This is an online encyclopedia of personalities of Old Time Radio. It is designed for educational and entertainment purposes.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Jack Haley (1898-1979)

John Joseph Haley, Jr., was born August 10, 1898, in Boston, Massachusetts. He first went into entertainment in vaudeville, where he became friends with fellow Bay Stater (what a person from Massachusetts is called), Fred Allen.

In the early 1930s, Jack began working in motion picture shorts at the Vitaphone studios in Brooklyn, New York. He moved to Hollywood in 1936. Later that year he starred in his own radio variety series on CBS. At first, it was called the Log Cabin Jamboree, as the sponsor was Log Cabin pancake syrup. The next year it changed sponsors (and networks, this time it was on NBC) and it was the Wonder Show, sponsored by Wonder Bread. After the program went off the air for summer, Jack wouldn't return to the air again until 1944.


The big job in 1939 was the MGM motion picture, The Wizard of Oz. Originally, Buddy Ebsen was hired to portray the Tin Woodman. However, the makeup used was an aluminum oxide powder which almost killed him. Buddy was relieved of the job, spending several weeks out of work because of how ill he had been made to feel. Jack was hired to take over the position. They used a different makeup which used an aluminum oxide cream. Unfortunately, this began with catastrophic results, as the makeup artists applying the cream got some into Jack's eyes, almost making him lose his sight. He lost for days from that accident and there were no more accidents like that. His eye recovered.

Whenever asked if he thought the Wizard of Oz was fun, he let people know what it was really like: "Hell, no! It was hard work! You try singing and dancing with a contraption like that around your body and see if you can do it. See if YOU like it..."

Jack Haley did many other radio shows, including Fred Allen, Sealtest Village Store, Radio Hall of Fame, Family Theater, and many programs for the Armed Forces Radio Service.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, he appeared as a guest on many television dramas and comedies. For his last big screen effort, he appeared in the 1977 film, New York, New York, as a master of ceremonies.

Jack married Florence McFadden in 1921. Jack and Flo had two children: Jack, Jr. (John Joseph Haley, III [1933-2001]) and Gloria. Flo Haley had a successful beauty salon in Hollywood for many years. It was lovingly referred to as "Flo's House of Correction." Jack was a devout Roman Catholic.

Jack Haley died on June 6, 1979, in Los Angeles. He was 80 years old.

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