The Mole People 1956 – John Agar

We were treated to a lot of these Horror films in the early to mid fifties and beyond – and truth to say, we loved them

John Agar the star of this film seemed to be an actor identified with this sort of film.

Maybe that is a little unfair in a way, because he was in many others – in fact looking back it is very unfair because he had a long film career and was not in that many Horror Films.

He began right at the top in Westerns with John Wayne ‘Fort Apache’ being the first one then came ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ and not long after that, a war film ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’ – all with John Wayne starring

Before ‘The Mole People’ he had been in ‘Revenge of the Creature’ and a film I remember from when it showed locally at a small cinema nearby ‘Tarantula’ – famous for being Clint Eastwood’s first film.

John Agar

John Agar achieved cult status as the exceptionally handsome but bland leading man in 1950s science-fiction classics such as Tarantula, Revenge of the Creature, and a others. By 1945, he had become one of the most famous men in the USA when he married 17year-old Shirley Temple.

John Agar with Shirley Temple enjoying a drink

ABOVE – Having a drink together – trouble is it seemed that John Agar, at that time, like more than just ‘a drink’

Mind you, later in his life he brought this well under control

John Agar with Shirley Temple looking very happy with their baby girl.
They certainly would be happy
What a lovely picture that is

John Agar was born in 1921 and his family was well-known in the Chicago meat-packing industry. While in the army, he met Shirley Temple through the actress Zasu Pitts, a friend of his mother, and their romance captured headlines all over the world.

Mr. Agar was a 24-year-old physical training instructor at March Field at Riverside, Calif., in 1945 when it was arranged for him to escort Ms. Temple, then a 16-year-old child star, to a Hollywood party given by her boss, David O. Selznick.

The marriage undoubtedly kick-started his career as an actor, but the divorce in 1949 – Shirley Temple cited mental cruelty and drink problems – attracted equal notoriety and the descent into B movies began, not helped by John Agar’s growing dependence on alcohol.

John Agar and Shirley Temple appeared together in two films, ”Fort Apache” and ”Adventure in Baltimore.”

He was not a particularly good actor and he knew it. “I had never really planned to be an actor, and it was thrust on me at an early age,” he said in 1988. “It was not something I really wanted”

Later on John Wayne, who appeared with him in ”Fort Apache” and ”Sands of Iwo Jima,” tried to revive Mr. Agar’s career by casting him in ”The Undefeated,” ”Chisum” and ”Big Jake.’

He eventually joined Alcoholics Anonymous and later appeared in his last major film in 1976, the remake of ”King Kong.” In later years he sold insurance and real estate.

John Agar, with his alcoholic days long behind him, had happily remarried but his wife Loretta Combs, who had been a model – they had married in 1951 – died in 2000 After that he still occasionally appeared on television and in films, and was a popular guest at science-fiction and horror movie conventions in the USA.

However he never took any of it too seriously: “I always kind of had the feeling that when people looked at some of these science-fiction things, we were going to get a big laugh.”

John Agar died in 2002

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