Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mae West: Homosexology

Has anyone else besides MAE WEST received a jail term for a play whose run was cancelled?
• • Frank Rizzo wrote: "The Drag" was a new play by Jane Mast slated to have its out-of-town try-out on a stage in Stamford, Connecticut in 1927. But trouble started when word spread that the author was really Mae West who had just scandalized Broadway with her play "Sex," which was still running with her as the star. The manager of the Stamford Theater, Mrs. Emily W. Hartley, which The Hartford Courant described as "an actress of note who is believed to have the distinction of being the only woman manager of of a legitimate theater in the United States. . . .  [Mrs. Hartley] was given to understand that the play was of an uplifting nature."
• • homosexology • •
• • Frank Rizzo wrote: But when Mrs. Hartley learned that the work "concerned itself and none too subtly with homosexology" and cross-dressing, she "closed the door of her theater to the production." But a hearing was sought by the producers of the play in Bridgeport and the show was allowed to go on — with detectives from New York, where the show would eventually head, in the audience. But the detectives didn't see the show as written because of expurgations demanded by the local police chief.
• • Frank Rizzo wrote:  But adding to the tabloid nature of the event was some off-stage drama, which the Hartford Courant reported with a combination of propriety and pulp fiction.  "Members of the company had a merry party [at a hotel] after the first performance." Among the participants were Miss Beverly West, sister of the author — and a married woman — and Edwin Elsner, who directed the play.
• • Frank Rizzo wrote: A complaint was made to the police about the party and a couple was arrested on misconduct charges. In court they explained they were merely going over the script together "with the view to making some changes."
• • Frank Rizzo wrote:  The case was nulled on payment of costs. West and Elsner said they would sue the hotel for $100,000 charging defamation of character and false arrest. Things got fishier when it was discovered that in the courtroom was a New York lawyer for Beverly West's husband — who was seeking a divorce — and a stenographer taking notes.
• • Frank Rizzo wrote:  The publicity the play received made the brief run of three nights highly profitable. (It was advertised as "more sensational that 'White Cargo,' "Rain" and 'Sex!") After Stamford, the production moved to Paterson, N.J. "The Drag" never makes it to Broadway but a reworked version titled "The Pleasure Man" did — with the leading man now portrayed as a heterosexual.  It lasted one performance.
• • Source: Article by Frank Rizzo for The Hartford Courant; published on Sunday, 23 February  2014.
• • Note: Act I, Scene 2 of the stage play "Courting Mae West" covers the drunken party in Connecticut at the Arcade Hotel.
• • On Monday, 17 March 1930 • •
• • It was on Monday, 17 March 1930 when Mae West's "Pleasure Man" trial before Judge Amadeo Bertini began, and the New York District Attorney charged that Mae violated Section 1140-a by writing another gay play and he also charged her with the crime of maintaining a public nuisance — — an insulting charge typically levied at speakeasies and skidrow saloons not playwrights.
• • On Sunday, 17 March 1935 • •
• • Mae West boarded a train in Los Angeles headed East. She was opening a personal appearance tour in Brooklyn on Sunday, 17 March 1935.
• • On Tuesday, 17 March 1959 • •
• • An article by G.L. in The Desert Sun — — "At Chi Chi Mae West Is Just as Popular Today as During 1930s" — — was published on Tuesday, 17 March 1959.
• • On Thursday, 17 March 1966 • •
• • On 17 March 1966 caricaturist Al Hirschfeld wrote on one page: "John P. Sullivan has purchased a drawing of mine of Mae West for $250.00."
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Actress Rose McGowan said, "There's definitely a little Mae West in me."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: “I don’t believe in nudity onscreen. It detracts from your face and personality. That’s why I never even show my ankles in a motion picture.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A NYC campus paper mentioned Mae West.
• • A postage stamp with Mae West • •
• • On ordinary scavenger hunts people go out some place and bring back a lot of junk, but for the Filatelikus hunt the members must bring back stamps. Each of the members is equipped with a list of subjects, and all he has to do is run out and bring back, a stamp with a picture of that object on it. The one who brings back the most stamps wins, for all the good that does him. 
• • The prospective list, as released by Mackay, includes: A codfish, Mussolini, oilwell, cactus, orange, swan, anteater, Pegasus, Dr. Butler, Mae West, hot water bottle, Egyptian puddleduck, Boston, Socrates, Jules Simon, mothballs, nuts.  . . .
• • Source: Item in Columbia Daily Spectator; published on Wednesday, 17 March 1937
• • 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 3,300 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3400th 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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• • Mae West • postage stamp

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