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  • James Hall appeared as Willie Loomis for only five episodes before being replaced by John Karlen.  Also, in the same year (1967), James Hall appeared in one episode of N.Y.P.D. - "Cruise to Oblivion", while John Karlen was in another episode of N.Y.P.D.: "Murder to Infinity". The two never met.  The episode of N.Y.P.D.: Murder to Infinity starring John Karlen is available on youtube, while NYPD: Cruise to Oblivion (with James Hall) is not online.

    There are no publicity photos of James Hall to be found on any internet sites, and no bio either.  His resume on IMBD shows a few additional scattered appearances as minor characters on various TV series and films. Does anyone know anything more about him, or have any publicity photos?

    He seems to be the only replaced actor where no explanation is given anywhere, so I am curious to know:  why he was replaced?  What did he do to cause his replacement?  Was he fired?

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    • That's what I want to know. John Karlen portrayed a more looney character than he so maybe that was it. JH seemed too tame for the part.

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    • I totally disagree, James Hall was totally creepy and on the edge. He seemed like he was ready any second to break and murder or rape someone. He also had a better chemistry with his buddy who had real fear that Willi would go off the rails any second. John Karlen seemed more tame by comparision. When James Hall creeped on a girl he gave me the creeps. But when John Karlen did it it seemed more like acting.

      Maybe James Hall was fired because he really was creepy!

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    • Of course we may never know unless one of the producers (or even actors) were to explain. If it's like you say, I'm sure Karlen was better suited for the role, and perhaps he was their first choice. Perhaps not available those couple episodes, or maybe Hall had another commitment and left.  He must've not fit in one way or another.

      I'm curious about these minor actors who left abruptly.

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    • John Karlen states that James Hall was fired in this interview.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEPeGq84KAU

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    • I appreciated James Hall as Loomis. Hall was a much creepier and scumbag Willie Loomis and his sordid relationship with Jason Maguire (Dennis Patrick) was compelling and riveting. This is not to say that I dont like John Karlen as Loomis, though. He is an amazing and convincing actor. 

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    • Y-e-a-h! He sure was creepy, James Hall! I was going back to do some research and got sick to my stomach. I felt whoever typed up for the episodes of James Hall playing Willie Loomis here did the best they possibly could by describing his actions as "yucky", "icky', "creepy", towards Victoria and Carolyn. It was so gross I don't know as I would have done a better job trying to indicate the form of mind games he was playing.

      John Karlen, with the more boyishly attractive looks, gave us a sense there was more pain and confusion in his history he wasn't as responsible for. James Hall did that marginally with certain sudden looks of depression or as though remembering something unpleasant. It's an eye-opener seeing this discussion and finding out James Hall's existence remains shadowy at best. 

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    • It would be interesting to know whatever happened to James Hall.....as he certainly played the role of Willie to a T!   He seemed lost, confused, angry, creepy, and dangerous all at the same time!  I was hoping that Josette Collins would come to the resuce.....and scare him off!!!

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    • I think when the producers decided that Willie was going to be the slave of Barnabas, that an actor with less of a rough edge was needed. The original Willie would never have fit in as a timid and subservient houseboy.

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    • My nickname for James Hall's Willie Loomis is "the ultimate scum". As a slimeball, Hall's portrayal seems more true to life in his illiterate diction and menacing posturing -- he can convey a sense of impending danger without even speaking, just a pensive glare atop that dimpled chin is enough to keep you on your guard.


      John Karlen, on the other hand, is a more theatrical Willie Loomis -- quick-witted and perfect speech, too well groomed and clean cut, never a hair out of place. He tries to carry on with the foreboding persona for a few episodes, but it isn't really as convincing as James Hall's more gutteral mannerisms.


      As noted from the John Karlen interview link above, Karlen didn't even have to audition for the part, because they were firing someone. I'm only guessing, but they probably fired Hall because he appeared to have trouble with his lines. I mean, he was just terrible -- clumsy with lines, trouble remembering dialogue, and a poor sense of timing overall. His firing must have been a sudden decision, because in the first episode where Karlen appears as Willie, James Hall was also paid for that episode.


      As to whatever happened to James Hall, I recall the bit part he had in the TV movie Norma Rae in the early eighties, as a wife-beating low life. His IMDb page has a huge gap of inactivity between 1989 and 2011. The link below, from the TV Database Wiki, has a more recent photo:


      http://tvdatabase.wikia.com/wiki/James_Hall

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    • He's 80 and lives in Santa Monica.

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    • So, did anyone see him in the flesh over the weekend? ;)

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    • No I hate to say.

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    • I've managed to track down a DVD of 1967 N.Y.P.D. episodes including the one James Hall was in. Cruise to Oblivion sounds interesting, where police get a tip that a passenger on an incoming ocean liner may be arriving with a shipment of narcotics. I'll bet our original Willie goes down shooting! :) I'll post back in this space when the DVD arrives so that I can upload it on YouTube. It would be interesting to see him in another role from around that time, to see whether he differs any from his lurid portrayal of Willie on Dark Shadows.

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    • heheheheh "lurid", yes, that is so kind of you. I shall be at rest in my mind until that time comes and then I shall quake in my shoes to view it. ;)

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    • Hello there!

      Just plowing through my Dark Shadows set again and came upon the intro of Willie Loomis; the first five episodes portrayed by James Hall. I wondered why he was replaced and happened onto this thread. After reading here, I tried looking more into him and I found this if anyone is interested!


      http://tvdatabase.wikia.com/wiki/James_Hall

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    • Thank you very much. It's so strange to finally see the man out in the light and not gone the way of Ambrose Bierce and Amelia Earhart. 

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    • Hi all,


      The DVD set of the NYPD series including the episode with James Hall arrived today. Tonight I'm going to watch the five Dark Shadows episodes with Hall as Willie Loomis, then play the NYPD episode with Hall as Murray Standish in Cruise to Oblivion. Then I might just play the first few John Karlen episodes and see the NYPD episode he was in (Murder for Infinity).


      I'll work on uploading the James Hall episode from NYPD soon -- it'll be the first time I've uploaded to YouTube, but it looks like it shouldn't be too complicated. So hopefully I'll have the upload ready before the weekend is out.


      In the meantime, another YouTube uploader this past summer posted something from 1989 that James Hall was in, an episode of CBS Summer Playhouse (season 3, episode 5; Elysian Fields). You see him in the opening scene, looking the same as he did in 1967, only he's playing a nice, normal guy and he's convincing in that context, too. It makes you realize that in introducing Willie Loomis as quite the menacing character, he really is a rather talented actor.


      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fya7px9k92o

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    • Thanks for this! It was kind of you to share so much. That is some solid research. It's lovely to look into the versatility of someone and see that even with one association to an actor they can pull through other roles of opposite human circumstances and be just as convincing. In fact, one of things I admire about James Hall when he comes up in coversation as not fitting the role for Willie Loomis is that James Hall was "too creepy". It's almost like saying he was "too good". 

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    • In Cruise to Oblivion, James Hall plays a High Society fashion photographer who gets involved in drug trafficking to pay off a gambling debt. He's the lead heavy in this, and he's really good! Another pre-Barnabas-era Dark Shadows alumnus also has top guest star billing in this episode -- Hugh Franklin, who played Collins family lawyer Richard Garner.


      I'll see about getting this uploaded early this week. For now I have included here a couple of screencaps.
      Dark Shadows alumni Hugh Franklin and James Hall meeting on a park bench for a transaction

      Dark Shadows alumni Hugh Franklin and James Hall meet on a park bench for a transaction

      Peter Lessing (Franklin) and Murray Standish (Hall) under the watchful eye of the NYPD in Cruise to Oblivion 1967

      Peter Lessing (Franklin) and Murray Standish (Hall) under the watchful eye of the NYPD in Cruise to Oblivion_1967

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    • Excellent work Prisonerofthenight! 

      As far as Hall being "too creepy" makes no sense to me either. I found his Willie Loomis portrayal very well performed. It's a "dark" TV show and characters like his keep it in the dark. Just imagine if Hall had continued as Willie Loomis! I also love Karlen, don't get me wrong but each actor had his own thing going on in their portrayals of Willie Loomis ;)  

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    • Hall was a football player at Ole Miss and did a lot of fascinating things. He even wrote a bio a few years ago (as Jimmy Hall). Read more here:

      http://hottytoddy.com/2015/02/12/jimmy-halls-legacy-of-life-football-acting-friendship/

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    • BlueWhaleCustomer wrote:
      Excellent work Prisonerofthenight! 

      As far as Hall being "too creepy" makes no sense to me either. I found his Willie Loomis portrayal very well performed. It's a "dark" TV show and characters like his keep it in the dark. Just imagine if Hall had continued as Willie Loomis! I also love Karlen, don't get me wrong but each actor had his own thing going on in their portrayals of Willie Loomis ;)


      BlueWhaleCustomer,

      I wholeheartedly agree. Each actor brought to the character something unique, and definitely Hall set the prototype for Willie Loomis. I think he was hired for the role because he had the right look -- if you notice, Karlen has the exact same height and build and rough-hewn blondish good looks. I think the reason Hall was let go was that he seemed to have trouble with his lines; he relied on the teleprompter quite often and this affected his timing and he would also garble lines. It could have been a case of nerves, as it was after all, if not the first, then one of his first jobs on television. Christopher Pennock has mentioned how terrified he was for his whole first year at the prospect of just being on television, not to mention a high-pressure situation like "live to tape". They let Mark Allen go after just seven episodes for the same reason -- too much reliance on the teleprompter and too much trouble with his lines. The only actor on Dark Shadows who could get away with lack of memorization of lines and heavy reliance on the teleprompter was Jonathan Frid.


      But, yes, James Hall certainly had his moments. Like when he crashes in on Roger, Carolyn, and Vicki in the breakfast room, in the process driving Roger out of the house and then making the girls prepare his breakfast, even forcing Carolyn to sit down and talk with him while he sips the coffee he ordered her to bring him. When Jason tried to talk Willie out of staying at Collinwood and Willie asks what kind of people live there, Jason's reply is hilarious: "The kind of people you've never met! The kind of people who've NEVER met anyone like you."


      Yes, I, too, have wondered how it would've turned out had Hall continued on as Willie. I would think the knife fight in the bar with Devlin would have been more of a nail biter. Karlen played it with more theatrical flair, seemed to play Willie as a bit more better spoken than he would have been considering where he was coming from -- or it could have been that Karlen was just more at ease with the live to tape theatrical pacing of the show and delivered his lines with smoothness and precision. After all, Karlen had already been appearing on television for 18 years by that point.


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    • 128.239.114.67 wrote:
      Hall was a football player at Ole Miss and did a lot of fascinating things. He even wrote a bio a few years ago (as Jimmy Hall). Read more here:

      http://hottytoddy.com/2015/02/12/jimmy-halls-legacy-of-life-football-acting-friendship/

      Hello!


      Thanks so much for the link to the article on James Hall. Glad to see that he's happy, healthy, and productive. He seems like a truly remarkable and resilient spirit.


      I've just placed an order for a copy of his autobiography that is linked in the article. As you may or may not know, I am planning on starting a blog in 2017 that focuses on the early pre-Barnabas episodes (tentatively titled "Dark Shadows: From the Beginning"). One of the occasional features in the blog will be a "Dark Shadows Cast Member Spotlight". For this reason, I have been collecting all the cast member bios and autobios that I can find. So I'm delighted that I will be including for my collection one on James Hall, because he is one of the cast members I will be devoting such a spotlight to when the time comes, and I'm sure this will help make the profile a great deal more informative in highlighting his career before and since leaving Dark Shadows. So, thanks again!

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    • Hi,


      The N.Y.P.D. episode Cruise to Oblivion is now uploaded to YouTube.


      The ocean liner where many of the scenes from this episode are filmed was the SS United States, whose 1952 Blue Riband record for fastest trans-Atlantic crossing for an ocean liner still stands. After being retired from service in 1969, unlike other such ocean liners that were broken up and sold for scrap, the SS United States has been moored and maintained, most recently for the last 20 years in Philadelphia. There was a recent article in National Geographic about a cruise ship company intent on purchasing the ship and restoring it to active service. So, if you purchase a cruise ticket one day soon, you may be able to walk those very decks and relive the scenes as depicted in Cruise to Oblivion. You can read the National Geographic article here:


      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160208-ss-united-states-ocean-liner-cruise-ship-photos/


      You can view the episode of Cruise to Oblivion in full here:


      https://youtu.be/dO473XG88Do

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    • i don't think he was up to the rigors of the fast paced shooting. if you look at episode 203 or 204 they're having to do 3 takes. and he seems stilted at times, though it works for his creepiness. i bet they had to replace him because of that. 

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    • Bet you thought they'd never invite him. Below are some photos of James Hall at the 2016 Dark Shadows F
      2016 Dark Shadows Festival James Hall and Kathryn Leigh Scott

      2016 Dark Shadows Festival_James Hall and Kathryn Leigh Scott

      estival. In the first photo, James Hall and Kathryn Leigh Scott at the 2016 Dark Shadows Festival. Second photo, the two Willies finally meet. Third photo,
      The two Willies finally meet James Hall and John Karlen 2016

      The two Willies finally meet_James Hall and John Karlen_2016

      James Hall, Kathryn Leigh Scott, and John Karlen pose for fans. 
      James Hall with Kathryn Leigh Scott and John Karlen 2016

      James Hall with Kathryn Leigh Scott and John Karlen_2016

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    • James Hall is featured in the official music video for composer Nico Muhly's "Skip Town"
      James Hall Skip Town (Nico Muhly) official music video

      James Hall_Skip Town (Nico Muhly)_official music video

      (2007). The video was directed by Banner Gwin, who is Hall's great nephew as well as an Academy Award winning film editor:

      http://vimeo.com/14838282

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    • Hall played Willie as an asshole.

      Karlen made him loveable, and I am grateful.

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    • 174.205.1.179 wrote:
      Hall played Willie as an asshole.

      Karlen made him loveable, and I am grateful.

      Hall played Willie exactly as he was supposed to -- as scripted. In the beginning, Karlen took over precisely from where Hall had left off. How lovable are you when you're in a bar pulling a knife on Burke Devlin, after just a moment before having offended Sam Evans by suggesting that he paint nude girls -- and that he get his own daughter to model for him?

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    • A little-known fact about James Hall: He very nearly became a major movie star with his auditions for Midnight Cowboy. In his autobiography, William Eggleston and Me, Hall gives an account of these auditions:

      "After I started making my mark in theatre, TV and movies in New York in 1967, it came down to Jon Voight and me for the role of Joe Buck in "Midnight Cowboy." I had already passed an audition with director John Schlesinger in his private hotel suite on Central Park South. I knew that he liked my work, but he said that he was looking for a height contrast with Dustin Hoffman who's about 5'7". I was 5'9" yet John Schlesinger called me back a few days later for a final audition at the hotel and I came in as Joe Buck with lifts in my cowboy boots and standing as tall as I could.

      He had auditioned Jon Voight, probably 6'5", and who I had beat out in a play at the Cherry Lane Theatre in the Village that was very similar in story as "Midnight Cowboy." It was written by Grandin Conover, poet, playwright, ex-editor of the Nation and one of my best of friends up to his suicide in 1969.

      Again Schlesinger praised my work, but decided he needed the height contrast. I pleaded, argued and cried to change his mind but I knew that he was right. It was Jon Voight's movie debut and a movie that I knew would be a classic, a defining moment for an actor. I felt that I missed my chance to be a movie star and I was crushed.

      I hate to write it but in some ways, I never got over not being Joe Buck but it's probably a blessing. I probably wouldn't be the man that I am today if I had been a movie star. Instead I devoted my life later to be the best father that I could be to my three children, Angel Sedgwick (38), Kate Hall (26) and Brittany Hall (24) and experiencing unconditional love between us. Life wasn't all about me anymore!"

      -- pp. 30-31 

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    • Above I posted that James Hall was at the 50th anniversary Dark Shadows Festival -- which shouldn't be confused with the event in Tarrytown, New York, in June 2016. They actually had another gathering later in the year in California, called "Dark Shadows 50th Anniversary Halloween in Hollywood", and this is the event at which James Hall appeared, held at the historic Woman's Club of Hollywood on October 29.

      There is YouTube footage of James Hall with Kathryn Leigh Scott where he talks of his work on Dark Shadows and even takes questions from the audiience. Apart from the passing mention of Dark Shadows in his memoir, this is the first time he has publicly spoken at length of his time on the show in 50 years:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe3keDIDilY 

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    • James Halls forth episode is slated as (Take #3) instead of the usual (Take #1). I wonder if he screwed up where they had to stop tape 2 times before getting it right. That could be why he was replaced.

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    • Now, such an important fact has not been discussed much.

      That if they screwed up, they started over from the intro.

      This is crazy shit. If somebody went up at 22:01 in the ep,

      They would reboot?

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    • Something really major would be required for them to start over.  First, they had time limits...taping had to be finished by a certain time, else they would have to pay everyone overtime, and they were using equipment that was needed to do the evening news as well.  So it would really blow their meager budget if they did not finish on time.   Editing tape was also expensive and time-consuming, which is why minor errors remained in the final product.   So any retakes had to be because of something so major it could not be ignored.

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    • I just noticed that when Willie first arrives at Collinwood he introduces himself to Caroline as "Willie Lomas" (Episode 202).  Seems like he started to say Willy Loman (the Death of a Salesman character) but saved it in the second syllable. 

      In episode 203 in the drawing room, James Hall seems distracted by cue cards or something going on offstage near the camera. It seemed to me that James was messing up or not rising to the professional standards of the show or daytime TV in general. 

      I love his crazy energy but it seemed too unbridled for daytime IMHO.

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    • A FANDOM user
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