Sunday, May 21, 2017

Born Today May 21: Lola Lane (Not So Silent Edition)


American singer, actress and member of the Lane Sisters, Lola Lane was born on this day in Macy, Indiana.  Her birth name was Dorothy Mullican.  She was the second eldest of the Lane Sisters.  In all there were five sisters, but one--Martha--did not enter show business.  Their father was a doctor, and the family grew up in Indianola, Indiana.  Her first job that had anything to do show business, was a job playing piano in the local silent film house.  She was then sent to Des Moines to study music at Simpson College, but was expelled for cutting classes--this was fine with her, as she had not wanted to go in the first place.  There are two versions of what happened next, so there is no need to speculate; suffice to say that somehow she and her older sister wound up in New York.  Still using her birth name, she was given a $450 a week vaudeville contract there.  It was at this time that she and her sisters decided to change their surname to "Lane," and the Lane Sisters were born. Not liking her first name, she chose to change that as well. She then went a the tour circuit with Gus Edwards "Ritz Carlton Nights" and made her Broadway debut in 1928.  She caught the attention of film director Benjamin Stoloff and he gave her a part in his up coming talkie Speakeasy (1929) [yet another lost film :-(].  She would appear in two more films in 1929, both of them talkies.  The first of these was a exhibition reel from Fox to taut the MovieTone sound system that they had decided would be there choice for bringing full sound to their films:  Fox Movietone Follies Of 1929 is unfortunately also lost.  She next appeared in another Stoloff film The Girl From Havana, which is, you guessed, another lost film. All of these were victims of the tragic 1937 Fox film vault fire.  The first film that she had a role in that is not lost is The Big Fight (1930).  Though not as famous as an actress as a couple of her other sisters, Lola did, none the less, have steady work in films until she decided to retire in 1946.  The last film she appeared in was They Made Me A Killer (1946).  Lola Lane died of arterial disease at the age of 75 in Santa Barbara, Ca. on the 22 of June 1981.  She is buried there in Calvary Cemetery, along with her 5th husband of many years under her married name Lola Hanlon.

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