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Kiss and Tell

August 24, 2007 |  8:30 am



Aug. 24, 1957
Los Angeles

And where does our favorite scandal magazine get such high-quality dirt?  (Oh, I know, people only read it at the beauty parlor and the barbershop). It turns out that in Hollywood, money will unseal lips that are locked tightly--at least when it comes to the printed word if nothing else.

The reasons: Payback (mostly) and publicity (occasionally). The canceled checks tell the tale.

Let's turn to one of my favorite issues, March 1957. That was the saucy little number with the story about Maureen O'Hara's tryst at Grauman's --except she was out of the country at the time.

Confidential_1957_03_turner01_2 The March 1957 issue also has the jaunty tale of the night a humble bartender pitched a double-header to Lana Turner and Ava Gardner. Turns out that the gals weren't keeping score as the game went into extra innings--but Donald L. Bledsoe certainly was.

Canceled checks written by Hollywood Research Inc. and introduced as evidence in the Confidential magazine trial showed that Bledsoe was paid $1,000 ($7,165.28 USD 2006) to report his earned run average from the encounter.

The checks also showed:

  • Robert Tuton, the maitre d' at a Hollywood cafe, received $750, plus a loan of $100, to confirm information "about his affair with Joan Crawford." Tuton also recruited Stella Shouel, an ex-prostitute who was a prolific source of information, including stories on Dan Dailey, Walter Pidgeon, Fredric March and Dane Clark, the Mirror said.
  • Jane Cameron was paid $500 for information she learned as a nanny at the home of Dean Martin's ex-wife.
  • 1950_shouel
  • Allan Nixon received $300 for material on ex-wife Marie Wilson and several other people.
  • Vera Frances was paid $250 for a story about her affair with John Jacob Astor and another $250 for an article about Edward G. Robinson.
  • In addition to being paid for information on Donald O'Connor and Mickey Rooney, former jockey William Chaney received a capper's fee for introducing two more informants, one of whom was Gloria Wellman. The estranged daughter of Hollywood director William Wellman was paid $300 for information on a nude pool party at the home of John Carroll.
  • Interior decorator Paul Corday received $300 for information on Denice Darcel, a  now forgotten actress who appeared in  "Dangerous When Wet" and  "Flame of Calcutta."
  • Press agent Bruce Jones got $500 for information on a story about Lex Barker. Jones said he represented a starlet who needed the publicity. Apparently this was Jeanne Carmen, who appeared with Barker in "War Drums"  and was featured in the July 1957 article: "The Gal Who Had Lex Barker Up a Tree."

Bonus facts:

In 1950-51, Shouel appeared in a series of stories about her legal fight to regain custody of a daughter, Nancy Ann, whom she put up for adoption. Identified as a TV singer and model, Shouel attempted suicide during the litigation against adoptive parents Harry and Beverly Jo Levy, who eventually conceded to return the girl. Shouel died Dec. 22, 1962. She was 33.

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