Thursday, January 05, 2017

Mae West: Many Racketeers

A very long article about MAE WEST and her career in Tinseltown appeared five years ago.  It was written by Paul Phaneuf. Let's enjoy it together. This is Part 3.
• • Mae West: "I'm here to make talkies" or Censor Will vs. Diamond Lil • •
• • The effects of the Depression • •
• • Paul Phaneuf wrote:  Broadway, like Hollywood, had been feeling the effects of the Depression, with many theaters going dark. Damon Runyon himself had noted, "There is little scratch anywhere, and along Broadway many racketeers are wearing their last year's clothes and have practically nothing to bet on the horses."
• • Paul Phaneuf explained:  And in Hollywood the nationwide movie figures told the tale: up to 20 per cent of the movie houses had closed, attendance was off 40 per cent, admission prices were reduced, Paramount and RKO were on the verge of receivership, and the studios already had spent plenty of dough to retool for sound pictures. To sum up, 1932 had seen losses of $21 million for the film industry.
• • Paul Phaneuf continued: Two years earlier the movie studios had adopted the Motion Picture Production Code (known as the Hays Code) which was intended to strictly regulate film content regarding sex and violence. But studios had been pushing the envelope in both regards as a means to get audiences back. In 1930 nine gangster films were released, in 1932 the number was 28.
• • Marlene Dietrich as the promiscuous Lola • •    ...
• • This was Part 3. Part 4 will appear tomorrow, Friday.
• • Source:  Article by Paul Phaneuf in Films of the Golden Age Magazine;  issue dated 5 November 2011. Used with permission.
• • John Patrick West [March 1866 —  5 January 1935] • •
• • Despite having an ambivalent relationship with her father, Mae West took after him and also worked for him when he peddled fruit in Brooklyn and when he helmed a "detective agency" in New Jersey and New York City. Before opening his own operation, West had walked the beat in Coney Island and elsewhere in Brooklyn.
• • Born on Manhattan's Lower East Side in March 1866, John Patrick West [called "Jack"] grew up feisty, impatient, and strong. As a child he boasted that he'd rather fight than eat. He got his Irish up rather quickly, remembered Mae. He was easily angered and "always ready to do physical violence when the urge was on him." In 1969, Mae revealed in an interview that she thought her father was cruel — — but realized "all his fighting was done doing other people's fighting for them."
• • Jack West was 7 years old in 1873 when his family moved from Avenue C (near the docks) in Manhattan to the borough of Brooklyn, settling first in Red Hook, and then in Greenpoint.
• • On 19 January 1889, in Greenpoint, Battling Jack West and Tillie Delker took their wedding vows before a local minister with Jack's sister Julia West acting as maid of honor.
• • On Saturday, 5 January 1935, "Battling Jack" heard the final countdown; he passed away in Oakland, California of a stroke.
• • On this date we remember John Patrick West with love and respect.
• • On Wednesday, 5 January 1938 • •
• • "Paramount: Mae West Most Likely All Washed Up" was the downbeat headline in Variety Magazine on Wednesday, 5 January 1938. After the NBC broadcast brouhaha, Paramount began monitoring audience feedback to the coming attractions that were onscreen at the New York City Paramount Theatre. Their investigators noted that, since the Adam and Eve skit was on the air, audience members were greeting trailers showing Mae West with generous applause. There was also some hissing and Variety chose to focus on the negative. Typical.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West lived her life as she pleased, particularly during the Roaring Twenties, when life was rather free and unrestricted.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:   “When you got the personality, you don’t need the nudity.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A California paper mentioned Mae West.
Who would think of getting chilled with Mae West around.
• • Source: Item in Sausalito News; published on Thursday, 5 January 1950
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 12th 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 3,500 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3611th
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 • with her family in 1934

• • Feed — —
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