Monday, September 19, 2016

Mae West: Famous Gait

In September 1934, MAE WEST was busy building a new image for her movie fans. And a Paramount Pictures publicist cooked up a series called "Me and My Past" — — and several installments were printed (in syndication) during the autumn of 1934. Leicester Wagner sat down with Hollywood's hottest star.
• • "Any Woman Can Outsmart a Man," Mae West Says • •
• • Actress Tells How She Tackles Hard Profession — The Theater • •
• • Mae Uses Her Wits Often • •
• • How Her Famous Gait Was Born with Ed Wynn and Frank Tinney • •
• • By Mae West (as told to Leicester Wagner) • •
• • Hollywood, September 5  — The smartest woman in the world can outsmart a man when she has to.
• • Yes, I know I'm leaving myself open to an argument there, but I have the background for it.  In the first place, any woman has what it takes, if only she would use it. Call it sex appeal, if you will, but it makes the world go round.   Since I started giving advice, this sort of conversation helps to even out things for women. ...
• • In this article, Mae points out how long menfolk have been free to act in their own best interests without constraints.  She discusses what she calls "trickery" and when it's useful to rely on tricks. "I pity the weak," explains Mae, noting that the legitimate theatre industry is no place for the weak, however, she has had good luck on her side.
• • During Mae's  interview, she goes forward by going backward, informing her fans about her early years onstage, when the singing comedienne was hired to be "the background" for established stars like Ed Wynn, and she explains how not to be a wallflower, not take the backseat but instead learn from experiences.
• • This lengthy article escaped the notice of most Westian biographers, and so The Mae West Blog drags this fascinating first-person piece out of the attic.  We expect to post more shortly.
• • Source: "Me and My Past" Series: "Any Woman Can Outsmart a Man, Mae West Says" — syndicated material printed in The Portsmouth Times (top of page 8) on Wednesday, 5 September 1934. 
• • On Friday, 19 September 1919 • •
• • On Friday, 19 September 1919 Mae West was booked on the vaudeville circuit, where the New York City critics caught her 16-minute act. Showing off her figure in a dramatic black and white gown and one stunner made of silver shimmer, the 26-year-old performer selected three songs: "Laughing Water," "Yankee Boys Have Made a Wild French Baby Out of Me," and "Everybody Shimmies Now." Harris Music Publishers boasted in a short news article that they had published those songs.
• • Though Variety looked askance at one of Mae's more daring dance numbers, complaining that the movements were "a bit broad for vaudeville," the reviewer had to admit something. "Mae West shows a marked improvement in method and delivery," he wrote.
• • On Wednesday, 19 September 1928 • •
• • Variety used their hammer on Mae West more often than a judge uses a gavel. Variety published a review (on page 46) in their issue dated for Wednesday, 19 September 1928. The title was  "Oh, My Dear, Here's Mae West's New Show — Get a Load of It and Weep."  Weep for Diamond Lil? Thanks a heap, Variety.
• • On Wednesday, 19 September 1951 • •
• • In September 1951, the Mae West and W. C. Fields comedy "My Little Chickadee" was screened for Cornell University students and staff (for 60 cents admission) along with the Academy Award winning cartoon "Gerald McBoing-Boing" on Friday and Saturday (September 21st and 22nd) at 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm.  This double feature was shown in University Theatre, Willard Straight Hall.
• • "Sex" by Mae West returns to NYC Sept 29th — Oct 2nd, 2016 • •
• • To kick off the 2016/2017 Residency with FRIGID @Horse Trade in NYC's East Village, The Dirty Blondes will present a staged reading of Mae West's play "Sex."
• • "Sex," about a sharp-witted prostitute looking for true love, was initially shut down in 1927 during its Broadway run, and its writer and lead actress Mae West was jailed for "lewdness and corrupting the youth."
• • Each evening will feature a talk back with a special guest to explore just how extreme the play was for its time, and how it's still relevant today.
• • On Friday, 30 September 2016, the guest speaker will be journalist and dramatist LindaAnn Loschiavo, whose stage play "Courting Mae West" focuses on the "Sex" trial as well as the legal ordeal surrounding Mae's second gay play "Pleasure Man" (1928), which brought her back to court numerous times between 1928 and 1930.  Link:
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Nelson Sardelli will be cast in the role of Mario in "Myra Breckinridge" but he claims he prefers night club work and a live audience.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:   "One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • New York Day by Day mentioned Mae West.
• • Columnist 0. 0. Mcintyre wrote: Tarnished haloes for 1935 Mae West, Max Baer and the Dean Brothers . . .
• • Source: Syndicated column item rpt in Herald-Journal; published on Saturday, 8 June 1935
• • 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 3533rd 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.

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