Hall in 1956
Charles Felix Locher
February 23, 1915
|Died||December 13, 1979 64) (aged|
|Spouse(s)|| Frances Langford (1934–1955) (divorced)|
Raquel Torres (1959–?) (divorced)
Raquel Torres (?-?) (remarried/divorced)
Jon Hall (born Charles Felix Locher, – 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 1960s sci-fi films in his later years, The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965) and The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966).February 23, 1915
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).
Hall originally intended to go into the diplomatic service and was educated in England and Switzerland. A friend from Tahiti, writer Gouvernor Morris, suggested that he try acting.
Hall began his career using the name "Charles Locher". His first performance was in a local theatre production of M'Lord the Duke, replacing Robert Taylor; Taylor had just signed with MGM.
His appearance on stage in Murder on a Mountain at the Bliss Hayden Little Theatre in Beverly Hillsearned him a contract at Warner Bros. He followed it with What? No Yacht? at the Bliss Hayden. Nothing seems to have happened with the Warners contract: His first film was Women Must Dress (1935) at Monogram Pictures.
In April 1935, he signed with 20th Century Fox for a role in Charlie Chan Goes To Egypt .He did not appear in that movie, but he did have an uncredited bit in Here's to Romance and he played the romantic male lead in Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935). After that, the studio released him from his contract.
Hall recalled, "for the next three years I took whatever jobs in pictures they'd give me."He had supporting roles in Westerns: The Mysterious Avenger (1936), at Columbia; Winds of the Wasteland (1936), with John Wayne at Republic Pictures, and in 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.
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.He made two pictures for Cohen, Mind Your Own Business (1936) and The Girl from Scotland Yard (1937). Then Cohen dropped him.
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. Then Ford introduced Hall to Goldwyn: Goldwyn signed Hall to a long-term contract and cast him as Terangi: Hurricane was a big success.
Goldwyn paid Hall $150 a week, which eventually rose to $200 a week.
Hall spent the next two and a half years idle under his contract while Goldwyn—who made only a few movies each year—contemplated what to do with him. There was some talk of a sequel to The Hurricane;of playing the lead in Golden Boy; of Black Gold, a film about firefighters in Oklahoma; of Fleet's In; of Tahiti, based on a book by Somerset Maugham. Alexander Korda wanted Hall for The Thief of Bagdad (1940 film) . These films were either not made at all or were made without Hall. Discussing the hiatus, 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."
After two and a half years of inactivity, 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;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, which put him in a supporting role in Eagle Squadron (1942), produced by Walter Wanger and directed by Arthur Lubin. It was 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 color film in years and was a massive hit.
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 for he musical Lady in the Dark (1944), in which he played the role originated on Broadway by Victor Mature.
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 into 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 he was needed for another film, and was replaced by Peter Coe. Hall appeared in a comedy, San Diego, I Love You (1945), and 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, and then went into the army. He was out of the Army by April 1946and 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. In August 1946, he cancelled his contracts with Goldwyn and Universal and signed a one-picture deal with 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 Redmen (1947), an adaptation of Last of the Mohicans , for which he had been borrowed from Sam Goldwyn.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 Last of the Buccaneers for Katzman, but Paul Henreid played the role.In June 1950, he signed a new three-picture contract with Katzman and Hall's wife, Frances Langford, signed a two-picture contract. They both starred in Hurricane Island (1951), and Katzman scheduled Thief of Damascus for the two of them. 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.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.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 .
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.
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.
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.
Hall was diagnosed with incurable bladder cancer which caused him extreme pain. He died of suicide on December 13, 1979and was buried at the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Hall has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for Motion Pictures at 1724 Vine Street and for television at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard.
María África Gracia Vidal was a Dominican motion picture actress who gained fame and popularity in the 1940s as an exotic beauty starring in a series of filmed-in-Technicolor costume adventure films. Her screen image was that of a hot-blooded Latin seductress, dressed in fanciful costumes and sparkling jewels. She became so identified with these adventure epics that she became known as "The Queen of Technicolor". Over her career, Montez appeared in 26 films, 21 of which were made in North America and the last five were made in Europe.
Charles Clarence Robert Orville Cummings was an American film and television actor known mainly for his roles in comedy films such as The Devil and Miss Jones (1941) and Princess O'Rourke (1943), but was also effective in dramatic films, especially two of Alfred Hitchcock's thrillers, Saboteur (1942) and Dial M for Murder (1954). Cummings received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Single Performance in 1955. On February 8, 1960, he received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the motion picture and television industries. The stars for motion picture and television are, respectively, at 6816 Hollywood Boulevard, and at 1718 Vine Street.
Charles Vidor was a Hungarian film director. Among his film successes are The Bridge (1929), The Tuttles of Tahiti (1942), The Desperadoes (1943), Cover Girl (1944), Together Again (1944), A Song to Remember (1945), Over 21 (1945), Gilda (1946), The Loves of Carmen (1948), Love Me or Leave Me (1955), The Swan (1956), The Joker Is Wild (1957), and A Farewell to Arms (1957).
Turhan Bey was an Austrian-born actor of Turkish and Czech-Jewish origins. Turhan was active in Hollywood from 1941 to 1953. He was dubbed "The Turkish Delight" by his fans. After his return to Austria, he pursued careers as a photographer and stage director. Returning to Hollywood after a 40-year hiatus, he made several guest appearances in 1990s television series including SeaQuest DSV, Murder, She Wrote and Babylon 5 as well as a number of films. After retiring he appeared in a number of documentaries, including a German-language documentary on his life.
John Howard Payne was an American film actor who is mainly remembered from film noir crime stories and 20th Century Fox musical films, and for his leading roles in Miracle on 34th Street and the NBC Western television series The Restless Gun.
Sam Katzman was an American film producer and director. Katzman produced low-budget genre films, including serials, which had disproportionately high returns for the studios and his financial backers.
Jeff Richards was an American minor league baseball player with the Portland Beavers, who later became an actor. He was sometimes credited as Dick Taylor and Richard Taylor.
Shirley Ann Richards was an Australian actress and author, who achieved notability in a series of 1930s Australian films for Ken G. Hall before moving to the United States, where she continued her career as a film actress, mainly as a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starlet. Her best known performances were in It Isn't Done (1937), Dad and Dave Come to Town (1938), An American Romance (1944), and Sorry, Wrong Number (1948). In the 1930s, she was the only Australian actor under a long-term contract to a film studio, Cinesound Productions. She subsequently became a lecturer and poet.
Cobra Woman is a 1944 American South Seas adventure film directed by Robert Siodmak starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Sabu. Shot in Technicolor, this film is typical of Montez's career at Universal Pictures, and, although mostly forgotten today by the general public, venerated as a camp classic for its legendary phallic snake-dance, and Montez's immortal words: "Geev me that Cobra jewl (sic)".
Arabian Nights is a 1942 adventure film directed by John Rawlins and starring Sabu, Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Leif Erickson. The film is derived from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights but owes more to the imagination of Universal Pictures than the original Arabian stories. Unlike other films in the genre, it features no monsters or supernatural elements.
Arthur Lubin was an American film director and producer who directed several Abbott & Costello films, Phantom of the Opera (1943), the Francis the Talking Mule series and created the talking-horse TV series Mister Ed. A prominent director for Universal Pictures in the 1940s and 1950s, he is perhaps best known today as the man who gave Clint Eastwood his first contract in film.
Charles H. Schneer was an American film producer, best known for working with Ray Harryhausen, the specialist known for his work in stop motion model animation.
Adventure's End is a 1937 American adventure film directed by Arthur Lubin and starring John Wayne and Diana Gibson. It was distributed by Universal Pictures.
The Exile (1947) is an adventure romantic film directed by Max Ophüls, and produced, written by, and starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.. Rita Corday played the romantic interest. According to Robert Osborne, the primary host of Turner Classic Movies, María Montez had a stipulation in her contract that she had to have top billing in any film in which she appeared, so her name comes first in the opening credits, despite her secondary role. The movie is based on the novel His Majesty, the King: A Romantic Love Chase of the Seventeenth Century by Cosmo Hamilton.
White Savage is a 1943 American Technicolor South Seas adventure film directed by Arthur Lubin and starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Sabu. The film was re-released by Realart in 1948 on a double-feature with the same three stars in Cobra Woman (1944) and again in 1953, under the title White Savage Woman. It was choreographed by Lester Horton.
Seton Ingersoll Miller was an American screenwriter and producer. During his career, he worked with film directors such as Howard Hawks and Michael Curtiz. Miller received two Oscar nominations and won once for Best Screenplay for fantasy romantic comedy film Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) along with Sidney Buchman.
Tangier is a 1946 black-and-white thriller film set in the international city of Tangier, Morocco that was directed by George Waggner and filmed on Universal's backlot. It was one of the last Universal Pictures films before it merged into Universal-International in July 1946.
Sudan is a 1945 American Technicolor adventure film directed by John Rawlins and starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Turhan Bey.
Gypsy Wildcat is a 1944 Technicolor adventure film directed by Roy William Neil starring Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Peter Coe. It was co-written by James M. Cain.
Hurricane Island is a 1951 American Supercinecolor adventure film directed by Lew Landers and starring Jon Hall.