Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mae West: Who's an Ape?

MAE WEST was inspired by several stage plays written by Eugene O'Neill, whose avant-garde qualities intrigued her though she could not share his gloominess.
• • O'Neill's "The Hairy Ape" opened in New York at Playwrights' Theatre in March — — on Thursday, 9 March 1922.  Yank, the stoker, was played by Louis Wolheim. The New York Times published their review a day later, spreading the word.
• • With Jimmy Hussey, Mae began developing a comic routine and a song based on what her impression of the brutish stoker.  That summer Mae was rehearsing her new song, backed by a dozen chorines (the Stoker Girls) and a black orchestra. Their musical review was booked into the Greenwich Village Theatre.
• • The Eugene O'Neill web site put it this way: So popular and well known was the play that satires were written on it, including one performed by, of all people, Mae West.  According to her biographer, she burlesqued the character, noting that “Yank was the very sort of brutish caveman type Mae West favored as a foil to play against, onstage and off: in O’Neill’s hands a somber and powerful archetype, and in hers a comic cartoon rendered with broad strokes.” Backed by a chorus line and a black orchestra, she sang, “Eugene O’Neill, You’ve Put a Curse on Broadway” and bellowed “Yank-style” lines including, “She don me doit! Lemme up! I’ll show her who’s an ape.”  Some combination: Mae West, Louis Wolheim, and Eugene O’Neill.
• • On Thursday, 15 March 1934 in Los Angeles • •
• • The soundtrack to the motion picture "Belle of the Nineties" was recorded at Hollywood Paramount Studios in L.A. On Thursday, 15 March 1934, Mae West did the vocals for "When a Saint Louis Woman Comes to Town" backed by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra.
• • "Belle of the Nineties" was in production from 19 March 1934 until June 1934.
• • On Friday, 15 March 1940 in the USA • •
• • The Western-style comedy "My Little Chickadee" went into general release on Friday, 15 March 1940 in the United States.
• • Published on Friday, 15 March 1996 • •
• • “Camp,” Mae West told Playboy Magazine, “is the kinda comedy where they imitate me.” But what was Mae West doing, wondered Pamela Robertson, if not camp itself?
• • "Guilty Pleasures: Feminist Camp from Mae West to Madonna" by Pamela Robertson aimed to put females back into the history of camp, a story long confined to gay male practice. Robertson's paperback was 208 pages and it was published by Duke University Press Books on Friday, 15 March 1996.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • During his time in Los Angeles, one of Derek Taylor's clients in his public relations company was Mae West.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "I'm very boring in real life. So I made up the walk and the talk."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Vanity Fair mentioned Mae West.
• • “We always had a blonde,” George Sidney remembers. “We started with Mae West, Jean Harlow, Marilyn, then Kim Novak."  . . .
• • Source: Article on Kim Novak in Vanity Fair; published on Tuesday, 3 September 2013 
• • 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 3398th 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 • hand on chin

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