Fringe Connections

02 Sep

This post addresses the fringe Flynn-connections in EFB Author Rider McDowell’s highly-regarded Off-Broadway play, Fringe Deaths…



Barbara Payton’s place in Errol’s world is summarized this way in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye by John O’Dowd:

“Few actresses in Tinseltown’s century-long history, with the possible exception of Frances Farmer, have undergone such extreme privations or suffered more extracted indignities than the beautiful, doomed Barbara Payton (1927-1967).”

“Inelegantly described by Howard Hughes associate Johnny Meyer as ‘Hollywood’s biggest trollop,’ Payton spent her early years in Minnesota and the Texan dustbowl of Odessa, before moving to Los Angeles at age 21 in search of stardom.  Upon her arrival the aspiring actress promptly entered into a string of dalliances with all manner of showbiz types, including aging Lothario Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, Batman & Robin’s Robert Lowery and Gregory Peck, as well as assorted lowlifes,  clingers-on and neophytes, though she ultimately rejected Hughes himself as ‘too strange.’  The bulk of her conquests were married, which did little to endear her to the womenfolk of Tinseltown, though as Payton’s former lover Steve Hayes puts it ‘she didn’t seem to care about anything except getting laid and having a good time.”


The Adventures of Superman star had at least one connection to The Adventures of Robin Hood star through Jerry Giesler, who petitioned for a reinvestigation of Reeves’ mysterious suicide as a possible homocide.



Jacob Rubinstein’s connection to Errol was through one of Errol’s other famous legal eagles, Melvin Belli. “King of Torts” Belli represented Ruby after he was charged with killing Lee Harvey Oswald, essentially arguing that he (Ruby) was a patsy forced to murder another patsy.



Though Errol wasn’t a Little Rascal, he certainly was a Big Rascal. Here’s Alfalfa appearing to channel some of Errol’s charm and swag with the ladies.


Here’s Errol with very popular child star Scotty Beckett, who Alfalfa replaced in Our Gang.


Last but not least, Matthew “Stymie” Beard was in Captain Blood!

— Gentleman Tim


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  1. TJR McDowell

    September 3, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Gentleman Tim, this was so thoughtful of you. I loved this little play. We had a great reception every single night, with cheering, crying, laughing audiences and scattered standing O’s. My oldest son, Errol Cross McDowell, was scheduled to play the role of Alfalfa. But he died last year, aged 18, and I just couldn’t go on with it. But I vowed to Errol, I’d get it on its feet in NYC and we did that. Thanks again for this. Errol would be proud.

    • Gentleman Tim

      September 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      You are one extraordinarily talented son of a gun, Rider.

      And, much more importantly, a magnificent father. God bless you, your wife, and your son Errol. You’re the kind of people that make life worth living.

      • TJR McDowell

        September 6, 2019 at 6:44 pm

        Thx Tim. Errol McDowell was just the greatest. Brilliant, tough, kind, hilarious. Amazing pianist and wit and wonderful big brother to his little brothers. Errol started… to raise $1 from every American. He raised over $1 million and counting!!

        • Gentleman Tim

          September 7, 2019 at 2:18 am

          WOW, Rider. I visited the link and watched the ‘It’s a Special Day’ video featuring Errol. What “a very special human being”, indeed. I encourage everyone to watch!


    • shangheinz

      September 10, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Sorry for your loss, TJR. I bet your son with Errol for a first name lived his short life to the fullest. What an achievement to honor him with a play on Off- Broadway.

  2. rswilltell

    September 3, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    The connection with George Reeves, star of “The Adventures Of Superman” (1951-1958) for 104 episodes and a feature film and Errol Flynn, is even more direct. Reeves had a brief role as an Army telegrapher in “Virginia City” (1940). He also had a good supporting role as a cavalry officer in the Warner Bros. Technicolor Western “Bugles In The Afternoon” (1952) which used to great effect tinted footage of Errol Flynn as Custer from “They Died With Their Boots On” (1941). Reeves was murdered, read “Speeding Bullet” by Jan Alan Henderson. The TV series was gearing up for a seventh season when Reeves’ violent death brought it to an abrupt end.
    The O’Dowd book “Barbara Payton: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” is one of the finest if not saddest books about the fall of a big star.
    Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer’s killer was known to police. In fact they labeled the death as a justifiable homicide and released the killer. Switzer was supplementing his fading movie income by being a professional hunting guide with many top-paying clients. He borrowed a friend’s thoroughbred hunting dog for one trip and the dog was lost. Switzer paid the owner in full for the loss. Later on Alfalfa found the dog and decided to return him to his owner and get his money back. The owner laughed saying he no longer wanted the dog and that now it belonged to Switzer. In a rage, Alfalfa pulled a knife and lunged at the man. He shot and killed Switzer in self-defense. Only in Hollywood is truth stranger than fiction!!! Ralph Schiller

    • Gentleman Tim

      September 3, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      Super Deuxper, Ralph! You figured all that out faster than Mannix (Joe, that is, not Eddie!)

      So, there were two connections. That calls for a second image:


      • rswilltell

        September 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm

        Thanks Tim for honoring my childhood idol! Ralph Schiller

      • shangheinz

        September 5, 2019 at 11:58 am…
        Eddie Mannix was the go to gopher for a quick fix in Hollywood. He even was part of the Tinseltown troupe featuring Jack Warner, which visited Hitlers hideaway, called the Eagles Nest, immediately after WWII was history. Jerry Giesler was the shrewed shyster of the studios, who went into action once Mannixefforts were nixed.
        George Reeves
        mother urged Giesler to investigate the possible foul play of her sons dubious demise. But he never got involved, furthermore nothing about that case is mentioned in his biography. For pricely sums between $40.000-$100.000.- he time and time again managed to get clients off the hook like Flynn, Bugsie and Dr. Hodel, a main suspect in the Black Dahlia case.
        Bob Mitchum got 60 days in a cell for illegally possessing marijuana which corresponded to a slap on the wrist. On the other hand Mitch
        s co culprit Lila Leed`s career never recovered.

        • Gentleman Tim

          September 5, 2019 at 4:19 pm

          Excellent detective work, shangsterheinz. Mannix would be proud of you.

          As for Eddie the Fixer, well, here’s a very charitable take on him:

          • Gentleman Tim

            September 5, 2019 at 4:38 pm

            as for lila, the head-turning lana turner look-a-like, she shoulda said no!, shangheinz!



            • shangheinz

              September 7, 2019 at 6:30 pm

              Goodman Tim; One more gal who should`ve said “No!” was dancer Vicki Evans. She also was present at Bob Mitchums MJ bust, (together with Lila Leeds they were three of a kind). At the alter she had said “Yes!” to writer and some time Columbia extra Jeff Connors. This guy was fingered to the LAPD as possible Black Dahlia murderer by fellow wannabe writer Leslie Dillon. When he who cried murderer in turn was considered a viable suspect, who did he call for legal representation…!? Jerry Giesler! PS: All the above mentioned had different names by birth- you either have an alibi or an alter ego…

          • shangheinz

            September 6, 2019 at 4:03 pm

            Very welcome G-man Tim. Robert Mitchum could take care of himself:…

    • shangheinz

      September 6, 2019 at 4:01 pm

      Its a bird, its a plane..its Super Sleuth! You go and tellem, Rushstreet Ralph, all about the night Superman died. The film about this lingering suicide mystery was a lame dud. Starring Ben Affleck who got Batman a bad name.
      With no Giesler attached we forever may never know what happened that fateful night. After all it was Jerry G. and Mannix Eddie who came up with a way out for Lana Turner in the stabbing of mobster marine Johnny Stompanao.

      • rswilltell

        September 9, 2019 at 2:54 pm

        First I read TJR McDowell’s posting above more carefully and could not agree more with Gentleman Tim’s comments. TJR is truly a man for all seasons.
        Heinz you must get the book on the death of George Reeves “Speeding Bullet” by Jan Alan Henderson. Mrs. Besselo (George’s strange and possessive Mommy Dearest) did in fact hire Jerry Giesler. The famed attorney hired a team of private detectives to investigate. They hung around Mrs. Besselo’s house while she made them sandwiches and poured them coffee. Then suddenly they were gone after Jerry Giesler dropped the case. Why? I leave you with the initials EBW. Ralph Schiller

        • shangheinz

          September 10, 2019 at 9:56 am

          Rushstreet Ralph, I rest my case. EBW- Ernst Blofeld Warner!? I really have to get me that book…

          • rswilltell

            September 10, 2019 at 8:06 pm

            There is a connection with the famous New York City brothel Madame, Polly Adler and EBW. Also I wish to thank-you for recommending the book on the mystery surrounding the death of another Reeves’ co-star Leslie Howard, ‘Flight 777’. It arrived yesterday and looks intriguing! Ralph Schiller

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