Mae Clarke Gets Grapefruit
For the past little while, Mae Clarke has been a personal favorite of the Countess’s and mine. She is, sadly, an almost-great, with plum roles in several films in the very early 30s before her career fell off a cliff (see my full article on her here). She was a terrific actress; her (original) version of Waterloo Bridge is way better than Vivian Leigh’s. But sadly the piece of celulloid she is best known for nowadays is the one below, from The Public Enemy (1931), where Jimmy Cagney pops her in the mush with a half a grapefruit. Normally it’s presented in affectionate montages about what a lovable rogue Cagney and his characters were, and people never talk about the scene without a chuckle. But I think if you actually watch the scene below, with the context, you’ll be absolutely on her side, and want to grab Cagney by the pajamas and smash a watermelon over HIS head. And I know just the man to do it. Oh, Gallagher?
To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudeville,consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.