Publicity photo of Thelma Todd:
" Thelma Todd reads a book on the set of the film "The Travelling Salesman" but is afraid of snakes so she has surrounded her chair with a rope so they will not enter."
( The idea was that a snake can't cross a horsehair rope, therefore she was supposed to be safe from snakes. This was an old superstition, one of many about snakes that may still be circulating today. )
Unfortunately, Thelma Todd was never to make this film, due to snakes of a different kind who had no concern for either horsehair ropes nor Thelma Todd, as Donati recounts in his book. Thelma recieved a call from the studio, asking her to come to what turned out to be a drunken party of the type for which Hollywood was notorious. She walked away, and suffered a career setback as a result of not cooperating with the studio executives responsible.
Gertrude Olmsted was chosen to replace Thelma Todd:
"In New Dix Film
Gertrude Olmsted, who had leading roles in a number of pictures, has just been given the leading role opposite Richard Dix in that star's latest Paramount Picture, "The Traveling Salesman". Thelma Todd originally was cast for that part."
- The Pittsburgh Press Dec. 4, 1927
Although called "The Traveling Salesman" during production, the film was eventually released as "Sporting Goods", with this tagline:
"Guaranteed all-wool comedy! Laughs a yard wide!"
And this one:
"Have you ever been financially embarrassed? Dix was---to the tune of $16.000! This salesman starts off in the Mojave Desert in a horrible hole and ends up a rich man! How does he do it? See---RICHARD DIX in 'SPORTING GOODS' "
Richard Dix was very popular in his day. He made many westerns and a series of movies based on the radio show "The Whistler", a mystery program hosted by the titular character, a man with a haunting whistle.
Richard Dix filmography from the imdb:
John Sinclair/John Carter
Lee Selfridge Nugent
Earl C. Conrad
Capt. Will Stone
Police Chief Richard Bryan
Marshal Dave Lovell
Lt. Danny Darrick
Bill Shear, aka William 'Bill' Shayne
William 'Bill' Fenwick, aka Richard 'Dick' Galt
Richard 'Mack' McAllan
2nd Lt. Rex 'Rocky' Thorne
Roger Standish/Roger Lennox
Frank 'Duke' Ellis
Capt. 'Gibby' Gibson
Captain Lewis Dumont
Larry Sheldon/Ted Walters
Master of Ceremonies
Captain Leslie Yeullet
Dr. Gerald Summer
Dundee 'Knockout' Reilly
Richard Gaylord, Jr
John McTavish, her son
Paul/Arthur Ellison (twins)
James Lowery (butler)
Himself - in search of Lowell Sherman
Himself - Richard Dix
Silent Hollywood Thelma Todd Page: