Jon Hall (actor)

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Jon Hall
Jon Hall 1956.jpg
Hall in 1956
Charles Felix Locher

February 23, 1915
DiedDecember 13, 1979(1979-12-13) (aged 64)
Years active1935–1965
Spouse(s) Frances Langford (1934–1955) (divorced)
Raquel Torres (1959–?) (divorced)
Raquel Torres (?-?) (remarried/divorced)

Jon Hall (born Charles Felix Locher, [1] February 23, 1915 December 13, 1979) was an American film actor known for playing a variety of adventurous roles, as in 1937's The Hurricane , and later when contracted to Universal Pictures, including Invisible Agent and The Invisible Man's Revenge and six movies he made with Maria Montez. He was also known to 1950s fans as the creator and star of the Ramar of the Jungle television series which ran from 1952 to 1954. Hall directed and starred in two 1960's sci-fi films in his later years, The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965) and The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966).

<i>The Hurricane</i> (1937 film) 1937 film by Stuart Heisler, John Ford

The Hurricane is a 1937 film set in the South Seas, directed by John Ford and produced by Samuel Goldwyn Productions, about a Polynesian who is unjustly imprisoned. The climax features a special effects hurricane. It stars Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall, with Mary Astor, C. Aubrey Smith, Thomas Mitchell, Raymond Massey, John Carradine, and Jerome Cowan. James Norman Hall, Jon Hall's uncle, co-wrote the novel of the same name on which The Hurricane is based.

Universal Pictures American motion picture studio

Universal Pictures is an American film studio owned by Comcast through the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group division of its wholly owned subsidiary NBCUniversal. Founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H. Cochrane, and Jules Brulatour, it is the oldest surviving film studio in the United States, the world's fifth oldest after Gaumont, Pathé, Titanus, and Nordisk Film, and the oldest member of Hollywood's "Big Five" studios in terms of the overall film market. Its studios are located in Universal City, California, and its corporate offices are located in New York City.

<i>Invisible Agent</i> 1942 American science fiction film directed by Edwin L. Marin

Invisible Agent is a 1942 American science fiction film from Universal. The film was a wartime propaganda production that was part of a Hollywood effort to boost morale at the home front. It loosely echoed a series of formula war-horror films produced during this period that typically featured a mad scientist working in secret to aid the Third Reich.



Born in Fresno, California and raised in Tahiti by his father, the Swiss-born actor Felix Maurice Locher, Hall was a nephew of writer James Norman Hall, co-author (with Charles Nordhoff) of the novel Mutiny on the Bounty (1932).

Fresno, California City in California, United States

Fresno is a city in California, United States, and the county seat of Fresno County. It covers about 112 square miles (290 km2) in the center of the San Joaquin Valley, the southern portion of California's Central Valley.

Tahiti Island in the Southern Pacific Ocean

Tahiti (; French pronunciation: ​[ta.iti]; previously also known as Otaheite is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia. The island is located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the central Southern Pacific Ocean, and is divided into two parts: the bigger, northwestern part, Tahiti Nui, and the smaller, southeastern part, Tahiti Iti. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous with surrounding coral reefs. The population is 189,517 inhabitants, making it the most populous island of French Polynesia and accounting for 68.7% of its total population.

Felix Maurice Locher, known as Felix Locher was a Swiss actor and inventor and father of actor Jon Hall.

Hall originally intended to go into the diplomatic service and was educated in England and Switzerland. But a friend from Tahiti, writer Gouvernor Morris, suggested he try acting. [2]

Early career

Charles Locher

Hall began in his career under the name "Charles Locher". His first performance was in a local theatre production of M'Lord the Duke, replacing Robert Taylor who had just signed to MGM. [2]

Robert Taylor (actor) American film and television actor

Robert Taylor was an American film and television actor who was one of the most popular leading men of his time.

He appeared in Murder on a Mountain on stage at the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre in Beverly Hills. [3] This earned him a contract at Warner Bros. [4] He followed it with What? No Yacht? at the Bliss Hayden [5] Nothing appears to have happened with the Warners contract but his first film was Women Must Dress (1935) at Monogram.

Women Must Dress is a 1935 American romantic comedy starring Minna Gombell and Gavin Gordon. It was produced and co-written by the former silent film actress Dorothy Davenport, who had been working as a producer since the death of her husband Wallace Reid in 1923. The film was a rare leading role for Gombell, and marked the film debut of Jon Hall, albeit under his birth name Charles Locher.

In April 1935 he signed with 20th Century Fox for a role in Charlie Chan Goes To Egypt . [6] He ended up not appearing in that movie but did have an uncredited bit in Here's to Romance and play the romantic male lead in Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935). After that the studio released him from his contract.

20th Century Fox American film studio

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is an American film studio that is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The studio is located on its namesake studio lot in the Century City area of Los Angeles.

Here's to Romance is a 1935 American musical comedy film directed by Alfred E. Green and starring Nino Martini, Genevieve Tobin and Anita Louise.

<i>Charlie Chan in Shanghai</i> 1935 film by James Tinling

Charlie Chan in Shanghai is the ninth Charlie Chan film produced by Fox with the title character played by Warner Oland.

In Hall's words "for the next three years I took whatever jobs in pictures they'd give me." [7] He had support roles in the Westerns The Mysterious Avenger (1936), at Columbia, and Winds of the Wasteland (1936), with John Wayne at Republic Pictures, and the serial The Clutching Hand (1936). He had the lead in a low budget adventure movie The Lion Man (1936), based on a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He was rejected for the lead of the Flash Gordon serial. [8]

Lloyd Crane

He changed his screen name to "Lloyd Crane" and in 1936 signed a contract with Major Pictures, a company run by producer Emmanuel Cohen who distributed through Paramount. Other actors who had deals with Cohen included Bing Crosby, Mae West, and Gary Cooper. [9] He made two pictures for Cohen, Mind Your Own Business (1936) [10] and The Girl from Scotland Yard (1937). Then Cohen dropped him.

The Hurricane (1937) and stardom

Samuel Goldwyn was preparing a big budget spectacular, The Hurricane (1937), based on a novel by Nordhoff and Hall and directed by John Ford. They were having trouble finding someone to play the native whose wrongful imprisonment is the focus of the drama until Ford introduced Hall to Goldwyn. Hall was signed to a long term contract to Goldwyn, and cast in the film, which was a big success. [11]

Goldwyn paid him $150 a week, eventually rising to $200 a week. [12]

Hall then spent the next two and a half years idle under his contract as Goldwyn - who only made a few movies a year - contemplated what to do with him. There was some talk of a sequel to The Hurricane, [13] of playing the lead in Golden Boy , [14] of Black Gold a film for Goldwyn about firefights in Oklahoma; [15] Fleet's In for Goldwyn; [16] Tahiti based on a book by Somerset Maugham, for Goldwyn. [17] Alexander Korda wanted Hall for Thief of Bagdad . [18] These films were either not made or made without Hall.

Discussing the delay Hall said "At first it's alright because you tell [people]... what you believe to be true, that the studio is trying to find you a right script. But after a year, after a year and a half, after two years, you start to go nuts. You find yourself ducking across the street to avoid people who will ask you what you are doing." [19]

After two and a half years inactive, Hall made three films in quick succession: Sailor's Lady (1940), a comedy with Nancy Kelly that was developed by Goldwyn and sold to 20th Century Fox; [20] South of Pago Pago (1940), a South Seas adventure for producer Edward Small; and Kit Carson (1940), in the title role, again for Edward Small.

Dorothy Lamour had gone to Paramount, and they reunited her with Hall in the South Seas tale, Aloma of the South Seas (1941). He stayed in that genre for The Tuttles of Tahiti (1942) with Charles Laughton at RKO, from a novel by Nordhoff and Hall.


Goldwyn agreed to share Hall's contract with Universal Pictures who put him in a supporting role in Eagle Squadron (1942), produced by Walter Wanger and directed by Arthur Lubin, and a huge hit. They gave him the lead in Invisible Agent (1942), the fourth in their "Invisible Man" series.

Wanger called upon Hall for another movie at Universal, a big budget "exotic" spectacular co-starring Maria Montez and Sabu, Arabian Nights (1942). It was Universal's first movie in colour in years, and was a massive hit. [21]

Universal promptly reunited Montez, Hall and Sabu in two more films: White Savage (1943), directed by Lubin, and Cobra Woman (1944), directed by Robert Siodmak.

Paramount borrowed Hall to play a film star in the musical Lady in the Dark (1944), playing the role originated by Victor Mature on Broadway.

Back at Universal he returned to the Invisible Man series with The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944), making him the only actor to have portrayed an Invisible Man more than once in the original Universal series.

Hall was meant to be reunited with Montez and Sabu for three more technicolor films. However Sabu was drafted in the army and was replaced by Turhan Bey for Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944), directed by Lubin. Bey was going to reteam with Hall and Montez in Gypsy Wildcat (1944) but was needed for another film, and was replaced by Peter Coe. Hall appeared in a comedy, San Diego, I Love You (1945), then was reunited with Montez and Bey in Sudan (1945) - although this was the one Hall-Montez film where she wound up with someone else at the end, Bey.

Hall appeared in a comedy Men in Her Diary (1945) filmed in early 1945 then went into the army. He was out of the army by April 1946 [22] and made a pair of Westerns, The Michigan Kid (1947) and The Vigilantes Return (1947). After this he made no further films for Universal, although he was still under contract to Goldwyn.

Sam Katzman

Hall went on to make a number of films for producer Sam Katzman who had a set-up at Columbia Pictures. Their association began with Last of the Redskins (1947), an adaptation of Last of the Mohicans , where he had to be borrowed from Sam Goldwyn. [23] He followed it with The Prince of Thieves (1948), playing Robin Hood, and The Mutineers (1949).

Hall was in three films for director William Berke; Zamba (1949), an adventure tale, Deputy Marshall (1949), a Western, and On the Isle of Samoa (1950), a South Seas tale.

He was meant to appear in The Last of the Buccaneers for Katzman but Paul Henreid played the role. [24] In June 1950 he signed a new three-picture contract with Katzman and his wife Frances Langford signed a two-picture contract. [25] They both starred in Hurricane Island (1951), [26] and Katzman scheduled Thief of Damascus for the two of them. [27] Henreid wound up starring in that instead; Hall made two Westerns, When the Redskins Rode (1951), and Brave Warrior (1952). He also made China Corsair (1951) for Columbia.

It was back to Katzman for Last Train from Bombay (1952).


Jon Hall is perhaps best remembered by later audiences as the star of the television series Ramar of the Jungle , which ran from 1952 to 1954.

He made a pilot for an unsold series, Knight of the South Seas for his own company, Lovina Productions. [28] It was not picked up for series but the pilot was edited into a film, Hell Ship Mutiny (1957).

He returned to feature films with Forbidden Island (1959), made at Columbia by Charles B. Griffith. He said he wished to follow it with three more movies, two set in the Orient and one a Western. [29] However the film was not successful and it was a number of years before Hall appeared in another movie.

Hall made his final two television appearances on Perry Mason ; in 1963, he played Max Randall in "The Case of the Festive Felon," and in 1965, he played Lt. Kia in "The Case of the Feather Cloak." He directed and starred in the 1965 cult horror film The Beach Girls and the Monster .

Non-acting career

Hall was an inventor and highly skilled aviator. He held patents on an underwater camera, optivision lenses and the design of the hulls of PT boats for the US Navy. [30]

He shot some additional footage for The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966).

With his father, he developed the Locher-Hall Telecurve map, a revolutionary cartographic device.

During the 1970s he ran a camera lens firm, Optivision Co. of Santa Monica.

Personal life

Hall was married to singer Frances Langford from 1934 until 1955, and also later twice married and divorced actress Raquel Torres (m 1959).

In 1944, he took part in "the battle of the balcony," a fight between Hall and big band leader Tommy Dorsey. [31]


Hall was diagnosed with incurable bladder cancer which caused him extreme pain. He committed suicide on December 13, 1979 [32] and was buried at the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hall has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for Motion Pictures at 1724 Vine Street and for television at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard.


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  1. Astro Data Bank – Hall, Jon
  2. 1 2 Harrison, P. (1937, Jul 21). Hollywood NEWS and GOSSIP. The China Press (1925-1938) Retrieved from
  3. FAMILY OF COMEDIANS TO BE SEEN. (1934, Jun 14). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. DANCE and DRAMA. (1934, Jul 08). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. von Blon, K., T. (1934, Jul 15). Studio and theater comings and goings. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. Schallert, E. (1935, Apr 01). Prize story, with jaw-breaking name, looks good for gable and crawford. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. Sullivan, E. (1937, Nov 10). Looking at hollywood. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  8. p.35 Buster Crabbe interview quoted in Kinnard, Roy, Crnkovich, Tony & Vitone R. J. The Flash Gordon Serials, 1936-1940: A Heavily Illustrated Guide McFarland, 14/04/2008
  9. Scheuer, P. K. (1936, Oct 10). MADY CORRELL, SIGNED BY EMANUEL COHEN, AWARDED LEAD IN "END OF ADVENTURE". Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  10. Schallert, E. (1936, Oct 01). TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX ABOUT TO SIGN JESSIE MATTHEWS, BRITISH NOTABLE. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  11. The story of "the hurricane". (1938, Feb 05). The Times of India (1861-Current) Retrieved from
  12. JON HALL, $150-WEEK FILM STAR, SETTLES CONTRACT ROW. (1938, Jan 25). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  13. Schallert, E. (1938, Aug 18). Hall, lamour to do "hurricane" sequel. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  14. Schallert, E. (1938, Oct 29). Jon hall may play role of 'golden boy'. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  15. Special to The New York Times. (1939, Feb 17). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  16. By DOUGLAS W CHURCHILL Special to The New York Times. (1939, Sep 30). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  17. By DOUGLAS W CHURCHILL Special to The New York Times. (1939, Oct 14). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  18. "A FORGOTTEN MAN". The Sydney Morning Herald . National Library of Australia. 23 November 1939. p. 25. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  19. "Looking at Hollywood: Jon Hall, a Forgotten Hero" Chicago Daily Tribune 7 July 1940: d3.
  20. Schallert, E. (1939, Nov 23). DRAMA. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  21. Matthew Bernstein, Walter Wagner: Hollywood Independent, Minnesota Press, 2000 p441
  22. Special to The New York Times. (1946, Apr 06). MISS BEL GEDDES SIGNS AS RKO STAR. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  23. Special to The New York Times. (1946, Jun 22). 'LAST OF MOHICANS' TO BE FILMED AGAIN. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  24. By THOMAS F BRADY Special to The New York Times. (1950, Feb 23). CHAPLIN AND GARBO WIN MOVIE LAURELS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  25. Schallert, E. (1950, Jun 07). Drama. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  26. Schallert, Edwin (7 June 1950). "Drama: Clift Soon Heading West With Script; Mitchum's Brother Changes Name". Los Angeles Times. p. B7.
  27. By THOMAS F BRADY Special to The New York Times. (1950, Jul 26). CUMMINGS TO DO 'ALADDIN'S LUCK'. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  28. Ames, W. (1955, Oct 24). Matinee series calls for top names; jon hall to play sea captain. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  29. Schallert, E. (1957, Sep 12). Tropic romance calls jon hall; jack cardiff to direct for curtis. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  30. p. 12 New Lens Brings Cinemascope to Home Movies and SlidesThe Dispatch – Jan 28, 1976
  31. Tommy dorsey, jon hall wage bloody fist fight. (1944, Aug 06). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  32. "John Hall, Hero of South Sea Movie Epics, Kills Himself". Los Angeles Times. 13 December 1979. p. 3.