Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tom Towers: Beyond the Movie

On previous occasions we've mentioned that Tom Towers not only assumed the role of Al Chop for the film, but also juggled other interests during his career.

From Jack Lait Jr's "Hollywood" column as it appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle (NY) of November 24, 1950:  "There's a young reporter named Tom Towers on the Los Angeles Examiner, as handsome a lad as any movie star you could name. . .regarded as one of the best reporters on the staff. . .

"Two years ago a studio exec spotted Towers and asked him if he'd like to be a Western star, at a salary several times the size of his newspaper wage.  To his astonishment, Towers said no thanks.  'I've already got a job.’ "

Weeks later, the studio executive, Ralph Pollock, offered Towers the starring role in a movie whose intended title at that time was "Deep is the Well," about a childhood tragedy.  Towers finally gave in and agreed to do the movie -- but his city editor refused to allow him even a brief leave of absence because an American Legion convention was coming to town and Towers' assets as a reporter were required.

And there is this earlier report from the St. Petersburg Times of April 12, 1950:  Towers was sent to cover an elite fashion show in Beverly Hills for the Los Angeles Times, and after judges chose the best female dressers, they diverted their attention to the men present and Towers was named "the top male fashion plate."

Grumbled an unnamed city desk reporter, "That is what happens when a newspaperman gets a college education."

It seems there was far more to Towers’ legacy than we may ever know.  Learning the details about his work as a military intelligence officer during WW II would probably offer considerably more substance to his life’s journey than noted so far. 

(Thank you to researcher and author Barry Greenwood for unearthing more newspaper gems.)