Many years ago, when I started watching movies in Eagle Theater, I became a fan of John Payne, Tom Drake and Farley Granger, because my seven older sisters found them so gwapo and sexy.
Payne was married to singer/dancer Gloria DeHaven, while Drake acted with Deanna Durbin and, later, visited the Philippines with starlet Dovie Beams. Granger reached the peak of his career in the early ’50s and appeared in starrers with Ann Blyth and Robert Walker.
When the trio’s popularity waned, they were “replaced” by the likes of Tab Hunter and Anthony Perkins. Sexy singers like Elvis Presley and Pat Boone also captured the attention of giggly girls, but they weren’t as “classically” attractive as John, Tom and Farley—whose looks were the standard in the late ’40s and early ’50s!
I remember seeing Payne in his movies with statuesque Maureen O’Hara—John Wayne’s favorite leading lady. He was likewise seen in gangster flicks that gave him sex appeal and a sense of danger. Dames who preferred their men tough but brainy were drawn to Paul Muni, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney, but John was certainly better-looking than any of them!
Tom was as “pretty” as Deanna and his other female co-stars, while Farley, who top-billed Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope” and “Strangers On A Train,” attracted both men and women!
These days, vintage photos of Payne, Drake and Granger transport me back to Hollywood’s Golden Age—but, they’re also sad reminders that, indeed, physical beauty fades!
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