Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mae West: TV Indecency

MAE WEST would have enjoyed reading about the latest "crack down on TV indecency." Though the Brooklyn bombshell never suffered a wardrobe malfunction on camera, the TV and radio censors pursued her like a pack of hounds. Let's revisit an article on the screen siren in USA Today.
• • Wes D. Gehring wrote: In light of the current FCC campaign to crack down on TV indecency, one cannot help but wonder what Chairman Kevin Martin would have made of the incomparable Mae West, the film legend whose comically sexy axioms ("When women go wrong, men go right after them.") helped bring about the cinema censorship code of 1934.
• • Just who or what was Mae West?
• • Wes D. Gehring continued: She most resembled a female impersonator — — with the verbal wit of Oscar Wilde. Armed with this repartee, West transformed a small, pleasantly plump, over 40 physical form into an inspired parody of sex. Like many of her contemporaries, from Will Rogers to the Marx Brothers, she came to sound films with an established persona, honed from years of stage work. Also like many of these fellow funnymen, especially Groucho Marx and W.C. Fields, her older, cynical, world-wise screen character matched the harsh climate of the Depression. This was in marked contrast to the youthfully innocent and naive screen clowns of the silent era, such as Harry Langdon, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton.  ...
• • Source:  Article: "She Done Us Right; Comedic Movie Star Mae West Was Addressing Such Then-Provocative Material as Intercourse, Homosexuality, Drag Queens and Prostitution in the 1920s" written by Wes D. Gehring for USA TODAY; published in 2006.
• • On Saturday, 21 October 1933 • •
• • The Broadway musical  "Let 'Em Eat Cake" previewed on Saturday, 21 October 1933 — — not far away from Election Day — — and played 90 performances at the Imperial Theatre [249 West 45th Street, NYC 10036]. One character in "Let 'Em Eat Cake" issues an order that Mae West should replace George Washington on the postage stamp.
• • On Thursday, 21 October 1943 • •
• • Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures went to see Mae West in "The Heat's On" during the previews  Cohn had let Gregory Ratoff smooth talk him into a contract for it.  "The hicks may remember Mae West but the preview houses don't," Harry Cohn told a reporter on Thursday, 21 October 1943. "This picture is going to be a bust." The public concurred. Even Mae West would agree. Tsk.
• • On Tuesday, 21 October 1947 • •
• • It was on Tuesday, 21 October 1947 that Mae West first set foot in a playhouse in Manchester, England to present her Bowery melodrama "Diamond Lil."
• • On Thursday, 21 October 1993 • •
• • John Cohen's article on Mae West, "And West Is West," appeared in The New York Sun on Thursday, 21 October 1993.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Harry Cohn said: The hicks may remember Mae West but the preview houses don't. "The Heat Is On" is going to be a bust.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Sometimes I grow weary of fighting to keep faith with the public."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Vassar Miscellany News mentioned Mae West.
• • Who Cares if East is East as Long as WEST is West; Nothing Else Matters!
• • Here's Mae West in "I'm No Angel" with Cary Grant. Mae takes Grant like Grant took Richmond!  ...
• • Source: Item on page 6 in Vassar Miscellany News; published on Saturday, 21 October 1933 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,223 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3030th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo:
• • Mae West in 1954

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Mae West: John Davis Lodge

According to a biography of John Lodge, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1929, MAE WEST tapped the tall, dark, handsome newcomer for the Captain Cummings role. After the six-foot-one attorney took a screen test, Paramount Pictures snagged him. But his tony East Coast family, very aware of Mae's bawdy plays, arrest record, and prison headlines, did not want their privileged son associated with such a controversial female.
• • John Davis Lodge [20 October 1903 — 29 October 1985] • •
• • The Harvard Law Bulletin wrote: According to a new biography of John Lodge (Harvard 1929), which chronicles his career in the family business of politics and diplomacy. But the book also delves into the life of the young Lodge, who deviated from the Brahmin path when a gal named Mae West told him to "come up and see me sometime." Lodge was perhaps the only man who ever said no.
• • The Harvard Law Bulletin explained: Thomas DeLong, author of "John Davis Lodge: A Life in Three Acts," writes that Lodge caught the attention of the screen siren Mae West when, as a young attorney, he vacationed in Los Angeles and took a screen test. He was soon signed to a major studio contract. Mae West saw the photo of the tall and debonair Lodge and demanded him as her costar for her next film, "She Done Him Wrong."  But Lodge did West wrong, buckling to family pressure and pulling out of the project. He was replaced by a promising young actor named Cary Grant.
• • Lodge did act in several supporting roles in film and theater, working with Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. Though he later enjoyed a prominent career as a Connecticut congressman, governor, and ambassador, Lodge, who died in 1985, did have one regret. You Mae guess what that was.
• • Source: Article written by L.R. for The Harvard Law Bulletin; published Summer 2001.
• • John Davis Lodge died in New York City on Tuesday, 29 October 1985. He was 83.
• • On Friday, 20 October 1933 • •
• • The Wyoming readers of the Natrona County daily newspaper saw a startling image — — on the movies page — — in the Friday, 20 October 1933 issue of the Tribune-Herald. Mae West was inviting her public to "come up and see me."
• • Printed on page 4 was the movie star Mae West, cupping her hands under her breasts in a motion picture advertisement for Paramount Pictures.  Hubba-hubba!
• • On Saturday, 20 October 1934 in Popular Song Hits • •
• • Popular Song Hits Magazine featured Mae West on the cover of issue number 6 dated for Saturday, 20 October 1934. What a spectacular gown on Mae adorning the black and white front page. Weekend whoopee.
• • On Monday, 20 October 1947 • •
• • It was on Monday, 20 October 1947 that Mae West was photographed at Euston Station en route to Manchester to present "Diamond Lil" onstage. Some of her elaborate stage gowns were trimmed with Battenberg lace.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Going to help redistribute a nice chunk of the nation's coin. Mae West is today the biggest conversation-provoker, free space grabber and all-around box office bet in the country.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Money doesn't buy happiness but money is a great love potion for an affair. It buys a good bed with clean linens and time to enjoy it all. If you have money, you don't have to worry about it, and worrying spoils your looks."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Straits Times discussed Mae West.
• • "Threat to Mae West — —7 Men Arrested for Racketeering Effort" • •
• • Hollywood — — Seven men have been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to extort $1,000 from the film star Mae West, under threats of disfiguring her with acid.
• • The police later released six of the men, detaining a Greek immigrant George Janios, the 38-year-old employee  of a studio and restaurant, on a charge of suspected extortion.
• • Source: Item in The Straits Times (Singapore);  published on Sunday, 20 October 1935
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,223 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3029th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West in 1932

• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Mae West: Tailored for Her

"Here, then, is a MAE WEST picture tailored for her by one of the best brains in show business, and setting her in a completely new locale . . . small town America," announced Film Daily in 1936.
• • For once, Mae did not originate a script for one of her starring roles. Let's find out more about the successful stage play, "Personal Appearance," a satire about Hollywood. This hit opened on Broadway on Wednesday, 17 October 1934 and ran until December 1935.
• • "Personal Appearance" • •
• • Starring Mae West, with Lynne Overman, Elizabeth Patterson. "Personal Appearance" is more than just another Mae West picture.
• • Produced by Brock Pemberton  [14 December 1885 — 11 March 1950] and written by Lawrence Riley [1 November 1896 — 29 November 1974].
• • Since Brock Pemberton, one of the country's leading playwrights (sic), fashioned "Personal Appearance" for Broadway production two years ago, this play has established itself as one of the all-time box office wonder-workers. This story of the Hollywood actress Mavis Arden, who turns a small Pennsylvania town upside down, played New York for more than a year, and other companies enjoyed triumphal runs in all the key cities.
• • Here, then, is a Mae West picture tailored for her by one of the best brains in show business, and setting her in a completely new locale . . . small town America. So, take your "Klondike Annie" figures and start multiplying. An Emanuel Cohen Production.
• • Source: Article in Film Daily; published on Thursday, 16 July 1936
• • On Saturday, 17 October 1931 • •
• • Since Mae West's drama "The Constant Sinner" was set in and around West 125th Street, the Pittsburgh Courier (a black weekly newspaper) was keeping tabs on this production. Reporter Floyd G. Snelson, Jr. signaled his appreciation. On Saturday, 17 October 1931, Snelson told his readers: "Mae West Employs 30 Race Artists In Her Latest Production." Praising Mae's plans to bring a bi-racial cast with her to D.C., he pronounced the project "the cleverest piece of artistry to be expected from a woman of the Caucasian race."
• • On Tuesday, 17 October 1933 in Variety • •
• • A review of the latest Mae West motion picture was published by Variety in their issue dated for Tuesday, 17 October 1933. Movie critic Land wrote: "I'm No Angel" is going to help redistribute a nice chunk of the nation's coin. That the Mae West film is going to make tubs of coin was crystal-clear opening day at the Paramount. Ushers were riding herd on a permanent corral of waitees in the lobby. As to quality, "I'm No Angel" can stand alone, although without "She Done Him Wrong" as a benediction and a million bucks worth of assorted publicity, high-brow and hoi pollil, the gross probably wouldn't reach the big brackets now looming. ...
• • In the same issue, Variety ran an item on page 8: "'Angel' B'klyn's Big Noise, Rousing $50,000."  Mae's hometown's ticket-buyers turned out for Tira.
• • On Thursday, 17 October 1968 in The N.Y. Times • •
• • Mae West had plans for a cinema version of the stage play "Sextet" back in 1968.
• • Writing for The New York Times, Motion Picture Editor A.H. Weiler announced on Thursday, 17 October 1968: Mae West, who has not appeared in movies for a quarter of a century, will return to the screen early next year in a film version of her play — — "Sextet" — — in which she starred in Florida in 1961.
• • On Friday, 17 October 2008 in NYC • •
• • A Staged Reading of "Courting Mae West" was held on Friday, 17 October 2008 starting at 5:45 PM on West 43rd Street and Broadway.  Yvonne Sayers played the title role.  Were you there? 
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • "Go West, Young Man" is from the stage comedy hit, "Personal Appearance" [by Lawrence Riley]. Mae West, in her own way, is excellent in the role Gladys George created on the stage. 
• • George was not hindered by the limitations of screen censorship, hence the play’s sock tag isn’t half as punchy in the film, nor are other lines or situations up to the same potency.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Nearly all my work is based on true facts."
• • Mae West said: "I will not sign until I see the script."
• • Quote, Unquote •
• • The New York Times mentioned Mae West.
• • J.T.M. wrote: The suasively undulating Mae West is back on the Paramount screen with a new and engagingly robustious exposition of her theory that "a thrill a day keeps the chill away." This time the medium is that eminently successful Broadway spoof of a Hollywood glamour girl, "Personal Appearance," which Miss West has wrought, with slight alterations, into something she modestly has caused to be titled, "Go West, Young Man."
• • J.T.M. wrote: Generally speaking, "Personal Appearance" has lost little in Miss West's edition. The mobility of the camera permits the screen audience a glimpse or so of the susceptible screen idol, Mavis Arden, actually engaged in one of her saccharine personal appearances. It also brings into being, in the person of Lyle Talbot, the unseen telephone lover of the play.   . . .
• • Source: Review for The N.Y. Times;  published on Thursday, 19 November 1936
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 10th anniversary • •    
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during this past decade. The other day we entertained 1,223 visitors. 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3028th 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: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
________

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• • Photo:
• • Mae West in 1936

• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
  Mae West