DiscoverYou Must Remember This102: Barbara Payton (Dead Blondes Part 10)

102: Barbara Payton (Dead Blondes Part 10)

Update: 2017-04-04


In our Joan Crawford series, we talked about Barbara Payton as the young, troubled third wife of Crawford’s ex Franchot Tone, whose inability to choose between Tone and another actor brought all three of them down into tabloid Hell. Today, we revisit Payton’s story, and expand it, to explore her rise to quasi-fame, and the slippery slope that reduced her from “most likely to succeed” to informal prostitution, to formal prostitution, and finally to a way-too-early grave. 

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you must remember this is sponsored by The Great courses plus get your first full month free by going to my special URL The Great courses plus dot com slash remember there were also sponsored by Smith and Noble get twenty percent off your window treatments at Smith and Noble dot com slash remember the the the the the the led to another episode of You Must Remember This podcast dedicated to exploring the secrets and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century part of the Cantina I'm your host appearing along and this is another installment in our ongoing series Dead blinds way the the in the the excitement the the the the and the no shock to see you rest the the the The Today we're going to go back in time of death in more ways than one we're going to in history to before the ascendancy of Marilyn Monroe to talk about an actress who went looking for stardom the same time as Marilyn and whose blond bombshell gifts should perhaps have made her equally eligible as the former Jean to become the top line of the nineteen fifties that Barbara Payton never got the chance to prove herself as an actress and though she lived five years longer her quality of life and been on the decline virtually ever since the highest point of her stardom almost two decades before we've talked about Barbara Payton before this episode revisits some material we discussed last summer and are Joan Crawford series Crawford's second husband French O town married Peyton when she was Hollywood's hottest up and coming starlets in that episode we focused on Payton as the fulcrum of tones post Joan Crawford decline today we're going to expand Barbara Payton story to talk about her life before French O town and to use her own words to help explain how she ended up first a destitute prostitute and then the dead at the age of thirty nine join us won't you for the full story of Barbara Payton the I started this podcast to give me an excuse to learn new things everyday so of course I'm so happy to have the show sponsored by The Great courses class the subscribers to The Great courses class get to gorge themselves wonderful award winning experts about all kinds of fascinating topics you can watch their entire library video courses there over a thousand lectures and more are added all the time as subscriber to great was this class I can learn about different people and places throughout history even brush up on my photography and cooking skills and unable anywhere from any of my devices you should check out The Great courses plus to course is The Secrets of Great Mystery this course episode called The fam fake owl which breaks down that are contained in to a list of elements including skill for deception and more lecturer says dash will have its novel Maltese and The Big Sleep to provide examples the lecture fascinating why fam for towels need to get punished in the and templates can be played with sand up now for The Great plus and you'll get the first I going The Great courses class that com slash Get started Today we love sand at the Great courses plus dot com remember that's the great courses class dot com slash fifth for the nineteen forty five Barbara Hayden was a seventeen year old newlywed her then husband John an Air Force captain was actually by Ray's second husband she had eloped with the high school boyfriend sixteen months earlier a union which was rapidly in old the virus seems to have seen John Peyton has her ticket out of the Texas oil town where she lived with her parents who were both heavy drinker us or when John asked her where she wanted to go on her honeymoon she said Hollywood when the honeymoon was over Barbara didn't want to leave and John used the GI Bill to enroll at USC virus in female deny dish and herself at RK O which resulted in an invitation to attend classes at the studio school for starlings with the promise of our real screen test sometime future when it came time to rehearse for the test Barbara fainted she thought it was nerves the studio doctor told her she was pregnant the Iris as she considered suicide but not abortion it had ruined my career but I knew I would have a baby she wrote the IRA would later make it sound as though she use the pregnancy as her husband the couple lived together for over was born and their divorce would be finalized until nineteen fifty after Barbara was already becoming a star in fact by then she was already perilously close to her peak leaving her seventeen month John Junior with friends in May nineteen forty eight Barbara began to conquer Hollywood as a bachelor acts she started modeling and dancing in a nightclub revue by January nineteen forty nine she had landed a standard contract at Universal fire I would later describe a series of encounters with men during this period that helped her get ahead she uses pseudonyms for all of them and and it's hard to fact check any of the details that she provides the image she hates herself is of a girl who was happy to go to bed with a man who could help or professionally if she wanted to go to bed with him anyway the over and over again she states that she didn't believe in exchanging sex for movie work that sad there were definitely man she wanted to have sex with and to help her get work and sometimes those were the same and she mentions who gave her jewels and furs after falling in love with her at first sites she claims that one film financier helped her get parts all through nineteen forty nine simply because he enjoyed her company and that she only had to sleep with him wants she pretty blatantly blind items Howard Hughes an anecdote about trying a reverse psychology trick on a producer who asked for outs rather than He give her mumbo about getting her cast in a movie she asked that he just treat her like a girl Barbara claims this producer agreed that a few dates he never tried to get a bed with her and he didn't try to cast her in a movie and eventually it was the latter that made her mad she mentions medallions with the famous married philanthropist actor who died of a heart attack in bed with a woman which sounds like it could be John Garfield with a few details changed to confuse us into thinking it could be Errol Flynn in any case Barbara would claim that it was this actor in his life and his sudden death who inspired her to do whatever she had to follow what she believed was her fate it's the But Barbara doesn't mention is that she needed to go looking for work because she had been dropped from her contract at Universal her biographer John O'Dowd quotes sources who say that the morals clause was invoked against her due to her affair with Bob Hope who was the top box office star in the world in nineteen forty nine and he would Santa Barbara in her own apartment and paid all her bills and who was also married John O'Dowd sources also claim that when his mistress threatened to tattle to his wife Hope paid Barbara off to stay quiet and stay away from him The liberated from Universal Barbara landed the first part of her career in a movie called trapped trapped was what was called at the time a semi documentary meaning that it's introduced by an infomercial for the Treasury Department before a dramatization romanticize in the work of federal agents to catch criminals Lloyd Bridges starred as a counterfeit her and Barbara played his girlfriend who is of herself but thanks to Love finds herself in the wrong the Barber had been cast for superficial reasons alone the director Fleischer had picture headshot have a stack and decided instantly She had the look they were looking for the There is a striking publicity still from trapped shot a photo studio in which bridge as tall and sturdy as a tree grips Barbara's tiny apparently painfully as she struggles away the strap of her dress sides of her right shoulder her long loose gorgeous blonde curls are suspended in mid air in a horizontal line pointing this doesn't look like the typical stage still looks like something might happening it looks like he might be actually hurting there were a couple of images photo shoots that were distributed to prevent this movie in another Barbara looks as though to fall to the ground in both of these shots her face is mostly turned away from the camera making bridge as the protagonist of the image in the first image the expression on his face as I don't care about you in the second engine the expression on his face as Don't push me any the Or I Will Kill You The thus the first film in which Barbara paid and had a starring role was promoted at glamour icing the idea woman as a punching bag all the that this is what the public wanted in nineteen fifty as evidenced by the fact the low budget traps became a significant hats and Barber got a big boost from her work and that she was apparently seriously considered for the Marilyn in The asphalt Jungle but as we've already discussed Marilyn had the correct powerful man in her corner which Barbara did nots and then Barber heard from what she claimed was a Madam working out of Glendale that James can be and his producer brother Bill were looking for a new actress the casting call was on a sweltering hot day and while every other girl in the casting office was plainly trying to pretend they didn't sweats Barber came in and put on a show rather than wait her turn for her appointment she barged into Bill cabbies office kicked off her shoes but her skirt up to fan her face and exclaimed It's a hot fucking day blame the guy has a part of the In Kiss Tomorrow goodbye kiss Tomorrow goodbye is a really movie the Academy's their production right after Jimmy the Oscar for Yankee doodle dandy with the idea that the After would finally have the independence to branch out beyond the gangster roles in musicals that have thirties but a lot of those branch outs turned out to be major flops and in nineteen forty nine Jimmy can mean was forced to return to the criminal fold with white heat a throwback to his nineteen thirties gangster which became a huge success kiss Tomorrow goodbye was the cabbie brother's attempts to repeat that success under the auspices of their new production company and hopefully save it said production company from a tailspin process that Kiss Tomorrow goodbye feels like an Congress throwback to the nineteen thirty its from its earliest moments in which kept me in a prison body staged an escape from a chain gang it feels like and these characters is way more evil than circumstances call for gangster movies were popular because I miss the Great Depression there was a real loss of faith in American when the system whatsoever deftly raised against the common man it was easy for the common to summon empathy for characters on screen looks like and who are driven to a life of crime is their only shot at living the good life and who died a noble death in the end as a sop to the censors who insisted that crime could not pay the American Life was really different in nineteen fifty though there was enough of an underbelly to to make film noir possible nor is anti heroes were rarely as thoroughly detestable and cartoonish as khakis fugitive we get no sense that he even locked up for any sort of justifiable crime nor that he was even being treated all that badly all we see for ninety percent of the movie is him totally getting away with being a thug a liar and thief with no code whatsoever and he gets when Barbour was cast as the sister of cabbies escape partner who was shot and killed while they were making a reference at first Barbara wants nothing to do with Kathy her character is imminently that he is clearly a baddie and she doesn't wanna be his accomplice but then he won't leave her apartment's he settles into an easy and starts reading she gets so mad but she throws a kitchen knife at him which barely next his year there are two gorgeous close ups of Barbara realizing what she's done then cab he starts whipping her with a towel this breaks down her result pretty quick and she falls into his arms queue make out and what unfolds as probably the most blatantly said a masochistic romance onscreen of the area again Barbara is playing to be treated badly by that guy but who sexual as is and glam arises being a battered Barbara would later take credit for being the first actress to message in a movie as she put it I just topped and stumbled around and wasn't formal just had fun but her performance doesn't feel particularly natural or honestly very good until the very end of the foam khakis relationship with Hayden doesn't stop him from going after the richest girl in town too at the end of the movie catch Me to farmers a permit to get his things because he's going to leave her for the rich girl but Barbour has figured out that he's allowed us not just that he's into tiny her that it was Hannah who shot her brother and not as he claimed the prison ten minutes before the end of the movie with a revolver pointed at one of the biggest stars of the previous generation Barbara Payton gets the star making moments she'd been waiting for the new life the way to the town and six staked out the lights in the east tomorrow by the shindig you huh the and the nineteen thirties gangsters were martyred at the end of a movie in Kiss Tomorrow goodbye it's inconceivable anyone can be sorry to see Ginny cadres to my face the only possible reaction to this scene is to chair Barbara Payton has not only the hero of this movie but a feminist heroine for the ages who conquers her own fears insecurities and abuse psychosis to vanquish a male monster thus revealing what a joke he was all along kiss Tomorrow goodbye was a hits but it didn't exactly touch off a wave of films that ended with a woman's revenge nor did it result in a string of strong roles for Barbara Payton as we South Jayne Mansfield you can kill off the icons of the recent past but that doesn't necessarily transform you into the icon of the future it just makes you a killer the if you take Barbara Hayden's word for hats by nineteen fifty she was loving the highest of high she was the most in demand in more and that's maybe what it felt like to her or maybe that's how she remembered that a decade later long in the rear view that the facts tell a slightly different story the after not for a few Barbara head start hit the memoirs she was under personal contract Academy Productions which technically meant she was the property of Warner Brothers but this was something different than being the sheltered path of a major the fact still considered up and coming and had not yet ascended to the top echelon is evidenced by an honor she received December nineteen fifty and four and association of publicists united want Haas had poured over the slate of new studio contract stars to pick a dozen or so lovely ladies to be dubbed that year's baby stars who were quote unquote most likely to succeed in Hollywood these lists always combined with real talent go on careers such as Clara bow Joan blind Helen Rogers with young ladies who wear the momentary favorite of and his career such as they were would be all but over by the time be after letting the tradition go dormant for over fifteen in nineteen fifty the publicist list of seven new baby is why this slate included Debbie Reynolds and Barbara paid Barber was the fact that was pointed out in articles as though it was given the fact that meagre Abel was that year's most visible female box office star it was definitely a good time up and coming Blind Barber is stature very publicly announce that they had raised her salary to ten thousand dollars a week meanwhile The Hollywood Reporter made note of her visibility and the nightlife scene setting heard the blazing blonde bombshell and Queen of the clubs and then enter her life walks Joan Crawford's ex husband French O Town The the of nineteen fifty tone was invited to judge a Charleston dance contest at a club on Strip he helped select as winner of gorgeous lined up and coming starlet under contract to Warner Brothers It's named Barbara paid the Barber had recently been named the Most Beautiful Girl in movies by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and she just filmed her biggest part two dates officer James cackling in the film Kiss Tomorrow goodbye though still on the rise in Hollywood Hayden was a fairly notorious party girl one to drink and to enjoy her effect on man and to have murky connections to unsavory characters she'd been and had a young son who mostly didn't live with her the highly civilized tone seems to become obsessed by Hayden's wild spirit Joan and Frank Cho had by this time settled into a comfortable friendship and John had heard enough stories about Barbara that she warned her ex husband that she was a chippy and the tarts and to stay away from Joan Crawford did not exactly have a belief in sr the charity between actresses particularly from an older generation to the younger after all no one had helped her knowing this was probably not the only Tony didn't heed is the fact is French hotel and was both attracted and repulsed by Barbara Payton score since he loved her independence and unpredictability and he wanted to groom her and change her he bought her ladylike need clothes and jewelry which she sometimes wore accompanied by temporary face tattoos which for a short time became her charmingly Gotti personal signature this was how Barbara was turned out at a party French oak tree at the start of a New York in October nineteen fifty two announced their engagements but their relationship was not exactly based on a foundation of trust Barbara seems you have never had any intention faithful to her fiance long before they could marry with the aid of detectives French oak up Barbara in bed with at least one of her male co stars but the real trouble has yet to come well Barbara was filming the cheap e thriller bright if the career let alone an assignment that was basically punishment for refusing to many wonder but the scripts and generating too much scandalous gossip friend Joe went to New York to work and in his absence Barbara Metz and became involved with a beef cake actor named Tom Neal in what seems like either an extraordinary coincidence or just evidence that mid century Hollywood was impossible and says to by Rev Hayden's biographer claims Tom Neal had an affair with Joan Crawford thirties while Neil was a contract player and GM and when Crawford was either separated from but still married to French o tone or just barely divorced from him this biographer says John figured out that she wasn't the only person he'll be sleeping with and that he was in fact also having an affair with Anne and white and that Joan miffed that she didn't have the boy to herself on Neil to Louis B Mayer which led to a confrontation between the mobile and the actor which led to Neil being dropped from ins contracts the dots tone are quite connect in this story to suggest that anything more sinister or conspiratorial was going on either of and Mac Crawford unpaid and had the same taste in men and that the same man or floating around looking for women like Crawford unpaid and in the nineteen thirties and in the nineteen fifties which is to say incredibly beautiful women who enjoy active sex lives but based on what happened in the late nineteen thirties it seems unlikely that Tom Neal didn't know who Frank Cho telling lies when he met Barbara Payton in nineteen fifty and if so that would mean that Tom Neal knew perfectly well whose life he was about to light a garbage fire of July thirty fifty one bar for an answer reporters that she was no longer going to marry French o tone and in fact she even proposed marriage to Tom Neal four minutes after they had Mac's Tom put it Newsweek quotes wire asked me she was engaged to town but tell me she wanted me because he was too dull she said I was excited this was apparently to French Oh who returned from New York the onset get his fiance in mid the day before she and Tom were scheduled to marry Barbara the Beverly Hills Hotel later I recalled her maid back and bring it to the hotel met Barbara and French have spent the evening making the rounds of Strip nightclubs and after they return to Barber's apartments where they found Tom partying of friend Barbara's ex fiance and scheduled to marry the next morning started exchanging and asked him to get rid new French oak and financially and give her entree into acting could he physically defend her answer turned out to be no time hunched French oh so hard in the face that he went flying through the air and landed several feet away he was knocked unconscious for moments and he awoke to find time kneeling on his chest pummeling clear of town got any punches and it all at one point Barbara try to intervene and Tom accidentally elbowed her in the face giving her a black eye the beating until another finally in pulling Tom of town a broken broken cheek bone and and a concussion the he was unconscious the doctors worried that a concussion may have caused blood clots which could lead to stroke
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102: Barbara Payton (Dead Blondes Part 10)

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