Payday Loans
Lex Barker (1919-1973)

  1. Robert Mitchum, Out of the Past (UK: Build My Gallows High), 1947.   Author Daniel Mainwaring (aka Geoffrey Holmes) admitted much of Gallows was lifted from The Maltese Falcon. So, naturally, he wanted Sam Spade to play Jeff Bailey. But Humphrey Bogart passed (after Pat O’Brien), and Bailey went on to John Garfield, Dick Powell and on loan from Paramount, the future Tarzan… Mitchum made it a classic.
  2. Victor Mature, Samson and Delilah, 1949.     Here’s a review by Groucho Marx: “No picture can hold my interest where the leading man's bust is larger than the leading lady's!"  “Sexy Lexy” became the tenth Ape Man instead, making five junge movies: Tarzan’s Magic Fountain, 1949, to Tarzan and The She-Devil, 1953.  By 1957, he had fled in exile to Europe after Lana Turner divorced him - basically, for sexually abusing her daughter, Cheryl Crane, for three years from the age of ten. He was lucky… In 1958, at age 14,  Cheryl (or was it her mother?) killed Lana’s mobster lover, Johnny Stompanato, for assaulting Turner.  Or,was it Cheryl? In 1968, Shrouded in cover-up mystery, that affair.
  3. MacDonald Carey, Malaga (US: Fire Over Africa), 1953.    Arlene Dahl tells (almost) all. “First choices were Lex and I. But I was making another film at Paramount… and Lex had another film that he was doing with Sol Lesser. [Apparently she could not bring herself to say… Tarzan !] They didn’t want to wait for us.” Not to mention that they had divorced in 1952. Errol Flynn and Indian actress Nimmi had been first been suggested for Van and Joanna. The final couple, Carey and Maureen O’Hara, were previously teamed in Comanche Territory, 1949.
  4. Steve Reeves, Le fatiche di Ercole (US: Hercules), 1957.   Four years searlier, LA producer Edward Small had to give up his hurculean plans - with the 1948-1951 Tarzan. Rome producer Federico Teti picked up the pieces and an MGM pal tipped off former exhibitor Joseph E Levine about it. He saw it in Rome. And snapped “one of the worst pictures I ever saw” forf $120,000. “It had great appeal. There was a market for anything then.” Particularly the way Levine sold it on TV – and with unhseard of full-page ads in UK papers – and collected $1m in the opening ten days. Levine backed the sequel, Hercules Unchained, and used his riches well - making, for example, The Graduate.
  5. Stephen Boyd, Venere Imperiale/Imperial Venus, France-Italy, 1962.     Although planned for her since 1958, Gina Lollobrigida took exception  to “parochial casting” - ie no Americans! And no script in English! Yanks hardly suited the life and times of Napoleon's sister Pauline Borghese. Barker, the one American on board,  quit and sued La Lollo for saying how she had to restrain the Rome media from calling it ... Imperial Tarzan.
  6. Frederick Stafford, Furia à Bahia pour OSS 117 (US: OSS 117: Mission For A Killer), France-Italy, 1965.  Kerwin Matthews had become too expensive for French pockets after two OSS 117 films about Jean Bruce’s secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath. Réalisateur André Hunebelle (surprisingly aged, at 68, for modern spy romps) looked over other Americans moonlighting in Europe - Barker, Ken Clark, Richard Harrison, George Nader - and chose the wooden Frederick Stafford when Ray Danton was a better actor and Sean Flynn better looking. Certainly, the Czech-born Stafford was the only OSS 117 to work for Hitchcock - proving just as wooden in Topaze, 1969. And to think, Hitch once thought John Gavin wooden in Psycho.

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