In “The Mummy's Hand” (1940), Tom's eyes were “blacked out” using a camera technique in some scenes to make him seem even more frightening. On film, this technique made his eyes seem to “gel” and shine unnaturally, just like a real monster brought back to life after being dead for many centuries.
Tom Tyler's brown eyes were perfect for silent film, to be sure, and even better for the talkies he made during the 1930's, and the color films he made in the 1940's before he fell ill with scleroderma. More than one publicity photo show Tom's eyes sparkling, full of life and light, eyes that could tell the story of his journey to Hollywood from Hamtramck, Michigan. Eyes that not only acted well, but also could hold the beholder spellbound, speak of an era long gone yet cherished and held close to the heart.
Born in the dust and cradled in the dark,
It feels the fire of an immortal spark,
And learns to read, with patient, searching eyes,
The splendid secret of the unconscious skies.
- H. Van Dyke