Allan Jones (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸
Allan Jones inherits his fine tenor voice from his father, Daniel. The father came from Wales to America as a boy, and worked his way up from slate picker to mine superintendent in the Pennsylvania coal fields.
Allan’s father had a fine tenor voice and, when he had saved enough money from his work in the mines, he bought an organ, then a piano, and conducted nightly singing lessons for his family in their home.
Allan was born on October 14 in Scranton, and his vocal lessons began when he was four. When he was eight, he was singing in the choir of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and he continued there until he was fourteen.
Was Truck Driver
During his early years in high school, Allan worked as a bank messenger. Then he decided to earn more by becoming a laborer at his father’s mine, and later got a job driving a coal truck for an independent company. Working sixteen hours a day, he managed to save $1500 and had the courage to step out of the mines and begin a course at the Syracuse University Music School.
Through his glee club singing and as soloist, he was awarded a scholarship at New York University. But he was anxious to go to Europe for further training. So he went back to Scranton and staged a one-man concert for his townspeople. That brought $1100 and he left for Paris, where he studied at the Warford School, and coached with Reynaldo Hahn and Felix Le Roux. Upon returning to the United States he was soloist with the New York Philharmonic under Walter Damrosch.
Made Concert Tours
Later he toured this country in oratorio and concerts before resuming his training in Paris. Again back in the States, he was engaged to sing the title role in Boccaccio. Then followed a series of operettas for the Shuberts, before he went to St. Louis for the Municipal Opera. He sang eight operas during his first St. Louis summer and toured through the winter.
Through the following summer, he sang eleven operettas in St. Louis and, in March, 1934, opened in Boston, opposite Mme. Jeritza in Annina, later retitled Music Hath Charms.
Following a tour and a long run in Chicago that extended into May, Jones returned to St. Louis for his third summer season and to sing eight operettas.
Back in New York, he was invited to make a screen test for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. After the test, his contract was relinquished by the Shuberts, and Jones joined M-G-M as a contract featured player.
On July 26, 1936, he was married to Irene Hervey.
Fine Role in “Firefly”
In The Firefly, M-G-M’s adaptation of the famous Rudolf Friml operetta, he stands on the threshold of screen stardom, with probably the most spectacular role that ever fell to a film singer, as Don Diego Manrique de Lara, swashbuckling, hard-riding masculine lead.
Because of his success in this film musical, he was given the most important role of his career as the principal male lead in “The Ugly Duckling.” The studio has ambitious plans for furthering his career, both as singer and actor.
Collection: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1937)