Mae West: Sex Backers Vexed
• • The N.Y. Times reported: Harry Cohen, a clothier at 260 Fifth Avenue, testifying yesterday for the prosecution in General Sessions at the trial of the three producers and twenty-three members of the cast of the play "Sex" produced (until recently) at Daly's Sixty-third Street Theatre, testified he advanced the first $2,500 for the production of the play in Waterbury, Connecticut.
• • Jim Timony convinced Harry Cohen to invest an additional $1,500 in the Broadway production. The garment manufacturer grew suspicious. On the stand he insisted that the "Sex" backers (i.e., Mae West and Timony) wanted a police raid. The N.Y. Times printed this headline the day after Cohen aired his grievances in court: "Witness Testifies Mae West Rewrote Play and Insisted on the Spicy Scenes Because City Liked Them. Clothier Also Asserts He Put In $4,000 and Started Suit When He Was Counted Out of the Profits."
• • The play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship & Secrets" dramatizes the trials of 1927 and 1930 in New York City that threatened to topple Mae's towering ambitions. This serious-minded comedy was last featured before a sold-out audience in January 2012 in Melbourne, Australia as part of their MidSumma Festival.
• • Photo: Mae West and Barry O'Neill in March 1927 in Jefferson Market Court looking very concerned. Don't you adore that woolen tri-corn on her head though? If she was going to be accused in a tribunal and pointed at, she would be the Napoleon of crime!
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• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Watch a scene on YouTube.
Courting Mae West
• • Photo: Mae West • • in court, 1927 • •