Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
The day before, The Times reported a curious incident in which a bullet tore into the propeller of the plane shortly after it took off for Tulare, Calif., and had reached an altitude of 600 feet.
Police detained 14-year-old Ronald A. Husner, 3468 Greenwood Ave. in Mar Vista, who admitted being in the area shooting rabbits, but said he wouldn’t have been able to hit the plane with his .22-caliber rifle.
But it was all a hoax. Judging by his IMDB entry, Hall had perhaps one big movie to his credit—“Hurricane”—quite a few B-pictures (“Cobra Woman,” “Zamba” and “Thunder Over Sangoland”) and an incredible talent for getting into trouble.
About that nose-slicing scene in “Chinatown.” It actually happened to Hall on Aug. 5, 1944, at the apartment of Tommy Dorsey, when the bandleader, and Allen (frequently spelled Allan) Smiley allegedly ganged up on Hall—apparently for paying “undue attention” to Dorsey’s wife, Pat Dane. Testifying Nov. 30, 1944, while wearing a plastic nosepiece, Hall said his left nostril was sliced through during the fight at 1220 Sunset Plaza Drive.
It was a complicated case involving liquor, famous people and the specter of bad publicity that none of them could afford. When Hall declined to press charges, the Los Angeles County Grand Jury began an investigation. Dorsey, Dane and Smiley were indicted, but the case was dismissed Dec. 7, 1944, primarily because of weak testimony for the prosecution and the presence of Jerry Giesler for the defense.
Tommy Dorsey died in 1956. Jon Hall committed suicide in 1979. Pat Dane died in 1995. Frances Langford is alive and 91.
Later in June 1947, Allen Smiley will be sitting in the Beverly Hills living room of a certain Las Vegas executive. Reading the paper. With the drapes open. The neighbors—Mr. and Mrs. Belousoff—have an high latticework trellis that is perfect for resting a .30-caliber carbine.