At my recent visit to the Huntington Beach Rotary Club, they completely surprised me in a most unusual way. One of their members was former child star Layne (Dick) Tom Jr. His career lasted a decade during Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Born in 1927, Tom appeared in a number of cinematic classics. He began his journey as an extra in Stowaway, which starred Shirley Temple. MGM borrowed him for San Francisco with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Jeanette McDonald. Tom had minor roles in The Good Earth and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
LAYNE TOM JR. C. AUBREY SMITH WARNER OLAND KEYE LUKE
His scenes in The Hurricane with C. Aubrey Smith (the notable actor who has a Chapter in Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History) were taken seriously by studio executives. Because of this, he was cast as the #2, #5 and #7 Son in the Charlie Chan series with Warner Oland and Keye Luke. Tom left acting after he entered The Service during World War II. His had a brief comeback when he appeared in two documentaries about the Chinese detective: Layne Tom Jr: The Adventures of Charlie Chan, and The Legacy of Charlie Chan, as the narrator.
After Tom got out of the Navy when World War II ended, he turned down a five-year motion picture contract with Monogram Pictures to instead attend college to become an architect. Tom is currently retired.
His daughter Kiana Tom is the glib host of Kiana’s Flex Appeal, a television fitness series. In retirement, Dick Tom Jr. is an OC Rotarian, an avid reader, and now, a proud owner of the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series.
Brevard County, in the heart of Space Coast Florida, have purchased both works in the Forgotten Hollywood Book Series for their Central Branch in Cocoa, FL. This means four copies are in three libraries in their literary system. Merritt Island and Satellite Beach are other locales in Central Florida that own the original Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History. A former resident of Cocoa is comedian Carrot Top.
Overall, 97 nationwide locations carry both paperbacks; 80 branches house my first work; and 36 reading shelves currently hold Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History in their collection, including two copies recently added by my friends at the El Segundo Library.
Until next time> “never forget”