“CHILDREN adore me,” cooed screen siren Mae West when she met a young fan in Glasgow during the heyday of her career.

It was November, 1947, and the acting legend was in the city to perform her self-penned play Diamond Lil at the Alhambra Theatre.

The young girl pictured was clearly entranced by her brush with Hollywood royalty – and she was not the only one.

Ms West stopped the traffic when she arrived in Glasgow, as people mobbed the star and her companion, the former world welterweight champion boxer Kid Lewis as they stepped off the London train to head for their accommodation in the Central Hotel.

Glasgow theatregoers could not get enough of Ms West, who revelled in her risqué public persona and delighted audiences with her racy patter.

Glasgow Times:

They cheered her as she strolled to the hotel, not at all fazed by the crowds.

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The play, when it opened, went down well with the Glasgow Times’ sister newspaper The Herald, who carried a review.

“Here is a piece of magnificent nonsense, a full-blooded melodrama of the ‘nineties ... The period is amazingly well recreated: the players get the spirit of it, and ‘ham’ it with zest,” wrote the reviewer.

The setting was Gus Jordan’s saloon in New York City, “where are gathered nightly the bad men, the toughs, the light women, thieves, gunmen, dope fiends, and bosses ...Lil is the kind of a bad girl made familiar by the movies - one with a heart of gold.”

As for West, the star of the show, she “is all that one expected, and something more. The husky voice, the blonde hair, the famous figure, and the shimmy - for she shimmies rather than walks - are all there, with typical wisecracks added.”

Ms West was still in Glasgow when – coincidentally on the day of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wedding at Westminster Abbey, November 20 – the British Philatelic Exhibition was taking place at the McLellan Galleries in the city centre.

The star was asked and duly accepted the invitation to open the exhibition.

Glasgow Times:

Happy to vamp it up as a dizzy blonde on screen, Ms West was in fact a shrewd businesswoman who wrote successful plays and films.

Born in 1892 in Queens, New York, she began her career as a child star in vaudeville.

Though her first movie role, at age 40, was a small part in the 1932 film Night After Night, her scene has become famous.

On spotting Ms West’s jewellery, a coat check girl says: “Goodness! What lovely diamonds!” to which the star replies: “Goodness had nothing to do with it”.

Her next film was She Done Him Wrong, based on Diamond Lil, and she went on to write and star in seven more films, including My Little Chickadee in 1940 with WC Fields.

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Her last movie was Sextette (1977), which also came from a play. She died in 1980.

In 1927, Ms West was sentenced to 10 days in prison and given a 500 dollar fine, charged with obscenity due to the risque nature of her play Sex.

As she once said, she approved of censorship, as it made her so much money.

Do you recall Mae West’s visit to the Alhambra Theatre? Which other famous faces have you seen in the city over the decades?

Share your stories and photographs by emailing ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk or write to Ann Fotheringham, Glasgow Times, 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB.