Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Jayne Hazard & Who's Guilty? (1945)
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.
"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.