Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Mae West: Mae by McBean

It was July and MAE WEST was featured in a museum retrospective in London celebrating the late Angus McBean [8 June 1904 — 9 June 1990]. Were you there?
• • Writing for London's paper The Sunday Times in 2006, British reporter Joanna Pitman remarked: One talismanic figure throughout his career was Mae West, who first visited McBean’s London studio in 1948 after a performance of her show "Diamond Lil." It is lovely to see the model that McBean made of West, a bizarre stick-like creature, its arms and legs operated by long sticks like Malaysian puppets. West was amazed by the doll when she saw it and McBean was able to demonstrate that it could, like its progenitor, pat its hair and put its hand on its swinging hip.
• • Round and About: July 2006 • •
• • "Angus McBean: Portraits"  — — July 5th—October 22nd at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H (U.K.).
• • The first museum retrospective of one of the most significant British photographers of the 20th century, the exhibition features more recent images of Derek Jarman and Tilda Swinton as well as iconic portraits of the American actresses Mae West and Katherine Hepburn and the 1951 picture of a then-unknown Audrey Hepburn, with her head and shoulders emerging from sand.
• • Source: Calendar entry in History Today Magazine; published in July 2006.
• • On Friday, 7 July 1916 in Variety • •
• • The resident scold sat stone-faced through "Mae West and Sister" at Proctor's Theatre near Madison Square Park. Later on, Sime Silverman pulled up his tight garters as he sniffed and snorted behind his keyboard like an overheated carriage horse. "Unless Miss West can tone down her stage presence in every way," he sneered, "she just might as well hop right out of vaudeville and into burlesque." And if the unabashed Brooklynite was going to continue to be so disarmingly aggressive, Sime scolded Mae by suggesting that she should get up onstage next time in "men's dress altogether."
• • "Mae West now has a red carpet rolled out," Sime explained in Variety on Friday, 7 July 1916. "She loses much by occasionally overstepping the line between facetiousness and freshness. When she learns to draw the line, she will have made a marked stride in the right direction."  Thanks, big boy! But Mae West wasn't taking your advice.
• • On Thursday, 7 July 1938 • •
• • A 1938 headline in The Sydney Morning Herald tooted: "Mae West and Clark Gable." The screen queen was in her mid-40s and the leading man was 37 years old.
• • "Film News of the Week" announced: It seems impossible to avoid the topic of the new star teams. The latest to be announced is the partnership of Mae West and Clark Gable, who are proposed for the latest roles in "New Orleans," an original story by the man who wrote "San Francisco."
• • Another project that never got made, alas.
• • On Friday, 7 July 1961 • •
• • Mae West's last play "Sextette" (a.k.a. "Sextet") at Edgewater Beach Playhouse officially opened on Friday, 7 July 1961, however, the show was "in previews" earlier that week. Designed by Aaron Frankel, "Sextette" was a Kenley Players production.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • It was a government "boon doggier" in Milwaukee who unearthed the marriage registration of a Mae West and a Frank Wallace.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "Marriage is a great institution.  As I've always said, no family should be without it."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An Australian magazine mentioned Mae West.
• • "Mae West Rouses Ire of Victorian Women" • •
• • Mae West may go west in Australia soon if Victorian women follow the example of America, and if the other States follow Victoria. The present popular phrase, "Come up and see me sometime," will fade away to oblivion, and Mae West will be allowed on the screen only in the most proper of roles.  . . .
• • Source: Excerpt from an article in The Australian Women's Weekly; published on Saturday, 7 July 1934 
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th 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 3,200 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3216th 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 1948

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Monday, July 06, 2015

Mae West: Voluptuous Best

An article "MAE WEST Talks about Her Marriage," written by Mr. Kirtley Baskette, was published in Photoplay Magazine in the summer of 1935. This is Part 3.
• • Mae West Talks About Her "Marriage" • •
• • About this interview, Kirtley Baskette told his readers:  Mae dropped a stitch with her eyebrows. "Well — what about him?" she repeated.
• • "Frank Wallace says you married him in Milwaukee." 
• • "It was funny for a while — even to me," says Mae. "It wasn't so bad when it was just one marriage, but now it's practically bigamy!"
• • Frank Wallace of New York might have paraphrased the title of one of Mae's pictures. "She Done Him Wrong." He claims that Mae's denial has made him suffer.
• • "The only thing I know about Milwaukee," said Mae, "is that they make beer there. It's pretty good beer — but it never was good enough to make me get married and  then forget about it."
• • "Then," I rallied, "he says you played Omaha."
• • "Wrong again," said Mae, "I picked Nellie Flag. Us girls have got to stick together," she explained. "I wish I had played Omaha," she sighed wistfully, "on the nose."
• • "Pardon me," I said, "but I mean the town."
• • "Oh," said Mae, "I thought you meant Omaha the racehorse. Well, either way, it's a horse on me. I never played either one."
• • "This Wallace quotes certain figures," I began.
• • "I've heard some favorable quotes on mine," interrupted Mae.
• • "Let's take a look at his figures — "   I began again.
• • "You wouldn't be interested in taking a look at mine, would you?" queried Mae. "I think it speaks for itself. What do you think?"   
• • All these so-styled ex-husbands of Mae's have quoted heart-balm figures. "But," says Mae, "I've heard some favorable quotes on mine."
• • "I'm not thinking straight," I assured her.  "Mind if I open a window?"  
• • "Not at all," said Mae, "but don't fall out — and don't shout for help."
• • "Hardly," I replied gallantly. "Now about these husbands — "
• • "Husbands," said Mae airily, "are all right in their place."    . . .
• • Part 3 ends here. This very long interview may be continued, perhaps, at another time.
• • Source: Article in Photoplay Magazine;  published in the issue dated for August 1935. 
• • On July 6th • •
• • To those who share a Mae West mindset, memories tied to the sixth of July will be forever linked to the deaths of two men she admired, gifted black musicians who died of heart attacks on that day.
• • Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Louis Armstrong [4 August 1901 — 6 July 1971] was a versatile and innovative singer and jazz trumpeter nicknamed Satchmo.
• • Impressed by Armstrong, Mae asked him to participate in "Every Day's a Holiday" [1937].
• • Louis Armstrong died shortly after a heart attack in New York City. He was 69.
• • Born in Washington, DC, Van McCoy [6 January 1940 — 6 July 1979] was an accomplished musician, music producer as well as an arranger, orchestra conductor, and lyricist. He is best known for his massive 1975 international hit "The Hustle." 
• • Mae West, who starred and wrote the screenplay for "Sextette," asked Van McCoy to write the theme song, and to make a cameo appearance in her motion picture.
• • Van McCoy was in Englewood, New Jersey when felled by a fatal heart attack. He was 39.
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • The three movie sets that an outside photographer positively can't enter in Hollywood are those of Mae West, Shirley Temple, and Greta Garbo.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said:  "My life hasn't been any bed of roses. I never felt anything like secure until just recently. I've never felt free to get married."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • An Illinois newspaper mentioned Mae West.
• • "Off to the Theatre" • •
• • Beverly Bryant wrote: Mae West is back again in "Goin' to Town," which comes to the Princess Theatre Sunday for three days.  Mae is at her voluptuous best. The plot concerns the story of a cow-town dance hall girl who wins a bunch of oil wells when her fiance dies. . . . No longer swathed in the clothes or the social emenities of the "Gay Nineties," Mae West becomes an up-to-date girl with ultra-modern ideas in modern surroundings. The opening scenes of "Goin' to Town" are laid in the middle west where Mae West acquires a lot of money by the process of getting rid of her wealthy husband. Then she really starts going places.  . . .
• • Source: Item in the Urbana Evening Courier; published on Saturday, 6 July 1935
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th 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 3,200 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3215th 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 • on the set in 1935

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Friday, July 03, 2015

Mae West: Kirtley Baskette

An article "MAE WEST Talks about Her Marriage," written by Mr. Kirtley Baskette, was published in Photoplay Magazine in the summer of 1935. In this piece, the wild man columnist was playing nice for once. If you know Baskette's burn-the-house-down reputation, then you are a Hollywood insider for sure. This is Part 2.
• • Mae West Talks About Her "Marriage" • • 
• • About this interview, Kirtley Baskette told his readers:  It was the first time Mae had unbosomed herself on the subject which she had just confessed, was giving her fits. Up until now she had contented herself with a rapid fire volley of telephonic "no's" to all questions, ranging from the laughing, amused "No" to the dangerous, now-you-lay-off-of-me "NO!"
• •  Kirtley Baskette wrote:  "There's a saying," Mae West reminded me, "that when a woman says 'maybe' she means 'yes' and when she says 'no' she means 'maybe.' But not me. When I said 'no' — I didn't mean maybe!"  
• • Just picture a penthouse — or anyway an apartment — way up in the sky. All in white and gold and satin and silk. With a couple of polar bear skins spread out on the floor to lend their cooling effect to the heated lady of the house in a mood to slam the door on the Fuller brush man's foot. And all because a scattered crop of Mae West's and Frank Wallace's had apparently put the Marrying Mdivanis to shame — and put all the answers up to Mae.
• • Note: Georgian noblemen, who styled themselves as princes, were known in the society pages as the "Marrying Mdivanis."
• • "Since the first of the year," Mae revealed, "eight different guys have called me up to tell me I married 'em. In Oshkosh or Oscaloosa, in Tulsa or Toledo. Now it's Milwaukee and points East. They've been traveling men, singing waiters dance men, reporters — but not a single millionaire — darn it! Which makes it bigamy — and big o'me, too, if you'll stand for a punk pun. The point is," pointed Mae, "I like a laugh, like anyone else. I've got an elastic sense of humor — but if you stretch it too far, it snaps. A gag is a gag — and if this one gave the guy a chance for a job, then it's all right, with me. But the gag has gone too far."
• • The determined jaw of Battling Jack West's daughter settled back into place. She smiled. "It's all right to have a man around the house," she explained, "but when you wake up every morning to find a new husband with your grapefruit — say, I'm beginning to feel like the Dionne quintuplets. When you come up to see me now you have to look cross-eyed — or use mirrors."
• • "Getting down to one particular lord and master," I said "what about this Frank Wallace in New York?"
• • Mae dropped a stitch with her eyebrows. "Well — what about him?" she repeated. "I'm like Will Rogers — all I know is what I read in the papers, and I've quit reading about Wallace. I never went much for the comics, anyway."
• • "Frank Wallace says you married him in Milwaukee."    . . .
• • Part 2 ends here. To be continued.
• • Source: Article in Photoplay Magazine;  published in the issue dated for August 1935. 
• • On Wednesday, 3 July 1929 in Variety • •
• • Someone at Variety, too upset that Mae West had scored a hit with "Diamond Lil," snickered that this "creative genius" from Brooklyn had stockpiled "volumes upon volumes of treatises on white slavery and a hot collection of pictures of burlesque queens."  These remarks were printed in Variety's issue dated for Wednesday, 3 July 1929.
• • On Monday, 3 July 1933 • •
• • Production of Mae West's motion picture "I'm No Angel" began on Monday, 3 July 1933 in Hollywood (and concluded in September 1933).
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • Mae West talks the best sex-appeal you've ever heard. The world — — that is, the most important city, Hollywood — — is completely sold on the idea that Mae slays 'em. The result is the pleasant tinkle of silver running through the box-office.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "You shouldn't believe all you read any more than you'd believe all you hear."
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • The Film Daily mentioned Mae West.
• • Ralph Wilk wrote:   Hollywood — Emanuel Cohen has signed Warren William for three films to be made by his Major Pictures unit for Paramount release in the year ahead. His first role will be opposite Mae West in the screen version of "Personal Appearance."
• • Source: Item in West Coast Bureau of Film Daily; published on Wednesday, 22 July 1936   
• • Note: "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. Lawrence Riley wrote 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. Manny Cohen took Mae to see the play in New York City and they decided to do it as a comedy for the big screen.

• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 11th 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 3,200 blog posts. Wow! 
• • By the Numbers • • 
• • The Mae West Blog was started ten years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3214th 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