Mae West and Her Adonises

BearManor. Mar. 2024. 402p. ISBN 9798887714424. pap. $35. THEATER
A veteran of vaudeville and Broadway, Mae West’s bombshell looks and lighthearted sexual humor catapulted her to movie stardom in the early 1930s. But frustration at fitting her risqué banter into the confines of Hollywood censorship eventually sent her back to the stage. Over time, she built a popular touring revue featuring herself and a series of handsome, scantily clad men, including several Mr. America and Mr. Universe winners. She had successful in-person engagements in theaters, nightclubs, and Las Vegas. As in one of Michaud’s previous books on West—Mae West: Between the Covers—this new volume contains minimal commentary or analysis from the author himself. Instead, the book follows the incarnations and progress of West’s revue, based mainly on contemporaneous newspaper articles, reviews, and interviews with West. There are also brief detours into West’s affairs with some of the show’s men and into the legal brouhaha with Mickey Hargitay after he met Jayne Mansfield.
VERDICT A thorough collection of Mae West–related press materials, photographs, advertisements, and more on a rarely documented part of her career. Will likely appeal to West devotees and researchers.
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