WEIRDLAND: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Franchot Tone: family origins, Hollywood adventures (Harlow, Crawford, Davis)

Franchot Tone, Jerry Tone (brother), and Dr. Frank Tone (father) receiving the Acheson Award at Niagara Falls, New York, 1935.

Frank Jerome Tone was born in Bergen, New York on October 6, 1868. He received an Electrical Engineering degree from Cornell University in 1891 and a Doctor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1935. He worked for the General Electric Company from 1891 to 1893 and the Pittsburgh Railroad Company 1893- 1895. In 1895, he became Works Manager and President of Carborundum Company and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1942. His contributions to science and technology were in the fields of silicon, silicon compounds, artificial abrasives, and high temperature refractories. Dr. Tone was very active in The Electrochemical Society and served as President in the Year 1918-1919. He received the Edward Goodrich Acheson Medal and Prize in 1935. In 1938, he was awarded the William H. Perkin Medal of the American Society of Chemical Industries. He was also involved in the affairs of other Societies: Chemical Engineering, Chemical Society, Society for Chemical Industries, Mining and Metal Engineering, and the Ceramic Society. Dr. Tone had a son, Franchot, who became a famous movie actor. Source: www.electrochem.org

Mary Jane Tone (1839-1911) compiled the first genealogy of the Tone family in 1895. Ransom M. Tone remembering Aunt Mary: I can recall her low, soft voice that compensated for the hardness of her thin lips, and those dominating eyes, which, though they were somehow kindly, must still have had icicles behind them. -"History of the Tone Family: Beginning with Jean Tone of Tartas of province of Gascony, France, 1409, and genealogical records of his decendants in Normandy, France, England, Ireland and America" (1944) compiled by Dr. Frank Jerome Tone

Franchot Tone and Burgess Meredith offer some of their popcorn to Mrs. William Palet, wife of the President of the Columbia Broadcasting company, at the New York World's Fair, 19 May 1939.

The penchant of the Florentine Gardens (and Earl Carroll's) for employing underage girls caused legal headaches for the owners. Impresario Nils Thor Granlund gave Yvonne de Carlo her first break in 1940, when Yvonne was barely sixteen (a featured spot in the floor show). While at the Gardens, Yvonne had her share of men after her, including Hollywood celebrities Franchot Tone, Burgess Meredith, Van Heflin and Orson Welles.

Long after Yvonne de Carlo left the Gardens, the programmes still featured her photo in the centerfold. Grandlund was credited with discovering a number of beauties: Betty Hutton, Gwen Verdon, Marie 'The Body' McDonald, Jean Wallace, and one of Orson Welles' paramours (while he was married to Rita Hayworth), Lily St. Cyr. -"Childhood Shadows: The Hidden Story of the Black Dahlia Murder" (2007) by Mary Pacios

Jean Harlow and Franchot Tone in "The Girl from Missouri" (1934).

Made just as the Hays Production Code was gaining a serious foothold in Hollywood, "The Girl From Missouri" shows how clever authors — such as screenwriter Anita Loos — could frame an entire film around sex and sexual mores without offending censors. In this precursor to Loos’ more famous "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," the central characters are once again a gold-digging blonde (Harlow) and her best pal, a man-crazy brunette (Patsy Kelly) who cares more about looks than money. "The Girl From Missouri" bears some resemblance as well to 1953′s "How to Marry a Millionaire," with Harlow a precursor to Bacall’s no-nonsense “Schatze”, and Kelly a close cousin to Grable’s “Loco.” Source: filmfanatic.org

She bit her lips in sulky silence. -What sort of a part am I getting? Arthur Landau (Jean Harlow's agent) replied: -Jack Conway is the director and you are getting Franchot Tone as a leading man, and Lionel Barrymore. -Franchot is cute and refined, Jean said: Very rich and educated. Arthur telephoned Bernard H. Hyman, the producer of "The Girl from Missouri," that Jean would be in his office. -Harlow: An Intimate Biography (Lively Arts) by Irving Shulman (2000)

In "The Girl from Missouri," Jean is a chorus girl with principles. Still and all, she is on the make for a rich husband. She will not, however, sacrifice her principles and integrity to attain her goal. She doesn't have to: She meets handsome, wealthy Franchot Tone. In support of the two stars are Patsy Kelly, who supplies most of the laughs, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone and Alan Mowbray.

In a variation on "It Happened One Night," "Love on the Run" (MGM, 1936), Clark Gable is again a reporter hot on the trail of a runaway heiress about to be married. This time the lady is his frequent co-star Joan Crawford. Two is company, three is a crowd, the third party being Franchot Tone (at that time married to Crawford in real life) as Gable's pal, a rival reporter. It is Tone who, showing a flair for comedy, supplies the screwball touches when he is constantly being outwitted by his so-called "pal."

Robert Montgomery made a screwball comedy for MGM titled "Three Loves Has Nancy," (1938) co-starring Janet Gaynor and Franchot Tone. Gaynor, as Nancy, is a jilted bride who comes to New York in search of her fiance. She meets a famous author (Montgomery) on the train and, after a series of funny incidents, winds up in his apartment during a party. His girlfriend is not too thrilled with this and departs saying, "I've had a lovely evening, but this wasn't it." Third-billed Tone plays Montgomery's publisher who falls in love with Nancy and wants to marry her. Finally realizing that he loves Nancy galvanizes the author into action and the last scene finds him racing to catch the honeymoon ship.

"Fast and Furious" (1939) starring Ann Sothern and Franchot Tone: The Sloanes' last go-round involves murder during a seaside beauty contest. Among the beauties are Ruth Hussey and Mary Beth Hughes. This last film was directed by Busby Berkeley, famous for his choreography of the Warner Brother musicals of the 1930s. Though the three may be considered "B" films by critics, they are wellpaced, well written and well acted.

"Because of Him" (Universal, 1946) shows a grown-up Deanna Durbin as a stagestruck waitress (Kim Walker) intent upon a career in the theater. By singing an old Irish melody, she persuades an aging actor (Charles Laughton) to give her a job, much to the chagrin of the show's playwright. Seen in this role (Paul Taylor) is Franchot Tone. It's another battle of the sexes, Broadway style. All is resolved when the fledgling actress triumphs and the playwright realizes that he is smitten. In the cast are veteran screwballers Helen Broderick and Donald Meek.

Lucille Ball and Franchot Tone made Columbia's "Her Husband's Affairs" (1947). Playing husband and wife advertising execs William and Margaret, they are trying to market a product brought to them by a screwball inventor (Mikhail Rasumny). The product is a potion that can do anything from growing hair to preserving flowers. The screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer has Tone trying to interest a rich industrialist (Gene Lockhart) in the product and also trying to circumvent the problems posed by Margaret. Helping the proceedings along are Edward Everett Horton, Jonathan Hale, Mabel Paige and Nana Bryant. -"Screwball Comedy and Film Noir: Unexpected Connections" (2012) by Thomas C. Renzi

Back at Warner Bros., Bette Davis trudged "through the professional swamp, brimming over with tears of frustration and rage." In August 1935 the actress was finally given a script and a leading man that met with her approval. The script was titled 'Dangerous.' It was loosely based on another of her idols, Jeanne Eagels, the brilliant, self-destructive actress who died of a morphine overdose at age twenty-nine.

Joyce Heath, her character in Dangerous, "was a drunk, not a doper," said Davis. "She was jinxed, self-centered, neurotic. [She cripples her husband in a car wreck on her opening night.] Personally I did not know anyone like her, or like Mildred in 'Of Human Bondage' but I could recognize her ego and devious behavior, from myself and other actresses." Her leading man was Franchot Tone. He had talent and East Coast breeding, qualities that appealed enormously to Bette. "If the truth be known," she wrote in her memoirs, "I fell in love with Franchot, professionally and privately. Everything about him reflected his elegance, from his name to his manners." But Franchot Tone was already taken, by none other than Joan Crawford.

When Franchot Tone arrived in Hollywood during the spring of 1933, he told friends he wasn't interested in movie fame, the phony glamour, or superficial parties. He was there for the quick money, to subsidize his Group Theater back east. He intended to take the cash and run, but then he met Joan Crawford. The two had been introduced before, in New York, when he was the toast of the town, starring on Broadway in 'Success Story,' and she was just another visiting Hollywood celebrity. At MGM he was on her turf, in her realm, and Joan, in the throes of her "painful" split from Douglas Jr. but still eager for some sophisticated masculine company, summoned Franchot to her home for tea. Tea was served from her set of antique silver, complete with scones and a slight English accent.

She was fascinated with his background, and he was interested in "the power structure of Hollywood," in which Joan was a leading player. What Bette Davis and her new best friend, Jean Harlow, wanted to know was what the handsome intellectual saw in the glamorous but superficial Crawford. Franchot spoke of Joan's "intelligence de coeur," her intelligence of heart. "She possesses a beautiful mind and spiritual qualities that are going to take her to supreme heights," he said. "Douglas introduced me to the great plays, and Franchot told me what they mean," said Joan, whose vocabulary was also expanding. "He taught me words like 'metaphor,' and 'transference,'" she said. "And she taught him words like 'jump,' and 'fuck,'" said Jean Harlow.

"Au contraire," Joan could argue: her relationship with Tone was platonic at the outset. "He helped me recover from my soul sickness over Doug," she stated. The physical consummation of their romance came courtesy of the aforementioned Jean Harlow. Joan never liked Jean. She had "a controlled detestation for the girl," Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. said in his memoirs, also divulging that at dinner one night Harlow rested her hand in his lap while announcing she had just become engaged to Joan's good friend at Metro, Paul Bern.

Joan overlooked that indiscretion, but later, when Jean began to make cow eyes at Franchot Tone on the set of 'The Girl from Missouri,' she decided it was time to put her territorial brand on the cultured Eastern actor. Crawford had Tone's MGM contract extended and renegotiated by her agent, Michael E. Levee. "At the moment, Franchot is Crawford's enthusiasm," said Samuel Richard Mook in Picture Play. 'And when Joan develops a fondness for a person, said person might as well resign himself to doing nothing else until the fondness has abated — as it always does. She simply smothers you." Crawford told Jerry Asher that she had no plans to marry Tone. "I do not believe in marriage for two people living in Hollywood," she said. She believed in marriage "the modern way," she told reporter Jimmie Fidler. Her liberated philosophy would soon be changed by Bette Davis.

In September 1935 Franchot Tone had just returned to Los Angeles from location shooting on 'Mutiny on the Bounty' when he was told by MGM that he was being loaned to Warner Bros. to play opposite Bette Davis in 'Dangerous.' There was no record of Tone's immediate reaction to this news, except for a column quote a few weeks later in which the actor said that Bette was "a tiptop player to work with." Bette was also complimentary to Tone: "He was a most charming, attractive, top-drawer guy. He really was." During the filming she confessed to Joan Blondell that she had fallen hard for the New York actor.

Blondell: "I was on the lot doing a picture when Bette came to see me, all soft and dewyeyed, which was not her usual manner, believe me. She was in love, she told me, with her leading man, Franchot Tone. I was amused. I thought she was kidding. After all, she was married to that sweet guy, Ham, the musician. And, furthermore, I didn't think she went in for that sort of thing—Her career always came first. So I kidded with her, saying that we all get crushes on our leading men from time to time and they passed, although I wasn't one to prove it: I married one [Dick Powell]. Bette got very angry with me. She said, 'Joan! I am not a schoolgirl. I don't get crushes. I am in love with Franchot, and I think he's in love with me.' I said something lame, like 'Give it time, honey,' although I was really thinking, 'Boy! If Joan Crawford gets wind of this, there is going to be war.'"

Adela Rogers St. Johns was at Warner Bros. during the making of 'Dangerous': "I knew she had a reputation for being tough on her leading men. She hauled off and socked Charlie Farrell over some minor misunderstanding on one picture, and Jimmy Cagney got the brunt of her temper on another. So, when Dangerous began and the reports went out that Bette was behaving like a little lamb with Franchot, I suspected something was up." Davis and Tone held frequent meetings in her dressing room. The actress explained he was a serious artist and she needed his input on her character.

"Playing an actress," she said at the time, "is unlike playing an ordinary woman. All her gestures are a little too broad, all her emotions a little too threatening. Her greed, her insatiable zest for living, her all encompassing ego make her seem completely pagan, but an articulate pagan, one who knows all the tricks of the trade."

During the making of 'Dangerous,' Joan Crawford suddenly announced her engagement to Franchot Tone. Her relationship with Franchot was one of utter freedom —although, according to Bette, Joan kept Tone on a short leash throughout the filming. "They met for lunch each day," she said in 1987. "After lunch he would return to the set, his face covered with lipstick. He made sure we all knew it was Crawford's lipstick. He was very honored that this great star was in love with him. I was jealous, of course." Bette appealed to Franchot's actor's ego. She had Laird Doyle, the writer of 'Dangerous,' add new material to his scenes with her. This of course necessitated additional rehearsals, and more private meetings with her. "She almost drove herself crazy, scheming on how to get Franchot away from Joan," said Adela Rogers St. Johns. Crawford called Adela a few mornings later and asked the writer if she would accompany her to the set of 'Dangerous.' "To my knowledge," said St. Johns, "this was the first time Bette and Joan had been formally introduced." "We met previously," said Davis, "at a party at Marion Davies'."

At Warner's that day Crawford, the bigger star, was "her usual gracious self," said St. Johns, "while Bette did her best to ignore her, keeping those huge eyes of hers fixed like a bayonet on Franchot." The visitors stood on the sidelines and watched Davis emote in the scene where she visits Tone in his office and tells him he is a sap to believe she ever loved him. "You! With your fat little soul and smug face. I've lived more in a single day than you'll ever dare live," said Bette as Joyce Heath. "It was a powerful scene," said St. Johns. "The contrast in style between her and Franchot was striking. I could sense Joan standing to attention beside me. She knew that Davis could never compete with her sexually, but talent-wise? That was another horse race indeed. And Bette was the champion in that field. Joan knew that, and so did Franchot. You could see the sparks flying off him as he worked with Bette. She was the first real actress he had worked with since he came to Hollywood. There was also some talk that he was writing a script for both of them to do. But Joan put a stop to that, real fast. Three days after 'Dangerous' was finished, despite her objections to marriage, she took off with Franchot to New York, and the next thing we heard they were married in [Fort Lee] New Jersey."

In November 1935 filming was already under way, while 'Dangerous' was being given a fast edit for a December release, to qualify Bette for Academy Award consideration. Another reason for the haste was Jack Warner's desire to capitalize on the success of Franchot Tone in 'Mutiny on the Bounty,' released on November 7. The Warner Bros. merchandising department was told to feature the actor prominently in the ads and photos for the Bette Davis movie. "LOOK OUT FRANCHOT TONE!—you're in for the toughest MUTINY—you've ever faced, when BETTE DAVIS rebels in DANGEROUS," was one of the popular logos.

Davis, when told of the campaign, said she didn't mind the emphasis being placed on Crawford's new husband. "Franchot was a swell guy, a really top-drawer person," she said. 'And at the time I felt the picture needed all the help it could get. It wasn't something I was crazy about." The critics felt otherwise. "Penetratingly alive... electric," said the Los Angeles Times. 'A strikingly sensitive performance, in a well-made bit of post-Pinero drama," said the New York Times. Oscar voters were similarly impressed. In January 1936 she was listed as one of the nominees for Best Actress. "The winner is Bette Davis, for Dangerous," said Griffith, whereupon Bette felt she was "going to be very sick." Making a short speech, the actress was polite, displaying the barest of emotion, although she claimed later that inside she was happy to the point of exploding. Leading a standing ovation, Jack Warner beamed from table one, while at table two a vanquished Best Actor nominee, Franchot Tone, leapt to his feet as Bette passed by and embraced her. "Oh, God, he was always a gentleman, the tops," she recalled.

In her life as Mrs. Franchot Tone, the metamorphosis began right after the wedding. Following their honeymoon in New York, the couple returned to L.A., to reside at Joan's home in Brentwood. "Hello, tree; hello, house—I'm home again," said the happy bride, who proceeded to wipe out every trace of EI JoDo by gutting the interior of the house she had shared with Fairbanks, Jr. In 'Carnival Nights' in Hollywood, writer Elizabeth Wilson gave the next installment: "The guests are all assembled before Joan appears, pausing first at the top of the stairs. Joan has the best tan, Barbara Stanwyck the worst. While long and lean Gary Cooper plays with the marble machine in the game room, challenging Una Merkel and Charles Boyer to a game. Luise Rainer and her husband, Clifford Odets, arrive, and Franchot Tone instantly goes into a huddle with Odets. The two know each other from New York. As Ginger Rogers eyes the food, Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck, who suffers the torture of the timid, play pingpong, while Joan Crawford looks on holding a little glass of sherry, which she never touches. She seldom drinks, Joan explains, 'it makes me cry.'

The role of Jezebel's fiancé had been initially offered to Franchot Tone. He was Bette's first choice, but she was told he was booked solid at MGM, playing backup to Joan Crawford. William Wyler wanted Henry Fonda, who refused the offer. Wyler assured Fonda his scenes would be photographed in time for him to be released for the birth of his first child (Jane). "Every time I see her face, I think of the hell she put me through on Jezebel," said Bette later.

Joan Crawford was never a hypocrite about sex. "I like it," she said, "and it likes me." Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., always a snazzy dresser, was halfway home, it was said, after his first night with Joan, when he realized he was barefoot. "We were in heat all the time," said Joan, referring to the first year of their marriage. Then Clark Gable caught her physical attention. He, like Joan, could be "savage in his lust," although in later years she told friends she preferred to distract him from the bedroom because he "wasn't too hot in the sack."

"Thank God I'm in love again," said Joan when she met Franchot Tone. "Now I can do it for love and not my complexion." "Sex was God's joke on human beings," said Bette Davis in her memoirs, which led Joan Crawford to suggest, "I think the joke's on her." When it came to her private life, Bette, unlike Joan, preferred to keep the important details away from the press.

"Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it’s because I’m not a bitch. Maybe that’s why Miss Crawford always plays ladies." She had been married for four years before most of the public even knew her husband's name. He was Harmon (Ham) O. Nelson and the two had met during her school years at Cushing Academy. Tall and quiet, he had worked as a musician in New York while indulging in an ardent correspondence with Bette. In August of 1932, on one of his visits to Los Angeles, her mother pushed for a wedding. There were frequent separations for Bette and Ham during the first years of their marriage. While he pursued a career on the road, playing in big bands, she developed an active sexual fantasy life, which led to some heady crushes on her leading men, including George Brent, Leslie Howard ("The only leading lady who didn't sleep with my husband was Bette Davis," said a presumably grateful Mrs. Howard), and Franchot Tone. Bette's affair with William Wyler was said to be her first official extramarital excursion.

In 1938, while Bette Davis' star was rising, Joan Crawford's was on the decline. Voted number one at the box office the previous year, she had now sunk to below the top forty. The trouble began with the star's marriage to Franchot Tone, Metro believed. He screwed up the formula. They had a hot streak going with Joan and her rags-to-riches shop girl-on-Park-Avenue series. Then Tone told her she had the makings of a great artiste, that she could be Bernhardt, Garbo, and Helen Hayes rolled into one. In 1936 Joan told the press that she and Franchot were building a small theater in the east wing of her mansion. This would be used to showcase the couple, in serious plays by Ibsen and Shaw, for the after-dinner entertainment of their friends. "How wonderful," said Bette Davis, when told of Crawford's plans to play Shakespeare. "We are all so thrilled that Joan has learned how to read."

That year movie fans got their first glimpse of the new Joan in 'The Gorgeous Hussy.' This was her first costume drama. She played Peggy O'Neal, an innkeeper's daughter who became the friend and confidante of President Andrew Jackson. "Peggy was gorgeous, but no hussy," said the New York Times, and Joan agreed. When Jean Harlow dropped by for a visit (the two were now close friends; Joan frequently gave Jean "powders for her nerves"), Crawford took the time to explain her new character. "She was a remarkable woman, very intelligent, and before her time. She was a suffragette." "Spell it," said Harlow.

With sets by Cedric Gibbons, hairstyles by Crawford, and gowns by Adrian, including the ten-thousand-dollar thirty-fivepound red-beaded title number, 'The Bride Wore Red' opened in October 1937. "Sharp proof of fans' taste was found in its reception," said the Los Angeles Times; "it flopped resoundingly." Tone told his grieving wife they would revert to their original plan, to leave Hollywood and live part-time in New York, where they could pursue more prestigious work in the legitimate theater. "No!" Joan reportedly wailed. "We made those plans when I was a star. I can't move to New York and be a nobody." Crawford could always work her way around a serviceable tune in the mold of Grace Moore and Jeanette MacDonald. But it was Franchot Tone who deserved the credit for introducing Joan to "good music." When they married, Joan discovered that Franchot had a well-developed tenor voice. It blended beautifully with her husky contralto.

The breakup surprised few. The signs had been scattered around Hollywood for two years. His once-promising film career had been reduced to playing second and third leads to his wife in her starring pictures. In 'The Gorgeous Hussy' his part came to twenty-six lines. "Sensitive husbands don't like second billing," said Joan of Tone, who began to drink. "Vodka zombies," said Ed Sullivan. Once or twice, she said, he beat her up. She loved the guy, and they always made up, after Franchot "knelt before her, made a dutiful recital of his misdeeds and begged for her forgiveness." "She humiliated the poor bastard," said Bette Davis. It was Franchot's sexual forays that eventually unnerved Joan. She told Katharine Albert that she had followed him one night and found him in the arms of a starlet. "It wasn't the cheating that bothered me," said Joan. "It was the possibility that the girl could blackmail us." Bette Davis called the actor and asked if he cared to work with her in 'The Sisters,' due to start filming in June 1938 at Warner Bros. Tone passed once more on Bette. -"Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud" (kindle, 2014) by Shaun Considine.

Zsa Zsa Gabor found Tone handsome in an unconventional way, and "rather sexy, especially his warm, lyrical, and romantic voice. He was also a man of impeccable manners." Zsa Zsa once said: "Frankly, I think Franchot should have stayed married to Jean Wallace. After her, he married that tramp, actress Barbara Payton, who ended up a drug addict and a hooker. Poor Franchot, he was such a kind and decent man. He said that ever since he'd filmed 'Mutiny on the Bounty', he'd wanted to buy a schooner and sail to some remote island in the South Seas: 'I want to spend the rest of my life there with my lady love', he told her, 'An idyllic setting without photographers, no scandal mongers, no studio bosses.'" When pressed by Greta Keller, Zsa Zsa revealed that Tone was a great lover. -"Those Glamorous Gabors: Bombshells from Budapest" (2013) by Darwin Porter

Gloria Vanderbilt, rehearsing with Biff McGuire and Franchot Tone for William Saroyan's 'The Time of Your Life,' January 19, 1955.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raymond Chandler's Star on Walk of Fame, Roy Huggins, Pulp Stories

One of Los Angeles' greatest noir writers will be getting a permanent place in the sun: on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Raymond Chandler is one of 30 people who will get such stars in 2015. Ray Bradbury, Dr. Seuss, Adela Rogers St. Johns and Ogden Nash are among the handful of authors who have stars on the Walk of Fame. Chandler was a novelist and then a screenwriter, the man who created the private detective Philip Marlowe. Chandler began writing for the pulps after losing his executive job at an oil company -something to do with drinking and an affair with a girl on staff (a very noir dismissal). The material -- about a semi-successful private eye who had a way with women and a stronger moral code than the wealthy and corrupt denizens of Los Angeles - was too delicious for Hollywood to resist.

Chandler's Marlowe played by Humphrey Bogart, George Montgomery, George Montgomery and Philip Carey (ABC's Philip Marlowe TV Series from 1959 to 1960). At upper left is Humphrey Bogart, wooing Lauren Bacall, as he played Marlowe in the movie "The Big Sleep." At upper right, it's George Montgomery in the role, getting close to Nancy Guild in the "The Brasher Doubloon." At lower left, Robert Montgomery portrays Marlowe, with Audrey Totter at his side in the film "Lady in the Lake." The announcement about the new Walk of Famers doesn't include where their stars will be. But I have a suggestion: in front of Philip Marlowe's office in the Cahuenga Building on Hollywood Boulevard near Ivar. Source: www.latimes.com

Roy Huggins learned to write detective novels by studying Raymond Chandler, even copying in long hand one of his books so that he could get used to the thinking and style. "The Big Sleep" and "Farewell, My Lovely" inspired Huggins' "The Double Take" (1946), featuring Los Angeles private eye Stuart Bailey. In 1950 Roy Huggins moved into an apartment in Beverly Hills following his separation and pending divorce from Bonnie. Shortly after moving in, he embarked on a short-lived relationship with Franchot Tone's former wife Jean Wallace. Huggins was a good friend of Tone and had known Wallace for many years. Huggins was someone to talk over problems with and for a short time he listened.

Janet Blair and Franchot Tone in "I Love Trouble" (1948)

Huggins wasn't happy when the title "The Double Take" was changed to "I Love Trouble" for the film release. Stuart Biley (Franchot Tone) is hired by wealthy politician Ralph Johnston (Tom Powers) to investigate threatening letters addressing to his wife. Bailey's curiosity is aroused further when Mrs. Johnston's sister Norma (Janet Blair) arrives on the scene and fails to recognize a photograph of Mrs. Johnston as her sister.

When Mrs. Caprillo (Janis Carter) attempts to bribe Bailey to stop probing into the case, Norma recognizes her as her sister Jane. The plot takes another twist when Mrs. Johnston's body is found under a pier and Bailey is framed for her murder. Bailey finally solves the case when he learns of Mr. Johnston's plans to frame him of the murder. The convoluted tale comes to a conclusion with Bailey and Norma planning their marriage. -"Roy Huggins: Creator of Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, The Fugitive and The Rockford Files" (2014) by Paul Green

Harold B. Hersey, the publisher who created Gangster Magazine, wrote in his memoir, 'Pulp Editor' (1937), that this was the magazine “that enabled me to lose money in that enterprise until the depression wiped out the business.” He had also created Racketeer Stories, Mobs, Gun Molls, and Gangland Stories. Many of these pulps came to an abrupt end as the Roaring Twenties drew to a close. During their brief lives, they had failed to seduce the top writers into working for them, and most of the bylines appearing in their pages are unknown today.

Against one wall was a bench. On this bench sat Trixie Meloy, Adolph Shanz, and Beroni, manager of the Palmetto Club. All three were manacled, one to the other. Shanz was despair personified. Beroni was haggard. Trixie wore a look of contempt for everybody in the room. Kennedy came in, sat down at a desk and played with a pencil. MacBride said, “I have a letter here that I’m going to read. It will interest you, Miss Meloy.” Trixie bit her lip. MacBride read, “ ‘To Captain Stephen MacBride: The man you want is Tony Bonelio. I worked in his club. I was Miss Meloy’s dancing partner. We’d danced before, all over the country. I loved her. I thought she loved me. Maybe she did until Bonelio won her with money. It drove me crazy. I wanted to kill him. But I didn’t. I wanted to win back Trixie’s love. But I knew if she knew I’d done all that, she’d never look at me again. I was crazy about her. I was, but that’s over. I was lying here, dying, and I called her up to come over. She told me to go to hell and croak. I’ve been a fool. I see what she is now. But go easy with her, Captain, anyhow. The only thing she did was to go to the block-party and say she saw a man in a gray suit walking away. She didn’t see anybody. It was just a stall. That’s all she did, except what she did to me. I don’t know, maybe I still love her.’ -"Brother Murder" (1939) by T. T. Flynn

Creamy skin, along with jawdropping beauty, is a frequent motif in these stories, as are gray eyes, most notably in Dashiell Hammett’s “The Girl with the Silver Eyes.” Here, the Continental Op comes face to face with an old nemesis, and marvels at the effect this chameleon has on every man she meets. Some of the lesser pulps, those that paid even less than the standard penny a word, began to feature women in the second decade of the detective pulps, the 1930s, while those that sought an audience with racier material, such as Gun Molls, Saucy Stories, and Spicy Detective, had even more ample reason to feature them.

Tough broads appeared in later pulps, either as out-and-out hoodlums or, more frequently but no less dangerously, as gun molls for their gangster boyfriends. Every significant writer of the pulp era worked for Black Mask, including Paul Cain, Horace McCoy, Frederick L. Nebel, Raoul Whitfield, Erie Stanley Gardner, Charles G. Booth, Roger Torrey, Norbert Davis, George Harmon Coxe, and, of course, the greatest of them all, Raymond Chandler.

Cornell Woolrich (1903-1968) submitted a story titled “Angel Face” to Dime Detective, which published it as “Murder in Wax” in its March 1, 1935, issue. A couple of years later, he sold a similar story about an avenging angel to Black Mask, who published it as “Face Work.” This story has been reprinted often as the title Woolrich clearly wanted for it, “Angel Face,” finally given to it by Frederic Dannay when he reprinted it in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine for December 1946. While it has the usual number of plot inconsistencies one expects from the great poet of darkness, it is quintessential Woolrich in all its noir glory. Both “Face Work” and “Murder in Wax” were the basis for one of the seven great novels in his memorable “Black” series, 'The Black Angel' (1943).

It was bought for the movies soon after publication—the first of numerous Woolrich stories to be filmed. Columbia made it into a weak fifty-eight-minute B movie titled 'Convicted' in 1938. Although it starred a young Rita Hayworth and meticulously followed the story, even lifting much of the original dialogue, it is neither a noir film nor a memorable one. Twelve years later, it was aired as “Angel Face” on radio’s famous Suspense series (May 18, 1950) with Claire Trevor as the good-hearted stripper who tries to save her brother from being convicted of a murder.

She was cuddled against me so that I could feel the vibrancy of her slender, exquisite form. I hugged her against me so tightly that her breasts flattened on my chest, but she strained even harder….
Breathless, she pushed away. She said, “Now that you’ve got me here, what are you going to do with me? I don’t dare go home.” “What about a hotel?”“You haven’t even thought of inviting me to stay here?” I grinned. “It’s okay with me. It ought to be safe enough.” When I turned back from the bureau, she was seated on the edge of the bed, peeling off her stockings. The picture was tempting, but I forced myself to think of my job. I should be reporting at the office. I picked up my topcoat. Polly slipped out of her torn dress. While she got into the pajama jacket, I fought to keep from sweeping her into my arms. All that saved her, I think, was her atmosphere of utter helplessness. She said, “You’re being awfully decent. And me, I’m just a gangster’s girl! Funny, isn’t it?” “Before you go,” she said, “I’d like to tell you that, in spite of what they all said, I never really was Dick Tobin’s sweetheart. None of Russo’s crowd ever actually touched me.” She was a little wistful, and I don’t think she really expected me to believe her. Curiously, I did, and my heart was strangely light as I fitted her key into her door. I gave her my coat and sat patiently while she wiped blood from my face. “Was it worth it—all for a gangster’s girl?” she whispered. I put an arm around her, not caring how much the effort hurt. “I don’t care what kind of girl you are,” I told her. “It was worth it!” -"The Girl Who Knew Too Much" (1941) by Randolph Barr