Monday, August 29, 2016

Mae West: Teasing in Sepia

In 1974, MAE WEST gave a long interview to Anjelica Huston and Peter Lester. This is Part 1. 
• • Mae West: the Queen at Home in Hollywood • •
• • Written by Anjelica Huston and Peter Lester (Interview Magazine) • •
• • When talking of the legend that is Mae West, one feels compelled to expound in a sacred language, a language almost as sacred as the rhythm and timbre of speech, a sound that must be unique in this world. She does talk like she sounds in the movies... you know what I mean. Hollywood Boulevard, still dry from the heat of summer, seemed gray and bland; a complete contrast to the apprehension we felt in our stomachs as we drove to interview one of the most innovative stars the screen has ever known. Miss West had specifically requested no tape recorder— an idea unfathomable to journalists —but we were nevertheless prepared to hurriedly write down every word of wisdom that would drop from her lips; little did we know that we would be so transfixed by her magic that it would be hard to write.
• • ATMOSPHERE: Misty with climate control. Cream Venetian blinds drawn down. Air conditioner humming lazily. The scene seems to be shrouded in the mists of dry ice.
• • THE SETTING: Small room, cluttered with carefully arranged memorabilia. An eye that glanced at Versailles and then squinted at Southern California. Cream, white, cream, white. Ormolu for days.
• • IMPRESSIONS: Grandeur squat on voluptuous legs, heavily embossed surfaces in mirrored gold. Photographs from the past, teasing in sepia furs, Miss West as she was. Photographs everywhere, some standing proudly atop a Dresden baby grand; alabaster nudes, variations on hand to hip, hand to hair, amidst extravagant arrays of artificial floribunda.
• • We're dying for a cigarette, but the absence of ashtrays alerts us. Mr. Larry Grayson, Miss West's personal secretary, indulges his habit out in the hallway.  The only visitor ever permitted to smoke had been Bette Davis, and she didn't overdo it.
• • Etiquette established, visitors' book signed, credentials given, Larry Grayson exits stage left.  . . .
• • This has been Part 1 of the interview written by Anjelica Huston and Peter Lester. Part 2 will continue tomorrow.
• • Note: In 1973, Mae hired Larry Grayson as a driver, secretary, and personal assistant. He was on her payroll until 1976 or 1977 when a minor traffic accident made him decide to resign.
• • On Friday, 29 August 1947 • •
• • "Mae West for Own Play in London" • •
• • The News in Adelaide prt a London article. Mae West, who turned down £2,000 a week to play here before the war, is packing, her bags to come to England. . . .
• • On Wednesday, 29 August 1979 • •
• • An item about Mae West's radio spot for Poland Spring appeared. Kevin Thomas wrote the article "Mae West — Testing Commercial Waters" for The Los Angeles Times; the paper ran it on Wednesday, 29 August 1979.
• • Mae West didn't need the money and rarely did things of this nature.  But with Poland Spring, she was merely endorsing a product she had personally used for years.
• • On Tuesday, 29 August 1989 in The Village Voice • •
• • Arlena Gibson's article "Go West, Young Man," which referenced Mae West and the opportunities she gave to young actors, was printed in The Village Voice, a weekly, on Tuesday, 29 August 1989 (pages 37, 38).
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • "Hats!" said Edith Head. "Remember hats? I can tell you Mae remembers them."
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Good sex is like good bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A Canadian publication mentioned Mae West.
• • George Anthony wrote:   In "Sextette" Mae plays a Hollywood superstar — — move over, Barbra and Liza — — who marries an English lord and has her six former husbands turn up at the wedding. And despite gloomy box-office predictions from Hollywood crepe-hangers, West herself has no doubts that she has written and starred in a hit. 
• • "All my pictures have made big money," she says matter-of-factly, a bit surprised that the question could even come up. "I wouldn't do it if it weren't right for me."
• • Source: Interview in Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Canada); published on Tuesday, 30 August  1977
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 12th anniversary • •
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past twelve years. The other day we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,500 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started twelve years ago in July 2004.
You are reading the 3518th 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:


• • Photo:
• • Mae West • on the set in 1978

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