Jon Hall

  1. Buster Crabbe, Flash Gordon, 1935.     In a big sweep for its then usual fantasy market, Universal  snapped up the Gordon rights in 1934. And shot the 13-chapter serial (four hours) in six weeks at the rate of 85 set-ups a day (later copied by TV).  Crabbe, an ex-swimming champ, hated having his hair dyed blonde. He said men whistled at him! 
  2. Robert Preston, Typhoon, 1940.     The Hurricane team was blown away. And Preston hated filling in for Jon opposite Dorothy Lamour.
  3. James Brown, Corvette K-225 , 1942.   Or Corvettes in Action, when director Howard Hawks wanted to use the cast of Arthur Lubin’s  impressive  Eagle Squadron, 1942.  However, Robert Rossen made the WWII thriller – ironically stuffing the decks with various Hawksian cowpoke character players: Andy Devine, Fuzzy Knight, etc.  Either way, the Corvette was part of the Royal  Canadian Navy’s fleet.
  4. Nelson Eddy,  Phantom of the Opera, 1943.     At one point, Hall was to be the romantic lead, with Lon Chaney Jr   taking over  his father’s 1925 role.
  5. Anthony Dexter, Valentino, 1950.  The second of Dexter’s 25 screen roles (go on, name one) is his most famous film. The Nebraska farm boy was a real clone of the silent movie icon – aka Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla. “Incredible!” declared George Melford who directed Valentino’s The Sheik in 1921. “The same eyes, ears, mouth – the same grace in dancing.”  The Columbia Pictures publicity machine insisted  that 75,000 applicants led to 400 screen tests – none seemed to be Italian. Certainly not the final seven. Producer Edward Small (his name condemned his work in advance – Small productions!) finally went through Argentine Fernando Lamas, two Mexicans, (Arturo de Córdova, Ricardo Montalban) and three Yanks (John Derek, Jon Hall, Guy Williams) before voting for Dexter. (UK director Ken Russell made a glossier (well, typically Russellian)  version in 1976.  His Rudolph wasn’t Italian either. But Russian! The ballet star Rudolph (geddit?) Nureyev.

 Birth year: 1915Death year: 1979Other name: Casting Calls:  5