Hal August was an American silent film star and has been added here for research purposes due to his interesting and unexpected connection to silent film star Edwin August. Edwin has long been suspected of being gay, the rumors have been around since the earliest days of Hollywood. Actress Blanche Sweet would later flatly say "he was a homo". However, there has never been a man (or woman) connected to him romantically - until I came across the 1914 city directories for Los Angeles and Long Beach in which is listed both Edwin August and Hal August living together and both working as actors. At first glance it may be assumed that they are brothers, but a little knowledge tells us that Edwin August was born Edwin August Butz and Hal August was born Frank Thomas Hallack.
Knowing that Edwin August and Hal August were living together under assumed names in 1914, and knowing that the name "August" originated with Edwin's and that Frank Hallack seems to have no reason to pick the name "Hal August" - we can guess that Hal purposely named himself after Edwin. Why would this young man do this unless perhaps… just maybe… they were lovers? It's a theory that I wouldn't have considered if there hadn't already been rumors about Edwin. But since there are let's look at Hal a bit closer.
Hal August was born Frank Thomas Hallack in Los Angeles on November 24, 1891 to John Wyckoff Hallack and Minnie Estelle Brown Hallack. His parents had previously married in 1887 and had two sons, Rayner in 1888 and Cyrus in 1890. After Frank was born they had Wesley in 1899 and Cathryn in 1903. As a teenager he led a somewhat reckless life and caused a bit of trouble. He was racing "autos" in Long Beach as early as 1907 prior to any safety regulations and was arrested for playing pool in a billiard hall while under age in 1909.
His father was a laborer and driver for various oil companies including the Morris Jones Oil Company in 1900 and was foreman at the Diamond Oil Co in 1913. The city directories show that they lived at a different address every year, telling us that the family was of the low income working class. While each of his brothers would follow in their fathers footsteps, Frank with his high spirit would not - at least not completely. He did become a driver like his father but in the 1910 census he is specifically described as a "chauffeur" unlike his father who was a "driver of an oil wagon" in 1900. Although it's completely speculation it is reasonable to suppose that Frank may have met Edwin August, or one of his friends, when he was hired as their driver.
With some temporary exceptions, Frank continued to live with his parents until 1914 when his life changes completely. In 1913 he is listed as an "auto operator" and living with his parents and by January 1914 he is listed as "Hal August" as a guest at an intimate dinner party given by Edwin August for the superstar Mary Pickford. This is the first time that we see Frank listed as "Hal August" and the first time that he is mentioned at all in connection with the film colonies. IMDB lists that he acted in 10 films that year and city directories show that he lived with Edwin at their home at 601 S. Rampart and even took his surname. Later that year both Edwin and Hal August moved to New York as part of Universal Productions, although they also both worked for the Balboa Amusement Company in Long Beach before the move.
If they had been a couple, they seem to have split by the Spring of 1915. According to Frank he was walking with a friend (Edwin?) in New York when they stopped to watch some young ladies dancing. One of these ladies introduced him to a young socialite from Rutherford named Corinne Hooker. They became immediate friends and married right away, but the marriage was never consummated and was "in name only" according to Frank. He left for New York City shortly after they were married and Corinne did not hear from him for two months. No one, not even her parents, had been told about the marriage, but once she realized that she was not going to hear from Frank again she filed for divorce and her mother filed charges of abandonment. Corinne called Frank and asked him to come. He did and they drove around Rutherford for some time before she led him to an office building. She made an excuse to go inside, and the Police Chief came out and arrested Frank, put him in a jail for a night with bail set at $1000. Friends from New York came to bail him out the next day.
We don't hear about Frank again until 1918 when he registers for the draft in June 1917. He filed for exemption on the grounds that he was married and his wife was solely dependent on him. He had been married for less than a year to Adeline Fellers. The army didn't accept his request and was enlisted into the naval school in Great Lakes, Illinois where he later contracted pneumonia and died on September 21, 1918. His body was moved to Los Angeles and he was buried in Hollywood.
Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, CA) - Jan 17, 1907
Automobile Will Race Skaters
An automobile pitted against skaters will be the attraction on the Long Beach Majestic rink this evening, Friday and Saturday evenings. I. N. Darter will drive an auto tonight, with Frank Hallack and Homer Reap in a relay skating event. Because of the slippery floor over which the contestants must compete the races usually result in some exciting developments.
Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, CA) - April 12, 1909
ALLOWED BOYS UNDER 18 TO PLAY POOL IS ALLEGED
C. A. Boyd, who conducts a poolroom at Third and Main streets, was arrested by Patrolman Gifford and McAuliffe and taken to the police station charged with allowing four boys under 18 years of age to play pool in his place.
The lads, who, the police say, were not acquainted with each other, were playing at different tables with older men when the officers entered the place. The boys were arrested with Boyd, and when booked at the central police station gave the following names and addresses: August Kaa, 6248 Branch street; Harold Suttle, 6310 Eagle Rock avenue; Frank Hallack, 1261 Court street, and Wendell Kuencer, 1125 Fair Oaks avenue, Pasadena. they are charged with being in a poolroom in violation of a city ordinance prohibiting persons under the age of 21 being in such places.
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, IN) - January 15, 1914
Edwin August, of the Universal, entertained recently in honor of Mary Pickford and her mother at his Hollywood, Calif., residence. Among the guests present were; Mr. and Mrs. Isidora Bernstein, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Nash, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips Smalley, Mr. and Mrs. Otis Turner, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Mace, Hal August, Barney Sherry, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Leonard, Allan Dwan, Iva Shepard, Alice Rhodes, Ethel Davis and Laura Oakley.
Toronto Sunday World (Toronto, Canada) - May 31, 1914
EDWIN AUGUST: The Edwin August Feature plays will in future be made at the Balboa studios, and Mr. August is now affiliated with the Balboa company. He has Hal August and pretty Neva Delorez with him, and he says that in this society girl he has a "find". He is directing and taking the lead in "The Great Secret," a capital melodrama from his own pen. Edwin August is very pleased with his surroundings, and was surprised at the completeness of the Long Beach studio.
Toronto Sunday World (Toronto, Canada) - June 7, 1914
Edwin August has completed his first feature picture for the Balboa Company, and he is going to produce a comedy-drama with a new idea running thru it. He has moved to Long Beach, and occupies a delightful apartment there. He has lots of nice things to say regarding both his juvenile, Hal August, and his leading lady, Neva Delorez.
Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) - August 4, 1915
MOVIE ACTOR LED TO DIVORCE COURT
Wife He Marries Secretly Takes Him Auto-Riding to Sheriff's Office
HACKENSACK, NJ, Aug 4 - Frank T. Hallack, a New York movie actor, known in his profession as Hal August, came out to Rutherford a few evenings ago to call on Miss Corinne M. Hooker, daughter of Frederick F. Hooker, superintendent of the Flintkote Company. Hallack had been a frequent caller on Miss Kooker last spring, and her friends suspected that they were engaged. But nobody in Rutherford, not even her parents, knew that the two had been married in Weehawken by the Rev. George Angleman on April 12.
Hallack had come out this time on a telephone request from his wife, who met him at the station with the family automobile. The two drove about Rutherford for some time. Then she drew up in front of an office building, asking her husband to wait while she telephoned to see if her parents were at home.
She disappeared within, and in a moment there appeared Under Sheriff Thomas English, who announced to Hallack that his wife had sued him for divorce, with alimony and counsel fees, and served a writ of ne exeat. Then Hallack was brought down to Hackensack and taken to the county jail, where, in default of $1,000 bail, he was locked up over night.
The couple were married a week after they first met, and then Hallack began to make his calls in Rutherford. Some times after that her friends that things were settled, and Miss Hooker was the guest of honor at a kitchen shower give by Mrs. Addison Ely, Jr., whose husband is now Mrs. Hallack's attorney in her suit.
Hallack said he called regularly, but of late the arrival of the summer season had made it impossible for him to go up to Rutherford as often as he had been accustomed. But he said he kept in constant communications with his wife, and denied vigorously the assertion of her attorney that from May 17 to July 27 she had never heard from him.
Ely, speaking for Mrs. Hallack, also made charges of misconduct, naming several girls who lived in the rooming house at 103 West Seventieth Street, where Hallack has been staying. He also married a woman living at 115 West Seventy-first Street, who came to Hackensack this afternoon with another man, and said that bail for Hallack would probably be furnished by his friends tomorrow.
Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA) - August 5, 1915
HIS BRIDE HAS REEL HERO PUT IN THE COOLER
New York, Aug. 6 - A friend promised to come forward with $1,000 in real money and enable Hal August, a reel hero, with wavy hair and soulful eyes, to get back on the movie screen instead of behind one consisting of the bars of the Hackensack jail.
Outside the scenarios, Hal August is Frank T. Hallack, and the first his friends knew about his bride was when he was arrested on her charge. She wants a divorce and alimony, and the bail is deemed necessary to keep him with the jurisdiction of the court. She was formerly Miss Corinne M. Hooker of Rutherford, daughter of Frederick F. Hooker, superintendent of the Flintkote Co.
Hal hails from California. His story is that last April he was told of "a nice girl in Rutherford" by a friend, and sent her his picture. The girl was Miss Hooker, and she wrote him a letter of thanks. He was introduced to her at the home of a friend at One Hundred and Forty-fourth st. and Riverside Drive. Half an hour later they went for a stroll on the drive. "If I had a little girl like you to love I wouldn't go back to California," he says he remarked. "I'm game.," he says she replied.
they decided he was not prepared just then to support her properly, and that after their marriage she would return to her home in Rutherford, and he would visit her as a suitor. On April 12, a week after they first met, they were married in Weehawken. He says he visited her every day for two weeks. Then the summer season brought him so much movie work he couldn't call so often. She says she heard nothing from him for more than two months, and had a quiet investigation made of his habits.
SERVED WITH "THE PAPERS"
As a result, she telegraphed him Monday to come over, as she was going away. She met him at hte station with the family automobile and they had a ride. Then she stopped to telephone home "so they wouldn't be uneasy."
"She never went to a telephone," said Hal. "Stopped in front of the office of her lawyer, Adison Ely, Jr., and there was a business of a deputy sheriff - badge and all - giving me a mittful of papers. One set was in her suit for divorce the other was an order for my arrest, for fear I'd bolt the Jersey boundaries. And with all my friends in New York, and at that time of night, I could only look at the fair, false one and say, 'All right, dearie! Drive me to the cooler.'"
Miss Bessie Mahoney, a professional model, living at 103 West Seventieth st., where Hallack also has rooms, was indignant to hear that she figured in the divorce papers.
Flushing Daily Times (Flushing, NY) - August 5, 1915
MRS. HALLACK WANTS DIVORCE
Wife of "Hal August," Whitestone Film Actor, Sues.
Has Him Arrested in Rutherford, N.J. Where He is Served With Papers in Action - Names Other Women.
Hal August, a moving picture actor, who is known in Whitestone, where he was an actor and assistant director for the Kinemacolor Company, is being sued for divorce by his wife, who was Miss Corinne M. Hooker, daughter of Frederick F. Hooker, of Rutherford N.J.
Hal August is only his "reel" name. His real name is Frank T. Hallack. His own story of his domestic difficulties is that in a dancing school on 42d street, Manhattan, last April he met a women who introduced him to Miss Hooker. Hallack said he gave up all thoughts of returning to California when Miss Hooker consented to marry him. On April 12 they were married in Weehawken by a minister.
Hallack says he visited his wife every day for two weeks, but the summer brought him several roles and he could not call on her much. Monday he got a message from his wife to come to Rutherford to see her.
Hallack went and was met at the railroad station by his wife in an automobile. After a long ride she drove up in front of her lawyer's office, where her husband was served with the divorce papers. The same deputy sheriff who served the divorce papers also placed Hallack under arrest to prevent him from leaving New Jersey. In defealt of $1,000 bail he went to jail. the bride names three women, one a widow.
Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - August 22, 1915
'BRIDE WISHED ON ME,' SAYS ACTOR
Secret Romance of Movie Star Revealed by Suit for Divorce
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 21 - A secret romance in which Frank T. Hallack, a motion picture star of Los Angeles, now claims an attractive young bride to have been "wished" upon him was revealed when his wife, Corinne Hooker Hallack, began divorce proceedings in New York. Hallack declares that if the romance were written in scenario form it would be rejected by the director on the ground that it was "too far-fetched". Mrs. Hallack, 23 years old and beautiful, named three women in the divorce papers. The suit was the first public knowledge that Mrs. Hallack, was was formerly Miss Hooker, daughter of a member of a corporation of Rutherford, NY, and a prominent society girl, was married. Hallack, whose movie name is "Hall August," made public this statement.
"WOMAN TO BLAME"
"Honestly I am not to blame for all this, for this very pretty and attractive young lady was wished upon me," Hallack said when he was committed to default of $1000 bail. "It was early last April and while walking along Forty-fifth street in New York, a friend and myself stopped to see some girls who were taking dancing lessons. Two of the young ladies motioned to us to come in. I was introduced to a woman who said her home was in Rutherford. She volunteered the information that she knew a very beautiful girl in that town she wanted me to meet. I said this would tickle me to death and at her suggestion I mailed one of my autograph photographs to her - meaning Miss Corinne Hooker at Rutherford. Through a girl friend I was privileged to call at apartments where I met Miss Hooker. The delight seemed to be mutual and a half hour later we started for a walk, talking as confidentially as if we had been friends for months. Miss Hooker asked me about myself and I told her of my life's history. I was her own age. My home is in Los Angeles and I told her I would soon be returning to California and I added, 'If I had a nice little girl like you to love I wouldn't go back.' Miss Hooker looked into my eyes and then with a smile said, 'I'm game.' 'So am I,' said I, and then we began talking over conditions. I confessed to her that I was too poor to care for her as well as her folks would, but I said I had a future. We agreed to get married and keep the matter a secret. So a week later we were married in Weehawken. After our wedding I visited my wife at her home every day for about two weeks. Last week I phoned her and she told me she was going away. She asked me to come and see her. I met Mrs. Hallack in her automobile at the station. I got in the car and began riding around town. She stopped in front of what I afterward learned was her lawyer's office. Therein concealed was Under Sheriff English, and when my bride went in out came the officer with the papers to arrest me.
MARRIED IN NAME ONLY
"My intentions were at all times honorable, and though we were married it was in name only. She can have the divorce and her maiden name, but as to alimony - that's different. I am, like most actors, well dressed but poor." Mrs. Hallack is very popular in social circles and a graduate of the Montclair Normal school. The women named in her proceedings are Mrs. Addie Seilars, an attractive widow; Bessie Mahoney, a model, and Josie Sanborn, a movie actress.
Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA) - Sept 25, 1918
FRANK HALLACK, FILM ACTOR, DIES IN NAVY
Landsman Frank T. Hallack of the naval aviation section, formerly known in the motion-picture colony here as Hal August, died Saturday morning at the Great Lakes naval station of la grippe-pneumonia, contracted ten days previously. The body will arrive here tomorrow, and funeral services will be held Friday morning 11 o'clock at the chapel of Pierce Bros. Interment will be at Hollywood Cemetery.
The young widow of Landsman Hallack is living at the Hampden Arms in this city. Mr. and Mrs. Hallack, his parents, and two brothers, also live in this city. Hallack was born in Los Angeles 28 years ago. He had not been here during the last four years, having been sent to New York by the Universal Film Corporation as a director. He was a leading man in pictures for a time here. He was married in New York two years ago.
Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, CA) - Sept 27, 1918
NAVAL HONORS MARK BURIAL OF HALLACK
Young Film Actor Died Week Ago at Great Lakes Training School
Naval honors marked the burial today of Frank T. Hallack, who died of pneumonia a week ago today in the Great Lakes training school. The services were held at 11 o'clock at the Pierce Brothers' chapel, 810 South Flower street, with Rev. C. C. Pierce, formerly of the Memorial Baptist church, officiating. Interment was at the Hollywood cemetery. Hallack was one of the most popular young actors of the cinematic colony before his enlistment. He was known on the films as Hal August and both he and his wife had many friends in the moving picture world. He is survived by his wife, who is at the Hampden Arms, 516 West Fifth street. Mrs. Hallack is alone in the city. Hallack was only 28 years of age at the time of his death. The body was sent here for interment by the war department.
April 28, 1910 - a boarding house in San Diego, San Diego, California
Frank Hallack, white male age 19, single, born in California, father born in New York, mother born in Illinois, "cheffeur" in automobile shop.
City Directories and other lists
Los Angeles City Directories
1900: Hallack, John - lab., r 1739 Kane
1903: Hallack, John W - driver Morris Jones Oil Co. h958 E. 51st
1908: Hallack, John W - driver h 865 Ramona
1910: Hallack, John W - tmstr r 205 N. Mathews
1910: Hallack, Rayner E. - tmstr r 205 N. Mathews
1910: Hallack, T. Frank - auto opr r 205 N. Mathews
1910: Hallack, Zyrus W. - agt r 205 N. Mathews
1912: Hallack, John W. - h 1015 E 53d
1912: Hallack, Rayner E. - driver r 1015 E 53d
1912: Hallack, T. Frank - auto opr r 1015 E 53d
1913: Hallack, John W. - foremn Diamond Oil Co h 784 Kohler
1913: Hallack, Frank T. - auto opr r 784 Kohler
1913: Hallack, John W. - foremn h 784 Kohler
1914: August, Edwin - director Universal Film Mfg Co h 601 S. Rampart Blvd.
1914: August, Hal - emp Universal Film Mfg Co h 601 S. Rampart Blvd.
1914: Hallack, Cyrus W. - lndymn h 2521 Wabash
1914: Hallack, John W. - yardmn h 932 Aliso
1915: Hallack, Cyrus W. - lndymn h 2521 Wabash Ave
1915: Hallack, John W. - yardmn h 2503 Boulder
1917: Hallack, Cyrus W. - auto opr h 2521 Wabash av
1917: Hallack, John W. - lab h 3101 Emmet
1917: Hallack, Raynor E. - auto opr h 2340 E. 37th
Directories for Long Beach, California
1914: August, Edwin - actor Balboa Amusement Producing Co r. Alexander Hotel
1914: August, Hal - actor Balboa Amusement Pro Co r. Alexander Hotel
Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947
Name: Frank Thomas Hallack
Born: Nov 24, 1891 in California
Died: Sept 21, 1918 in Lake County, Illinois
Burial: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: US Navy, race white
Comments: LMMA USNRF
World War I Draft Registration Card
Name: Frank Thomas Hallack
Address: 179 W 80th St., New York City, NY
Born: November 29th, 1890 in Los Angeles
Occupation: Motion Picture Actor, unemployed
Notes: married. He claimed exemption "On the ground that I have a wife solely dependent."
Description: medium height and build, gray eyes, light brown hair, "2 fingers on right hand cut off".
Registration Date: June 4, 1917
US Naval Deaths, World War I
Name: Frank Thomas Hallack
Place of Death: Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois
Death Date: September 21, 1918
Next of Kin: Adelaide Frances Hallack
Address: 3503 Wabash St., Los Angeles, California
Appointed: Cincinnati, Ohio
Rank: landsman for machinists mate
Branch: US Naval Reserve Force
US, Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976
Hallack, Frank Thomas, landsman for machinist's mate (A), United States Naval Reserve Force. Enlisted: Cincinnati, Ohio, July 5, 1918. Died: Naval hospital, Great Lakes, Ill., September 21, 1918. Cause: Influenza. Next of kin: Adelaide Frances Hallack, 3503 Wabash Street, Los Angeles, Calif.