Friday, November 27, 2015

AN INTERNET BIOGRAPHY OF 
ALLISON HAYES
by
Jack Randall Earles

Allison photographed at her home on 
N. Orange Grove Av., Hollywood, CA



Early Life

The future film star was born on March 6, 1930, at 1:05 p.m. at Kanawah Valley in Charleston, West Virginia.  Her parents were William E. Hayes, age 50, and his second wife, Charlotte Gibson Hayes, age 37.   Mary Jane was Charlotte's only child.  Mr. Hayes had a son, William, Jr., from his first wife by whom he was widowed.  Hayes was a native of Hartford, Connecticut.  He was the Superintendent of the Naval Ordinance Post.

The young daughter was named Mary Jane Hayes.  The family lived in Quarters M, on the Government Reservation in South Charleston, W.V.

The Hayes family soon moved to Washington, D.C. (her mother's hometown), and settled in a lovely home at 4127 New Hampshire Avenue NW.


The Hayes home in Washington, D.C., as it looks today.
Mary Jane attended Holy Cross Academy, a parochial school in the city.  She attended a private girls' high school for two years, but persuaded her parents to let her graduate from a public school.  She attended Calvin Coolidge High School and was member of the graduating class of 1948. 

Mrs. Hayes made hats and was the secretary for a patent attorney.  Charlotte also played the piano and encouraged her daughter to study the instrument.  At the age of five, Mary Jane began taking lessons.  At a tournament when she was age eleven, she received the highest marks possible from the judges from Julliard Music School.  She also worked part time at the Palais Royale Shop during the latter part of World War II.

Calvin Coolidge High School Senior Photo, 1948
                

Personality photograph - Senior Class Yearbook


During her Senior Year at CCHS, she also studied classical piano at the American University.  She spent part of that year on tour with the University Orchestra.  Mary Jane's goal at this time in her life was to become a concert pianist.  She returned to school for the Christmas program in December, 1949, playing some of her favorite Edward MacDowell compositions.





Her return for the Christmas Program was 
featured in the 1949 Yearbook.
BATHING SUITS AND HIGH HEELS

 The moment she was chosen Miss District of Columbia

Mary Jane won the Miss District of Columbia title in the summer of 1949.  She had no aspirations other than the desire to win the scholarship money to help her in her music education.  She listed "studied piano for 13 years" and "now taking a course in fashion modeling" as special training on her Miss District of Columbia information sheet. 

Publicity photo taken during her reign as 
Miss District of Columbia
Her talent was listed as "will play a piano solo."  She wrote that she liked sketching and dancing among other hobbies, and that her favorite sports were swimming and golf.  Several photographs of her appeared in the local papers during her reign.  She was also highly favored to win the title of Miss America.

 Official Bathing Suit Photo

But it was not to be.  Though she didn't like the pageant experience itself ("I hated every minute of that.  I hated it," she told writer Barry Brown**** more than 25 years later.  "I can't stand that type of regimentation and parading."), Mary Jane was determined to get that scholarship money.

Official Portrait

 It was against the rules for any of the contestants to have any type of fraternization with the opposite sex.  One afternoon, during the pageant, Mary Jane happened to be walking across the lobby of the hotel.  There to surprise her was a cousin of her mother's who was Mary Jane's favorite relative.  She bounded across the lobby and gave him a warm embrace.   The chaperones who were keeping an eagle eye on the contestants called for a discussion, and Mary Jane was booted from the competition.   They didn't bother to mention it to her.   She competed in bathing suit, evening gown, and talent as though nothing had happened.  The judges including Broadway columnist Earl Wilson were never told of her disqualification either.

Official Evening Gown Photo


The Peruvian Ambassador saw Mary Jane often during her reign as Miss District of Columbia.  He invited her to represent the United States at the Peru Fair in Lima in 1949.  Mary Jane and her mother made the trip and had a great time.  When they got back, Charlotte encouraged Mary Jane to take some secretarial courses,  She made an effort, but soon gave up.  "That just wasn't for me," she told Brown.  Instead she spent her time giving piano lessons and doing some part time modeling. 

*

With her striking auburn hair and astonishing figure (36"-23"-36"), Mary Jane was chosen as a subject for some experimental color television tests that were before Congress in late 1949.    She also worked as a radio co-host with Milton Q. Ford over WBAL-AM radio.  The late night show catered to politicians and visiting dignitaries.  Mary Jane was well read and was very interested in politics.

*

A FATEFUL TRIP TO FLORIDA

Because her schedule kept her so busy, and she hadn't really made up her mind what she wanted to do with her life, Mary Jane was always ready to take a quick vacation to Florida.  She would usually go a couple of times a year, enjoying swimming on the beach and relaxing.   During one such trip in 1951, the couple that owned the hotel where Mary Jane always stayed when she visited encouraged her to enter the Miss Dixie Pageant.  She entered when she found out the winner would receive a wardrobe courtesy of the Miami Fashion Council and the choice between a college scholarship or a savings bond.  She won, but was put off by the pageant officials when she went to collect her prizes.  She got neither the wardrobe nor the scholarship.  She settled for a $375 savings bond.

One of the other candidates was future film star 
Carroll Baker.



Mary Jane was ambivalent about the many other beauty titles she won, but she said philosophically, "....if the prizes are worthwhile, it's a good chance for a girl."


*

The only title she was proud of winning was The Forget-Me-Not-Girl for the Disabled American Veterans.

The switch to television was on in the U.S. and the program that Mary Jane and Ford had been doing was soon being seen locally on late night television.   She helped Ford interview the politicians and celebrities that came through town and was very popular with viewers.  In 1952, she also enrolled in Catholic University, majoring in music but also taking several theater courses.  "I had always been quite shy and introverted," she told Brown in 1976.  "I thought if I could learn to get up on a stage and learn to project myself in another character, another role, that might help my self-confidence."   She did some stage work there - the only stage acting she would do in her career - and said, "Some of the things I did there, were the best things I ever did."




One source mentions a brief marriage during this time for Mary Jane to a young executive of the Ford Motor Company.  This was followed by an annulment.  Her earliest Hollywood publicity lists her as "unmarried" rather than the more conventional "single" or "never married."  While no records have confirmed this detail of her life, if she had been divorced it would explain why Mary Jane - from a staunch Catholic family - never married again





In the winter of 1952, Mary Jane traveled back to Miami Beach for a modeling assignment.  After the show one evening, she was approached by Harry Mayer, a talent scout for Warner Brothers.  He offered her a screen test if she could get to New York City on her own.  Because she had no compelling interest in an acting career, she turned him down.  Mayer left his business card with her.


Early magazine cover


In New York Anyway 
Nine months later, in late-1953, Mary Jane accepted a modeling assignment that took her to New York City.  She had kept Mayer's card and figured since she was going to be in New York anyway, she might give him a call.   After she finished her job, she called Mayer and asked if he was still interested.  Mayer, remembering the beautiful young girl, assured her that he was.   A silent screen test that included walking, moving, standing, and sitting was filmed at the Warner Brothers facility at 1619 Broadway. 

Tempo Magazine article


Because she was still a regular on the Ford television show, 
Mary Jane didn't wait around to see what the results were.  She was back working the next week.  While the Warner Bros. executives were trying to make up their minds, a talent scout for Universal-International happened to be in Washington D.C.  A later concocted publicity story said that the talent scout at a party heard Mrs. Earl Warren say as Mary Jane and her partner danced by:  "That girl is pretty enough to be in the movies."    More likely is that he saw her picture in the paper and caught her on the television show.  At any rate, he contacted her and asked her if she was interested in a screen test.  Mary Jane told him that she had just done one for Warner Bros. and was waiting for the result.

12-13-1954: Dorothy Kilgallen Voice of Broadway: The Allison Hayes who sparkles in Sign of the Pagan opposite Jeff Chandler is a Washington, D.C., beauty who was discovered by the wife of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The agent contacted Warner Bros. and asked to see the test.  At first they were reluctant to let Universal-International look at it.  After a bit of persuasion, though, it was loaned out to them.  U-I promptly offered her a seven year contract.  An astonished Mary Jane took her dilemma to her father who told her to take the offer.  William told her:  "If you don't try, you'll regret it for the rest of your life."  She accepted the contract, signed the papers, and headed off to Florida for a vacation.

*

UNIVERSAL-INTERNATIONAL


First day on the lot


Mary Jane didn't get to spend much time lying on the beach.  She received a call from her new bosses at U-I to report to the studio immediately.  Within a few days, she found herself standing in front of the desk of Douglas Sirk (nee Detleff Scheirk).  She had been assigned to play the part of Idilco, one of the wives of Attila the Hun, who was being played by Jack Palance.


5-24-1954: Aline Mosby - Hollywood isn't as glamorous as Allison Hayes expected.  She was a model and regular fixture on the society party circuit in her hometown of Washington D.C., before pacting with Universal-International. "It's hard work," she says. "And oh those hours!"

So the young beauty pageant winner, who had never been inside a movie studio or met a real movie director [or HAD she?], found herself in unfamiliar waters.  Sirk asked about her experience.  Mary Jane replied that she had none.  Sirk, dressed in riding pants and brandishing a crop, looked her up and down and said:  "I like you.  You're honest."  Mary Jane was rushed to wardrobe and makeup and given a few lines to learn (Idilco was basically a non-speaking part).  Sirk gave her some basic directions and pronounced her fine.  She was in the movies!  Sign of the Pagan was an "A" project filmed in CinemaScope and Technicolor.  It purported to tell the story of the brutal Hun who wanted to conquer the world.

First day of filming "Sign of the Pagan"
with director Douglas Sirk


10-23-1954:  Mike Connolly's Hollywood.  Dave Polland of Universal-International's publicity department is taking the heat from the father of Allison Hayes back in Washington D.C.  It seems that Polland has been planting lots of stories about Allison's dating life.  "I don't mind that so much," says Allison.  "After all, a press agent has to make a living.  My father has finally reached the point where he doesn't believe everything he reads about me.  But I don't like those stories that I own a new car, a swimming pool, a hundred bathing suits, and a mink coat.  I'm not a star by a long shot.  And who can afford all of those things.  I am thinking about buying a car on the time payment plan."


Idilco is taken prisoner in "Sign of the Pagan"

Mary Jane's name was changed to the more exotic "Allison."  She joined a cast that included Jeff Chandler, Rita Gam, and Ludmilla Tcherina.  The feature had some exciting scenes.  It took her awhile to realize that she should "save it for the camera."  She spent lots of rehearsals being dragged across the set while her hands were tied only to find out, the cameras hadn't been rolling.   Allison's character gave Palance's character the ultimate comeuppance in the final scene when she dispatched him with a sword, leaving the shadow of the cross on his lifeless body.

More "Sign of the Pagan" rehearsals

Allison and Jack Palance were reported to be dating.  However during the filming of Sign of the Pagan, Allison accused Jack of holding her too roughly and bruising her ribs in their first love scene.   He had even kissed her with such passion, he split her lip with his teeth.  She threatened to bring a lawsuit against him and U-I for the incident.  The picture was finished under strained conditions.

In the photo above Palance is surround by several U-I beauties.  Counterclockwise, L-R: Mamie Van Doren, Mara Corday, Sara Shane, Karen Kadler, Allison Hayes, Colleen Miller.

12-22-1954:  Walter Winchell - Lovely beauty queen Allison Hayes will appear next onscreen in Sign of the Pagan.

Ted Richmond was a popular producer on the U-I lot. He had produced a couple of minor comedies that Sirk had directed and one can assume it was Sirk who introduced the starlet to the producer.  Richmond had also worked with Tyrone Power when he came to U-I.  Together they formed the company named Copa Productions.  This company would produce a few films, most of them starring Power.

As Lt. Dixon in "Francis Joins the WACS"

Richmond also did his share of work on the popular comedy series that U-I was then producing.  One of his pictures was Francis Joins the WACS
It featured nearly all of the U-I starlet contingent of the day including Mamie Van Doren and Allison Hayes.  The featured female role was played by Julie Adams.  Allison played Lt. Dickson who arrives at the WAC encampment late one night and finds herself in the same barracks at Peter (Donald O'Conner).  It's all a misunderstanding, but Allison strips down to her slip and screams appropriately when she discovers she is sharing a room with a man.  She doesn't have an encounter with the titular animal, though.

Francis Joins the WACS was Allison's second picture, but it was released before Sign of the Pagan.

 Allison's agent, Jack Pomeroy thought that he should get his newest client in to see director deluxe Cecil B. deMille at Paramount.  He took her to lunch on that lot.  Sure enough, deMille noticed the statuesque beauty as she was herded past his table.  DeMille was astonished because Allison looked almost exactly like the drawing he had prepared for the character of Saphorah (Moses' wife) in The Ten Commandments.   Pomeroy was commanded to bring Allison to an appointment with the great director.  Before the meeting, Pomeroy told Allison NOT to mention that she was under contract to U-I.  She was puzzled, but took his advice.  

 Allison keeping fit on the U-I lot with trainer Frank Van

DeMille liked what he saw and gave Allison a scene to work on. She came back the next week, but didn't do very well.  She was very nervous.  But the legendary director liked her and said:  "I am willing to work with you on this part, because I like the way you look."  He asked his close friend, actor Henry Wilcoxin to work with Allison.  DeMille watched the scene through one-way glass in what was called The Fishbowl at Paramount.  Wilcoxin made an unrehearsed remark that made Allison react unexpectedly.  Wilcoxin smiled.  DeMille had said that he didn't think Allison could ever react naturally and had been proven wrong. [One account relates that Wilcoxin chided Allison for not having clean feet while wearing sandals, which caused her to look down in confusion since it wasn't true.] 

 "So This Is Paris" Premiere with her Co-Stars

DeMille was definitely planning on using Allison (Yvonne DeCarlo eventually played the role), but he received a call from another agent telling him that the girl he was planning to test was under contract to Universal-International, and that he would probably have to pay a high price to borrow her.  DeMille was furious.  Allison was dismissed curtly and her agent temporarily barred from the lot.  "DeMille was so willing to work with me," Allison told Barry Brown.  "If we had just been honest from the beginning, I am sure he would have been able to work out a deal with U-I.  It just proves you have to think for yourself."

 Allison & Gregg Palmer doing diction work at U-I


 While still at U-I, Allison had featured roles in So This Is Paris and The Purple Mask, both with Tony Curtis is the starring role.   The former was a musical with a trio of sailors on the loose in France and Allison had a couple of scenes wearing a bathing suit.  The latter was a Scarlet Pimpernel retread that had Allison working in the dress shop of Angela Lansbury and almost losing her head to the guillotine.  In his autobiography, Tony mentions most of the starlets who appeared with him during these films, but he doesn't mention Allison at all.

May 20,1954, AP.  Piper Laurie will replace Allison Hayes as leading lady in Universal-International's Smoke Signal starring Dana Andrews. 


It can be assumed that Allison was gone from U-I by late  1954. If so, she probably had only one contract option picked up before she was let go.

Actress Mara Corday has said that director Joseph Pevney wanted Allison for the role that she ended up playing in Foxfire.  Corday isn't sure why she was cast instead of Allison, but the threat of a lawsuit may have been a black mark against her [re: Palance's rough treatment].  Corday said that Allison was a beautiful girl who didn't have "a jealous bone in her body."  Corday has declared that U-I just "threw her away" without realizing her potential.

 "So This Is Paris"

Corday told writer Tom Weaver in as interview published in his book It Came From Horrorwood: "Oh, I adored Allison.  She and I were very dear friends. I didn't make very many friends over there [Universal-International], but Allison did become a friend for some reason. I don't know why.  I guess it was because she was so genuine, she had not a jealous bone in her body. She was a giving person.  But she wasn't used nearly enough by Universal.  She was one of the ones they cast aside, they never really pushed her over there. Very statuesque, beautiful face - but they didn't push her. She didn't get any real credit until after she left Universal.  We lost touch because I got married, but we'd run into each other at different places, and just throw our arms around each other and all that.  But once I got married, I just sort of put blinders on and concentrated on my children.  That was the most important thing in my life."

1-31-1955: Walter Winchell - Allison Hayes, Warner actress in I Died a Thousand Times has enrolled  for a night course at UCLA on "A Psychological Study on the Motivations of Entertainment People."  Bet she finds out, it's sex.

ESTABLISHING HERSELF
IN HOLLYWOOD

 Rare color photo of Allison

Allison did some freelance work during this period.  She had been living at the famous Studio Club that had once housed such future stars as Marilyn Monroe and Shelley Winters.  One press release says that Allison astonished her room mate when she unpacked twenty-two bathing suits and a fantastic collection of sunglasses and earrings.  Allison soon bought a home of her own at 1757 North Orange Grove Avenue in what was then North Hollywood.  Her telephone number was the uber 50's HOllywood 5-8011.

 Allison's home as it appears today

It was written that she followed her horoscope closely (Pisces), wore mostly tailored clothes, was a fan of Paul Henreid, and read books on politics and dog training.


Columbia Pictures publicity photo

Ted Richmond and Tyrone Power had moved Copa Productions over to Columbia Pictures, and Allison followed them there.

In fact, workwise, 1955 turned out to be one of Allison's best years.  She was at M-G-M for an uncredited bit in the Lana Turner film The Prodigal.  She played a leading lady (with blonde hair!) in the Republic crime drama Double Jeopardy.  She looked lovely, but didn't really have much to do. She supported Rod Cameron and wore a nifty wardrobe designed by Adele Palmer.






Three publicity stills from "Double Jeopardy" Notice that Allison is wearing different earrings and Cameron is wearing a different tie in the posed still.

 At Columbia she had one of best roles as Joyce Kern in Chicago Syndicate.  Looking lovely in evening gowns and beautifully coiffed, Allison played a young lady who was out to get the mob for killing her father.  She played opposite 40's leading man Dennis O'Keefe.  The supporting cast included Paul Stewart, Abbe Lane, Mark Hanna, Chris Alcaide, and Xavier Cugat. Some of the film was shot on location in the Windy City.  

  
Alcaide, who played a gangster's goon in the film, told writer Michael Barnum that while filming one particular scene, Allison and Abbe got the giggles.  They were supposed to smash a vase over Alcaide's head as he threatens them, and Abbe had fallen onto her ample rhumba shaker on the first take.  Director Fred F. Sears was furious, it took several takes to get the scene in the can before the girls could contain their laughter.  As it is, the scene ends abruptly with Allison avoiding Abbe's eye, and looking down quickly.  

"Chicago Syndicate" with Dennis O'Keefe

Bosley Crowther in his New York Times review of Chicago Syndicate wrote: "This is a standard melodrama in which the bright spot is Allison Hayes, a tall and agreeable young lady who gives considerable aid to the somewhat battered Mr. [Dennis] O'Keefe."

 Newspaper feature about "Chicago Syndicate"

 In the story partially quoted above, Allison tells how her billing in Chicago Syndicate doesn't match the importance of her part. Coming from the protection of a studio contract, she didn't realize that she had to negotiate for billing.

6-20-1955 Herb Lyons, Chicago Daily Tribune. I don't know what's happening, but some local interviewers are tossing loaded questions at visiting celebs after inviting them as guests. A young cinema actress named Allison Hayes walked off a local show this morning after the host got fresh with his queries.

"COUNT THREE AND PRAY"


 Joanne, Van, and Allison

Producer Ted Richmond was producing The Calico Pony at Columbia Pictures.  Allison was offered the important supporting role of Georgina DeCrais.  This was another big "A" assignment.   It was photographed in CinemaScope and Technicolor.  The director was George Sherman.  The star above the title was Oscar-winner Van Heflin.  Playing the villain was Raymond Burr.  The supporting cast included Phil Carey, Nancy Kulp, Jeanne Willes, and Myron Healey.  But all of the attention was fixed squarely on the young New York Method actress making her film debut as Lissy - Joanne Woodward.  She was okay, but the order must have come from the front office to "favor the New York girl and forget everything else."


Allison & producer Ted Richmond on the set of 
"Count Three and Pray"


Woodward's tiresome antics eventually pall.  ("Ya wanted to be rid of me, well now yur rid!"  "I got six brothers and ever one of 'em's mean bad." Think Debbie Reynolds, only much less subtle.) She is one of those characters from 50's movies that seemed to say that the MOST attractive female in the world was really a teen-age boy.  Much of Allison's dialog is spoken over closeups of Woodward as if her reaction were the key to the scene.  There is NO other sympathetic female allowed in the film.  Even Nancy Kulp is given hateful dialog to spew.

Allison & Raymond Burr
But it is in her scenes with Raymond Burr as Yancy, that Allison shines.  He is an evil man and she is forced to submit to him.  He beats her down, shames her in front of the town, and then marries her.  In her first scene, when she climbs into her carriage, her beautiful Jean Louis-designed gown is caught in the door.  A retake should have been called for, but it was not to be.

Raymond Burr & Allison Hayes "Count Three & Pray"

Even though this assignment didn't lead to bigger and better roles (and why is lost in the file cabinets of Hollywood) - Allison did make two life-long friends while working on Count Three and Pray (as it was titled when released).  Raymond Burr and Nancy Kulp joined Allison's tight circle of friends.  She especially liked to play piano while Nancy sang.  Burr was just a couple of years away from his break through role as Perry Mason.  Allison appeared on five episodes of the series.


Allison also considered Count Three and Pray as her best work and her personal favorite of all of her films.

Allison in her first scene in "Count Three & Pray"

10-13-1955:  In Chillocothe, Missouri, for the premiere of the picture Count Three and Pray, actress Allison Hayes met with Jerry Litton, Missouri State President of the FFA.
[Litton later was elected as a Democratic Representative to Congress in 1972, and was re-elected for the same post in 1974. Litton was nominated to run for the Senate when he and members of his family were killed in a small private aircraft crash on August 3, 1976, at the Chillocothe Municipal Airport shortly after takeoff.]

 
Photo courtesy of Rod Williams





 While on the same publicity tour for "Count Three and Pray", Allison stopped in Evansville, Indiana, and crowned a local beauty queen. This rare photo included the following information (courtesy author & collector, Rod Williams):

"Allison Hayes (right), a Hollywood starlet who visited Evansville in late October 1955 to promote her new movie at the Grand Theater, Crowns Bose High School student Sally Lowe as "Miss Americade." (The U. S. Marines are unidentified). Americade was an exposition sponsored by the National Association of Manufactures in cooperation with Evansville Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations. It's purpose was to promote America's "tremendous advances" and potential Nearly 20,000 people attended the four-day event, which was held at the Coliseum."

"I DIED A
THOUSAND TIMES"
and BROKE MY ELBOW


Publicity photo from The Steel Jungle. No such pose or costume appears in the finished film.

Allison loved spending time in her small home on North Orange Grove Avenue.

She drove a blue Morgan automobile. She was photographed at the house for a feature in the December, 1955, issue of Hollywood Stars magazine.  She borrowed agent Pomeroy's pool and poodle for other shots.   The photographer was Earl Leaf. **** The text of this story appears below.

Allison did a lot of magazine photography during this period, mostly of the cheesecake or bathing suit kind.

The stairway now has a pipe railing.

In 1955, the railing was brick. The house was built in 1954

I am indebted and grateful to Mr. Rod Williams for sharing the following photos with me for this site.  They are actual unpublished proofs taken from the session above that were not used by the photographer. Earl Leaf.  They were taken at Allison's house on Orange Grove Avenue and at the home of her agent Jack Pomeroy.

This is Allison's English Pointer named Syndi. She also owned a Dalmatian named Sam.















She did The Steel Jungle (AKA I Died a Thousand Times, when being filmed) for Warner Brothers in 1956.  Her role in this crime drama was definitely a supporting one.  The stars were Perry Lopez, one time room mate of James Dean, and Beverly Garland.   
With Scott Brady in "Mohawk"


Co-starring with the popular Scott Brady and Lori Nelson, Allison also appeared that year in Edward Alperson's color Western Mohawk.  She appeared as Greta, the daughter of the local saloonkeeper in a small village in 18th century New York State.  Brady played an artist from Boston who loved to paint the local color - Allison.  His fiancee played by Nelson shows up and before long there is a lot of jealousy and some wild Indian attacks.  The Mohawks of the title included Neville Brand, Tommy Cook, Mae Clarke, and a lovely Rita Gam (who had also appeared in Sign of the Pagan).  There was some nice photography (and lots of stock footage from Drums Along the Mohawk), beautiful costumes by Norma, and a fine supporting performance as the villain by John Hoyt.



Allison also worked for director Roger Corman for the first time in 1956 on his western horse opera Gunslinger.  The trio of stars of the picture were John Ireland, Beverly Garland, and Allison. 


Screen grabs from "Gunslinger"

She played Erica Page, a saloon owner who was also doing some land speculation on the side.  Garland is the wife of the town's sheriff.  When hubby is shot, Garland takes on the badge and the job of cleaning up the town.  She and Allison have a nifty cat fight.  Allison is mean through and through, and her hairstyle and costumes are not very flattering.  She is not photographed to any great advantage.

I have since seen a version of Gunslinger on the Encore Westerns channel.  The print was much better and the color much more vivid.  The VHS version that has been out for a long time - a presumable the DVD version - are reproduced from an inferior print.

 Allison & Jonathan Haze in "Gunslinger"


Corman wrote in one of his books that the shoot was miserable.   He claimed that Allison joking asked, "Who do I have to f&^k to get off this picture?"  It rained four of the six days and everything turned to mud.  Near the end of the filming, Allison fell off her horse and broke her arm.  While waiting for the ambulance, Corman took a closeup of her.  Allison claimed that her horse had been frightened by gunfire - she was a pretty good horsewoman.  Garland (the future Mrs. Fillmore Crank and hotelier) has said that Allison just wanted to get off the picture and slid off the horse on purpose.  You can bet that Corman had his hands full with these two!


Beverly Garland was interviewed for the book Ladies of the Westerns by Michael G. Fitzgerald & Boyd Magers [a Garland still from Gunslinger graces the cover].  Garland is quoted:  "...beautiful Allison Hayes is riding up in the middle of town with John Ireland.  The horses are stopped, and we're talking about whether we should go to lunch or not.  All of a sudden, Allison just collapses off her horse, right down on the ground and breaks her arm.  I think because she really wanted to get off this terrible movie.  Roger [Corman] says, 'It's okay, Allison.  We'll just bind it up, and we'll film you so nobody knows your arm is broken.'  So she went through the rest of the movie with a broken arm. [LAUGHS]."

What was so funny, Beverly?

A recently released biography of Beverly Garland included the story about Fillmore Crank [who later married Garland and financed her hotel] dating Allison. He and Allison were driving around the valley. The signs at the drive-ins they passed all seemed to feature Allison's name. Crank asked her: "Why do you work so much?"  Allison replied: "I work cheap."

 Allison & co-star John Ireland

3-12-1956: Harrison Carroll Behind the Scenes In Hollywood - Allison Hayes was thrown from a horse on the Gunslinger location and suffered a broken elbow.  In spite of the pain,  she went ahead and did a death scene.  "Now," she wailed,  "I'm in a cast from my wrist to my shoulder, and I'm supposed to start another picture in two weeks!"

FILLING THE SMALL SCREEN 
During the mid-1950's, only the biggest of motion picture stars stayed away from television.  Allison moved to episodic television and made appearances on many shows.  Most of these were guest shots, although she had a re-curring role on Bat Masterson as Elly Winters.

 

With the advent of the 21st century, more and more of these series are becoming available for home viewing, so that we will eventually be able to see most of Allison's work.  Even while she continued to do movies, Allison did a lot of television.   During the 1950's, she was visible on some of the most high-profile programs.

ALLISON GAVE THE INTERVIEW MARKED ** BELOW ON JUNE 25, 1957.

Four Star Playhouse was one of her first filmed television appearances.  She played a secretary in the episode titled "Here Comes the Suit."   She played a nice supporting role in the Ford Television Theatre episode titled "Fate Travels East."  This mystery which took place on a train,  starred Linda Darnell and John Forsythe.  Allison played a movie star traveling east with her tv cowboy star husband (Sheb Wooley).  Produced at Columbia Studios, it was a quick half hour with a sad ending.


German Lobby Card "Gunslinger"
7-19-1957: Steve Scheur Tv Key Notes - Allison Hayes, no stranger to this column or to TV turns up again this Sunday in a featured role in "The Gambler" episode of the revitalized series "The Web."

"Steel Jungle" newspaper photo


Other popular 1950's series episodes with Allison include "The Alan March Story" episode of The Millionaire.  She plays the love interest of a doctor who gets the titular sum.  As Linda Kendall, she is wealthy on her own, and the conflicts keep us guessing until the last minute if she will be able to convince Alan she loves him for himself.  Allison wears some clothes that must have come from the Frederick's of Hollywood collection. 

She did some modeling for the Frederick's catalog and was featured in its 1959 spring catalog.






Allison also sports a fancy ring.  It is heart shaped and surrounded by stones.  She will wear this ring in many tv shows and movies.  It must have been a talisman of some kind for her.



Allison wearing her favorite ring in "Conflict"

Allison is a wife with a dead husband in the "Mike Hammer" episode "Mere Maid."   She does some excellent screaming and parades around in a couple of nice swimsuits and hats.  Darren McGavin is the title hero.  Episodes of "Rawhide", "Death Valley Days", "The Web", "Rough Riders", "Captain Grief", "World of Giants", "Warner Bros. Presents",  and "The Alaskans" were among those Allison filmed through the end of the decade.


Name, Address, Phone Number in her own writing

In all of them she looked lovely.  She rode a horse, danced, served drinks, played cards, and hardly ever got the hero at the close of the episode.  Allison played a lot of tough gals, and in several of her roles on television and in the movies, she was physically abused by the men she played opposite. 

Allison Hayes & Race Gentry join
Mark Damon & Beverly Tyler on a Beach Date
for SHOW Magazine in 1956.




Allison dated a lot of men during this period, and her name was in the columns as often for her romances as it was for her work.

*

THE STUFF DREAMS ARE MADE OF
Today, Allison is known mostly for her work in the genre of horror or science fiction films.   When interviewed by Barry Brown, she was mostly dismissive of these films,   Between 1957 and 1960, Allison co-starred in six films of this type.  The first was Roger Corman's The Undead.  This intriguing tale of reincarnation was written by Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna (who had played a supporting role in Chicago Syndicate).  Griffith has said that he originally wrote the script in a rhyming scheme, but that as shooting starting, it was changed to prose.

Allison’s first "horror" film was made in 1956. The Undead, directed by Roger Corman, is certainly worth a look. Allison plays Livia the witch--intent on making Knight Pendragon (Richard Garland) her own even if it means causing innocent Helene (Pamela Duncan) to lose her head. And speaking of getting a-head, Livia needs one to make her Satan’s (Richard Devon) right hand gal at the cemetery sock hop that passes for the Witch’s Sabbath in this flick. She axes Bruno VeSota and has her familiar (Billy Barty) hand her a breadbasket: "A goblet for my pearl..." It hangs on a tree branch in a later scene while Livia tries to make love to Pendragon.

Livia appears and disappears--changes form and generally makes a nuisance of herself throughout the story of time travel, mysticism, and reincarnation. A couple of her transformations from a black cat are accomplished with deft camera movement and are quite effective. Less so are the transformations into flying bats. One AMC viewer emailed: "Any movie with midgets and bats on strings deserves a 10!"
Allison’s figure is shown to great advantage and one dissolve finds her crossing her long legs ever so slowly. Her hair (probably a fall) covers the supporting strap of her costume while a fake strap dangles seductively on her arm. 
 


She and Dorothy Neumann as Meg Maud (good witch of the north....ooops my bad...wrong movie) have a couple of really good face-offs. Neumann’s makeup here rivals only her Teenage Doll get up as most bizarre in a pantheon of unusual "looks."
The Undead was filmed on the cheap at the Sunset Studios, a former supermarket and on location at the Witch’s House in Beverly Hills. A couple of unique innovations fell by the wayside including Charles Griffith’s original script written in rhymes and a shot of VeSota’s decapitated head on the ax!

Livia is finally dispatched by a knife in the ribs from Pendragon--then changes forms one last time--to a black cat with a knife in the ribs. The Undead is a fun movie with a plot unlike any other movie...ever. It is certainly worth a look if only for Allison’s antics and Val Dufour’s "nude scene." Camera position is everything.

Val DuFour pretending to be "nude" in "The Undead"

Actor Mel Welles who plays Smolkin in The Undead says that Allison was "a real Fifties chick." He says she drove a blue Morgan automobile and she must have been quite a sight racing down Sunset in that open car with her red hair flying--on her way to agent Jack Pomeroy’s office.

When The Undead played in Charleston, she was mentioned in the ads as a hometown girl.


7-19-1956:  Behind the scenes in Hollywood:  Allison Hayes and Ed Crowley at the Sportsmen's Lodge.



With Paul Burke and The Ring


The voodoo in The Disembodied (1957) turns into more of a bungle in the jungle. Rather than deal in anything as mundane as divorce, Allison as Tonda decides to kill her much older doctor husband by casting spells and strangling dolls.
Allison looks great in some lively outfits and does a dance to some heavy drums. Allison reminisced to Barry Brown that the dance was choreographed by an African student who was attending the University of Los Angeles, A. E. Okonu.  She told Brown, "It never came off the way it should have.It came off as more of a bump and grind number instead of a voodoo dance."  She remembered the day she had to do the routine. It was to be the first shot of the morning. The stage was filled with people who'd come to see her prance about. Allison was anticipating enough trouble doing the number without having to be gawked at and so she asked to have the set cleared and director Walter Grauman (it was his first foray into feature films) obliged her. "And so I was starting the number", she recalled, "and I looked and there was a man standing there with his arms crossed, very serious-looking, just watching -- so I stopped and I said 'You! Out!'. The man left." Allison found out later that the man was Walter Mirisch, head of the studio.



The film is obviously set-bound, but has some nice jungle plants to hide behind. Paul Burke (on his way up Mt. Everest to the Valley Of The Dolls) is Tonda’s new love interest and he can’t put her off.


Of course death and destruction follow, and for the second time in as many years and films, Allison is dispatched by blade. This time the wielder is a jealous native girl. The films ends with everyone looking around and walking off camera, except for those poor souls who were directed to "stand there."
Tame stuff with a dangerous Allison to watch. At least she makes it almost to the end of the film. She wears some Oriental-inspired clothes and her hair down for most of the movie. Only four lobby cards were printed for this film and three of them featured Allison. Her dance was a highlight of The Disembodied if not film choreography.


If producer Sam Katzman and his Clover productions promise you Africa -- you can bet you’ll get Columbia’s backlot. So be it in Zombies Of Mora Tau (1957). Allison plays Mona the wife of George Harrison (!) (Joel Ashley) who nonetheless has eyes for Jeff (Gregg Palmer.) She wears the most amazing brassiere of her career in that it almost deforms rather than enhances her shapely figure. Who knows what they were thinking?
Lost diamonds, zombies above and below the water, deep sea diving, Autumn Russell and other scary things try to sustain the viewer’s interest, but it is really tough sledding. Marjorie Easton and Russell are equally annoying although Autumn is somewhat more attractive. Allison and Autumn stand screaming during a zombie "attack" for a really loooooooong time. (Allison’s scream is great and cannot be mistaken. It is heard in Frankenstein’s Daughter and Missile To The Moon. Whoever owned those sound elements got his money’s worth.)

Allison gets "zombie-fied" after being slapped around by her husband and running out of the house. She loses an earring in the struggle when she is slapped, but she has it on in the next shot as she runs through the dining room. The slap seems to have gone awry...probably Ashley’s misplaced hand position.

After she gets entranced, she pulls a knife on some sailors (sleeping together in the house!) and then gets hit on the head by a flying candlestick, accompanied by an unfortunate choice of sound effects (clunk).

 
Zombies Of Mora Tau is not a complete waste of time. It is Allison at her bad girl best acting-wise.

Gregg Palmer & Allison in "Zombies of Mora Tau"
One story is told of Allison having a fit of temperament on the set of Zombies during her last day of filming. After stating her position, she leaves the set still wearing her negligee from wardrobe, gets into her car, and leaves the lot (her blue Morgan no doubt.) And no doubt she had carefully packed her street clothes in the trunk. This might be why her character just disappears from the story with no real resolution for her.


Zombies of Mora Tau is part of the Sam Katzman Icons of Horror DVD Box Set released in October, 2007.


The Unearthly (1957) was "guaranteed to frighten" and it is unknown how many people collected on the promise, but most of the scares must have been left on the cutting room floor. This film is the only remnant of an experiment in co-production and releasing between the American Broadcasting Company and Paramount Theaters. The government stepped in and it ended up being one of the last Republic Pictures releases (usually on a co-bill with The Beginning Of The End.)


Allison plays a sympathetic role in her Grace Thomas and is actually given fewer close ups than Tor Johnson as Lobo. The scariest thing about the movie is probably the first dress she wears. Sporting the super-brassiere from Zombies she literally busts onto the screen.


Allison is brought the mad scientist Dr. Charles Conway (John Carradine) by her doctor Roy Gordon (whose credits include The Fountainhead and Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman--a more dichotomous pairing of film credits is doubtful). The basement is full of monsters, and Sally Todd suffers a horrible fate. Allison escapes unharmed (except by the critics) and falls into the arms of hero Myron Healey as the same initially-named Mark Houston. Come to think of it, maybe Sally didn’t have it so bad.
There are some nice close-ups of the doctor’s experiments but they are brief. They were probably more effective on the big screen. Another featured babe was Marilyn Burford (a 1946 Miss America contestant) who later appeared in Queen Of Outer Space.
Allison looks stunning in her negligee (from Zombies?) and later in a swimsuit that was probably her own. Her scene about her experiences with unbelieving doctors is eerily prescient of her own later life situation.

 Allison with "The Hypnotic Eye"

Look if you dare...into The Hypnotic Eye!" Well, we looked. Allison is pretty shapely as assistant Justine to Jacques Bergerac’s entrancer Desmond. This film from 1960 was put together by the producers of The Disembodied who would also later do Tickle Me the Elvis film that was Allison’s last big screen appearance.
This flick asks the question: Can the rash of self-mutilations by lovely women be connected? What could they all have in common? Why the spinning eye that Bergerac holds in his hand and those post-hypnotic suggestions of his.

The Hypnotic Eye tried to hypnotize its audiences into performing the tricks that Desmond’s audience does: spinning of the hands faster and faster and slapping its knees. They might have done better had they hypnotized the audience into staying awake.


8-4-1959: In Hollywood Dean Gautschy - Allison Hayes with Bobby Gordon at Delmonico's.
3-13-1961: Lee Mortimer New York Confidential, Boids & Bees: Allison Hayes (of the new "Acapulco" series) and director Bobby Gordon.

Some neat make-up effects (including Merry Anders’ acid scarred face) are on view. But there are too many reaction shots that more non-reactions. Nothing happens and our Allison doesn’t come to life until the final moments. (Spoiler coming after the jump!) 


Allison's transformation by makeup artist Emile LaVigne was the subject of a photo essay in the May, 1960, issue of Photo Life magazine.    






Allison grabs the pretending-to-be-hypnotized Marcia Henderson (as Marcia) and head up into the theater flies. (Note to myself: while being chased, do not climb up). When confronted and told how lovely she is, Allison gets off a line that should really be a Hollywood mantra: "You like my face? Then you may have it." She tears off a mask and reveals a makeup very similar to Illyana, the Queen of Outer Space (a movie produced by the same guys a couple of years earlier). She then takes a header off the scaffold and lands near her lover Desmond, shot dead moments earlier for some reason or another. Oh my. I guess the question that is never answered (at least for me) is how a police psychologist could afford an apartment with a grand piano?
6-17-1959: Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Harrison Carroll - Newsome twosome at Dino's Lodge, Allison Hayes and Sy Devore.
8-6-1959: Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Dean Gautschy - Allison Hayes with Sy Devore (their romance looks serious) at the Sportsmen's Lodge.
11-15-1962: Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Harrison Carroll - At the party to celebrate his birthday Sy Devore's date was Allison Hayes.
11-28-1962: Behind the Scenes in Hollywood Harrison Carroll - Regulars at Jerry Lewis', Allison Hayes and Sy Devore.


 Allison & Gene Barry

Allison wears some great costumes including a shiny red gown and later a Capri pants jumpsuit with a plunging neckline (first seen a year earlier in Pier 5 Havana.) She also wears the lovely heart shaped ring with diamond outlines. This was part of her personal jewelry collection and she wore it often on television and in films.

Rod Lauren gets a couple of black eyes and an astronaut’s hand in the 1963 film The Crawling Hand. Allison plays a supporting role as Donna an assistant in a space lab. Not to worry that it looks more like an insurance office with its tape run computers from Univac. Her "secretary" garb was drab but tasteful. It seems to be off the rack, but well-suited for her abbreviated role in this movie.

Screen grab from "The Crawling Hand"

This movie is known by several different titles, but unfortunately Allison doesn’t get to do much in any of them. She is the fiancee of an astronaut who is doomed in space. Mostly she talks on the telephone pretending to speak to the press and the White House saying, "No comment at this time." She walks around the office wringing her hands or looking at the computers. Ultimately, her scenes just stop.

Columbia publicity photo
 The Crawling Hand has some scary moments. The scariest thing though is seeing how some of the older performers have aged--including Tristram Coffin and Arline Judge. Yikes!  Allison was beginning to show the effects of the illness that would eventually take her life.
Allison Hayes never gave less than her all. She was a beauty, an actress, and to those her knew her, a friend. The bits of celluloid she left behind are lovely to look at...but she was much more.

Publicity Shots from the short-lived series on NBC  
"Acapulco" - eight weeks and out - Feb/March 1961!

With "Acapulco" co star Ralph Taeger


1-21-1957: Louella Parsons in Hollywood:  Pretty Allison Hayes who is starring in a TV show for Columbia makes Bob Taplinger's heart beat faster.

 "Acapulco" publicity wearing her favorite ring

 On television she did The Web and Conflict among other shows.


In the above publicity photo from Conflict (with co-star Gerald Mohr) we get a good look at the heart-shaped ring that Allison wore in many of her films and television appearances. 


2-5-1957: Earl Wilson - Allison Hayes was named Miss Seven-Eleven at the El Rancho Las Vegas with Joe E. Lewis as judge and jury.

"Wolf Dog" publicity photos

 In 1958, Allison did a film in Canada Wolf Dog with Jim Davis, and a "B" crime drama Hong Kong Confidential with Gene Barry (and the ring).


Allison was also top-billed for the only time in her career when she played the title role in the sci-fi thriller Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman. She starred with William Hudson (twin brother of Mohawk John) and Yvette Vickers (with whom she shared agent Jack Pomeroy, professionally that is). Vickers remembers Hayes living in the guest house of Pomeroy’s Beverly Hills digs. She also says that Allison still hoped at this time to make the jump to "A" productions.



Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman director of photography and executive producer Jack Marquette told Tom Weaver in an interview published in Attack Of The Monster Movie Makers that Allison was a ‘great gal...very co-operative." He also said that when Allied Artists saw the finished film that they wanted some of the special effects redone. Because they had all been done "in the camera" the expense would have been too great, so it was released as shot on a double bill with Roger Corman’s War Of The Satellites from The Showmen at Allied Artists.


The sci-fi thriller is Allison’s most accessible film on television and video and laserdisc. 


It is difficult to measure the plusses and minusses it might have. It is in a sense, bigger than any criticism. Suffice to say that Allison turns in a fair performance in an impossible role (watch for the boom to enter the shot when she and Harry have their first scene at home). Hudson and Vickers along with Frank Chase, Roy Gordon, and Otto Waldis look very serious and Ronald Stein’s jive score ties the whole thing together. It also features the physiognomy-challenged Eileen Stevens as a nurse who nearly loses her hat while getting into the 1958 Plymouth police car. This is 1950’s exploitation at its finest. But as usual, the guy who did the poster should have done the movie.



Director Nathan [Hertz] Juran told writer Justin Humphreys in his book Interviews Too Shocking to Print:

"Allison Hayes was a good actress....she used to look like sin when she arrived in the morning in front of the makeup desk. When she got her makeup on, she looked great. I thought she was a great actress. She did better than the boy [William Hudson]...."






 Rare candid shot of Allison on location for
"Attack of the 50 Foot Woman"

Allison is great driving a 1958 Imperial convertible, although the car nearly gets away from Vickers at one point. In the October, 1958, issue of Gent magazine, Allison did a modest semi-nude pictorial. The article touted her role in the Woolner Brothers production of The Astounding Fifty Foot Woman [sic]. 

Rehearsal shot - in this scene in the film, Allison does  not wear a sweater, and there is no three shot with this actress

 Allison’s father died in the fall of 1959. One account of her life during his period says that she had fallen madly in love with a director who was 5’3" tall (Allison was 5’7"). The director would not divorce his wife and Allison was stung by the rejection. She carried a torch for many years. (Anyone know who this might be?) After some research, it seems that this mystery gentleman was director Robert (Bobby) Gordon.  Gordon started his career as a child actor, and played Jakie Rabinowitz, the boy who grows up to be Al Jolson in 1927's The Jazz Singer.

Columbia Pictures publicity photo

The remainder of Allison’s career was taken up with typical movie-factory work. Films like Pier 5 Havana shot on location in Cuba with Allison looking ill part of the time, Counterplot shot on location in Puerto Rico, The Hypnotic Eye, The High-Powered Rifle which seems to have disappeared, The Crawling Hand which should disappear, Tickle Me, Five Bold Women, Lust To Kill possibly her worst film with the funniest stunt doubling I have ever seen when "Allison" jumps from a runaway buckboard wearing men’s shoes, and Who’s Been Sleeping In My Bed


She also appeared several times on Perry Mason with old friend Raymond Burr, most notably in "The Case of the Bogus Books" wearing The Ring.


She guest-starred with Scott (Mohawk) Brady in his series Shotgun Slade a couple of times and with Gene (Hong Kong Confidential) Barry a couple of times on his show Bat Masterson.

12-8-1958:  Variety.  Hollywood smog hit the Bat Masterson set on day when actress Allison Hayes was supposed to say: "Look, here they come over the hill."  Instead she looked at the hill, turned to the director of the TV series and exclaimed: "I can't even see the hill!"

 

 Two rare screen grabs from a kinescope version of "The Big Freeze"

She did a Warner Bros. Playhouse The Big Freeze and was on Rawhide with Clint Eastwood (who has a daughter named Allison.) She did Peter Gunn and Men Into Space. One top-notch appearance in the early Sixties was in the series 77 Sunset Strip. (Allison looks great as she hires Roger Smith to find out why her brother is hanging out with the wrong crowd. Early on, Smith remembers, he met Marianne Winston at a big charity ball. He says, ‘You were with the movie star." "Yes," replies Allison. "But we didn’t get along, we both wanted to talk about ourselves.") She looks great, wears some stunning clothes, and drives like crazy in big Mercury or Lincoln. The episode is titled "The Parallel Caper" and is worth looking for. At this period in her life she was very beautiful and in complete control of her performance.



Two screen grabs of Allison in "The Parallel Caper" on 
77 Sunset Strip


As noted above, Allison appeared regularly on Acapulco in early 1961 costarring with Ralph Taeger and Telly Savalas and on the early episodes of ABC’s soap opera General Hospital as Priscilla Longworth. 


 "General Hospital" publicity photo

*** Below is an interview published on March 7, 1964.




It couldn’t have been easy. For all of these, she got up early, drove to a studio, had hair and makeup done, memorized lines, rehearsed, and did her best. But by that time it added up to work and not a career--at least not the one she had wanted when she started out.

 Rare autographed portrait from the mid-60's
courtesy of George Chastain


BOTTOM OF THE BILL



Counterplot with Jackie Wayne.

Allison traveled to Puerto Rico in 1959 to film Counterplot for director Kurt Neumann (Mohawk).  Also in the cast was a young 12 year old New York actor who had done Broadway (Damn Yankees) and some original touring companies (Bye Bye Birdie).  He was billed as Jackie Wayne.  He is now Jack Salvatore (his real name) a news broadcaster on Los Angeles Radio, station KNX-AM.  


Jack has fond memories of his co-stars Allison and Forrest Tucker.  He says that they were both very nice to him.  Jack remembers Allison as being very beautiful and friendly with everyone.  



The stars stayed at the recently opened Caribe Hilton.  Jack and his grandmother were housed in a less expensive hotel down the beach.  Jack said that Allison and Forrest often invited him to swim in the larger pool at the Caribe, and to join them on the beach there.  Allison seemed to Jack to be very friendly with a photographer assigned to the picture, Bill Crespinal (whose photos of her would be in Gent magazine).  Jack says that Allison and the crew were very amused when he played a scene with her in which her dressing gown was to fall open, and she hugged him tightly to her.

Having her makeup done on "Counterplot"

Working at the movie factory

The late 1950's and early 1960's were they heyday of the drive-in movie theater.  Producers spent a lot of time and a little money turning out product to fill the second slot in the drive-in double bill.  Larger movie houses concentrated on the blockbusters.  The second-run houses and small town movie theaters would also run a BIG draw title and pair it with a cheaper second feature.  

One such film was director Maury Dexter's The High Powered Rifle filmed for 20th Century-Fox release in 1960.


Director Dexter told writer Michael Barnum in the early 2000's that he hadn't seen the film in decades and didn't know if a copy even still existed.





 On location at the Garrett Coffee House

Allison graced many of these features receiving third or even second billing in most.  Her agent Jack Pomeroy also placed other clients along with her, so getting Allison may have meant taking Yvette Vickers or Gregg Palmer or Myron Healey in the bargain.  Palmer in particular seems to have been part of the "Allison package."  He appeared with her in Zombies of Mora Tau and was featured in several television episodes in which she appeared i.e. "Gomer Pyle" and "77 Sunset Strip."

Directors and producers used Allison in their films time and again including directors Kurt Neumann (two movies) and  Edward L. Cahn (three movies).  Several of these films were shot in rather exotic locales, so Allison got a short vacation in addition to a paycheck.

Allison's last big screen appearance. Tickle Me 
 with Elvis Presley.

Her last big screen appearance was courtesy of her Hypnotic Eye producers in Elvis Presley's musical Tickle Me.  It was a bit part.

"Acapulco" newspaper cover drawing

 Her working days were numbered, though. Allison first contacted Dr. Henry Bieler in 1962. He was recommended by actress Gloria Swanson who had been his patient for many years. On Dr. Bieler’s recommendation and with his prescription, Allison began talking a calcium food supplement daily. Dr. William H. Crosby later wrote that the supplement would have done nothing to correct the problem Allison originally went to Dr. Bieler for.

In 1964, Allison returned to Dr. Bieler with a variety of complaints. The doctor told her to increase her daily intake of the supplement. By 1967, she had experienced a multitude of symptoms. She was unable to walk without a cane and her career virtually came to an end. Her auburn hair turned black and began to fall out. She had wrist-drop syndrome in her right hand and a constant gnawing sensation across the bridge of her nose. She also became surly. Something she had never been. Her friends were worried.

She consulted over 20 doctors and endured over 340 X-ray examinations. Most doctors told her that her symptoms were psycho-neurotic. None were able to identify the source of the problems.

In 1968, during hospitalization for a fever, Allison stopped taking the supplement on her own.

Allison herself wrote:
"....as I finally came to see it, I had three options: (1) commit suicide; (2) go to a psychiatrist to attempt to learn to live with the pain accepting the fact that doctors couldn’t diagnose it; or (3) find the answer myself. I called suicide prevention though I was sure I wasn’t going to kill myself. I just wanted someone to tell me it was worth it not to. But I was placed on "hold" and they never came back to the phone. So I laughed and thought, "that’s the end of that!" Then I said to myself, ‘There’s an answer to everything. There has to be an answer! I’m going to find out.’ The question was where do I start?"

First she got copies of her medical records--a process she likened to "pulling teeth." Then Allison enlisted the help of friends who carried her to the medical library at UCLA (where Gent magazine said in the text of her modest 1958 semi-nude layout Allison had gotten her LLD!!). Because she had lost the use of her right arm, she sat on the floor making notes with her left hand. The technical books could not be checked out, so she would stay for hours, her friends picking her up sometimes after midnight. While reading a book called Toxicology Of Industrial Metals Allison came across a description of the metal poisoning of factory workers. She writes: "...the descriptions of some of the illnesses fit my own like a glove...ultimately I learned the truth; I had been poisoned!"

Strong words, but true. The lead content as shown by later analysis of the supplement she had taken daily for six years was 190 parts of lead per million. As was later discovered, the supplement was made in England from the bones of horses over 30 years old. Horses that had been sold to glue factories. The older the horse, the higher the lead content of the bones. The supplement had been imported into the US in 500 lb. drums and used in a number of products including baby food! And Dr. Bieler was still prescribing it to his patients!
After contacting a toxicologist (Dr, Karl Schwarz a researcher at Veterans' Hospital in Long Beach) and sending him a sample of the supplement, Allison got a telegram that told her to contact him immediately. Allison writes more: "...the...call came in January, 1970, on a day that was dark and cold and dreary. My first reaction was one of relief. I hadn’t been losing my mind. There was an organic reason for this. Then the anger set in. I’d spent thousands of dollars being bandied about from one specialist to the other with not a few of them baldy implying that my problem was primarily psycho-neurotic...in the end I had to depend on myself to educate the experts."
Allison started a campaign to get the FDA to stop import of the supplement Its lack of interest was based on the official judgment that food supplements were a "gray area." That changed when the FDA wrote: "We are incorporating health food issues into our FY ‘77 and ‘78 compliance programs, including the bone meal and heavy metal matter. Your case is a key stimulus for so doing."
Things do not seem to have improved however, as many substances are still unregulated by the FDA.
By then, Allison had begun then dropped a lawsuit again Bieler, when he pleaded for her to. He died soon after. She did win a settlement of $50,000 against the Los Angeles distributor of the supplement.
 

Allison’s last years were spent in a lovely ocean-front home in San Clemente. She was home-bound for much of the time. A neighbor remembers only that "...she was an actress of some sort. She kept mostly to herself and was very concerned with her diet..." Her mother Charlotte lived with her much of the time. (Mr. and Mrs. Hayes had moved to California in 1955.)

Friend of our blog, Tom Pardo, visited the San Clemente house in February, 2017.  It had been extensively remodeled within the last six months, a neighbor told him.

 
Tom Pardo in front of the remodeled home at 2821 La Ventana.
The home as it looks in 2017.
 
House number!
Special thanks to Tom Pardo who shared these photos with the blog.


"Chicago Syndicate" publicity
One poster on MYSPACE remembers that in the 1970's, his mother had answered an ad in a local Orange County paper about a woman selling her performance wardrobe.  He was at home when Allison showed up at the door, wearing a gold turban and carrying an armload of clothes.  His mother was not in, so they spent some time talking.  He said that she was very beautiful.  They talked about Van Heflin and Count Three and Pray.  He said that she finally said she didn't think that stardom in Hollywood was for her, that she enjoyed the social life much more than the work.

Allison entered the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla in October of 1976. She was diagnosed with leukemia. The cause could have been the supplement or the many X-Ray examinations she had had over the years. She was released just in time for Christmas, December 21, 1976. She had a periodic check-up on February 24, 1977. 

Allison drove herself to the hospital on February 26, 1977 [she owned a 1972 Chevrolet Camaro], and checked herself in to receive a scheduled transfusion. This is something she had done often in prior years. The transfusion was begun at 4:15 p.m. and discontinued about 2/3rds of the way through because Allison felt chilled. She was also experiencing a multitude of flu like symptoms. She was in extreme pain at 11:15 p.m. that day. 

Allison was taken by ambulance from the Scripps Clinic to the University of California Medical Center in San Diego at 3:15 a.m. She died there 6:03 a.m., February 27, 1977, just nine days before her 47th birthday.  Her mother Charlotte died on October 1, 1977.



Allison Mary Jane Hayes played strong women on the screen. But she fought her bitterest battles off screen against the medical establishment. She made our lives safer. She is spoken of fondly by those her worked with her (the one exception: Beverly Garland). She is still missed by those who called her friend.
She wrote poetry and this is one of her last efforts:
When the time comes
For the final line to be
Drawn through my name
In those personal address books,
Will it be done slowly
Or rapidly?
I should like to leave
More than one less "H"
So please hear me
I have been poisoned.
Her greatest wish toward the end of her life was that her story be told so that others might not suffer her fate.  Her unpublished manuscript was not listed among the assets of her Mother's estate when Charlotte died eight months after her daughter.
With her beauty and talent and ambition, she became, however briefly, the girl on the big screen--a bona fide movie star. She was smart and funny and talented. She was the quintessential Fifties Hollywood Chick. Her death at 46 was a tragedy.

Film scholar and interviewer Michael Barnum visited Holy Cross in 2001, and shared this photograph with me

There is a cross and a rosary on the headstone in Holy Cross Cemetery - Plot: Mother of Sorrows, Lot 618, section N, grave 1. It bears the surname Hayes....and two others:
Father William E. 1880-1959
Daughter Mary Jane 1930-1977
Her mother is buried in an unmarked plot nearby. If you are ever in Los Angeles, stop by and leave a flower. If you enjoyed Allison’s films, it is a small payback. 



(Thanks to Michael Barnum and Kevin Knutson for sharing some of their photos. And thanks to Rod Williams for sharing his medical research in this case. Also a BIG thank you to Bruce Kimmel for finding a cached version of this site which I thought was lost in an internet scuffle!)


**
Hollywood Beauty by Lydia Lane - 6/25/1957
"I get bored with myself," Allison Hayes declared, "and I'm changing my hairdo and makeup constantly.  I feel the way you wear your hair sets the key for your type.  Today I feel sophisticated."  She told me this in her dressing room at Allied Artists where she has a part in The Disembodied.

Allison's hair was pulled back in a French twist, and she was wearing a smart hat trimmed in with black feathers.
"Sometimes I wear my hair loose, use no makeup except a light lipstick, and a touch of mascara, and I look and feel entirely different."

She continued, "When I first came to Hollywood, I went all out in makeup including false eyelashes, but I soon learned a less obvious technique.  I have been told that my eyes are my best feature so I try to play them up.  I think the right mascara is so important.  When I was in the Miss America pageant, I made a quick trip to New York to get a brand that I couldn't get in Washington, D.C.  I powder my lashes to make them look thicker and give a more flattering frame for my eyes."

The subject of diet came up, and Allison admitted she couldn't be bothered with it.  "I tried counting calories, but I'm not successful.  But I can lose five pounds on the 'one food' diet.  I just eat as much as I want of one thing, and by the end of the day, I'm pretty sick of it!  I have a sweet tooth, so going on an angel food diet (no icing) is my favorite.  But I never stay on this more than one day, and I usually plan it when I'm on a picture."

She got a call to return to the set.  "When you're busy and your mind is occupied by something else, food becomes less important."  And with a "goodbye" she was gone.

***
March 7, 1964. ABC Television Center, Hollywood.

Actress Allison Hayes has established a reputation for her "other woman" portrayals on TV.  But instead of being concerned  over what she terms "type casting", Allison is honoring the view with her continuing role of Priscilla Longworth in TV's daytime serial General Hospital.

"Other women roles are usually better drama-wise," she said.  "Predatory female types run the gamut from hardhearted and avaricious to coy and clinging.  Priscilla, daughter of the General Hospital Chairman of the Board, is understanding, flattering and helpful to the point of making herself indispensable to Dr. Steve Hardy (John Beradino)for whom she has set her cap.  The role has drama and humor."

Allison, who started her career as a pursuer  with Van Heflin in Count Three and Pray leads a quiet private life.

"I'm pretty much of a homebody and prefer entertaining small groups in my home or a quiet dinner or the beach to the night club life."

Miss Hayes' private life pursuits are confined to the arts.  She was formerly a concert pianist; painting (several of her oils have been sold through a Hollywood gallery); or searching for fine antiques in "junk shops."

Recently Miss Hayes became an interior decorator at the insistence of her friends who had admired her Hollywood home which she had done herself in contemporary styling and incorporating antique Spanish and Italian pieces.

****
December, 1955, Hollywood Stars magazine story
"She Oughta Be in Pictures" no byline

Mrs. Earl Warren said it. The wife of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court spotted Allison Hayes at a gala party in Washington D.C. and remarked, "My, what a pretty girl. She ought to be in pictures." No sooner said than done. A U-I talent scout, hearing of the remark, started the wheels turning. There was a screen test in New York, a quick-flying trip to Hollywood, and Allison was in pictures, making an outstanding movie-debut as the wife of Attila the Hun in Sign of the Pagan. "And to think," Allison sighs happily, "that I hate big formal parties."

Growing up in the nation's capital, Allison set her sights on a career as a concert pianist and during her senior year at high school played several concerts with the excellent American University Symphony Orchestra. Her statuesque beauty caused the downfall of one career, however, and the beginning of another. In 1949 she was chosen to represent Washington in the Miss America beauty pageant. Then followed a long series of beauty honors and she gathered such titles as Queen of the Atlantic, Queen of Talent and Elegance, the Forget-Me-Not Girl, and Miss Dixie. Since Allison happens to be as talented as she is beautiful, she soon found herself in television, first as model for color demonstrations, then as mistress of ceremonies with Milton Q. Ford on a local show.

Having fulfilled her U-I contract, Allison is now free-lancing and will soon be seen in Columbia's Count Three and Pray opposite Van Heflin. She loves music and plays the piano at every opportunity. She is superstitious about anything hanging on doorknobs and follows her horoscope closely. And she still prefers an informal dinner date to a fancy dress ball any night of the week.

***
Allison in Filmland by Harry MacArthur.
The Washington Star Magazine. October 2, 1955.

Magazine Supplement Cover

Washington's Mary Jane Hayes ought to be the darling of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which would know her as Allison Hayes. She is living proof of a lesson Hollywood has been trying to teach young girls the Nation over for decades.

The movie capital is beset annually by hordes of eager maidens from almost everywhere. They have one goal in common: They want to sit on that stool at the soda fountain and be discovered just like Lana Turner and be famous by the following Tuesday.

The luckier members of this invasion of beauty are not discovered at all.  They end up as car-hops, waitresses, clerks in stores and like unglamorous occupations. They eat regularly. The percentage of those who break into the movies, even to rise no higher than extra ranks, is minuscule.

So Hollywood say, in vain: "Stay home! If you have the looks and talent the movies want, it will not go undiscovered."

Now Mary Jane, or Allison, has come along to demonstrate the complete truth of tese words.  For Miss Hayes, Miss Washington of 1949, the old show business brush-off -- "Don't call us, we'll call you" -- was no brush-off at all.

A couple of years ago, she was appearing on Milton Ford's WMAL television show when a man from a movie studio happened to look one night. When Miss Hayes came back home recently it was as the veteran of half a dozen movies who now finds herself officially referred to as a starlet.

This is the Hollywood title for a photogenic feature player whom some people -- sometimes only she and her agent, but often others, too -- think is destined soon to drop the diminutive suffix. Miss Hayes divulges that there are those in Hollywood who tell her that her movie future is exceedingly bright.

"Sometimes I think maybe they're right," she says, "but at other times, I'm not at all sure."

One of the times was her first day in her first movie. She had been seen on that TV show by the man from Universal-International, had been given a photographic test (without sound track) and had been allowed to choose one of two alternatives. She was offered either a contract at a modest salary or expenses for a trip to the West Coast to take a full-fledged test that might mean more money.

Miss Hayes took the contract, had her name changed to Allison -- 'they said Mary Jane sounded to ingenue-ish" -- and went to work in "Sign of the Pagan." Its star as Jack Palance, a fellow who gets pretty intense about his acting and did on Miss Hayes' first morning.

"They pummeled me, threw me on the floor and picked me up and beat me some more," she related later. "They were afraid to let me out for lunch, for fear I wouldn't come back. I went around bruised and with my ribs taped up for days."

If Miss Hayes makes friends in Hollywood the way she did in Washington, her future in the movies is assured. She was one of the most popular girls ever to hold the Miss Washington title. She was named the District's Cherry Blossom Princess and won herself quite an assortment of other titles. Among other things, she became Queen of the Atlantic, Miss Forget-Me-Not, Miss Dixie, and Miss Mason-Dixon Line.

Born in [South] Charleston, W. Va., Miss Hayes was brought here at an early age by her parents, Charlotte G. and William Edward Hayes. Mr Hayes, now retired, was the chief engineer of the Navy Department's Bureau of Ordnance.

Miss Hayes is a Coolidge High graduate (1948), who was an accomplished enough pianist to play several concerts with the American University Symphony Orchestra during her senior year in high school. She also attended St. Gabriel's Parochial School and Holy Cross Academy, and whetted her appetite for drama in the Catholic University speech and drama department.


Wonder if Charlotte made that hat?

On her last visit here, she was on the horns of a dilemma many a girl would find most exciting. The salary she can command as a free-lance actress has risen as her roles have improved. But now she has been offered contracts with two major studios, which would mean taking a salary cut for security. She was about to decide to go under a studio's wing, but she may have changed her mind. She is beginning to get some critical attention.

In reviewing "Chicago Syndicate," the latest film in which she appears, Bosley Crowther summed up in the New York Times: "This is a standard melodrama, in which the bright spot is Allison Hayes, a tall and agreeable young lady who gives considerable aid to the battered (Dennis) O'Keefe."


*******



ALLISON ON DVD:

The release of television shows:

Gomer Pyle USMC - The 4th Season
The Untouchables - The 2nd Season


**** Allison's interview with Barry Brown and many more conversations with her contemporaries can be found at
http://www.barrybrown.info    Thanks to Fiona Gell for sharing this information with us.

A NEW MYSTERY.....
It has been generally accepted that Allison's first film work was in Sign of the Pagan which began filming within weeks of her signing her contract with Universal-International.

However the Blog Site MonsterMovieMusic.blogspot.com has given us convincing evidence that Allison's first screen appearance was actually in director Joseph Pevney's film The Strange Door.  A credit for the film has even been added to her IMDB listing.  This film, starring Boris Karloff and Charles Laughton, was released in December, 1951.  So it seems that some of the rumors about Allison - then Mary Jane - visiting Hollywood in the early 1950's are true.  Various reports have her there visiting silent star Carmel Myers - a friend of Allison's mother Charlotte.  Another Hollywood historian told me that he remembers seeing a screening of Sunset Boulevard with its star Gloria Swanson and Allison also attending.  The timing for the latter would certainly be in keeping with Allison doing her scene in The Strange Door since Sunset Boulevard was released in August, 1950.

Allison certainly counted Gloria Swanson among her friends - and it was Gloria who introduced her to Dr. Henry Bieler.

Here she is as a party guest in The Strange Door.



In another bit of synchronicity - the art direction for much of The Strange Door was none other than Mr. Nathan Juran who would direct Attack of the 50 Foot Woman - under the name of Nathan Hertz.

The Strange Door is available on DVD as part of "The Boris Karloff Collection."