Friday, May 29, 2015

Desert Island Discs (BBC Radio Program Celebrities, 1950s-1980s)

Hello out there!

Sorry for the extended radio silence! As was foretold in my initial job swap post a couple months ago, I knew that in my new boulot I would have less and less time for putting together a daily blog, but good GOSH I had no idea how little. At my present job, I'm in charge of the French Canadian materials (working with titles entirely in French), and while I knew the language wouldn't be an impediment, I didn't knnnnoooowww about the cataloging. Lord above, I did not know about the cataloging. I've been committing Library of Congress numbers to memory like I was actually in an MLS program. Except without a teacher. Or a textbook. I appreciate you, Internet, like I never thought I would before (shout out to my best friend, Class Web). While I'm excited to be using library skills and slinging books and stackin' bills, I have miiiiiiissed talking to you all. So I thought I would try to pop in on a more usual basis with more of the vintage ephemera and ephemeron (apparently, like candelabra and candelabrum, I've been using that wrong lo these many years), because ain't I just bustin' with things to tell you.

Liiiiiike....Desert Island Discs.

Like this, only with more excitement. J/k: exactly this exciting.

A lot of the work is assessing titles for readership or trying to decide what goes where and to whom in terms of academic libraries, but when you get into a particular run of a series or of a type of book, you can kind of put your mind on autopilot as you methodically enter the same numbers and information for consistency across titles. This means lots of time for things that are aurally but not visually stimulating. I listened to scads of old scary radio drama and audiobooks and TV5 French radio streaming before I found that the BBC offers mp3 downloads or even streaming of their programmes. I'm not a huge anglophile, but the BBC has been doing radio longer and better than we have (excluding a golden age in America's 1930's and 40's) pretty much since its inception. Programs on history, well produced and researched, abound.

While I was nosing around looking for something slightly more my speed than the royals, I ran headlong into a programme called Desert Island Discs, created in 1942 and subsequently helmed for decades by broadcaster Roy Plomley. As everyone o'erseas probably already knows, it visits the familiar concept of "what you would take with you on a desert island" by confining a celebrity interviewee to eight records, one book besides the Bible and Shakespeare, and one comfort item. In between, the interviewer chats with the subject about their career and life, sometimes unearthing pretty candid and interesting facts. I made a master list of ones to which I'd like to listen (and with 500 + to choose from, it's a good starter list if you ask me) which I'll post at the end of this blog, but why not walk with me through some of the celebrities I took time to listen to this week? 99% guaranteed you'll like it (or your money back)! Click through the hyperlinks to listen along as I point out some highlights.


Where else could I start but with one of the most famous names I recognized on the list, America's boy next door Jimmy Stewart. What's so interesting about listening to James Stewart in interviews is that he sounds exactly the Frank like you thought he would sound-- warm, boyish, slightly reserved, folksy, endearing, His musical tastes run almost exactly to what you'd think they would, too, littered with big band favorites and WWII themes. 

About the 20 minute mark, you get a doozy of a song selection, "Rollin' On", a tie-in single from the western Cheyenne Social Club. Costar, fellow movie great, and lifelong best friend Henry Fonda takes the duet and recreates some of his screen dialogue...and though, even between the two of them, they are painfully bad singers, you can't help but think it's sweet he would include such a GODAWFUL record in the seven platters he gets to take onshore with him so he could remember how much fun he had making a movie with his friend.

Seven, you say? I thought they got to take eight discs, you might be thinking to yourself. I'll clear that up now by explaining Stewart chose a single song as number 4 AND 5 ...two of his eight "Don't Cry Joe (Let Her Go, Let Her Go, Let Her Go)" by the Gordon Jenkins Orchestra. Bless his Irish heart, I want to make sure I have a maudlin break up song to listen to not once but twice in the eight song canon I'm able to take with me. "I just love the tune, and I find myself hummin' it every once in awhile."

Do you forget sometimes James Stewart made four Hitchcock pictures? Count 'em, Rope, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Rear Window, tying Cary Grant (also four) for the most male leads in Hitch's suspense plays. Stewart clears up the interviewers assertion that Hitchcock once said, "All actors are cattle" with the correction, "No, he said 'All actors should be treated as cattle.' " Better? Ehhh, not really. But next time I get to be an auteur, I'll question auteur theory, right? Right.

J-stew ends the interview by saying that he a) could probably rig up shelter, b) wouldn't mind fishing, and c) would wait to be rescued. Bravo, Jimmy! I wish we had another broadcast to spend together.

Book: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (resourceful!)
Luxury: Family photo album (awwwwww)
Single disc: "Dream" by the Pied Pipers. (he left behind two copies of "Don't Cry Joe"! Wonders never cease).

Act like you didn't know Louis Armstrong, the old Satchelmouth himself, wouldn't be one of the most interesting interview subjects on the show. Raised in New Orleans' famous redlight district, Storyville, the celebratory shooting of his father's pistol on  New Year's Eve landed him in reform school, where he found his true love, the trumpet, in the waifs' school band. And it just got more and more colorful from there, as far as I can tell-- listening to Buddy Bolden's band down at Funky Butt Hall (could I make this up? No) and rising to prominence in orchestras for King Olivier and Fletcher Henderson before striking out on his own with his "Hot Five". AND SO HOT did they play folks...if you want real New Orleans jazz, the mainline drug is 1930's era Louis Armstrong.

Primed to listen to a great interview, I wondered how the people in England in 1968 could even understand what he was saying throughout most of the experience. Between his word choice, the gravelly tone of his voice, and Louisiana elisions, it would definitely prove a challenge to a non-American ear. To me, he sounds 110% like my grandaddy on my mother's side, a Nashville native with vocabulary bank that held more words-for-things-you-would-have-to-figure-out-was-a-word-for-a-thing than anyone I have probably ever met. And charm, Lord. I kept sitting up with genuine delight to the way Louis, like my grandaddy, would turn a phrase so strangely yet so descriptively, you couldn't help but wish everyone talked like that. Best line, in describing co-star Barbra Streisand's performance on the soundtrack to "Hello Dolly":
Here's Madame Streisand here...she singin' up a brilliant...look like she tryin' to outsing everybody this year...just left a big sequence in her movie..Hello Dolly, where she and I walk arm and arm singin' Helllooooo's gonna hang you when you hear it. But right now, she don't have that record, so let's put "People" on, she sing it too
You're gonna like it so much you're gonna die, sure, but go ahead and conjure up this tarot card next time you listen to "Hello Dolly", hahaha.

Actual best part of the interview-- most of the records he's going to take with him are his own. HIS OWN, PEOPLE. And for a book, about my own book? "It's good to pat yourself on the shoulder ever' once an' a while." We should pretty much all be like Satch.

Book: His own autobiography
Luxury: Trumpet
Single disc: Blueberry Hill by Louis Armstrong and his All Stars

(everybody else's answers go home, Louis just won)

Confession: I am c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y obsessed with James Mason right now. So, so irritatingly -to-others interested in his movies and his life, after happening across a collection of interviews he did in the seventies' on Youtube. My poor friends and family have been hearing nothing but individual critiques of his entire film career for the last three weeks, with no end in sight (at 154 screen credits, I'd wager I've seen 30 of those in the aforementioned time period). When I get on a tear, I get on a tear. But imagine my surprise when I was going through the list and saw Mason sat in Plomley's chair three years before his death in 1984...still sharp as a tack and eloquent as the day is long. It's interesting to hear someone actually erudite use language like a fine-tuned instrument. In my adult life, there's nothing that gets under my skin worse than someone using vocabulary poorly in an attempt to look more intelligent and failing parlously by dint of that misuse. Betting that whoever they're speaking with doesn't have even as rudimentary of a grasp on the word "phantasmagoric" or "chiaroscuro", as they do, they blunder on, writing out "agnostic" when they meant "ambivalent", "gesticulate" when they meant "gestured". If you're even a little unsure of how to use that word in a sentence, ask someone who does, GOOGLE IT, or please, PLEASE STRIKE IT FROM USE. There's an egghead somewhere who will thank you. [end public service announcement]

To that end, I can't lie, I've been jotting down turns-of-phrase by Mason that are curious but correct. See if you can spot the hidden gems in this extract:
Yes, well you mentioned brung up the subject of bag pipes [chuckles] ...which bewitch me. I might just remind you that this was played with tremendous effect at Winston Churchill's funeral, do you remember? And they came out of St. Paul's and into the march again and piped up "My Home" and it was just...shattering. This is the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Answer: "which bewitch me" and "to tremendous effect" said with perfect ease, in that GORgeous voice. Daffy about this actor right now. I've been writing down things all week to tell you about, so I'll be back with that another time, but for now, his choices-- boring, boring, more boring. Except that Billie Holiday and Nabokov, I can't say I'd agree with any of these, but... stillcallmeJamesMasonIdidntmeanwhatIsaid. :)

Book: Ada by Vladimir Nabokov
Luxury: Guitar
Single disc: My Man by Billie Holiday

As for me? If I had half a chance to go on this show I'd take it, though I'm not sure what I'd talk about career wise ("I had a CRAZY book about Mesopotamian medicine the other boil a lizard and then grind it up with a papyrus describing your sickness, and its spirit runs down to cure you!"
--> true), but I have my discs lined up (or at least a working list). Note: lots of these songs do not appear on the record in my pictogram. Also note: don't care.

  • "When You Rock and Roll with Me" David Bowie
  • "Heart and Soul" Huey Lewis and the News
  • "Jezebel" Charles Aznavour
  • "The Man That Got Away" Judy Garland
  • "One for My Baby and One More for the Road" Frank Sinatra 
  • "Sisters of the Moon" Fleetwood Mac
  • "Loving Cup" Rolling Stones
  • "It's Been a Good Year for the Roses" George Jones
Book: A Pictorial History of the Talkies by Daniel Blum. You're allowed Shakespeare and the Bible, so I can read those, and look at/remember my movies.
Luxury Item: Typewriter and paper. Not to be pretentious, but because I would need it work without electricity.
Single disc: Uuuuughhh....probably "The Man That Got Away". But I am already dissatisfied with only eight songs.

And here's your list, if you can make out my handwriting-- had every intention of typing it; not going to type it.

Well! I gotta get, but let me know what you think about these star choices and my own. What would yours be? Which of the celebrities are you the most excited to check out? Have you heard any audio-only, spoken word type things I need to know about lately? Let's taaaaalk.

Hope to see you again much sooner than the last time! Take care! 'Til then.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Suzanne Lipschutz and Secondhand Rose: Vintage Wallpaper Collector Extraordinaire

Good morning!

How are you? Man, am I pumped to get out to the flea market this weekend-- I've been through a relative dry spell lately with estate sales and the like, and come Saturday, am I ready to get down and dirty with a box full of clothes someone pulled out of a barn or basement or attic in search of hidden treasures! Bring onnnn the 1940's dresses. :) As I countdown the hours until tomorrow morning, however, how about you and I both take a leisurely look at the life's work of my new favorite person, Suzanne Lipschutz? Have you heard the good word? If not, I hope you'll be glad you did by the end of this post!!

Lipschutz in her soon to be former apartment . The lamp at left  is actually taking a year off my life.
I was skimming through the (always extraordinary) New York Times Home and Life section when I was struck by the headline "A Vintage Life in the Chelsea Hotel". The Chelsea Hotel has been a subject of fascination for me since being a Factory-obsessed Warholite in high school (one of my personal style icons, Edie Sedgwick, once managed to fall asleep smoking and start a fire in her apartment that evacuated the building and gutted the unit; the Nico theme song and movie of the same title, Chelsea Girls, refers to the same), so between that and the arresting image of the woman above (who is seventy one, somehow, by the way) in her rococo apartment, I had to read on! Suzanne Lipschutz is in the process of moving from this apartment in the Chelsea as the post-Stanley Bard era of the building (see this documentary for a good background on what the hotel's history is like and the situation with the changing of the old guard), and while she's sad to pull up stakes, she's looking forward to improvements in her new apartment and a fresh canvas to decorate in her own impeccable eccentric taste. Take a look at this room and tell me it doesn't leave you just a little breathless:

Note to self: pink ceiling and chartreuse drapes, please, thanks.

How do you get a room like this? You stay at something you're already good at for OVER FIFTY YEARS. At twenty one, Lipschutz and her partner Jeff Joerger opened the first incarnation of her world-famous Secondhand Rose store, which later specialized as a rare source of period wallpaper, with, as the NYT article says, "a busted Tiffany magnolia lamp she found in a junkie’s apartment and 19th-century furniture harvested from the street". My little heart skipped a beat somewhere in between reading about celebrity clients like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and learning that her wallpaper is in movies like The Untouchables (here's Sean Connery getting massac'red in front of it) and Silence of the Lambs. Oh, and her apartment looks like something out of an Edward Gorey fever dream I had.....?! I now have hearts for eyes and all I can see are these beautiful textures and patterns and pieces and scraps. This is the closest to actually being a Victorian crazy quilt a room can get.

Nick Sweeney did a segment on Suzanne Lipschutz for NOWNESS in 2012....and if it was an au courant moment in that year, I can't say it's any less fascinating to look at in 2015. Can you imagine Woody Allen walking into your kooky antiques store in the 1970's and ordering an apartment's worth of 1930's wallpaper? Understand Lipschutz owns this space with just hundreds upon hundreds UPON HUNDREDS of rolls of antique and vintage wallpaper-- all gleaned simply by being in the right place at the right time with that keen, keen eye for fabulousness-- wouldn't you have loved to be a pretty, smart blonde on the Left Bank in the seventies' who'd just found a cache of Wiener werkstatte style wallpaper rolls in an old vendors's dusty flea market offerings? Again, I wish I were her.

How my heart just sings out for this grape wallpaper:

SL describes the wallpaper below  as being throughout Woody Allen's apartment. I tried like all hell to find a photo of his apartment before he moved in the early 2000's, but need to take a trip down to the library to dig up the Archictectural Digest he did in the seventies' and sate my curiosity. Note: the colors and geometric patterns of these florals are enough to knock you eye out. Gorgeous.

Look at her perfect gel nailpolish while describing this wallpaper embedded with actual predeceased butterflies...wwwwwoooowwww....

But the fun only starts with these little tips and tidbits from the internet. The grand motherlode comes from the Cooper-Hewitt design museum's archive. Cooper-Hewitt is pretty amazing in and of itself, housed in a Victorian mansion built by and lived in by rail magnate and historic philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the museum just went through a several million dollar renovation to put it on the cutting age of 21st century curation (see this New Yorker article for more information). Lipschutz donated a substantial number of sample swatches from her wallpaper archive in 1991...and OH. MY. GOODNESS. Get ready to flip your honest to God wig.

What kind of wallpaper theme do you favor? How travel?

"Artie, get some footage of this! Seriously! You're not gonna wanna miss this!"
Planet earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do....


Weird, abstract sports collage! I can't say I don't like it!

Yerrrrrrr OUT!

Off to the races...

How art deco! I vote all you pupsters as best in show.

Landscape (underwater and otherwise) ?

"My bones denounce the buckboard bounce/And the cactus hurts my toes..."

This one is actually my favorite out of all of them. While it would look best in a bathroom with tons of mirrors, I'd prefer to put this on every available surface in any current or future home.



Isn't it interesting how NARRATIVE this particular panel is? Check out the mesa in the background.

Being a teenager in 1947 was way cooler than being a teenage in 1997, let me tell YOU.

A dance under the stars (les estrellas)!

(classic cowboy instrumental here)
These just look like houses I could live in!



This last swatch interested me the most....seeing as....wait a MINUTE, I HAVE something in this pattern!

Bonjour, Paris!!!!

Nick and Nora apparently took a heavy dose of "inspiration" from this wallpaper panel and used them in their pajamas. I'm not home to take a snap of the ones in my bureau, but here's the link on ebay and some photos of the same model:

I guess that's within their legal rights, but honestly I was scandalized!!!! At least I know my "it looks retro" pattern radar was fully calibrated and ready to detect such duplications!

I have to scoot, but what do you think? Are a magpie collector, or a wallpaper enthusiast? What's the best surreally super swatch you've seen out on your travels? Have you heard of Suzanne Lipschutz? Could she BE cooler? What's your latest stylespiration? Let's discuss! Make sure you check out Secondhand Rose on Facebook, Pinterest, and the world wide web, you'll be glad you did!

Got to get back to work, but have a FABULOUS weekend, keep your fingers crossed for me at the flea, and hopefully I'll have a boatful of goodies to share with you next week! Til then. :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Franchot Tone and Barbara Payton and Tom Neal (Hollywood Scandal, 1951)

Good morning!

How's every little thing? I was telling my friend Eartha the other day that I had two or three blog entries I'd started and not even attempted to finish due to a debilitating bout of inertia, but didn't just saying it outloud shame me into taking action on these poor, neglected posts? So, I thought I'd take a minute or two off from catching up on my Turner Classic Movies watchlist and handwringing over various housework projects that need attention (both of which can wait), and share with you a scintillatingly scandalous bit of salaciousness I was researching the other day. Or at least I found it so! I hope you do, too.

People, Barbara Payton and Franchot Tone-- Franchot Tone and Barbara Payton, my people.

Points gained for the hat, points lost for the inebriated 500 yard stare each are giving the photographer.
I was working on a little side project I've been toying with lately about vintage Hollywood scandals when a brief cotton wisp of a thought about Franchot Tone blew by while I was brainstorming incidents in the lives of ye olde classic Hollywood celebrities. Wasn't there something in his biography about a brawl over a young starlet when he was well into his middle age that put him in the hospital? Sketchy with my recollection on that (so many Hollywood Babylon type stories under the bridge), I turned to Wikipedia as an aide-memoire, which obligingly offered up the following:
In 1951, Tone's relationship with actress Barbara Payton made headlines when he suffered numerous facial injuries and fell into a coma for 18 hours following a fistfight with actor Tom Neal, a rival for Payton's attention.
Yeeeeah, that was about the long and short of it! As I tried to find Google results, I leaned on my new favorite source for contemporary accounts of historical events, which is Google Newspapers. Yea bo, can you dig up some old school dirt with the help of that search engine. But let's start at the beginning. How should you know who Franchot Tone is? Here's a little background on the fellow at the center of this 1951 media storm:
  • Stanislaus Pascal Franchot Tone (you can't make this up) was born in 1905 in New York state. His father, Frank Tone, was a wealthy industrialist/inventor who headed up the Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls.
  • Tone enjoyed some success on Broadway and in New York theater circles before heading west to work in the movies, first with Paramount and then MGM.
  • After signing with MGM, he was slated to appear in the WWI movie Today We Live with Gary Cooper. William Faulkner (yes, that William Faulkner) was working on a screenplay adaptation of his short story, "Turnabout", for the film when Louis B. Mayer requested that they put Joan Crawford on the picture in order to use her in an already-in-progress project. Only problem? There were no female parts in the original short story. "Well, put her in as a nurse or something," LB not-so-subtly suggested, and so the men-at-war movie became a men-at-war-trying-to-get-the-same-girl movie.
  • Donald Spoto (celebrity biographer and one of the very best), opens the section of the book discussing this movie in his excellent Possessed: The Life of Joan Crawford, like so:
    • "Today We Live must be ranked not only as the low point in the career of Joan Crawford but also as one of those most dreadful movies ever made."
  • Um, and that's, we're to assume, not only Trog and Berserk, in Joan's own filmography, but all other movies in the history of movies. Harsh but not exactly inaccurate?
  • So,the movie was terrible, Joan Crawford should not be required to do an English accent for any amount of time... but in good news, Tone and Crawford hit it off at once, begin dating, and marry in 1935.
Love that face, love those accessories.
For you vintage cinephiles and fellow Hollywood gossip mongerers out there, Franchot Tone is actually at the center of Joan/Bette feud theory. If you remember your camp canon correctly, you'll know that there may have or may not have been a long going for real/not for real/possibly for publicity/but possibly not for publicity tension between two of the greatest 1930's/1940's film stars, immortalized in the first and best entry in either's mid career foray into horror, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). Tensions during that filming ran high, but were even worse when the film was successful and a semi-sequel, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte went into production. Joan dropped out a few weeks in due to "fatigue" and was replaced by Davis bosom buddy Olivia de Havilland, starting a media frenzy as to whether or not the two towering personalities had clashed as much on the set as they did on camera. However, according to The Divine Feud and a host of other separate biographies, the Crawford/Davis rancor actually dates back to 1935, when Bette Davis won an Academy Award, but not her co-star's off screen affections, in Dangerous

Better luck next time, Bette.
Joan and Franchot divorced in 1939 but remained lifelong friends...Bette never did get her chance with her co star crush. Tone continued appearing in movies through the thirties' and forties', but as the vogue for Manhattanite roués waned, so did his star power. He's best known for, other than the Crawford and Davis movies, Mutiny On The Bounty, as third billed under the theatrical powerhouse, Charles Laughton, and MGM megastar (and former Joan paramour) Clark Gable. He married a striking blonde actress named Jean Wallace in 1941, but they divorced in 1950, leaving the still-extremely-wealth Tone single and looking-- which is when he fell for the much younger Barbara Payton.

In the movies, Franchot Tone seems to inhabit the same sort of urbane, debonair, wry and slightly patrician man-about-town character from film to film-- someone who would take you to a Park Avenue party and a rally for theater workers unions on the same night in the same tuxedo, before some inelegant mix up involving a runaway heiress or an errant Broadway producer. From the Crawford biographies, you get the sense that he was much the same person in real life...which is why hearing about him being involved in some lurid love triangle that landed him in the hospital is kind of surprising! But don't take my word for it-- I've clipped some news articles from the time and present them here in semi-chronological order so you can see just how wild both the situation and the news reporting that followed got over the course of a few months in 1951.

Exhibit A: 

I love....and I mean I much like a present day news article on DailyMail or People magazine this sounds. Before TMZ or even Entertainment Tonight, you could flip to the celebrity section of your local newspaper (this one, for example, is a syndicated column appearing in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune) and read as much D-I-R-T dirt as you would in our modern age. Hollywood reporters kept on this story for weeks! As you can see in the article, what appears to have happened: Tone takes a swing at Tom Neal, Neal swings back but HARD, and Tone ends up in the hospital.

Barbara Payton was a new name to me-- she was model turned actress discovered in 1950 by William Cagney and chosen to appear in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye alongside his lookalike brother, movie legend James Cagney. That role lead to other good-to-middling parts at Warner Brothers in the next year, including the love interest in the okay-ish western Only The Valiant (1951), with my boyfriend Gregory Peck:

Hi ya, Handsome!
Payton got involved with Tom Neal, an ex-boxer and B movie tough most famous for Detour (1945), around the same time as she met Franchot Tone. So what do you do, drop Mr. Great Body for Mr. Sophisticated Financial Security? Why would you, when you could just juggle either back and forth? Newspaper clipping-wise, Payton first shows up in Franchot's public life grâce à his divorce proceedings from his second wife. Please read the second column closely. Outloud, if you've got friends or coworkers around, and TELL ME the fifties' weren't about as gossip-hungry a public as we are today:

"Corky". As Gordon Ramsay would say, "Wow, wowowowowow." For Payton's part, the blonde authored an almost incomprehensible memoir in 1963, piquantly titled I Am Not Ashamed, which described the dichotomy between her two lovers like so:

It's... pretty much as badly written as that throughout, so I'll skip ahead a little and explain that it was, according to Payton, Tone's idea to get everyone together to "talk this over in a civilized fashion", which quickly devolved into boozy quarrel, with Neal questioning the age gap between Tone and Payton, and Tone referring to Neal as an "out of work body builder". Fightin' words, son. And yet, it was Tone who threw the first punch...and probably lived to regret it I would say. 

More contemporary newspaper clippings:

The end of the first column should say after a champagne reception something about them going to Duluth.
You get the idea.
I love how Tom Neal throughout is like, "Ok. So?" when asked for comment from the media. Also, as opposed to the bland "off the wire" type sound of a lot of present day celebrity gossip reports, I think it's great how first-person a lot of these accounts sound. Like there's some newspaper man in a slouch hat running down the hallway at the hospital to use the phone. "Here, just take this down as I say it,...'Dateline, Hollywood...' " You can see in the fifties' how the iron-fist control of the studios with regard to publicity begins to break down...Warners had already spent an exorbitant amount of money on building up a celebrity profile for Barbara Payton, so it really is surprising that something like this was splashed across newspapers countrywide. If this happened in the thirties', when Tone's star was on the ascendant at MGM, guaran-TEE he would have gone "out of the country" to "rest" after this while some Swiss plastic surgeon worked his miracles on the man's mangled mug. Also, can you imagine getting in a fight with your girlfriend's boyfriend that is bad enough you end up in the hospital? Maybe I naturally spurn trouble whenever possible, but I think after my nose was broken in four places by my significant other's OTHER significant other, I would be moving on to greener, calmer pastures in the romance department. But I digress.

I think a lot of alcohol was probably also factoring into this equation, because how else can you account for headlines like this?

I'm pretty sure they teach you in Northeastern blue blood charm schools that spitting in a lady's face is ne-e-e-e-ver acceptable. Did you catch that she was a witness in a murder trial as well in that second column? Again, wouldn't this make a crazy movie??

By November, things between the movie actor and the starlet had soured, and the barrage of bad press continues on into the spring of 1952, when the brief marriage began to fizzle but seriously. Read it for yourself! Sooooo much drama.

Throughout the rest of the decade, Franchot nursed his broken heart and face, working onstage and in television as he could, but never recapturing any of his clout in Hollywood. Payton and Neal continued to insist they were getting married, touring in a stage production of The Postman Always Rings Twice to capitalize on their notorious press presence, but broke up for good in 1954. Did either of them go softly into that dark night, though? An emphatic no. Once a troubled star, always a troubled star. Here's an article about Tom Neal from 1965...he was eventually convicted of manslaughter in the case of his wife's death, and served six years in prison before being released and dying of a heart attack in 1971. 

For Barbara's part, she descended into heavy alcoholism, arrested in California for passing bad checks and prostitution. She died in 1968, as, Wikipedia puts it, still holding to:
a childlike belief in her Hollywood stardom, which in her mind had never faded. She was unable to acknowledge that her once-promising career had crashed and burned, never to be resurrected.
I mean, how is this not at least an episode of Mysteries and Scandals? Right click this image for a larger version of this final clipping on Payton:

Well, I have to get going, but tell me what you think if you get a chance. Can you even BELIEVE the drama in these newspaper articles? Are you surprised at seeing early 1950's gossip described so frankly in a newspaper anyone could pick up and read? While I knew people were doing things like this in the fifties', it's pretty wild to be reading about it in contemporary accounts! Have you seen any Franchot Tone movies? Are you not shocked that he would be involved in all this? Let's discuss!!

More vintage stuff around the corner, cross my heart! I hope we get to talk again soon. Take care, til then!


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