Category Archives: Phil’s Vintage Fitness

The Mae West Revue

Masterful at innuendo and double-entendre, buxom Mae West was a phenomenally successful comedic actress in the 1930s. Her star had all but faded when, at age 61, she launched a ground-breaking stage show in Las Vegas. Instead of casting the typical costumed showgirls, West selected a bevy of bodybuilding beefcakes including George Eiferman, Irvin “Zabo” Koszewski, Dick DuBois, Dominic Juliano, Joe Gold, Armand Tanny, Gordon Mitchell, Mickey Hargitay, and Charles Krauser to be her “chorus”.

The Mae West Revue opened at the Sahara Hotel in 1954 with West vamping through racy skits and bawdy songs such as “I Want to Do All Day What I Do All Night” while surrounded by her handsome musclemen. The combination of her ribald humor and the sensation of flexing bodybuilders made the show a runaway smash. It toured the country’s top venues, drawing celebrities, including then-Senator John F. Kennedy, and broke all attendance records at New York’s legendary Latin Quarter.

The revue’s demise was hastened at a press conference in 1956 when Krauser (who loved West) punched out Hargitay (whom West loved). Krauser later changed his name to Paul Novak to escape his newfound notoriety, and was West’s live-in lover for the final 24 years of her life.

Though the show closed at the Sahara in 1957, The Mae West Revue is still considered a seminal showcase where popular and physical culture merged and bodybuilders posed on some of the most exalted stages for some very prestigious audiences.