Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FUNNYMAN And Danny Kaye

After being taken off of SUPERMAN at DC Comics, Siegel and Shuster tried another comic book character called "Funnyman". Funnyman is recognizable as a caricature of Danny Kaye. There is also a girl named "Lola" in this story. This sounds like another reference to Lola Lane, who was one of the Lane Sisters, and after whom they had previously named "Lois Lane".

The blonde in this story seems to be a more or less typical comic book villainess, but the blondes in FUNNYMAN comics could also be related to Virginia Mayo, with whom Danny Kaye frequently worked.

This particular story was published in 1948, and the art is by John Sikela, who had worked with Siegel and Shuster at DC Comics..

Reblogged from http://fourcolorshadows.blogspot.com/2013/07/funnyman-jerry-siegeljohn-sikela-1948.html







"Aldous Huxter" is a reference to writer Aldous Huxley: a huckster is someone who is trying to sell something. And Superman had a radio program that was periodicly interrupted by commercials for corn flakes. They had those on the television program later on, too.








Danny Kaye:

Danny Kaye Show ( radio ):



Monday, July 29, 2013

Thelma Todd's Birthday Remembered In Lawrence

Thelma Todd was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on July 29, 1906. Here is a newspaper article that was published yesterday in Lawrence to commemorate that event.


And reblogged from

July 28, 2013

In remembrance Thelma Todd on her would-be 107th birthday

Thelma Todd, a Lawrence native and the actress who appeared opposite many of Hollywood’s best comedians in the 1930s, would have turned 107 tomorrow.
Her father, John, became Lawrence’s commissioner of health and charities in 1912, managing the city’s Health Department, tuberculosis hospital and farm.
Todd grew up going to the movies, but didn’t initially harbor dreams of making it onto the big screen. Upon graduation from Lawrence High in 1923, she enrolled to be a teacher at Lowell Normal College, now UMass-Lowell.
While going to school, she worked as a model to earn extra money, and it was through modeling that she gained the attention of Elks Lodge 65 and was named Miss Lawrence in 1925. She went on to win the Miss Massachusetts pageant, and this gained her the attention of Hollywood scouts. She earned a slot at the Paramount Players School in Astoria, N.Y. when Paramount Studios was attempting to create stars by giving promising talents lessons in acting, diction, athletics and manners.
Of the 16 students enrolled in the school, only Todd and Charles “Buddy” Rogers actually made it to Hollywood. After bouncing around from studio to studio, Todd found a home at Hal Roach Studios in 1929.
Roach specialized in short comedy films. Laurel and Hardy were the studio’s biggest stars, and she played opposite the two. She also was also loaned out to other studios, where she made comedies with the likes of the Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton and Spencer Tracey.
Todd typically played a blonde beauty with an edge, but her college education and training helped her rise above the stereotypical dumb blonde character. She was capable of matching wits with Groucho Marx and keeping up physically with Keaton.
Eventually she starred with ZaSu Pitts and later Patsy Kelly in a series of short comedies for Roach Studios. These comedies are rare in Hollywood history because they revolve around independent women. Their success helped pave the way for comediennes from Lucille Ball to Wanda Sykes.
Todd maintained her independence off-screen when she helped open Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café in 1933 with Roland West, a former director and her some-time lover. The restaurant in Pacific Palisades was a hit with the Hollywood crowd.
Tragically, on Dec.16, 1936, Todd was found dead in her car in the garage above the restaurant. Her death was officially ruled an accident, but theories have swirled around about what really happened. Some have speculated that she committed suicide or was murdered.
In 1989 Andy Edmonds wrote a book in which she speculated that Todd was murdered by mobsters who wanted to open gambling in her restaurant.
The building that housed Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café still exists. It is currently occupied by a Christian film company.
Despite her early death, Todd was a talented comedienne credited with pioneering a new role for women in comedies. Her ashes are interred with her mother in Bellevue Cemetery.
Steven M. Painter is the author of “Take Her For A Ride” (Crucson Publishing), a novel about 1930’s Hollywood, available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Theater Row In Lawrence, Massachusetts

From facebook:

Tom InMaine: At one time its been said that the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts had more theaters per capita than anywhere else in the world. One section along Broadway, called Theater Row had so many within a small area it made it into Ripley's Believe it or Not

The Empire Theater.

 Later became the Warner Theater.
Note the facade reading "Empire" has been covered up and a marquee added. The windows have also been changed.


Michael Williams: Program of the Broadway Theater in Lawrence dated 1931. This is the place were Thelma gave her 3 personal appearances in 1933 her last visit to Lawrence. The program says the Broadway was owned by Warner Bros
Theater row in Lawrence, Massachusetts

The Broadway Theater is at right. The sign says COBRA WOMAN and WHITE SAVAGE, which would be a Maria Montez double feature. This presumably would have been in the 1940's, when these movies were new.

Special thanks to the Minga Valley page on facebook and to Thelma Todd fan Michael Williams.

Theater Row in Ripley's Believe It Or Not:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Greta Thyssen

Greta Thyssen was the Three Stooges' final leading lady in their last Columbia short subject.

Greta Thyssen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Greta Thyssen
BornGreta Thygesen
(1933-03-30) March 30, 1933 (age 80)
Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark
Years active1956–67
Greta Thyssen (born Greta Thygesen on March 30, 1933) is a Danish-born American film actress and former model. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, she appeared in films and television shows between 1956 and 1967.


Thyssen arrived in the United States after winning the Miss Denmark crown in 1952. She attempted to follow in the footsteps of the reigning blonde sex symbols Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield by forging a movie career. She was Monroe's double in Bus Stop,[1] and appeared in Accused of Murder, Terror Is a Man, Journey to the Seventh Planet, and Three Blondes in His Life. In addition to her appearance on the television show Dragnet, she appeared as Roxy Howard, the title character in the third Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Nervous Accomplice." Thyssen also appeared on Broadway in Pajama Tops as a replacement for June Wilkinson.[2]
Thyssen is probably best remembered for her appearances in the Three Stooges films Quiz Whizz, Sappy Bull Fighters and Pies and Guys. In her brief stint with the Stooges, she endured a cream pie to the face in the latter film. After appearing in Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers in 1967, Thyssen retired from acting.


Thyssen was married three times. Her third marriage was to Theodore Guenther produced one child in 1969.
As of June 2010, Thyssen resides in New York.[3]


Feature Films
Short Films


  1. ^ "Greta Thyssen (Biography)". All Movie Guide. NY Times. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  2. ^ Paul Parla & Charles P. Mitchell (2000). Screen Sirens Scream!: Interview with 20 Actresses from Science Fiction. McFarland & Company. p. 234. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  3. ^ Mark Voger (June 18, 2010). "Three Stooges' final leading lady, Greta Thyssen". The Star-Ledger. NJ.Com. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
                                                               *                      *                       *

Greta Thyssen was just beautiful. She was amazing. In BUS STOP they had her double for Marilyn Monroe so it would look as if Marilyn Monroe was built that way.

Why didn't they just use Greta Thyssen in the role? Hollywood doesn't work that way.

Of course, they did have Greta Thyssen in other roles. Some of  her best remembered roles were in the films of The Three Stooges. They always did use some of the best girls in those films.



Oh, no, Moe! That's not the way to give Greta some cake!

Greta Thyssen was one of a number of people who had worked with the Three Stooges who later appeared on the television program PERRY MASON. One of  the producers of that series was Sam White, who was the brother of  Jules White, who was the Three Stooges' producer.
A PERRY MASON card she autographed.
One of Greta Thyssen's earliest roles was "The Pirate Girl" on the television show TREASURE HUNT. The idea was later reused in the movie HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, which had Maureen Arthur play a "Treasure Girl" on a fictional television program in the story.
You see many pictures of Greta Thyssen with other celebrities of the period.
Jayne Mansfield and Greta Thyssen
Greta Thyssen ( right ) with Jeanne Carmen at Ciro's  nightclub in Hollywood.
Greta onstage.
Greta is evidently signing autographs.

 TERROR IS A MAN was a story about an experiment that sought to turn an animal into a man.
 The story was fantastic. And so was Greta.
That poster doesn't do her justice. 
I'd go ape for Greta myself.
Cover Girl Greta

Greta Thyssen





TREASURE HUNT ( TV program ):


Saturday, July 20, 2013


I'D LIKE TO SING A TORCH SONG was a 1933 Warner Brothers cartoon with many movie star caricatures, including Joan Blondell, Jimmy Cagney, Greta Garbo, and Wheeler and Woolsey . We see both Zasu Pitts and Mae West in this cartoon. It was not unusual to see them together in cartoons, but I don't know if they ever worked together in real life.

 Although the flappers had rebelled against corsets, some women still wore them,

 and occasionally they would be the subject of cartoonists.

 A radio fan, in the days before television.

Ed Wynn as "The Fire Chief", a reference to his radio program.

Seven Earths. By interpretation, this symbolizes completeness,

but I don't know if that's what they had in mind.

Playwright George Bernard Shaw is represented as punching the world, something that they seem to have put in because of some sort of socialist remarks he'd been making at the time.

The note on the flowers reading "From Shaw, to Shaw" tells us that he's stuck on himself, which is also why he has all the pictures of himself on the wall in the background.

Mussolini on a rocking horse, which seems to resemble him somewhat in the face. Mussolini's unlovely picture also hangs on the wall in the rear. As with Shaw, he is stuck on himself.

The feeling that I have is that this is a less favorable depiction of Mussolini then we see in I LIKE MOUNTAIN MUSIC, which was made around the same time at the same studio.


                                               Bing Crosby is singing in the bathtub.

                                     Which was the name of another Warner Brothers song.

                                 A group of college girls listen to Bing Crosby on the radio.

which incidently was censored out of the version that I've actually seen. I've only seen this scene of this scene on the internet.

Tough guy Jimmy Cagney slapped women around in the movies ( something that evidently was considered acceptable at the time that I don't approve of myself ). I recognize the blonde as Joan Blondell by the eyes. She hits Jimmy Cagney with her shoe next. That sounds like her, too.

Besides being useful implements for hitting Jimmy Cagney with, the shoes are also in this scene because they were "dancing" with their hands on the table in the shoes during the opening shot of this sequence, which then panned upward to show the rest of them.

According to the imdb, this sequence references the 1931 movie BLONDE CRAZY.

                                                                Radio personality Ben Bernie.

Wheeler and Woolsey in SO THIS IS AFRICA.

Wheeler and Woolsey would also be depicted in the Flip the Frog cartoon SODA SQUIRT, which was made at around the same time, but at a different studio.

Greta Garbo was a serious dramatic actress, but the cartoonists liked to make fun of her..

Incidently, the significance of station KFWB was that it was owned by Warners at the time.

Zasu Pitts worked on the radio as well as in the movies and used to have a radio show with Thelma Todd as well as costarring with her in two-reel comedies. But at the time this cartoon was released, Zasu Pitts had already been replaced in the film series by Patsy Kelly.

Mae West is shown by herself and then with Zasu Pitts*. The cartoonists liked using them as characters and it would also be a recurring thing that they would be depicted together in cartoons.

Possibly that could be related to Zasu Pitts having worked with Thelma Todd.

A trio of girl singers.

The closing line "That's All, Folks!" seems to have first been used by Greta Garbo at the close of this cartoon. The line would later be swiped by Porky Pig at the same studio for other cartoons.       

* And with Greta Garbo, who actually was kind of important in this cartoon.   

I'VE GOT TO SING A TORCH SONG ( Zasu Pitts character shown )

BLONDE CRAZY ( Joan Blondell and Jimmy Cagney movie ):

Garbo Forever - Garbo in cartoons: