Sunday, September 30, 2012

Patsy Faces Death

A number of movie stars died in automobile accidents in the thirties, including Dorothy Dell, Marjorie White, and Tom Mix. And it almost happened to Patsy Kelly. Patsy and Jean Malin were in a car that went into the ocean. She made it out and he didn't.

Publicity photo showing Patsy Kelly with a doctor and Thelma Todd, taken while Patsy Kelly was recovering from the accident.

 Original caption on the back of the photo.

Jean Malin used to work at the Club Abbey, a queer joint in New York. After it was shut down by the authorities following a shoot-out involving Dutch Schultz, he went to work at the Club New York in Hollywood and appeared in two films, ARIZONA TO BROADWAY and the Joan Crawford vehicle DANCING LADY; in the former movie, he portrayed "Ray Best", a female impersonator who dressed in the manner of Mae West and sang "Frankie and Johnny". Malin was cast in a third movie, "Double Harness" (1933), but his performance was discarded and he was replaced by another actor; the president of R.K.O., B. B. Kahane, disgusted by Malin's performance, remarking, "I do not think we ought to have this man on the lot on any picture—shorts or features."
In ARIZONA TO BROADWAY Jean Malin uses the line "You can be had", which Thelma Todd used around the same time in the movie SITTING PRETTY, where it also was intended to be a Mae West reference.
Pat DiCicco, Jean Malin, Thelma Todd, and Lois Wilson at the Club New Yorker in Hollywood, 1932. The wife of Jean Malin was involved in prostitution, as was DiCicco
 The Club New Yorker
Thelma Todd's friend Sally Eilers at right, next to Jean Malin and Harriet Parsons. This was around the time that Sally Eilers and Thelma Todd went to England together.
Some people said Patsy Kelly was bad luck. They said that she was followed around by a string of tragedies. Patsy Kelly herself said that she had a history of bad things happening to people who had been around her. "You see, something, darned if I know what it is, has happened to me since I came to this crazy town.  Every I loved, turned to, needed, has gone, just like Thelma.  It was Jean Malin, that swell New York actor and impersonator, first. I'd been a friend of Jean and his wife for years in New York. Then I went down to the Ship Cafe' that night of Jean's disappearence. I glanced up at the flashing sign over the door that said 'Jean Malin's last night', and as clearly as I'm hearing you, a voice said, 'Be careful, it is his last night.' He backed his car into the ocean off the end of a pier just one hour later.We were all submerged in the water. Adrenalin worked with me. It didn't with Jean." And then there was Thelma Todd: "Thelma. She gave me everything I needed. Got me on my feet. Gave me confidence and true friendship. And then she went. I had Ralph Farnum my agent left. He took my hand, fought my battles, and gave me advice. He went too, just a few weeks ago... but Thelma is always near me."
 In later years, Patsy Kelly often talked as if Thelma Todd were somehow still around her.
That's Carole Lombard on the cover.
I don't believe in things like curses on people, myself. Sometimes bad things just happen to people. And if they're famous, or infamous, you hear more about it than you would otherwise.
It's unfortunate that these misfortunes befell these people, but to say they were actually caused by someone because of bad luck is just superstition.
A glimpse of Patsy Kelly in New York in 1929.

Gene Malin:
Patsy Kelly:
Patsy Kelly In Accident:
Patsy Kelly and Thelma Todd:
Prohibition Era Nightclubs:
Dutch Schultz:

No comments:

Post a Comment