James Hall

QUESTION:  Which singer whose last name is Hall sang the number one hit song "(Old Dogs, Children, and) Watermelon Wine"?
A)  James
B)  Tom
C)  Frank
D)  Llewellyn
ANSWER BELOW

Yesterday, this blog honored a woman whose story of success in film was lost somewhat in the shadow of a more-famous husband.  She tragically died at the age of forty due in part to alcoholism, showing us that early success did not always make for long-term happiness. This harsh reality was not gender specific.  In fact, today's old-timey actor will reveal some parallels to the life of Dixie Lee, only without the marriage to a world famous crooner.  James Hall, born James Brown in 1900 in Dallas, Texas, was only twenty-three when he first appeared in front of the camera.  

Hall's career peaked during the silent film era - notably with the 1930 film Hell's Angels produced and directed by Howard Hughes and costarring Ben Lyon and the exotic Jean Harlow. Hell's Angels was originally shot as a silent film, but talkies becoming more popular by 1930 and, not to be outdone, Hughes re-filmed much of it to incorporate the addition of sound technology.  This would prove the pinnacle of Hall's success.  He continued to make movies until 1932, but Manhattan Tower, which came out that year, would prove to be his last. He moved on into vaudeville, performing in follies playing in Chicago, Deadwood, South Dakota, and elsewhere for the last three years of his life, before dying in 1940, at the age of thirty-nine, due to complications of alcoholism.  If you have never seen Hell's Angels, it is definitely worth your time. The aerial stunts of the pilots remain astounding today - a number of stuntmen even died during filming! And it is a worthy way to honor the memory of a man whose Hollywood story is a sad one, and painfully reminiscent of many other aspiring actors who either never attained celebrity status or got it but couldn't hold onto it.

ANSWER:  B)  Tom.  Tom T. Hall, to be exact, a popular country music singer from the 1960's through the 1980's.