Orleans" was capable of discrediting the celebrated Louisiana city was the opinion in 1934 of the electorate and women's clubs.
• • Even the secretary of the National Board of Review Bettina Gunczy, who died in San Diego, California on Thursday, 2 November 1972, sent a telegram to the Hays Office. Let's learn more about this tsunami of protest, an effort made louder by the voice of Ohio native Bettina Gunczy [1 June 1895 — 2 November 1972], who was secretary of the National Board of Review in 1934.
• • "New Orleans Is Agitated" • •
• • New Orleans, July 11th — This fair home of the Sazerac, suh, is worried about its reputation. More, it's agitated.
• • Somebody suggested that calling Mae West's new opus "Belle of New Orleans" would — er — ah — would convey the wrong impression. The suggestion swelled into a chorus, and now everybody except Huey Long is talking — or telegramming.
• • First it was the Association of Commerce, then it was the Kiwanis Club, now it's the Federation of Women's Clubs and the Better Films Council. Mayor T. Semmes Walmsley has joined those who are sending telegrams to Will H. Hays.
• • J. K. Byrne had the Kiwanis Club pass a resolution saying the title would give a "false impression" of New Orleans. Frank Martin of Kiwanis objected and said the title would be good advertising for the city and would bring tourists to a liberal city without blue laws, but he was greeted with raised eyebrows and just a trace of pained surprise.
• • Mrs. Isabel Giefers, president of the women's federation; Mrs. A. S. Tucker, president of the Better Films Council, and Mrs. Bettina Gunczy, secretary of the National Board of Review, were among those who wired Will Hays.
• • It's the biggest disturbance since the last time the levee broke and flooded St. Louis and Basin Streets.
• • Source: Item in Motion Picture Daily; published on Thursday, 12 July 1934.
• • On Tuesday, 9 November 1920 • •
• • Mae filed for divorce from Guido Deiro on the grounds of adultery on 14 July 1920. The divorce was granted by the Supreme Court of the State of New York on Tuesday, 9 November 1920. Guido almost immediately re-married for the third time. Mae later said, "Marriage is a great institution. But I'm not ready for an institution."
• • On Wednesday, 9 November 1927 • •
• • Variety discussed "The Wicked Age" in their issue dated for Wednesday, 9 November 1927. Variety wrote: "Miss West is well fortified with masculine support. None is less than six feet and a couple are above the 6' 3" mark. No one will believe that Babe is exactly a lily of the valley. She knows too many fly comebacks. ..."
• • Unfortunately, Mae's bathing suit stills and other cheesecake promotional shots provoked sneers from Variety, whose man-on-the-aisle decried the show as "a choice piece of limburger." Too brutal.
• • On Wednesday, 9 November 1932 • •
• • Could Mae West's drama "Diamond Lil" make the leap from the page to the stage to the silver screen?
• • On Wednesday, 9 November 1932, Paramount Pictures executive Harold Hurley wrote a memo to William LeBaron indicating the lines that must be cut in order to pacify the screenplay screeners. These included: "I ain't running no Sunday school!"; "Diamond Lil would do anything for diamonds, eh?"; "Enter a convent!"; "Gawd! You gotta give a man more than clothes!"; and "I always knew you could be had."
• • If you saw the movie, then you know which lines Mae West actually sneaked back in. Tee-hee, tee-hee!
• • On Saturday, 9 November 1935 • •
• • On Saturday, 9 November 1935, Mae West's name popped up in an odd front page news item of The Cornell Daily Sun, about a performer who could imitate the Brooklyn bombshell as well as King Kong.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Renaming of Mae West's "It Ain't No Sin" as "The Belle of New Orleans" drew protests today from civic and political bodies here.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Pour him out of here."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The trade papers mentioned Mae West.
• • "New Mae West Title" • •
• • Hollywood, July 10 — Mae West's new picture, originally called "It Ain't No Sin" by Paramount, has been changed to "The Belle of New Orleans" and will be released under that title. . . .
• • Source: Item in Motion Picture Daily; published on Wednesday, 11 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 3306th blog post.
Unlike many blogs, which draw
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • in 1933 • •
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