Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jayne Hazard & Who's Guilty? (1945)

A tall blonde from Tampa, FL (born 1922) Jayne Hazard was one of 13 starlets voted a 1940 Baby Star, a promotional gimmick conjured up to repeat the success of the Wampas (Western Advertisers) Baby Star selection, which had taken place every year or so between 1922 and 1934 (Clara Bow, Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers and Fay Wray had all been Wampas babies at one time or another). Picked by directors Edmund Goulding, Tay Garnett and, believe it or not, Orson Welles, the other 1940 babies were Joan Leslie, Sheila Ryan, Ella Bryan, Marilyn (later Doris) Merrick, Lois Ranson, Lorraine Elliott, Peggy Diggins, Tanya Widrin, Kay Leslie, Gay Parkes, Patricia Van Cleve (a niece of Marion Davies and the wife of Arthur “Dagwood” Lake) and Lucia Carroll. Jan Holm, of Chicago, was named an alternate.

With the exception of Joan Leslie and Sheila Ryan (later Mrs. Pat Buttram), and possibly Doris Merrick, none of the girls amounted to much and most, like Jayne Hazard, did walk-ons as "model" or "girl." Jayne, though, got a bit of mileage out of an exploitative Monogram thriller, Black Market Babies (1945) and she was in Who's Guilty (also '45), a rather bizarre serial from Sam Katzman at Columbia (see below).

Off screen, in June of 1949, she divorced 35-year-old Lowell J. Thompson, described as a “wealthy theater owner.” In the proceedings Jayne told the court that her husband “showed no concern, comfort or sympathy for his father-in-law.” The latter, Julian Hazard, a former judge, was injured when struck on the head by an airplane propeller while on a “honeymoon fishing trip” with his daughter and son-in-law. Mr. Thompson's sole reaction, according to his wife, was to tell her “that he was sorry he married me and would leave me if it weren't that my father was so ill.” Grounds for divorce, to be sure!

Jayne Hazard continued to play "blondes" into the 1950s and also appeared on television before disappearing from cast lists.

A reader, Jean Vachon, kindly added the following important info: Jane Hazard Ward passed away in Palm Desert, Ca, 12-12-2006.

WHO'S GUILTY?

"Jungle Sam" Katzman produced this unusual serial, which I shall review in the coming days (or perhaps weeks; sometimes you need a breather from the hectic serial goings-on). Well, at least Jayne Hazard's contribution. In typically sparse Columbia style, Jayne failed to get on-screen billing in this (but Amelita Ward, i. e. Mrs. Leo Gorcey, and lovable old Minerva Urecal did), but at least she earned a character name: Rita Bennett.

Chapter 1: Rita is but one of a motley group of relatives gathered at the Calvert estate to witness the reading of the will of Henry Calvert (Davison Clark), who appears to have died in a car crash. Was he murdered by his brother Walther (or Walder, as Henry pronounces the name)? Although a tough-looking blonde, Rita, apparently a niece by marriage, appears upfront and demands that her hubby, Curt (Bruce Donovan), come clean when interrogated by State Bureau of Investigation agent Bob Stewart (Robert Kent). So there! Meanwhile, Agent Stewart, Morgan Calvert (Milton Parsons) and the mysterious Ruth Allen (Amelita Ward) are all about to be poisoned by gas by a mysterious figure in black in the opening chapter cliffhanger.

7 comments:

  1. Love this! Jayne was my Grandmothers cousin. Im interested, where did you find all of this information?

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  2. Hi Jamie-Lynn:
    I enjoyed Jane's performance in "Strange Illusion" (1945). Please could you finish this off by telling us if Jane is deceased and if so where and when and if she is still alive where she is living today? - Filmbuff

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  3. Sorry I just checked this. Unfortunately Aunt Jayne passed away a few years ago. She was living in a condo in southern California. She has a grown daughter, but the family has lost track of her.

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    1. This is what I found on Social security

      Jayne Hazard Ward
      Last Residence: Palm Desert, CA Person Full name: Jayne Hazard Ward Birth Date: 8 Jan 1922 Death Date: 12 Dec 2006

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  4. Sorry I forgot to give my name for the infos concerning Jayne Hazard.

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  5. Well, thank you, Jean, for your contribution. I really appreciate it!

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  6. I knew Jayne in 1999-2000. I first met her when she lived in Rancho Mirage at Tamarisk Villas in Rancho Mirage next door to Nancy Sinatra, Sr. I helped her move to Marrakech in Palm Desert. She had a portrait of herself as a young woman. I told her that she looked like a good girl who knew how to be bad. She was a good ol' gal.
    Robert Merrill

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