Well, after a dozen of hours of what I'll generously call 'research', have found nothing that elaborates on the theme of this tiny thread – just another mention at the start of a Salon interview. Both sources may have just copied or repeated it without question, as in this one interview there's no quote giving the exact story... Best to put it to bed, unless someone else has some other info. The liner notes for Bob Mitchum's cd were written by a Joseph Laredo and it came out in 1995, just in time to give ol' Bob a chuckle at perhaps another myth added to the pile. And it also perhaps was a chance to put behind him an anti-semitic comment or two that he tossed off in an interview in the late 80s or early 90s. Here are some choice quotes (and I know its off topic, but our fearless leader can bury this later) from the late great Mitchum...
BY DICK LOCHTE
...Mitchum was the genuine article -- the Hollywood tough guy as hard-boiled as the heroes he played. He'd walked the walk, a runaway who hit the rails as "a thin, ferret-faced kid" of 14 and who, two years later, wound up on a chain gang in Georgia. He was a drifter, a boxer, a shoe salesman and even a poet. He wrote a play optioned by the Theater Guild and an oratorio that Orson Welles produced and directed in the Hollywood Bowl in 1938.
... One of the Los Angeles TV stations, in presenting the news of the actor's death, recalled his comment after being released from prison in 1948 for "conspiring to possess marijuana." Asked by a reporter what the 60 days incarceration had been like, Mitchum answered, "Like Palm Springs without the riff-raff."
... In the mid-'50s, Mitchum drew critical raves for his performance as the homicidal self-styled preacher in "Night of the Hunter." "That was a lovely exercise. But they worked on it for five months after I was finished and Charles (director Charles Laughton) put in a lot of shots of owls and pussycats. Said he thought I was too horrific and he didn't want people dragging their children off the streets when I passed by. The character was too strong for him, but that was what he asked me for to begin with. So he tried to undercut it with root beer floats and lacy laundry."
...Mitchum always got "those prices" in those days. "Somebody says, 'We really want you to do this script.' And I say, 'I'd need an awful lot of money in front to do that one.' And that never seems to be a problem. The less I like the script, the higher my price. And they pay. They may pay in yen, but they pay. Not that I'm a complete whore, understand. There are movies I won't do for any amount. I turned down 'Patton' and I turned down 'Dirty Harry.' Movies that piss on the world. If I've got $5 in my pocket, I don't need to make money that fucking way, daddy."