Friday, May 20, 2016

Mae West: Undulating Hip

On Tuesday, 1 May 1928, MAE WEST received this fizzy coverage by Broadway chronicler  Leonard Hall, whose New York column was syndicated via the NEA Service. This is Part 1.
• • "Mae West, the big, bad girl of Broadway, is with us again" • •
• • Leonard Hall wrote:  Mae West, yes, with the rolling eye, the undulating hip, the gaudy entertainments.  She opened her newest show, "Diamond Lil," at the Royale Theatre here, and the main stem still is roaring.
• • Mae West certainly is one of the most astonishing characters the American theatre ever has produced. She came to light about ten years ago as a specialty, dancer of remarkable voltage. For a season she appeared in the Rudolph Friml musical hit, "Sometimes," and very nearly stole the show from under the emerging Ed Wynn. Then came the shimmy mama, and that was the beginning of the end of the first phase of Mae West. She shook herself all over the variety stages of the republic. But such novelties have a way of dying very suddenly and remaining extraordinarily dead. And when the shimmy passed out, then Mae checked out with it and 'twas no more seen.
• • out of the mist of obscurity, came a new Mae West • •
• • A year or two ago, out of the mist of obscurity, came a new Mae West.  She came slam-banging to Broadway with a show called "Sex," which ran for months here on the strength of heavy patronage by curious flappers and cake-eaters. But at last the censors clamped down on Mae's piece of drama and, after a court trial, the writer-star was 'sent to the workhouse for 10 days.  A little thing like a term in the hoosegow didn't slow Mae.
• • another affair called "The Drag" • •
• • In no time at all she was back in the ring with another affair called "The Drag." . . .
• • This was Part 1. For Part 2,  the second half, see the post on Monday.
• • Leonard Hall's column rpt in The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah); published  on Tuesday, 1 May 1928.
• • On Thursday, 20 May 1926 in Life Magazine • •
• • Drama critic Robert Benchley [15 September 1889 — 21 November 1945] attended a performance of "Sex" starring Mae West in April 1926.  To his astonishment, Benchley noted that "at the corner of Central Park West and Sixty-Third Street, we ran into a line of people which seemed to be extending in the general direction of Daly’s Theatre . . . and what was more, the people standing in line were clutching, not complimentary passes, but good, green dollar bills.” Ahhh, Bobby dear, nothing like a paying audience.
• • The well-connected Algonquin Round Table writer and best buddy of Dorothy Parker was the Drama Editor of Life Magazine at this time.  Robert Benchley, writing in Life (issue dated for 20 May 1926), gave his opinion that, since "Sex" was playing to an SRO audience, it would soon become "a whacking hit."  But he complained it was "solely because the papers had said that it was 'vulgar' and 'bold' and because someone had the genius to think of its name."
• • That's not giving Mae too much credit for her creativity, eh?
• • On Sunday, 20 May 1934 • •
• • The article "So Mae West's Slipping? Not So She Can Notice It!" was published in The Los Angeles Times in their weekend edition on Sunday, 20 May 1934. By then Mae had two motion picture hits behind her and her third "Belle of the Nineties" would be released in September 1934.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Next came Miss West. She agreed to accept an honorary membership in Delta Kappa Alpha — — if she could do it her way. That's the only way she operates.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:   "I have had to do my share of outsmarting men through necessity."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A trade paper mentioned Mae West.
• • Here Comes Trouble — — "Klondike Annie" with Mae West • •
• • The trouble is here. William Randolph Hearst brought it, in the role of public champion of motion picture morals, to Miss West, to her producers, the Paramount Pictures Corporation; to Will H. Hays and the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America; to Joseph Ignatius Breen, Production Code Administrator in Hollywood; to some of the exhibitors playing "Klondike Annie"; and, to the motion picture industry institutionally.  . . .
• • Source:  Motion Picture Herald; published on Saturday, 7 March 1936 
• • Image: a motion picture poster from 1936
• • 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 3446th 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:

Source: to Google

• • Photo:
• • Mae West • in 1936

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