John Payne


  1. Joel McCrea, Come And Get It, 1936.       Producer Sam Goldwyn decided Payne should be Edward Arnold’s son the film of  Edna Ferber’s ecological “rape of America” novel. Howard Hawks did not agree. And he was directing. This was far from the   only issue the two men argued about (The Silver Fox was not really filming the Edna Ferber book!) and, finally, Hawks was sacked or quit… depending on who you talked to.
  2. Jon Hall, The Hurricane, 1936.        After losing his contract star Joel McCrea (“I don’t look native, I look like an  Irish  cop”) and Errol Flynn, producer Sam Goldwyn searched somewhat desperately for his Polynesian hero  among his other  all-American contract actors as Payne and Frank Shields. Hall’s mother was from Tahiti, where he was raised.  Goldwyn  insisted  on for  the Fresno kid’s debut.   Rubbish! Well, his first as Jon Hall, perhaps, having made eight as Charles Locher (his birth name) or Lloyd Crane. Wasn’t it publicity enough that Hall was related to the Hurricane novelist, James Norman Hall,.. and next-door neighbour of the epic’s director, John Ford.
  3. Jeffrey Lynn, The Fighting 69th, 1939.      About turn!! Lynn took over the oddly named Joyce Kilmer when John Payne’s Warner Bros contract was severed – while William Gargan was also suddenly replaced by Dick Foran.
  4. Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Green Hell, 1939.   Universal wanted Warner’s Payne to head up the group of Indiana Joneses in the quite crappy adventure. Junior Doug ratedthe film so highly he never mentioned it in his memoirs. 
  5. Robert Cumming, Moon Over Miami, 1940.  Payne  was nearly among  the targets of a pair of Texas carhop waitresses, Betty Grable and Carole Landis, in the second re-tread of 1938’s Three Blind Mice  when  he found himself shoved into Sun Valley Serenade – with two other Miamicandidates, Lynn Bari and Joan Davis.  That was the Fox way. Much the same at MGM, too.
  6. John Sutton, Ten Gentlemen From West Point, 1941.     Payne was all set for one of Maureen O’Hara’s beaux… until delayed by illness and, subsequently, re-shoots on To the Shores of Tripoli.
  7. Victor Mature, Song of the Islands, 1941.      Once Joan Davis and Alice Faye were bypassed (in ’37 and ’38), it was always going to be Betty Grable as Eileen. But who for her Irish beau on the tropical isle of Ahmi-Oni? Cummings, Don Ameche, John Payne or Mature, the new kid on the Fox block, who looked and sounded as Irish as Cheetah.
  8. Tyrone Power,  Crash Dive, 1942.      The star’s credit read: Tyrone Power, USMCR.  His war service was delayed to let him finish the submarine movie before joining the Matines. His producer, Milton Sperling, didn’t wait that long. He simply quit the movie to also enlist, also in the Marines. Power started WWII as a private and when  he died, he was a major in he US Marine Corps Reserves.
  9. George Montgomery,  China Girl, 1942.      Ya cain’t always get wot ya wanna… Head Fox Darryl Zanuck short-listed Payne and Pat O’Brien as the WWI heroes – played by Montgomery and Victor McLaglen.  
  10. Lon McAllister, Home In Indiana, 1943.       If what they called trotters and harness-racing is your thing, this homespun tale is up your race track. Payne was replaced when director Henry Hathaway decided that the troubled young protagonist should be a teen… With two girls to chase. June Haver, as the bad ’un, somehow got away with wearing fewer clothes than usually OKed by the Hays Office censors.

  11. Dan Dailey, Mother Wore Tights, 1946.      Fox and director Walter Lang wanted Fred Astaire or James Cagney for song-and-dancer Frank Burt.   Betty Grable wanted Payne, her co-star in four previous films (Tin Pan Alley, 1939 ; Footlight Serande, 1941; Springtime in the Rockies, 1941; The Dolly Sisters, 1944. She got Dailey instead – the first of four films with him!
  12. Dana Andrews, Boomerang! 1946.   Despite considerable age differences, Payne (34), Joseph Cotten (41), March (49) and Walter Huston (63) were short listed for the idealistic prosecutor bravely dropping trumped-up charges against the suspect in the 1924 Connecticut murder of a Catholic priest. Andrews was 37 and the real real prosecutor, Homer Stille Cummings, 54 at the time. He famously declared it was vital to protect the innocent as well as convicting the guilty. Nine years later, President Franklin Roosevelt made him America’s Attorney General.
  13. Richard Conte, 13 Rue Madeleine, 1946.      Ya  cain’t always get wot ya wanna II… Not even if you were Darryl Zanuck. For his US Amy Intelligence thriller,  he wanted such people as  Payne, William Eythe, Glenn Langan for O’Connell, plus Rex Harrison or Randolph Scott, as spy boss Bob Sharkey. And lost ’em all!   Plus Mark for Lassiter.
  14. George Montgomery, The Brasher Doubloon, 1946.   Payne, Dana Andrews, Fred MacMurray and Victor Mature were in the frame when Fox gave the case back to Philip Marlowe – having first adapted Raymond Chandler’s The High Window in 1941 as Lloyd Nolan’s seventh and final outing as Brett Halliday’s shamus, Michael Shayne. Akin to Batman borrowing a Superman story.
  15. Alan Young, Chicken Every Sunday, 1948. Cast changed completely as the comedy moved from Warner to Fox. Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara, Jeanne Crain, John Payne became Dan Dailey, Celeste Holm,  Colleen Townsend and   Alan Young. York Times critic Bosley Crowther said the movie‘s menu was good, substantial cooking in the Hollywood sentimental style, larded with wholesome portions of Ma-Loves-Pa, seasoned with generous sprinklings of standard bucolic farce.
  16. Tyrone Power, An American Guerrilla in the Philippines, 1949.      Legal problems over  portraying the Filipino wife of the hero based on US Navy  Lieutenant Iliff David Richardson, stopped shooting in 1945.  Good news for Fox, which re-started everything once Tyrone Power returned home (as a US Marines Corps lieutenant, himself) from the same WWII.
  17. William Powell, Dancing in the Dark, 1949.     After thoughts of Dick Haymes and Clifton Webb, Payne was the 1947 notion  for the conceited movie idol turned lowly talent scout who discovers… Jean Peters.  (Before Howard Hughes had done that!). Terrible film proving that only MGM could make musicals, not  Fox. 
  18. John Derek, Scandal Sheet, 1951.      Or The Dark Page when Sam Fuller wrote his first novel – headed towards Broderick Crawford with William Holxden or John Payne – before Howard Hawks paid $15,000 for it. After completing Red River, 1946, The Silver Fox planned the Fuller thriller (reporter investigates his editor’s crime) for Cary Grant and Edward G Robinson. Or Cary and Humphrey Bogart!!! They were never available at the same time. Hawks dropped it. Phil Karlson picked it up to reunite the 1949 stars of All The King’s Men, Derek and Broderick Crawford.
  19. Roger Moore, Moonraker, 1979.



 Birth year: 1912Death year: 1989Other name: Casting Calls:  19