Motion Picture Magazine's Elza Schallert trumpeted MAE WEST as "effulgent" and an impudent wisecracker." No doubt her remarks were meant as a compliment — — but these patches of purple prose make you wonder if Elza was being paid a penny per word. This article excerpt is Part 3.
• • "Go West — — If You're an Adult!" • •
• • Elza Schallert wrote: That, I learned, was Timony — — her manager for many years, and a character as picturesque and colorful as the Diamond Lil she has written into books, plays and screen dramas.
• • Elza Schallert continued: Midway between Timony and Mae tripped and swung Boogey, her little gray-furred pet monkey, who on a later day lovingly entwined his endless tail around my neck and nearly choked me to death. He was no doubt trying to tell me, "I've been savin' some time for you!"
• • Elza Schallert added: There never was a manager who shared greater enthusiasm for his client than Jim Timony does for Mae West. To him she is the beginning and the end of everything. Mae is "all there is, there isn't any more."
• • "Who first said, 'What a man!'?" he inquires, with threatening emphasis. You wouldn't dare deny that Mae was the original creator of the slogan, for fear of your life. "She did." And: "Who taught all of these babies how to shoot slang? Why, she did." And also: "Who wrote the greatest sex play of all time? Why, she did."
• • Some Other Things She Can Do • •
• • Elza Schallert explained: And so it goes with Timony. He asks the questions in one breath, and answers them in the next. And furthermore, he never calls Mae by name. His sole reference to her is "she." She is the only woman he ever talks about. Her prowess in athletic achievement also comes in for eulogy [sic] from Timony.
• • "She has the most beautiful and strongest feminine body in the world," he proudly asserts. "She can tap-dance, she can sing torch songs like nobody else, she writes the music and words for all of her songs, she writes plays, books, in fact, everything. And here's something else. She can do any strongman act that you see in vaudeville. Go on and get three Arabians — — five Arabians — — and watch her balance them, all at one time. I tell you she's wonderful."
• • The immediate reaction of enthusiasm of the public to Mae West in her first screen part, really nothing more than a generous bit, in "Night After Night," with George Raft, Constance Cummings and Alison Skipworth, was remarkable. And her first starring feature, "She Done Him Wrong," based on her sensational stage success, "Diamond Lil," has been an unusual hit, particularly in the larger cities, during a season of indifferent theatre attendance. . . .
• • This is Part 3 of a lengthy article written by Elza Schallert. Parts 1 and 2 appeared earlier this week. Actually, Elza's article is even longer — — but this post concludes our excerpts.
• • Born in Iowa, Elza B. Schallert [29 October 1894 — 16 April 1967] was an entertainment journalist and a radio host for NBC. Her husband Edwin was a drama critic for the L.A. Times.
• • Source: Article in Motion Picture; issue dated for April 1933.
• • On Monday, 30 April 1956 in N.Y. World-Telegram Sun • •
• • It was on Monday, 30 April 1956 that Robert W. Dana's felicitous coverage of "The Mae West Revue" appeared.
• • Robert Dana's popular daily dish "Tips on Tables" was published in the now defunct New York World-Telegram and Sun.
• • His column "Mae West's Show Grows" [dated April 30th] indicated Dana had seen the routine previously.
• • Robert W. Dana wrote: The old belief that everything should be bigger and better — — a thought most forcefully pronounced by Hollywood trailers — — can be applied with forthright honesty to Mae West, who has returned to the Latin Quarter [in New York City on West 48th Street], where she scored heavily in the fall [sic] of 1954. ...
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969 in Los Angeles • •
• • On Wednesday, 30 April 1969, on light blue note paper (engraved Miss Mae West at the top), the Hollywood icon took time out to send a warm letter to her cousin Tillie.
• • The Delker Family: Mae's mother Matilda (Delker) West had 5 siblings who emigrated from Germany to the USA together. By the time the family reached New York, they were Lutherans. Her brother Carl Delker married Miss Mathilde Misdorn on 26 May 1889. Notice the reference to Mae's "Aunt Tillie," her mother's sister-in-law. [I also noted the absence of the surname "Doelger." On Mae's marriage license in April 1911, her mother's maiden name was given as Matilda Dilker, probably a clerical error.]
• • Mae West wrote: Dear Tillie: For a long time I have been wanting to write to you, and also send you these little gifts. Some years ago, I received them from Aunt Tillie Delker. I believe they belonged to her daughter, our Cousin Eleanor. I thought you might enjoy wearing them. They are a lovely necklace of garnets and a cameo pin. . . .
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West is driving around these days in a bullet-proof steel car. (Those threats, you know.)
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "What d'you mean — I'm old-fashioned?"
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • Motion Picture mentioned Mae West.
• • Hollywood's "Secret Police" • •
• • Burton Fitts wrote: During Mae West's recent court case, when she gallantly defied kidnap and death threats and testified against gangsters who had robbed her, one of my investigators lived in her house, rode in her car and guarded her on the set itself for weeks. ...
• • Source: Item in Motion Picture; issue dated for August 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 3,400 blog posts. Wow!
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3431st
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/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • learning to shoot in 1934 • •
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