Monday, October 03, 2016

Mae West: A Social Force

In September 1933, MAE WEST sat down for a series of interviews with a West Coast syndicated columnist Willis Thornton.
• • "'Diamond Lil' Puts Mae West on Top" • •
• • Editor's Note: This is the third of three installments on Mae West, the  buxom actress who is restoring curves to to feminine favor.  Today's post is excerpt aa.
• • Written by Willis Thornton, NEA Services Writer • •
• • Willis Thornton wrote:  When Mae West emerged from her 10 days as a guest of New York city at its Welfare Island resort, she came forth as a conquering heroine.
• • That the city had sent her there because 12 good men and true decided her play, "Sex," was indecent, made no difference. Women's clubs hailed her as a Social Force, and Broadway at last admitted that she was a Big Shot.
• • The "dozen plays" which her stay at Welfare had Inspired her to write did not immediately materialize. She fooled around with "The Drag," which was too "strong" to bring even to Broadway, and "The Wicked Age." Neither came to anything.
• • Then suddenly "Diamond Lil" exploded on Broadway like Payne's fireworks. Mae West's flippant pen, her feline wriggle, and her husky, croony voice made "Diamond Lil" into something everybody just had to see.
• • The story of the lady who took her funds where she found them was not distinguished, but the costumes of the Lillian Russell era, the purring lines like "I ain't ice!" and "C'mon up and see me some time — — any time!" set up a new character in theatre lore to stand beside the Sadie Thompson of "Rain."
• • Turns To Movie Career • •   . . .
• • NOTE: This is the third 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 this week. This post was excerpt aa. See tomorrow for excerpt bb.]
• • Source: syndicated content rpt in The Courier News [Blytheville, Arkansas]; published on Saturday, 9 September 1933.
• • On Wednesday, 3 October 1928 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Court Stays Police on Mae West Play; Writ Bars Interference Until Friday and 'Pleasure Man' Is Performed to Full House. Cases of 56 Up Tomorrow; Cast Pleads Not Guilty and Bail Is Continued — — Walker Revealed as Instigator of Raid. Seeks Conference With Warren. Arrests May Still Be Made. Author Appears Concerned.
• • Coverage in The New York Times on Wednesday, 3 October 1928.
• • On Wednesday, 3 October 1928 • •
• • It was on Wednesday, 3 October 1928 when Mae West appeared in court to answer charges that she had written and produced another "immoral" play. Wire services sent out her photograph, explaining that the entire cast had been arrested after one opening performance.
• • The infamous raid at the Biltmore Theatre begins Act 2, Scene 1 of the serious-minded comedy "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets."
• • On Tuesday, 3 October 1933 • •
• • Variety ran with all sorts of coverage about "I'm No Angel" starring Mae West. For instance, their article "Downtown Frisco Will Milk Next Mae West Opus; Nabes Can Squawk" was published on page 11 in Variety's issue dated for Tuesday, 3 October 1933.
• • On Thursday, 3 October 1957 • •
• • On Thursday, 3 October 1957, Charles Olson [1910 — 1970] wrote a poem with the title "Obit." In line 50 the poet refers to actress "May West" (i.e., Mae West).  These verses, not published during his lifetime, finally appeared in a book in 1997.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • What could be funnier than W. C. Fields as a patent medicine vendor turned masked bandit, and Mae West, late of the honky-tonks, as a little desert flower blooming brighter every hour?
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "The box office business in the entire industry has dropped off 30 per cent in the past four months."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A California paper mentioned Mae West.
• • But, to turn around Mae West's two-liner, when opera is bad, it can be naively bad, ...
• • Source:  Item in The Stanford Daily; published on Friday, 3 October 1969 
• • 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 3543rd 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 October 1928

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