Day Seven of Noirvember: Jack Palance Gets the Confidential Treatment

During last year’s Noirvember observance, one of my posts focused on the scandal rag called Confidential and three film noir femmes – Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, and Ava Gardner — who received the “star treatment.” This year, I flipped the pages of my Confidential magazine collection again, this time unearthing an eye-popping article on a noir gent – Jack Palance, who can be seen in several noirs including Panic in the Streets (1950), Sudden Fear (1952) and The Big Knife (1955)

A magazine that novelist Tom Wolfe once labeled “the most scandalous scandal magazine in the history of the world,” Confidential was founded in December 1952 by former reporter and newspaper publisher Robert Harrison, and specialized in salacious stories centered on marital infidelity, homosexuality, miscegenation, and other titillating topics. During the peak of its popularity in the mid-1950s, Confidential’s circulation was five million – higher than that of Time magazine. Actor George Nader said that every month when the magazine was due for release, “our stomachs began to turn. Which one of us would be in it?”

In January 1956, Jack Palance was featured in a story titled “Shh! Have You Heard the Latest About Jack Palance?” The article very clearly accused Palance of beating and sexually molesting one of his movie co-stars, stating that he was “just as mean off stage as on” and that most of the former boxer’s “punches have been aimed at the fair sex, where there isn’t much change of being hit back.”

The article made several references to Palance’s former vocation as a boxer.

The victim of this particular incident wasn’t named, nor was the movie in which the two appeared – she was only labeled as a “brunette babe” who worked with him on one of his pictures. The article described a date between Palance and the woman, stating that they went to the Malibu Lodge restaurant in Hollywood one night for dinner and drinks. Afterwards, the couple adjourned to one of the bungalows behind the restaurant, the article claims, painting a picture of a seduction scene that the woman was not expecting. When she objected to Palance’s advances, the article states, “Palance replied with one of his million-dollar snarls: ‘You know what you came here for.’”

The article goes on to claim that Palance shook the woman “until her teeth rattled and . . . had his muscular way with the maiden,” adding that the couple didn’t leave the bungalow until the next morning. Interestingly, the article concludes that despite the woman’s encounter with “rock-and-sock ‘em Palance,” she was seen on a date a few days later with “that guy who apparently does know how to handle – or manhandle – women!” Yikes.

After several lawsuits and threatened lawsuits, Confidential’s publisher Robert Harrison sold the publication and started smaller magazines, including Inside News and New York Confidential (which, incidentally is the name of a first-rate noir starring Richard Conte. But I digress). Harrison died in 1978 – the same year that Confidential finally printed its last edition.

If you ever have occasion to get your mitts on a copy of Confidential – especially an issue dated before 1958 – by all means, jump at it. You won’t believe your eyes.

Join me tomorrow for Day 8 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 7, 2018.

9 Responses to “Day Seven of Noirvember: Jack Palance Gets the Confidential Treatment”

  1. Interesting timing.The ‘dirt’ on Palance in Confidential came on the heels of the Big Knife wherein is a subtext about keeping items out of the press(Wendell Corey’s job)

  2. Excellent post !

  3. Oh wow. I see him in a whole different light now. I wonder if any of that was true, though … what do you think?

    • I’ve been giving this some thought, VB, and I just don’t know what to think. There’s the whole “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” adage to consider, but on the other hand, Confidential was known for making scandalous mountains out of miniscule — if not completely invisible — molehills. It’s a quandary.

  4. Super post! I have a couple of issues of Confidential, but I hadn’t read this one with the Jack Palance article. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Thank you, Amy! I only have four in my collection, but looking over them for this post made me want more. I checked eBay, and it seems that the earlier ones that I’m looking for are pretty scarce. I’m not giving up, though! This stuff is gold.

  5. […] Day Seven: Jack Palance Gets the Confidential Treatment […]

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