Allan Jones – Father To The Son

I had intended to write a piece about crooner Jack Jones, who has had — and continues to have — a long and successful career as a jazz and pop singer. But I decided to save that for another day, and instead tell the story of his talented dad, Allan Jones, who paved the way via his genes and his influence.

The Pennsylvania-born Jones was the son of a coal miner, and spent some time underground himself as a young man but was able to sing his way into a scholarship that took him out of the mines. He would spend the next several years in New York, Paris and London, receiving a classical musical education that included operatic training.

By the early Thirties, he had returned to New York and immediately began working toward a career in music, but even though he did find some work singing the classics, he soon began to make a name for himself on Broadway. And — as was the case with many stage performers — he also soon found himself in Hollywood.

For a number of years, he was a popular performer who seemed to glide effortlessly from Broadway to Hollywood and back again. His best-remembered movie roles from those days are mostly parts that leaned on his singing ability. Good examples are two Marx Brothers’ films — A Night At The Opera and A Day At The Races.  He’s also remembered for an early version of Showboat (see video below) and for a movie called The Firefly, which furnished what became his signature song, “Donkey Serenade.”

Although his film work eventually slowed, Allan Jones continued to work regularly for many years — not only on Broadway, but as a popular nightclub entertainer. He also had the pleasure of seeing his son Jack become a popular crooner, and the twosome often performed together. (Once making a fun appearance on a episode of Love Boat.)

Allan Jones died at age 84 in 1992, and is still remembered — and appreciated — by many.

3 thoughts on “Allan Jones – Father To The Son

  1. Glad you enjoyed it. I plan to cover Jack in a later piece, so be sure to check back once in a while.

    PS Be sure to click the “Love Boat” link mentioned near the bottom (if you haven’t already). It shows both Jack and Allan, singing together.


  2. IMHO that 1936 film of Showboat is one of the greatest ever made. Yes, this Jones/Dunne number is a treasure, but it’s just one among many. That’s Paul Robeson, THE Paul Robeson, doing “Old Man River.” And the first time I saw Dunne, Hattie McDaniel and the chorus rollick through “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” I was thunderstruck–tears of utter joy. The 50s version of the movie that most of our contemporaries know is but a ghostly shadow….


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