Friday, March 7, 2008

Mae West

Another of my earliest autographed photos was Mae West. I'd seen her in a couple of movies on tv. I remember one had W.C. Fields as her co-star, in "My Little Chickadee" (1940), and the other was "She Done Him Wrong" (1933).

Even at the young age of 12, I could appreciate Mae West's double entendres (phrases with double meanings). Maybe I was "reading" more into what she was saying, being on the verge of adolescence, but whatever, I enjoyed seeing her.

I don't remember for certain how I obtained her address, but I think it was in a reference book I found at my public library, "The Celebrity Register". It gave her home address, 570 N. Rossmore Avenue, in Los Angeles, which was actually an apartment building, The Ravenswood, she owned. I wrote her a letter, requesting a photo, and she sent me this post-card size picture. Note her writing of the word "sincerely", as "Sin-cerely", keeping true to form.

Many years later, I read a news item which mentioned she had a listed phone number. I had a paper phone directory for Los Angeles, looked up her name, and sure enough, she was listed! I worked up the nerve to call her, but the number was actually for the management office. I asked if I could speak for a minute with Miss West, and was politely told she did not take calls from fans, but sometimes she'd make an exception if they called on her birthday. As her birthday was several months away, I forgot all about it, and never did call again.

I missed my chance to hear her say to me (quoting a line from one of her movies): "Why don't you come sometime and see me?"

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