Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mae West: Great Shakes

In September 1933, MAE WEST sat down for a series of interviews with the West Coast syndicated columnist Willis Thornton. Last week, the first chapter was posted and here is chapter two, excerpt cc.
• • "Mae West Goes to Heaven as Little Eva But Goes to Prison for Her Own Show" • •
• • Written by Willis Thornton, NEA Services Writer • •
• • Willis Thornton wrote:  There she earned the name of "The Baby Vamp."  She did a stretch in vaudeville with an acrobatic act. in which she tossed her male partners about with easy grace.
• • But by the time she was 16 years old, Mae West's optimism, eagerness for the spotlight, and keen eye for the main chance had landed  her in the "Big Time," the Keith circuit [sic] whose nadir is the Palace.
• • Here Mae West was perhaps the inventor [sic], and certainly one of the pioneers of the shimmy. Although both Bee Palmer and Gilda Gray have been given credit for this great contribution to the art of the dance, Mae West supporters claim they never were any great shakes, and that Mae herself brought on the day when a shimmy was no longer a shirt.
• • Mae West always had a good act in vaudeville, and prides herself today on the fact that if the bottom dropped out of the sexy play business, she could still make good as a vaudeville singer and dancer.  She helped several of her vaudeville accompanists to make good among them were Harry Rlchman. whom she persuaded to change his name from Reichman, and Jack Smith, "The Whispering Baritone."
• • But the shimmy soon failed to shock a theatre world that was turning smoothie,  . . .
• • NOTE: This is the second of three stories on Mae West, the buxom actress who is restoring curves to feminine favor.  [A lengthy section, it will be posted piece by piece all this week. This post was excerpt cc. See tomorrow for excerpt dd.]
• • On Sunday, 28 September 1930 • •
• • Mae West decided to take her play "Sex" on the road during August 1930.  The N.Y. Times reported that "Sex" was booked in the Midwest.  The engagement at the Garrick Theatre in Chicago began on Sunday, 28 September 1930.
• • On Wednesday, 28 September 1932 • •
• • This statement was taken from the court case of People v. Voiler: The first indictment charged appellant and two co-defendants, Harry Voiler (a.k.a. Edward Friedman) and Cohen, with robbing one Mae West on Wednesday, September 28, 1932, taking from her money and jewelry [2 Cal. App. 2d 727] valued at $15,400.
• • The case went to trial and Mae West testified.
• • On Saturday, 28 September 1974 • •
• • The colorful Mae West room in DalĂ­ Theatre and Museum opened on Saturday, 28 September 1974.
• • "Sex" by Mae West returns to NYC Sep't. 29 — Oct. 2, 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. 
• • LINK:  "SEX" by Mae West presented by The Dirty Blondes in NYC
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Wearing a darling hat, Mae West posed with Senator Henry Ashurst.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Most of my fan mail has a laugh in it, those writing to me evidently take me at my screen word that I enjoy a laugh — — even on paper."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Columbia Daily Spectator mentioned Mae West.
• • Screenings:  Belle of the Nineties
• • Paramount After a summer of stifling pictures such as "Elmer and Elsie," Mae West is like a whiff of salt sea breeze. Paramount was forced to overhaul her present film several times, abandon its original title, "It Ain't No Sin" (someone suggested "All Right, It Is"), and postpone its release until the winds of moral indignation abated. The happy truth is that despite the legionnaires of decency, Mae remains her own unique self, even if she does get married at the end, for the sake of the record and Purity Seal 051. "Belle of the Nineties" is Miss West's best effort since "She Done Him Wrong." . . .
• • Source: Review in Columbia Daily Spectator; published on Friday, 28 September 1934
• • 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 3540th 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 • in 1930

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