A Blog For Thelma Todd
Thelma Todd was a star of silent movies and later the talkies. She is remembered as much today for her mysterious death as she is for her films. In this blog, we take a look at Thelma Todd, her movies, and various commentaries.
Synopsis: Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts work at the music counter at Walham's, the world's largest store. Thelma sings a song, THEM THERE EYES, attracting a crowd of young men. The management complains and sends them away. Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts fall to talking about Zasu's boyfriend Milton, who shows up. Milton invites Zasu to a nightclub and mentions that he has a date for Thelma, a doctor from Boston.
Later the doctor shows up and turns out to be an osteopath, which does not impress Thelma. She tells him she doesn't want to go because she has a headache. He announces that he has just the treatment for that and proceeds to wrestle her around, causing her to pronounce herself cured rather than receive more such treatment.
In the club Zasu's feet are killing her, so she takes off her shoes. Thelma accidentally kicks the shoes under the table. The doctor says he has a special painkilling formula he concocted himself, so
Zasu decides to rub it on her feet, accidentally spilling it in her drink as well.
When the doctor goes off to treat a dancer who fell down and hurt herself, Thelma tells Zasu she'll get rid of the doctor by pretending to be drunk, and asks Zasu to participate in her scheme. Zasu actually gets drunk while pretending, thanks to the doctor's formula.
The doctor returns, having adjusted the spines of all the dancers to where they can hardly walk. Somehow Thelma's scheme doesn't work and the doctor dances with Thelma till he ends up falling through a table, after which he is ejected from the establishment by a waiter. Meanwhile Zasu is having trouble trying dance without shoes and stepping on gum. Searching for her shoes, she ends up under a serving trolley and is wheeled from the establishment by Thelma, trailed by Milton.
Back at the apartment, Thelma is getting something to eat while it appears that Milton is about to have a serious conversation with Zasu.
But what Milton really wants is a piece of Thelma's pie, so he asks her for some. Generous soul that she is, she lets him have the whole pie! SPLAT!
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LET'S DO THINGS is the first film in the Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd series. It was three reels in length and all the others were two reels, the standard length for comedy short subjects at the time.
This film was made after LOVE FEVER and can be considered to be a sort of a spinoff of the "Boy Friends" series. Series regulars Mickey Daniels, Mary Kornman, Gertrude Messinger, and Dorothy Granger all make cameo appearances in the nightclub scenes.
Leroy Shield also makes a cameo appearance in the nightclub, as a bandleader. Shields was the composer of BEAUTIFUL LADY, which was Thelma Todd's theme music at the Hal Roach studio.
The scene where Thelma attracts a crowd of young men by singing* and selling sheet music resembles a story about her which had been given out by her publicity prior to the making of this film. The doctor is said to be from Boston, which is also related to Thelma Todd because she was from Massachusetts, and was sometimes said to be from Boston, although she was actually from Lawrence.
Pie-throwing in comedy films is said to have begun when Mabel Normand threw a pie at Ben Turpin in a Mack Sennett comedy. By the thirties it seems that pie-throwing was no longer supposed to be fashionable, and pies were not generally being thrown in Roach comedies. LET'S DO THINGS was the only film in the Thelma Todd series in which someone threw a pie.
As we do not actually see Thelma throw the pie, it might actually have been thrown by someone else, possibly someone who might have had more experience in the art. In the movies they frequently do things like that, and the audience never knows the difference.
*Thelma Todd's song in THE BOHEMIAN GIRL was dubbed, but in the short subjects she seems to have done the singing herself.
The 2005 "remake" of KING KONG was not a faithful remake, despite claims to that effect. In this movie, Kong is even shown as picking up and throwing away a girl who appears to represent Fay Wray in the original movie.
Fay Wray had been tied between two stakes as a sacrifice to Kong in the original movie. Something that was not done in the 2005 version.
In the original movie the heroine screamed and struggled to get away from the monster, but in the 2005 movie the girl decides to side with the monster against the world, something which appears to have been taken from the 1976 version. There are a number of other discrepancies. I could go on, but I didn't catch them all I didn't actually watch the thing.
The special effects in the 2005 movie failed to live up to all the hype. I didn't think the computer animated monsters were very well done.