A 2010 photo of John O'Dowd, the author of "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye:The Barbara Payton Story"
"This website is dedicated
not only to Barbara but also to my wonderful parents, TOT
and BETTE O'DOWD, whose kindness, generosity and compassion
touched the lives of everyone who knew them. I miss
you, Mom and Dad."
To the left is the front cover
of Barbara's biography by John O'Dowd, the ONLY biography
of her life that has been fully sanctioned by her son
John Payton, sister-in-law Jan Redfield and several other
immediate family members and friends. "Kiss Tomorrow
Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story", an honest--and
COMPASSIONATE--look at this much-maligned woman's life,
is now available from BearManor
. At nearly 500
pages, the book contains over 200 images, including several
rare photos of Barbara and her family that have never
before been published. A feature film project on the
life of Barbara Payton, based on the work and research
of John O'Dowd, is also currently in development in Los
John O'Dowd's new website is launched in March 2013: www.john-odowd.com. The website features some of the interviews John has conducted in recent years with various actors and recording artists.
Article titled "Scandalous: Barbara Payton's Fast Life And Slow Death In Hollywood" by Linda Boroff and John O'Dowd is published in Issue # 6 of FutureClaw magazine http://www.futureclaw.com/
Article titled "Diane Jordan: From The Monster And The Stripper to John Ashley and Faron Young" is published in the Spring 2013 issue of Filmfax magazine (No. 133).
"Remembering My Friend, The Beautiful Yvette Vickers", a heavily illustrated article that contains material from John's final, mid-2000s interview with the late cult film actress and ex-Playboy Playmate, appears online. (Please see www.john-odowd.com).
Article "Sally Todd: On Sammy Davis, Jr., Jerry Lewis, JFK… and her 1950′s Cult Films", an unabridged version of previously published, two-part interviews with Sally in Videoscope and Filmfax magazines, appears online. (Please see www.john-odowd.com).
Ramage: The Diary of a 1950s Male Model",
interview/article by John O'Dowd, is the story of William
(Bill) Ramage, a former Texan who parlayed his father's
friendship with Howard Hughes into a film contract
with RKO Studios during the company's final days in
the mid 1950s. Following RKO's demise
(which Bill discusses at length in the article), he continued his acting career in Hollywood and also pursued
a career as a photographer's model in both fashion
and product illustration. Bill eventually became the
highest paid male model in the country. One of his
print ads, for American Tourister luggage in 1964,
was extremely popular and ran on national TV and in
magazines for several years. In the late 50s and early
60s, Bill was a frequent guest star on several WB TV
shows (Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, The
Alaskans, Bourbon Street Beat, etc.) and in John's
article, he candidly discusses these shows and their
stars. He also starred in the 1966 British-Italian
spy film, "A Taste of Fear", with Anne Baxter, a project that was never officially released. John O'Dowd's interview with Bill Ramage contains
his reminiscences of a host of performers he knew through
the years, including: Guy Williams, Gia Scala, Mark
Damon, John Philip Law, Inger Stevens, Walter Winchell,
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Ty Hardin, Lucille Ball, Jack
Benny, Nick Adams, Elvis Presley, Troy Donahue, Robert
Conrad, Connie Stevens, Roger Moore, Peggy June Maley,
and many others...including Barbara Payton. The interview
features over 40 photos and can be found here.
John's two-part interview with legendary 1950's cult-film actress SALLY TODD was published in 2009 in VIDEOSCOPE Magazine.
In 2009, John worked with the beautiful and talented Nashville singer/songwriter DIANE JORDAN on a comprehensive interview detailing her more than forty years in the business. John's article on Diane's life and somewhat star-crossed career can be found here.
Blessed with a gorgeous folk-tinged voice and a burgeoning talent in songwriting, singer PAT DAISY left her small southern town in the 1960's and headed to Nashville to pursue her childhood dreams of becoming a successful recording star. Under the aegis of legendary songsmith Curly Putman (Green, Green Grass of Home, He Stopped Loving Her Today), who believed strongly in her potential as both an artist and a songwriter, the lovely dark-haired vocalist signed with RCA Records in 1970 and soon afterwards came out with her first single, the self-penned You’re The Reason. Over the next four years, Pat’s promise as a performer grew as she issued a series of eclectic 45's for the label, including her signature song, the Top 20 hit, Everybody’s Reaching Out For Someone. Pat sat down with John to reflect on her country music career, and their interview can be found here.
In 2008, John worked with actress JANETTE LANE BRADBURY on an interview project covering her prolific TV and film career. Lane began dancing at age five and by twelve was a member of the prestigious Atlanta Ballet. As a teenager, she auditioned for the Actors Studio and was admitted as the youngest member ever to achieve that honor. In the late 1950s, Lane originated the part of Dainty June in Gypsy with Ethel Merman and went on to appear in several stage productions, as well as the theatrical movies Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Hawaii, The Ultimate Warrior and Consenting Adults. Her long list of television credits spans over 35 years and includes guest star roles in countless series (In The Heat of the Night, Gunsmoke, Police Story, The Rockford Files, Party of Five, Savannah, Alias Smith and Jones, The Partridge Family, McCloud, The Mod Squad, Dial Hot Line, Medical Center, and many others). In the early 70s, one of her most memorable roles came as Sally Field's troubled teenage sister in the highly acclaimed TV movie, Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring. In recent years, Lane Bradbury has channeled her deep social consciousness and creative energy into developing Valkyrie Theater of Dance, Drama & Film , a non-profit organization set up to utilize the arts and filmmaking to benefit at-risk teenagers, as well as abused and special needs children and adults. John's interview with Lane can be found here.
John has written (with co-writers Steve Thompson
and Nicole Clements) an article on 70s starlet Christa
Helm's brief acting career and brutal 1977 death. THE
UNSOLVED MURDER OF 1970s HOLLYWOOD STARLET CHRISTA
HELM examines the life of the WONDER WOMAN and STARSKY
AND HUTCH actress whose turbulent, party-girl lifestyle
may have led to her stabbing death at 27...a murder
that remains unsolved nearly 30 years later. Nicole
Clements, the daughter of Christa Helm, has recently
resumed her investigation into the case, working in
conjunction with the LAPD. Steve Thompson's and John's
article on Christa can be found here.
A note from Nicole Clements:
The early 1970's were a difficult time for the women
of the day. Their moms were of the 50's, housekeepers,
held against their will by the 'Right thing to do'.
Divorces of the day hadn't much in the line of options
either. Then there was the incoming age of peace, rock
and roll, and the newfound sex, drugs and freedoms
that no generation of women before had the pleasure,
and pain of experiencing. My mother was one of these
women, finally finding power in her sexuality, as opposed
to the shame her adolescent experiences had taught
her. Her beauty was undeniable, and once she mastered
the art of manipulation and charm, she found her way
onto the path of her dreams. She was going to be a
Movie Star! A few years of modeling and "faking
it" paid off when she moved to Hollywood and changed
her name to Christa Helm. Living in a mansion, driving
a new Jag, rich men falling all over her. Movie stars,
sports figures, rich producers, politicians and musicians.
They were all hers for the taking, and she took, and
she worked, until she found herself on the Yellow Brick
Road of fame. Guest starring in Wonder Woman, Starsky
and Hutch, making B- rated movies, lathering in the
Coppertone commercial of the day with Tarzan, and finally
starring in her own debut film that was never released,
all introduced her to the thrills and dangers of stardom.
The lifestyles of many Hollywood starlets of the time
were filled with drugs, sex, murder, and money. My
mother gained it all, and then LOST it all in a very
short time. Down to her last few dollars, waiting on
a prime role and desperate to survive, she logged all
of her escapades in a journal. The journal is rumored
to have been filled with lovers, events and details
of her private moments. Her affairs, beauty and strength
enraged many who knew my mother, but those same attributes
also brought her respect, career growth, and an array
of people who truly loved and respected the beauty
within her. In the end those who loved and hated her
would all become scrutinized under an investigation
that remains open today, almost 30 years later. In
the early morning hours one February morning in 1977,
my mother was murdered. Stabbed over 30 times and beaten
with a blunt instrument, she was left to bleed to death
under a parked car in an upscale Hollywood neighborhood.
The case remains unsolved. She was born Sandra Wohlfeil.
She died Christa Helm. For more information on this
story and how you can help, please e-mail
me at: email@example.com.
has collaborated with former Elektra and WB recording
artist SAMI JO COLE on an article documenting her country-pop
music career of the 1970s and 80s. The dark-haired
and sultry singer with the husky, powerhouse voice
had a top 20 pop hit in 1974 ("Tell Me A Lie")
and later worked with acclaimed producers Jimmy Bowen
and Jim Ed Norman in Nashville. John's interview with
SAMI JO covers her entire career--from her early
days as a child gospel singer in her hometown of Batesville,
Arkansas, to her slick-sounding, 1975 pop sides for
MGM Records in Hollywood, to her criminally underrated
country singles for Elektra and WB in the early-to-mid
1980s (including her superb version of the old Brenda
Lee hit, "Emotions"),
to the super-obscure sides she cut for Nashville's
Southern Tracks Records before her retirement in the
late 1980s. The article also explores how music
industry politics may have contributed to this exciting,
blues-influenced singer being one of the most underrated
(and sadly, under-recorded) vocalists in pop music
history. John's interview with SAMI
JO COLE can be found here.
"Conny Van Dyke:
Hell's Angels '69", interview/article by John O'Dowd,
was published in January 2005 by PSYCHOTRONIC
VIDEO magazine. In this article, Conny shared some great,
never-before-told anecdotes about her work with Sonny Barger
and the Hell's Angels in the AIP cult film, "Hell's
Angels '69", and equally interesting tales from the
set of her 1970s Paramount crime film, "Framed".
Conny also discussed her recordings for Motown Records in
the early 60s, and her subsequent tours with several of that
label's acts (in which they experienced, firsthand, some
disturbing incidents of racial conflict). Also covered: Conny's
1974 comedy "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings", co-starring
Burt Reynolds and Art Carney, her TV work with Robert Forster
and Angie Dickinson, and Conny's six marriages. To order
a copy of this article, please contact PSYCHOTRONIC
Comprehensive interviews with B-movie actresses Yvette
Vickers and Lindsay Bloom in PSYCHOTRONIC
VIDEO magazine, Issue #39.
"Hollywood Bad Girl Barbara Payton: Midnight
Angel In Flames", a two-part article on Barbara's life and career, in CHILLER
THEATRE magazine, Issues #17 and 18.