Friday, June 15, 2018

Mae West: Toms, Coons

Sex” by MAE WEST is onstage at Hollywood’s Hudson Theatre until Sunday, 17 June 2018. Naturally, you want to see it and learn what the West Coast critics thought. So here we go. This is Part 8.
• • Good when she’s bad: Bawdy bard Mae West’s ‘Sex’ appeals • •
• • Often had black maids • •
• • Ed Rampell wrote: Beyond that, Mae’s screen characters often had black maids. On the one hand, the hired help expressed race relations under white supremacy by reinforcing West’s “complete control,” such as when she gave Gertrude Howard a legendary order in Angel: “Beulah, peel me a grape!”
• • Ed Rampell wrote: But as Donald Bogle, the pre-eminent historian of the African American screen image, goes on to note in his seminal Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, & Bucks: “the Mae West films represented…the domestic servant as trusted good friend.” Maids such as Louise Beavers’ Pearl in "She Done Him Wrong" are also Mae’s confidantes and perhaps even (platonic) girlfriends, which in the 1930s may have crossed the color line, just as West transgressed sexual boundaries.
• • Mae West transgressed sexual boundaries • •  . . . 
• • This was Part 8. To be continued on Monday.
• • Source: Stage Review of “Sex” written by Ed Rampell for People’s World; published on Wednesday, 16 May 2018.
• • On Saturday, 15 June 1935 • •
• • It was on Saturday, 15 June 1935 that Mae West made headlines in The Hutchinson News [Hutchinson, Kansas].  Here's the story:  A controversy developed over Hollywood starlet Mae West's sometimes marriages. Her latest film "Goin' to Town" at the air-conditioned Fox Theatre, featured Mae West as a married woman taking two husbands and the third — — who had met an untimely demise — — all to get her clutches on the one she actually wanted.
• • Nope! Mae West never performed at Neir’s • •
• • Mae West never performed at Neir's — — nor did she ever set foot in this all-male bastion of sweaty factory laborers.
• • For decades, laborers went to bars to drink, relax, spit, smoke cigars, curse, discuss politics, and (most importantly) to get away from wives and women.
• • LINK: Mae was born in Bushwick, never bar-hopped in Woodhaven
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • A controversy developed over Hollywood starlet Mae West's sometimes marriages.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "I wash my face with bottled water and good Castile soap."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The newspaper headlines mentioned Mae West.
• • "Mae West Cagey in Tiff With Lawyer" • •
• • Los Angeles, Calif. 14 June 1938 — When lawyer Joseph Rosen asked screen siren Mae West to "come up" and give a deposition explaining how much Paramount Studios paid her for screen rights to "Diamond Lil" and other questions prefacing the $1,000,000 suit playwright Mark Linder has filed against her, Mae West simply had nothing to say. Lawyer Rosen raged and stormed and even threatened Miss West with contempt of court, but to no avail.  . . .
• • Source: Article printed in syndication in various newspapers on Tuesday, 14 June 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 3981st 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 Alexander Hall in 1935

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