Monday, April 07, 2008

Allan Jones, Actor and Singer (1907-1992)

John Fortuna, one of our library's patrons and a true movie aficionado of the lives of movie stars, recently inquired about an actor from the Golden Age of Hollywood named Allan Jones. To my surprise, I discovered that Allan Jones was not only a prolific actor and tenor, but he was also an Old Forge and Scranton native.

Allan Jones was born Ocotber 14, 1907 in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, the son of a coal miner. He grew up in Scranton, PA.

After moving to Hollywood in the 1930s, Jones starred in several Hollywood films now regarded as classics. His credits include the Marx Brothers comedies A Night at the Opera in 1935 (as Ricardo, he was the tenor in the performance of Il Trovatore which was the film's centerpeice opera referred to in the title) and 1937's A Day at the Races (where he played a race horse owner); 1937's The Firefly with Jeanette MacDonald (which introduced his tremendously popular rendition of the song Donkey Serenade); and 1940's The Boy From Syracuse with Martha Raye and Irene Hervey (who was his wife from 1936 to 1957).

Perhaps Jones's best and well-known performance was as gambler Gaylord Ravenal opposite Irene Dunne in the 1936 musical film Show Boat. In 1942 he co-starred with Scranton native Gloria Jean in When Johnny Comes Marching Home.

Jones continued to act and sing in films until 1970.

His son Jack Jones was also a popular singer in the 1960's, whose hits included Friends & Lovers.

Jones died of lung cancer in New York City on June 30, 1992.

Several films featuring Allan Jones are circulating throughout the Lackawanna County Library System: reserves may be placed on the VHS or DVD of A Day at the Races; the DVD of A Night at the Opera; and The Marx Brother Collection (featuring both A Day at the Races and A Night at the Opera) on DVD.

The Reference Department also includes Local History Newspaper Clippings Files on both Allan Jones and his son Jack Jones.

Thanks again to John Fortuna for this reference.


Tom Barrister said...

Jones was never a dentist.

Reference Department, Albright Memorial Library said...

Thanks for the correction. It said on Wikipedia that the dentist thing is a widely circulated rumor that is incorrect. Thanks again.