Monday, December 14, 2009

1979 - Actor Jon Hall Dies

While walking my dogs this morning, I met neighbor PL.  When I mentioned I wrote a blog on neighborhood history, he told me about an actor named Jon Hall, who lived the last 10 months of his life in a house on Atoll Avenue near Kling Street.  I hadn't heard of Jon Hall but after my walk, I immediately looked him up on the internet.  Hall was best remembered as the star of the 1937 film "The Hurricane" and the television series "Ramar of the Jungle," a syndicated series of 52 episodes that occasionally rivaled "I Love Lucy" in the ratings during the 1950's.

In 1979, Hall was living at his sister's house on Atoll while undergoing painful chemotherapy treatments for incurable bladder cancer.  PL met Hall.  He learned that Hall was an inventor in addition to being an actor.  Once Hall took a picture of PL's house using a wide screen lens Hall invented.  "The picture was over a foot long, and I've still got it somewhere," PL said. 

On December 13, 1979, Hall's brother-in-law, Edward Bayman, heard a gunshot.  "He ran into Hall's room and found him dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," said Los Angeles Police Detective Russell Lyons.  News crews from ABC, NBC, CBS and local television stations descended on the neighborhood to cover Hall's death along with reporters from numerous newspapers.  Vans, cars and trucks were parked up and down Atoll Avenue.  One car blocked the PL's driveway.

As I tried to imagine the media circus in our neighborhood, I realized today--December 13, 2009--was the 30 year anniversary of his death.  It seemed eerie  that I would meet PL on this particular day and he would tell me this particular story.  It felt like I was in an episode of "The Twilight Zone."  But then my wife told me I had the date wrong:  Today is December 14th--not the 13th.  It's the day after the 30th anniversary.  So I guess it's not so eerie after all.  And I won't slip into a wrinkle in time or be abducted by aliens. 

Until next time, I'll see you around the neighborhood.  -- Jeff S.


























5 comments:

  1. I just watched the Hurricane movie starring Jon Hall. My God he was gorgeous. They just don't make them like that anymore. I'm sorry he was so ill he felt he had to end it all. Illness must have been very hard on a guy like that. May God rest his soul. I hope to meet him in the ever after.

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    1. Thanks for you comments, Kathleen. You've reminded me that I never watched "Hurricane." Guess I know what I'm doing tonight :). All the best.

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  2. I just watched the Hurricane movie starring Jon Hall. My God he was gorgeous. They just don't make them like that anymore. I'm sorry he was so ill he felt he had to end it all. Illness must have been very hard on a guy like that. May God rest his soul. I hope to meet him in the ever after.

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  3. I SAW HIM IN THE MOVIE "KIT CARSON" WHOM HE PLAYED WHEN I WAS ONLY 7 OR 8 YEARS OLD. I'M 80 NOW AND HAVE A COPY OF THAT MOVIE. IT HAD EVERYTHING IN IT THAT A YOUNG BOY WOULD LIKE AND THEN SOME. IT EVEN HAS EVERYTHING IN IT THAT AN 80 YEAR OLD MAN WOULD ENJOY. IT HAD SOME GREAT LINES LIKE.... "NO SENSE GOING WHERE YOU'VE BEEN WHEN THERE ARE SO MANY PLACES YOU HAVEN'T BEEN" " IT'S ONLY HALF PAST APRIL" "THERE'S NO INDIANS WITHIN 50 MILES OF HERE", THEN AN ATTACK . THROWING AN AX AT A SPANISH SOLDIER OF MEXICO, TIED TO A TREE, IN ORDER TO GET HIM TO TALK ABOUT WHO WAS SUPPLYING GUNS TO THE INDIANS

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