October 06, 2014

Mae West was very good at being bad…

Mae West (1893-1980) was like Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Dorothy Parker all combined in one package.

She was sensuous, smart and funny. She was a singer, actor, playwright and screenwriter – and a genius at generating and capitalizing on sex-related controversy.

Indeed, the first play she starred in on Broadway (which she also wrote under the pen name “Jane Mast,” produced and directed) was titled Sex (1926).

Sex scandalized the prudes and censors of the day, got Mae arrested for “obscenity” and made her one of the hottest and most sought after celebrities in the country.

She moved on from being a stage superstar in the Roaring Twenties to film superstardom in the Thirties.

Among her most famous and most quoted films was I’m No Angel, which was released in the U.S. on October 6, 1933.

It was West’s second hit film with Cary Grant as her leading man.

Their first film together, released earlier that year, was She Done Him Wrong.

In that one, Mae purred the famed line: “Why don't you come up sometime and see me?” – which is usually misquoted as “Why don't you come up and see me sometime?”

In I’m No Angel, West plays a man-hustling, lion-taming circus star, who likes to “find ‘em, fool ‘em and forget ‘em” – until she falls in love with Cary Grant.

You probably know some or all of Mae West’s most famous lines in I’m No Angel even if you haven’t seen it. The most quoted quips from the film include:

“I’ve been things and seen places.”

“Oh, Beulah...Peel me a grape.”

“When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.”

“It’s not the men in your life that counts, it’s the life in your men.”

Near the end of I’m No Angel, West also gives a sly, self referential nod to her misquoted line from She Done Him Wrong by saying: “And don't forget. Come up and see me sometime.”

Here are some of the other famous quotes and phrases linked to October 6:

“California, here I come, right back where I started from.” - The chorus of the well known song “California Here I Come” by Buddy de Sylva, Al Jolson and Joseph Meyer. It was introduced in Jolson’s musical show Bombo, which opened in New York City on October 6, 1921.

“There is no Soviet domination in Eastern Europe.” - President Gerald Ford’s infamous flub in his October 6, 1976 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter, which made him seem unaware of the Soviet domination in Eastern Europe.

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