Editor’s note: Main Street Nashville reprints some of the best front pages from the Nashville Banner, an afternoon newspaper that published from 1876 to 1998. The pages are courtesy of the Nashville Public Library, Nashville Banner Collection.
70 YEARS AGO IN THE
A Hollywood love triangle and bloody brawl made the front page of the Sept. 15, 1951, Banner.
Actor Franchot Tone was in a “semi-coma” after he was struck by actor — and former boxer — Tom Neal and suffered a brain concussion. The two were fighting over the affections of actress Barbara Payton in her front yard.
Tone was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for the 1935 film “Mutiny on the Bounty.” (Two of his co-stars, Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, were also nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for their roles in the movie, but none won.)
According to IMDb, “Just about everyone in Hollywood” warned Tone against getting involved with Payton, including his ex-wife, Joan Crawford. But he failed to heed their warnings.
After the fight with Tone, Neal said he was sorry and offered to give Tone a blood transfusion if necessary. He also said he was done with Payton.
“I was in love with her,” he said. “But that’s over.”
Despite a broken nose and fractured cheek, which required plastic surgery, Tone married Payton later that month, but the union was short-lived.
Neal and Payton reunited and got engaged but later broke up. In 1965, Neal was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his wife. He served six years in prison.