Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Death Of Thelma Todd In L.A. Times - Conclusion

In newspaper accounts of the day, there was no real conclusion to the story of the investigation of the death of Thelma Todd. They ran articles in the paper for a while and then went on to something else the way they always did.

The death of Thelma Todd became known as one of Hollywood's Unsolved Mysteries, together with a number of others, some of which are not well known and some of which would still be familiar to many people even today.

I once asked G.D. Hamann for his opinion concerning the death of Thelma Todd. He is someone who has some familiarity with the subject.  G.D. Hamann is the publisher of a series of reprint books that collect newspaper articles about movie stars. One of his books, THELMA TODD IN THE THIRTIES, reprinted some of the same articles that I put on this blog.

G. D. Hamann's message, sent via e mail, of April 28, 2000:

'Since 99% of the material I see is from the newspapers I can apply the old
Will Rogers adage, "All I know is what I read in the newspapers."


From reading the newspapers, I do know that the LAPD in the 30's was at
least as corrupt as any police department in the nation, and that the
District Attorney, Buron Fitts was as strange a DA as ever existed.
Fortunately for Buron, he lived in a town where the best criminal defense
attorneys in the nation lived, which meant that he beat the raps he used
to find lodged against him. A very interesting book that took Buron's
side, was an autobiography by one of the DA's investigators, Leslie
White, called "Me, Detective." White went into great detail of the war
between the DA's office and the LAPD.

By 1938 the excesses of the LAPD reached the point where the LAPD
intelligence department planted and detonated a bomb in the car of an
investigator hired by a civic group to track vice in the police
department. Oddly, the investigator, Harry Raymond, is lauded in LA
history books as a tireless crusader against vice. But in the 1920s, as a
LAPD detective lieutenant, Raymond led a police detachment on a mission
of planting incriminating evidence on a LA city councilman. The best
reading in LA is in the morgue of of one of the old LA papers which
miraculously preserves some of the memos to the City Editor from
reporters on stories of civic corruption usually captioned as "TOO HOT TO

I also know that both John Huston and Busby Berkeley managed to beat
homicide charges due to the incompetence of the DA's office (with a
little help from the studios) when they killed people while driving

A year after Thelma's death, Ted Healy died under somewhat suspicious
circumstances and many of his fans believe that his death was a homicide.

In Thelma's case, I just don't know. The sloppy way in which the evidence
was gathered and reported in the papers, however, do leave a lot of


I don't know for sure, myself. It doesn't seem that anybody else does, either.

G.D. Hamann Page On Jeanette McDonald Site:

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