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Paul Dellinger authored our original biography on Allan Lane in 1999. This supplement from ye Old Corral webmaster is to document any corrections as well as new and updated information and confusion on Lane, his family, his marriages, etc.

This supplement is a work in progress and was last updated on: July 27, 2013. If anyone has further info on Lane's life and career, please shoot an e-mail to Chuck Anderson, the Old Corral webmeister.



(Courtesy of Gerald Griffore)

Above - a very young Allan Lane circa 1930 and about 21 years of age.




LANE AT NOTRE DAME - NOPE!

As to Lane playing football at Notre Dame - over the years, no one has found any traces of Lane/Harry Leonard Albershart attending that South Bend, Indiana university. Lots of folks have checked with Notre Dame over the years... and so has ye Old Corral webmeister. If he had played for the "Fighting Irish", his boss would have been the legendary Knute Rockne who was Notre Dame's football coach from 1918-1930.

There was also a rumor that he had played collegiate football at the "College of St. Mary's" in South Bend. There is no "College of St. Mary's". However, there is a St. Mary's College in South Bend. But it always was - and still is - a Catholic womens college: http://www3.saintmarys.edu/

Lane's claim about Notre Dame attendance and prowess at varsity football and other sports has to be viewed based on two critical dates. He was born September 22, 1909. We also know that he was in Hollywood at Fox circa late Spring - early Summer, 1929 (and his first feature film, the lost/missing NOT QUITE DECENT (Fox, 1929), was released mid 1929; as to the actual release date, the Film Daily tradepaper has a May, 1929 review of NOT QUITE DECENT). The duration between his birth and his initial Fox films is about 19 1/2 years.




THE "ENHANCED" LANE BIOGRAPHY - WHEN AND WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Lane's biography has him born in 1904, a graduate and super athlete at Notre Dame, more. But we know that most of that was crafted by Lane, his agent, a movie studio, or some combination. Over the years, ye Old Corral webmaster has searched for clues about when this enhanced biography was created.

Let's journey back to 1929.

The 1929 Motion Picture Almanac has a list of Fox contract players which include Paul Muni, Victor McLaglen, Rex Bell ... and Harry Albers. Then came the name change.

Fox's contract players are listed in the March 1, 1929 Film Daily and Harry Albers has become Allan Lane.

The June 18, 1929 issue of Film Daily has a full color, multi-page advertising section from Fox. And there's a two-page photo spread showing many of their contract players. Allan Lane is pictured.

The October, 1929 issue of Picture Play magazine has an article on several new actors and actresses, and the Lane coverage is about a half page, including a photo. A few excerpts follow:

"Though born in Mishawaka, Indiana, Allan --- who until recently was known as Harry Albers --- moved to South Bend, where his newspaper-selling career commenced."

"He went to high school, then to Notre Dame University. He became an ace at football. But what was such glory compared to a job on the stage in "If I Were King"? It was produced in South Bend and Allan made his theatrical debut."

Later, he appeared in "Young Woodley," "The Patsy," and "Hit the Deck."

A bit in "Dream of Love" cropped up. Then came a call from Fox.

"Ruth Collier, his manager ..."

In summary - during the first half of 1929 while at Fox, Harry Leonard Albershart, then known as Harry Albers, became Allan Lane.




AT WARNERS-FIRST NATIONAL

A February 11, 1931 newspaper article mentions: "Alice Brady ... appears at the Broad Street Theater, Newark, this week in her new vehicle "Zero Hour", which is shown just prior to her Broadway premier ...". Prominent cast members are listed with some background information on each. At the tail-end of the article, there's a half-dozen or so performers who are menioned by name only, and included is Allen Lane (spelled Allen with an "E").

That Broad Street Theater is located in Newark, New Jersey. Am unsure if the production made it to New York City as there is no information in the Internet Broadway Database for Alice Brady and a production of "Zero Hour" in 1931.

In February - April, 1931 issues of Film Daily, there were tidbits on Lane signing with Warners-First National. One mentions that "ALLAN LANE, drafted by Warner Bros. from the legitimate stage, is on his way to the coast to begin film work."




APPROXIMATELY FOUR YEARS AWAY FROM HOLLYWOODLAND: DOING STAGE PLAYS, OPERATING A PHOTOGRAPHY/PHOTO ILLUSTRATOR BUSINESS, PLAYING PRO OR SEMI-PRO FOOTBALL???

There is an approximate four year period - from late 1932 through late 1936 - when Lane exited Hollywood and the movie business. During that time, scuttlebutt is that he did some plays (in Cincinnati and other locations) and also worked for and/or owned a photography/photo illustrator studio in New York City (and that work may have included some print ads for large corporate clients). There is a Summer, 1937 newspaper tidbit which could be true or planted by Lane's employer at that time, 20th Century Fox. It reads (partially): "Allan Lane ... when he headed the company of New York photographic illustrators known as "Allan Lane, Inc."" Sadly, the 1932-1937 New York city directories and telephone books are not online. Hopefully, an Old Corral visitor will volunteer to visit the New York City Public Library and do a check for an Allen Lane residence and business.

Lane's brief football career is a bit clearer.

Bobby Copeland sent me several newspaper articles. One was written by Joe Gootter who was sports editor for the Paterson (New Jersey) Evening News. Gootter connected with Lane during the filming of CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS (Fox, 1937) which was released in May, 1937. His writeup mentions Lane playing for the Paterson Panthers (Paterson, New Jersey) and Orange Tornadoes (Orange, New Jersey). And a quote from Lane about Notre Dame: "He admitted this though --- he played one year of football at Notre Dame. Then ineligibility forced him out." The other couple of newspaper articles mention "Al Lane" playing backfield and punting for the Paterson Panthers.

Gerald Griffore sent me a lengthy profile on Lane from the August, 1938 Screen Book magazine. Authored by Monroe Quigg and titled "Allan's Lane To Fame!", Lane mentions his old Cincinnati Reds football team. He claims that he won letters in football, baseball and basketball at Notre Dame; played golf in various amateur tournaments; had a 692 score in bowling; more. Additionally, he loved baseball and on his days off, he shagged fly balls and trained with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball teams.

There are other newspaper blurbs on Lane and football. For example, the February 17, 1938 issue of the Paterson, New Jersey Messenger has an article about Lane as the lead in THE DUKE COMES BACK (Republic, 1937) and "Lane is the famous 'Booter' who played such sensational football with the Paterson Panthers."

Hoping to get additional confirmation regarding Lane's pro or semi-pro football career, I contacted the Professional Football Researchers Association which has a website at: http://profootballresearchers.org/

Ken Crippen and Bob Gill confirmed Lane's brief football career:

"I have him playing in 1934 with the East Orange Tornadoes, as a halfback. After five games, he and two other players quit because the team owed them money ($130 in Lane's case), and he finished the season with the Paterson Panthers, a new team that year. That's the only season where he shows up with any team I know about. It was also the second (and last) season for the Cincinnati Reds in the NFL, and he could easily have been in camp with the Reds, and played an exhibition game or two with them, before joining Orange. I have Lane's college listed as Occidental, and whether I got it from a newspaper or a program, it's not guaranteed to be right. But I checked a Notre Dame media guide, which lists the members of the teams each year, and Lane (or Albershart) isn't included. He could've played as a freshman or something, I suppose; if there's any real evidence that he did play at Notre Dame, I'd like to know."


LINKS ON THE FOOTBALL TEAMS MENTIONED ABOVE

Football book author John Maxymuk has a website which includes listings of the 1929-1930 Orange/Newark Tornado players. Lane or Albershart is not on the list: http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~maxymuk/home/ongoing/orange.html

Likewise, Lane or Albershart is not on the Orange/Newark Tornado roster at the databasefootball.com website: http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teampage.htm?tm=NRK&lg=nfl
or the Pro Football Reference website: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/tor/lineups.htm

The East Orange Tornadoes (Orange, New Jersey) became the Newark Tornadoes, and only existed for two seasons, 1929 and 1930: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newark_Tornadoes

NFL records indicate that the Cincinnati Reds were a National Football League team that played the 1933 season and the first eight games of the 1934 season before shutting down due to financial issues / missed dues to the NFL. There's a history of the team at:
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ohio_history/v114/114.becker.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnati_Reds_%28NFL%29

The Pro Football Reference website has no info on a Lane or Albershart playing during the Cincinnati Reds brief lifespan:
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/red/1933.htm
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/red/1934.htm

Hinchliffe Stadium, Paterson, New Jersey is a National Historic Site and has info on the Paterson (New Jersey) Panther team which was formed in 1934 and went through several permutations until it became a Philadelphia Eagles farm club in 1950: http://www.hinchliffestadium.org/football/panthers.php




WHERE WAS LANE BETWEEN HIS LAST STARRING WESTERN, EL PASO STAMPEDE (1953), AND THE START OF MR. ED???

Confirmed:

There were two Red Ryder TV pilots made, and neither became regular television programs. The first was in 1951 and starred Jim Bannon. Allan Lane starred in the second pilot, which has a 1955 copyright date in the opening credits, and was titled "Gun Trouble Valley". He wears a single gun, chaps, a light colored shirt and white hat. Louis Lettieri portrayed Little Beaver. A very young James Best is in the cast (Best was Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in the DUKES OF HAZARD TV show). The credits at the end note a 'Red Ryder Production' and using the facilities of 'Flying A Productions' (which was Gene Autry's production company). Directing was George Archainbaud, who helmed many of the Hopalong Cassidy films as well as Gene Autry's post World War II westerns at Columbia Pictures. No mention of "Allan" in the opening credits - Lane is billed as "Rocky Lane".

The Fawcett Rocky Lane Western comic book series ended November, 1959 with issue #87. Assumption is that Lane was being paid some (meager) fee by Fawcett for the series.

Am also aware of Lane's few movie and TV appearances, all of which were minor background roles and bit parts.


Scuttlebutt, rumors, conjecture (from other biographies on Lane):

He was a car salesman in Los Angeles.

Lane was destitute, sleeping at (or in) the stables where animal trainer Les Hilton kept Mr. Ed. (However, information indicates that Lane may have lived at Hilton's home and stables.)

He did personal appearances at circuses and rodeos.




LANE TRIVIA

Over the years, I've received e-mails from a few Albershart and Dayhuff family members. One mentioned that the original German spelling of the Albershart surname was Albershardt (with a "d"). The "d" was silent when pronounced and was dropped.

Several 1929 articles - including a listing of the Fox contract players in the 1929 Motion Picture Almanac - note that Lane's original Hollywood name was "Harry Albers".

Hollywood tradepapers and movie magazines circa 1937 had Lane romantically linked to actress Rochelle Hudson. In Summer, 1938, scuttlebutt was that Lane and June Travis were to be wed. However, the April, 1939 issue of Photoplay magazine announced that: "June Travis and Allan Lane call off their engagement".

I was surprised when viewing Lane's last starring oater, EL PASO STAMPEDE (Republic, 1953). Sidekick Eddy Waller owns a feed store and about 19 1/2 minutes into the film, Lane is seated at the store counter - and he writes with his left hand.

Lane purchased Bill Elliott's horse "Thunder" and that became "Black Jack" in the Rocky Lane series. Scuttlebutt is that Lane had a small ranch in the San Fernando Valley where he stabled Black Jack and other horses. Check the Trusty Steeds/Movie Horses webpages on the Old Corral for more on Elliott's Thunder and Lane's Black Jack.

Most everyone knows that Lane was the voice of TV horse MR. ED. But when Mr. Ed did any tunes, it wasn't Lane doing the vocalizing. The singing voice of Mr. Ed belonged to actor and song writer Sheldon Allman who passed away in 2002. The Internet Movie Database has info on Allman and Mr. Ed: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0021532/

A July 23, 1938 article in the Los Angeles Times notes that RKO actor Allan Lane, a member of the Lakeside Country Club, was playing in the Lake Arrowhead golf tournament. The article headline reads "Lane Leads Golf Tourney, Lakeside Linksman Cards 74 as Rain Hits Arrowhead Event".

The Los Angeles Times newspaper has articles dated November 9, 10 and 11, 1943 about movieman Alan Lane's Major League All-stars playing the Negro League All-stars at Gilmore Field in Los Angeles. Lane's team won 6-0 on November 11, 1943. His first name is spelled Alan with a single "L". These teams (and others) were part of the California Winter League which existed from prior to World War I through the mid 1940s.

With a 1909 birth date, Lane would have been in his early thirties when the U. S. entered World War II. Have never found any mention of him doing military service ... or reasons that he did not serve.

Circa early 1990s, there were stories about a William Donald Ferrell being Allan 'Rocky' Lane. That claim was debunked years ago, but occasionally, someone sends an e-mail asking if Ferrell was 'Rocky' Lane. Sometime in the mid to late 1980s, the 59 year old Ferrell passed away in Florida. He's interred in Kentucky, and a local newspaper reporter mentions that his marker reads William Donald Ferrell and below that, Alan 'Rocky' Lane. Here's the story at the Glasgow Daily Times newspaper website (Glasgow, Kentucky):
http://glasgowdailytimes.com/opinion/x211908099/Rocky-Lane-mystery-deepens/print
http://glasgowdailytimes.com/opinion/x211908099/Rocky-Lane-mystery-deepens




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