Thursday, January 31, 2013

Torchy Todd And Thelma Todd

Torchy Todd was a comic strip character created by Bill Ward. Her having the same last name as Thelma Todd was probably coindidental, but there were some similarities between the two.

Torchy (comics)


The cover of Torchy #5 (July 1950). Cover art by Ward.
Publication information
PublisherQuality Comics
First appearancecomic strip: Fort Hamilton base newspaper (1944)
comics: Doll Man #8 (Spring 1946)
Created byBill Ward
In-story information
Full nameTorchy Todd
Torchy (comics)
Publication date(Torchy solo series)
Nov. 1949 – Sept. 1950
Collected editions
Bill Ward's Torchy, vol. 1ISBN 1-56685-048-7
Bill Ward's Torchy, vol. 2ISBN 1566850576
Torchy is a comic strip and, primarily, a series of comic books featuring the ingenue Torchy Todd, created by the American "good girl art" cartoonist Bill Ward during 1944. The character was ranked 97th of the 2011 Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[1]


Publication history

After Bill Ward's drafting into the World War II military, the artist created the tall, blond, busty ingenue Torchy Todd for the base newspaper of Brooklyn's Fort Hamilton, where Ward was deployed. The comic strip in which she featured soon became syndicated to other Army newspapers worldwide.
Torchy made her comic-book debut as main character of a backup feature of Quality Comics' Doll Man #8 (Spring 1946). Her feature was later published in all but two issues through #30 (September 1950), resuming in #35 (August 1951) through #47 (October 1953), as well as in Modern Comics #53-102 (Sept. 1946 - Oct. 1950). A solo series, Torchy, had six issues (Nov. 1949 - Sept. 1950), some with art by Gill Fox.
Several Torchy stories, including some Fort Hamilton comic strips, were reprinted in Innovation Comics' 100-page, squarebound trade paperback Bill Ward's Torchy, The Blonde Bombshell #1 (Jan. 1992). Others have been reprinted in The Betty Pages #1 (1987); AC Comics anthology Good Girl Art Quarterly #1 (Summer 1990), #10 (Fall 1992), #11 (Winter 1993), and #14 (Winter 1994), and in AC's America's Greatest Comics #5 (circa 2003). Comic Images released a set of Torchy trading cards in 1994.[2]
Ward drew an original cover featuring Torchy for Robert M. Overstreet's annual book The Comic Book Price Guide (#8, 1978).

Fictional character biography

Torchy Todd is a ditsy but goodhearted young blond woman who frequently finds herself in humorous, mildly risqué encounters with lustful men.


  1. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 60. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0.
  2. ^ "Bill Ward: 50 Fabulous Years of Torchy" Checklist


External links

                                                             *                 *                *
Torchy was intended to resemble one of the blonde glamour girls of the era, although it's not clear if she was supposed to resemble anyone in particular. She could have been Betty Grable, Carole Landis, or somebody else from that period. Not too long before her first appearence, "Torchy Blane" had been played by Glenda Farrell in a series of movies*,
 while the name of Todd had also belonged to Thelma Todd.
You can see some similarities between the girls Bill Ward drew and Thelma Todd ( for example, "Ack-Ack Amy" was smuggled aboard ship by her boyfriend with a leg sticking out of  the seabag he carried her in, something that Charlie Chase and Thelma Todd had done first ), but one of the most obvious similarities between Torchy and another blonde was that Torchy in her own title had about the same supporting cast as MY FRIEND IRMA,  who was played by Marie Wilson on radio and in the movies.  MY FRIEND IRMA was also made into a comic book.
Bill Ward would continue to draw Torchy for years. One of his later drawings was for the cover of the eigth issue of the Overstreet comic book price guide.

Here is an early Torchy adventure, from MODERN COMICS #58.

Thelma Todd had an adventure with Zasu Pitts that had similar settings, RED NOSES. An abridged version sold on the home movie market had the title LADIES IN A TURKISH BATH. Here are some frames from that version for comparison to the story above.







This story has the same sort of setting and involves massage, violent exercise, etc. all of which puts the heroine ( s ) through some discomfort in the name of health.

Somehow I find the ending of the Torchy version more satisfying, but then, Torchy is a comic book character and practically counts as a superheroine. Thelma Todd usually had to settle for just getting out with her skin intact at the end of her adventures.

*Lola Lane also played Torchy Blane, later married Roland West, and eventually inherited the Sidewalk Cafe from him. She eventually gave it to the Paulist production group which still owns it today.

Bill Ward ( Official Website ):

Bill Ward Biography ( Blackhawk Site ):

LADIES IN A TURKISH BATH / RED NOSES - Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts:

Torchy Todd Blog:

Torchy Group On Yahoo:

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Camera Never Lies... But The Retoucher Does

The camera never lies, so they say. But the retouchers say a little fib never hurt anyone.

A retoucher painted out part of this picture of Thelma Todd ( as "Alison Loyd", in CORSAIR ), in order to make her stand out from the background for publication. Sometimes they painted out other things, such as blemishes or distracting details. Retouchers could change a photograph's appearence a great deal.
 Ginger Rogers at Paramount, before she was famous. They wanted her to stand out from the background, too

The picture is marked "reverse, so presumably they wanted it reversed when printed for publication.

                                                                                Paulette Goddard

A little off the sides, please.

Mae West
They did the same thing with this picture, but it's a little less obvious.


Dale pointed out that they retouched this photo to make Carole Forman's bust smaller. The painted-out area is still visible as white.

Here, Dale attempted to restore "The Spider Lady" to her former greatness.
Ann Rutherford 
This one also looks like there has been retouching in the area of the bust..
Carole Landis, sometimes called "The Original Sweater Girl"
 This one, too.
Somebody thought Spock of Star Trek fame looked a little too much like the Devil. Something that didn't really seem to matter on television, but they wanted a different look for their publication.
 Left, Spock as he really looks ( at least on television ). Right, the new improved version.
 Finally, we take a look at something a retoucher might have done, but did not.
The wire suspending the balloon on the left is visible in this picture of Thelma Todd at Paramound in the silent era. A retoucher could have painted the wire out to make it appear as if the balloon were floating in midair, without any type of support.
 I've never retouched photos, and I never progressed beyond semi-professional photographer as I never really made any money out of it, but I worked with the old cameras and the old techniques and am familiar with them. The guys that made those old publicity pictures achieved fantastic results without modern equiptment. They are amoung the unsung heroes of their era, and Hollywood owes them much.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Thelma Todd was with Laurel and Hardy in their first talking picture in 1929.

Unaccustomed As We Are

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Unaccustomed As We Are

Theatrical poster
Directed byLewis R. Foster
Hal Roach
Produced byHal Roach
Written byLeo McCarey (story)
H. M. Walker
StarringStan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Edgar Kennedy
Mae Busch
Thelma Todd
CinematographyJohn MacBurnie
Len Powers
Jack Roach
George Stevens
Editing byRichard C. Currier
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)
  • May 4, 1929 (1929-05-04)
Running time18' (silent)
20' 58" (sound)
CountryUnited States
Also silent version with English intertitles
Unaccustomed As We Are is the first sound comedy short film starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy released on May 4, 1929.



Ollie brings Stan home for dinner, a very unwelcome surprise for Mrs. Hardy who storms out in a huff. Mrs. Kennedy, a neighbor from across the hall, offers to help the boys cook dinner; they, in turn, help to set her dress on fire. Mr. Kennedy, a cop, returns home and the boys hide the slip-clad Mrs. K. in a trunk. Unaware that his wife is within earshot, Mr. Kennedy starts bragging to the boys about his extramarital liaisons.

Production notes

Unaccustomed As We Are is notable for being Laurel and Hardy's first sound film (the title was drawn from the popular cliché "Unaccustomed as we are to public speaking ..."). The soundtrack was lost for 50 years until it was traced on disc in the late 1970s. A silent version, with intertitles, was also released, as well as a Victor disc hybrid (featuring a synchronized music score and sound effects).[1]
This is the first film in which Hardy says to Laurel, "Why don't you do something to help me!" which became a catchphrase, repeated in numerous subsequent films. Also heard for the first time is Stan's distinctive, high-pitched whimper of distress.[1]
The plot of Unaccustomed As We Are was expanded into the feature film Block-Heads in 1938. In addition, the gag of the spaghetti ending on Ollie's lap was originally conceived for their 1928 silent film Habeas Corpus, but was left unfilmed.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Skretvedt, Randy (1996). Laurel and Hardy: The Magic Behind the Movies. (2nd ed.) Anaheim, California: Past Times Publishing Co. ISBN 0-940410-29-X.

External links

Early sound movies tended to be static, frequently confined mainly to interior sets with little or no camera movement, because of problems related to recording sound. They looked something like filmed versions of stage plays. It took a while for them to learn to make movies the way they had before and make movies with more movement and still be able to record sound, and for things to more or less get back to normal.

For a while, stage people were sought after for talking pictures as they had experience with speaking lines. Mae Busch had been a stage actress, something that no doubt helped her in this part of her career.

Laurel and Hardy's were able to adapt successfully to sound movies and evidently were less troubled by the transition than some of their contempoaries. Thelma Todd had already made talkies at this time, beginning with SEVEN FOOTPRINTS TO SATAN, and with Edgar Kennedy would be in the next at the Roach studio, HURDY GURDY.

Thelma Todd also made some talkies with Harry Langdon at Roach's during this period, but Langdon didn't seem to have Laurel and Hardy's success at that studio, and his series soon came to an end. But he would return, at one point replacing Stan Laurel in a movie with Oliver Hardy.

Mae Busch:


Edgar Kennedy:

Thelma Todd Screen Captures From UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE:


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Behind The Scenes Of 39 Laurel And Hardy Films

A look at scenes behind the scenes of 39 Laurel and Hardy movies.

youtube description:

Behind the scenes of Early To Bed, The Finishing Touch, Should Married Men Go Home, A Perfect Day, Angora Love, Men O War, They Go Boom, Wrong Again, Brats, Hog Wild, The Laurel and Hardy Murder Case, The Rogue Song, Beau Hunks, One Good Turn, Any Old Port, County Hospital, Pack Up Your Troubles, Towed In A Hole, Busy Bodies, Sons Of The Desert, Babes In Toyland, Bonnie Scotland, The Bohemian Girl, Our Relations, Pick A Star, Way Out West, Blockheads, Swiss Miss, The Flying Deuces, A Chump At Oxford, Saps At Sea, Great Guns, A Haunting We Will Go, Air Raid Wardens, Dancing Masters, Jitterbugs, The Bullfighters, Nothing But Trouble and their final film, Atoll K (Utopia).

                                                           *                *               *

Here we have a look behind the scenes of many Laurel and Hardy films. Thelma Todd appears in a publicity shot made on the set of BRATS, which was built oversize so as to make Laurel and Hardy ( or in this case Thelma Todd ) look small by comparison. The same trick was used in the same period in THE DEVIL DOLL and it would be used again in later films.

And here's little Thelma in the same set.

Laurel And Hardy ( Official Site )

Laurel And Hardy Central:

Laurel And Hardy Society - Way Out West:

Laurel And Hardy Forum:

Stan Laurel And Oliver Hardy:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Beverly Leech


Beverly Leech played "Kate Monday" on the television series MATHNET. She also played Thelma Todd in the movie SUNSET.

Beverly Leech

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beverly Leech
BornBeverly Ann Leech
(1959-05-23) May 23, 1959 (age 53)
Paris, Texas
OccupationActress -Stage, Television, Film
Years active1984–present
SpouseChristian J. Meoli (1999 - present)
Dennis Smeal (1988-1992) (divorced) 1 child
Beverly Leech (May 23, 1959 in Paris, Texas) is an American actress who is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Kate Monday on Square One TV's Mathnet.
Beverly was discovered in Texas by a talent scout from Universal Studios. She is married to actor and writer Christian J. Meoli, most noted for his role as "Boz Bishop" in the series Nash Bridges. Other roles include appearances on science fiction television shows Quantum Leap (episode "Sea Bride", 1990) and Babylon 5 (episode "Revelations", 1994).
She has a daughter, Kate, by her first marriage to Dennis Smeal. Beverly's hobbies are painting, woodwork and refinishing, car repair, softball and ballet. She is a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center and also works with people affected by alcoholism and drug abuse.

 External links

In the movie SUNSET, Beverly Leech played Thelma Todd. I was able to write to her afterwards
and she told me a little about it.

 She wrote: "My involvement with that role was for a Blake Edwards film called "Sunset". It starred Bruce Willis and James Garner. Unfortunately, it was not well received. I worked for about a month on it, but it wasn't cutting together well, so they rewrote it and brought me a back for a couple more weeks. Truthfully, it wasn't a large role, so when they ran into problems again ( concerning length and story line ) a lot of smaller roles ended up on the cutting floor. Mr. Edwards, however, was a real gentleman about it and wrote a letter of apology to me ( and probably to the others that had the
same fate. ) Generally speaking, most directors don't bother with those kind of niceties- you find out about it when you actually see a screening of it and face the disappointment without warning. So I was really impressed with his compassion."

 "I don't have any Thelma Todd stories. I know only a  little about her, so it would be difficult to give you any remembrances of "Sunset" from that frame of reference. Besides, the film was shot quite a long time ago. However, in general, there are wonderful memories of making the film itself. Blake Edwards, the director, was quite good and generous to his actors and his daughter, who was also in the film, was a lovely, warm person. Bruce Willis was a handful for most, but very cool to me. He really didn't get away with any of his infamous 'bad boy' routine with me- mostly because I didn't let him. I think he felt he could relax with me. I learned how to be a leading lady, though, from James Gardner. He was always prepared, always on time, and treated everyone, from the director to the extras, with the same level of respect. I really looked up to him and actually worked later on with him again on a Rockford Files. I've always admired James' good humor and attitude onset. This was also supposed to be a good role for Kathleen Quinlan, a remarkable, gifted actress. I always felt badly that the film didn't do better, if only to help her get the career she so richly deserves. I know, that for my part, it was one of my very first jobs after coming to Hollywood. I had done a lot of stage and some television, but no film. I was quite frightened and probably made a lot of mistakes. I hope these anecdotes satisfy you and that the pictures arrive in good condition. Good wishes to you- Best Regards, Beverly Leech."

Beverly Leech sent me some pictures of herself, but she didn't have any of herself as Thelma Todd. I was later able to watch SUNSET, and I thought it was a pretty good movie, vaguely based on silent movie era Hollywood, with Tom Mix and Wyatt Earp teaming up to investigating a murder . The murder and the murderer in this story didn't really seem to be based on anything that happened in real life, although the names of real-life personalities were used for some of the characters in the story.

SUNSET ended with a caption that read, "The way it really was, give or take a lie or two." That description would fit much of what has been written about Thelma Todd, and much that has
been written about other people.

The girl next door - if only she actually lived next door. Some guys have all the luck, I guess. Whoever lives next door to Beverly Leech would certainly be lucky.

As Sarah Bernhardt
In CITY OF ANGELS on Broadway. She could have had about the same look as Thelma Todd.
Beverly Leech may be best known as 

  "Kate Monday" on MATHNET.
Annals of Spacetime:
Actor Muscle:
SUNSET ( Movie ):


Friday, January 18, 2013


Donati's book made the list of best film books of 2013.

But I'll let him tell you about it himself. Might as well, since he's the one that told me:
"Thomas Gladysz, an arts journalist who writes
for the Huffington Post, included The Life and Death of
Thelma Todd in his Best Film Books of 2012. This is quite
an honor because Gladysz is a silent era historian and
authority on Louise Brooks.
Last summer I spoke about Thelma and my biography
at the Lawrence Library. What a thrill to be back in
Thelma's hometown. I had the pleasure of meeting Thelma's
relatives who attended my lecture.
William Donati"

It's good to hear that this book has been well recieved. It gives you a sort of a feeling of accomplishment when something you were able to help with turns out so well.

Baring An Early Starlet's Roots ( Donati's Thelma Todd Book ):

Google Books Listing ( With My Review ):

San Francisco Silent Film Festval:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Laurel And Hardy Cameo Appearances

Another Laurel and Hardy feature from you tube.

Description from you

An edited compilation of Laurel & Hardy's cameo film appearances. Featuring Hollywood Review of 1929, The Stolen Jools, On The Loose, Wild Poses, Hollywood Party, On the Wrong Trek, Pick a Star & Galaxy of Stars. Also included is the trailer to the missing film The Rogue Song + an extra recently discovered scene from the same film.

This compilation was produced as part of our Laurel & Hardy meetings in Wigan.

                                             *                    *                      *

This compilation features various Laurel and Hardy cameos. One of them is from the Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd film ON THE LOOSE. Some of the commentary about this one said that it looked as if the Laurel and Hardy cameo could have been shot without the participation of Thelma Todd, as the blonde seen chasing them out at the end was shown only from behind, and could have been somebody else doubling for her. I thought the stairs in this film looked familiar. They might have been the same ones they had in UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE, a Laurel and Hardy film that featured Thelma Todd. Another similarity is that the Coney Island set has the same amusements that were in the Laurel and Hardy film SUGAR DADDIES.

WILD POSES and ON THE WRONG TREK are an Our Gang and a Charley Chase film, respectively, that have Laurel and Hardy cameos. The scene in WILD POSES shows Laurel and Hardy as children and looks much the same as their scenes as children in BRATS.


Emerson Treacy, with whom Gay Seabrook was frequently teamed in an act that has been compared to George Burns and Gracy Allen: they appeared as Spanky's parents in BEDTIME WORRIES in addition to WILD POSES. In 1931, Gay Seabrook had made the movie CORSAIR with Thelma Todd, who was billed as "Alison Loyd".

 In ON THE WRONG TREK Laurel and Hardy were a couple of hitchikers Charley Chase spotted along the way while traveling across the country. Rosina Lawrence was in it. She was in the later Our Gang films as the gang's teacher, and made it into what had been the Thelma Todd series as well.

Another Laurel and Hardy cameo is from PICK A STAR. This one has Patsy Kelly, Rosina Lawrence, and Lyda Roberti in it, and I think of it as the tail end of what had been the Thelma Todd series. Lyda Roberti was Thelma Todd's replacement in that series. Her work in movies had become limited by the time this movie was made as she was suffering from heart trouble.

                                            Jimmy Finlayson disguised as a director.

HOLLYWOOD PARTY is said to have begun as Buster Keaton's idea while he was working at MGM: after he got fired, they went ahead and made the movie without him. It shows.

Lupe Velez with Jimmy Durante: she played Jane while married to Johnny Weissmuller in real life.


Lupe Velez with Laurel and Hardy


The Three Stooges also put in an appearence.

GALAXY OF STARS was a promotional film for MGM that was made for the foreign market: this particular copy is in French, with English subtitles. Jimmy Finlayson appears with Laurel and Hardy once again ( he was also in PICK A STAR as their director ) and directs our attention to the "Galaxy of Stars" that may be seen through the telesope.


GALAXY OF STARS ( 1936 MGM Promotional Film ):

Laurel And Hardy At MGM:




Gay Seabrook:

Lupe Velez: