Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mae West: Phillips Smalley

MAE WEST had a celebrated cameo in “Night after Night” [1932] and Phillips Smalley (who died in the month of May) was seen in an uncredited role as Mr. Wilson.
• • Phillips Smalley [7 August 1875 —2 May 1939] • •
• • Born in Brooklyn, NY (like Mae), Phillips Wendell Smalley was the son of wealthy parents and graduated from Oxford University. Nevertheless, he decided he wanted to be in the spotlight.
• • Like Mae and many entertainers of his era, Smalley began his career in vaudeville and also acted onstage. A versatile performer, he was cast in dramas, comedies, farces, and adaptations from novels.
• • Entering the film trade during the silent screen era, he acted in more than 200 films between 1910 and his death in 1939. His love for the cinema led him to begin a career as a director in 1911.
• • During the making of a silent film “Tea for Three” [1927], Phillips Smalley had the chance to work with Owen Moore, who portrayed Chick Clark in the Mae West starrer “She Done Him Wrong.”
• • Well-connected in the industry, Phillips Smalley easily made the transition to talkies.
• • In 1932, he was cast in “Night after Night” and seen in a minor uncredited role as the character Mr. Wilson.
• • George Raft helped his pal Mae scored a modest talking part in “Night after Night.” Production began on Monday, 22 August 1932 — — and concluded in September.
• • Tall and strong-jawed, Phillips Smalley was ideal for leading man parts and had a long list of formidable credits. But by the time the film industry introduced the "talking picture," he was being relegated to minor roles. He was married twice, first to actress Lois Weber (with whom he had one child) and later to Phyllis Lorraine Ephlin.
• • Phillips Smalley died in the month of May — — on Tuesday, 2 May 1939 in Hollywood, California. He was 63 years old.
• • On Monday, 31 May 1999 • •
• • There was a 30-minute episode "Mae West" on TV's E! Mysteries and Scandals: Season 2, Episode 14. It aired on Monday, 31 May 1999.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The best motion picture that Miss West has made to date. Not a single off-color line or situation; scrupulously clean, yet funny.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Working with George Raft was a real inducement, if you know what I mean. There was a thing between me and him.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A California daily mentioned Mae West.
• • Talbot Lake wrote: When the clock strikes 1 AM, the light goes out and he trots home. To light the signs in Times Square will require 2,000,000 watts of electricity an hour at a nightly cost of $600. No wonder Frank Zoubeck perspires in the heat of the bulbs.
• • Talbot Lake wrote:  He still manages to maintain his sense of humor. Said he of a Mae West sign on which he was changing the light bulbs: “I guess this burns out more than all the rest.” . . .
• • Source: profile of Frank Zoubeck, Times Square electrician, written for the Madera Tribune; published on Thursday, 26 May 1938
• • The evolution of 2 Mae West plays that keep her memory alive • • 
• • A discussion with Mae West playwright LindaAnn LoSchiavo — — 
• •
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 13th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past thirteen years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,900 blog posts. Wow!  
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started thirteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3971st 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 a gown by Zelda Wynn Valdez in 1932

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