A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 12, 2019
“I believe in censorship—I made a fortune out of it” (Mae West)

Brooklyn-born actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol Mae West (1893-1980) experienced censorship, especially for her play Sex (1927). West was quoted in The Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, TN)—and other newspapers—on April 21, 1970:

“I believe in censorship—I made a fortune out of it. But I don’t like bad language. I’ve never used a four-letter word in any film or show I’ve done.”


Wikipedia: Mae West
Mary Jane “Mae” West (August 17, 1893 – November 22, 1980) was an American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. She was known for her lighthearted, bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence. She was active in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian, actress, and writer in the motion picture industry, as well as appearing on radio and television. The American Film Institute named her 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema.

West often used a husky contralto voice and was one of the more controversial movie stars of her day; she encountered many problems, especially censorship. She once quipped, “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.” She bucked the system, making comedy out of conventional mores, and the Depression-era audience admired her for it. When her cinematic career ended, she wrote books and plays and continued to perform in Las Vegas and in the United Kingdom, on radio and television, and she recorded rock and roll albums.
(...)
Her first starring role on Broadway was in a 1926 play she entitled Sex, which she wrote, produced, and directed. Although conservative critics panned the show, ticket sales were strong. The production did not go over well with city officials, who had received complaints from some religious groups, and the theater was raided, with West arrested along with the cast. She was taken to the Jefferson Market Court House, (now Jefferson Market Library), where she was prosecuted on morals charges, and on April 19, 1927, was sentenced to 10 days for “corrupting the morals of youth”. Though West could have paid a fine and been let off, she chose the jail sentence for the publicity it would garner. While incarcerated on Welfare Island (now known as Roosevelt Island), she dined with the warden and his wife; she told reporters that she had worn her silk panties while serving time, in lieu of the “burlap” the other girls had to wear. West got great mileage from this jail stint. She served eight days with two days off for “good behavior”. Media attention surrounding the incident enhanced her career, by crowning her the darling “bad girl” who “had climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong”.

21 April 1970, The Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, TN), “Mae West—Show Biz’s Miracle Woman!” by Army Archerd (Central Press Association Correspondent), pg. 8, col. 7:
“I believe in censorship—I made a fortune out of it. But I don’t like bad language. I’ve never used a four-letter word in any film or show I’ve done.” (However, some of the double entendre that Mae used had her banned from radio and TV over 10 years!)

Google Groups: alt.quotations
FRANK’s Quotations for August 17 - Mae West
FRANK
8/10/96
(...)
Knuckling Down Quote:
I believe in censorship. After all, I made a fortune out of it.

Twitter
Ashley John
@ajohn
“I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it” - Mae West.
9:59 PM - 13 Feb 2009

Twitter
Whores of Yore
@WhoresofYore
“I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.”
(Mae West is shown.—ed.)
6:58 AM - 5 May 2019



Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Friday, July 12, 2019 • Permalink