Saturday, November 30, 2013

Out To Lunch At The Brown Derby - FILM DAILY, Oct. 22, 1930

This item was originally published in FILM DAILY, October 22, 1930.

A little about the people mentioned:  Al Rogell directed ALOHA, 1931, and AIR HOSTESS, 1933.  Abe Meyer was musical director on TAKE THE STAND, 1934. Rudolph Flothow was the producer of the 1943 serial BATMAN. Bert Wheeler was teamed with Robert Woolsey and Thelma Todd worked with them in the movies COCKEYED CAVALIERS and HIPS, HIPS HOORAY, 1934. The Brown Derby was popular with movie stars and there is some home movie footage on youtube which shows Bert Wheeler as well as Thelma Todd at the Brown Derby.

This item comes from the lower left on this page.

Home movie footage - Thelma Todd at the Brown Derby:


Friday, November 29, 2013

BOTTOMS UP Glass Slide

A glass slide advertising BOTTOMS UP, the 1934 Fox production starring Spencer Tracy, John Boles, and Pat Patterson.

Thelma Todd is at the right. She was playing the "other woman" again in this one.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


                                                                        Anita Page

Ann Sheridan

Barbara Kent

Barbara Nichols

Barbara Bates


                                                                      Carole Landis

Charlotte Greenwood, Betty Grable, and Carole Landis
Debbie Reynolds

Judy Garland

                                                                    Marilyn Monroe

And Marilyn Monroe again.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

A couple of Thanksgiving pictures which have Thelma Todd in them and which also happen to be publicity pictures for the movie NAUGHTY BABY.





Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Alice White And Thelma Todd

A few pictures of Thelma Todd with Alice White from around the time they were in NAUGHTY BABY.

This is one we've had before.

A couple of pictures I found on the internet, with their captions ( the dates are wrong, these all appear to have been taken around the same time ).

Reblogged from

circa 1933: American actress Thelma Todd (1905 - 1935), the heroine of many First National two-reel comedies, stands behind director Alfred Santell and in front of Frances Hamilton, Yola D'Avril, Alice White and Mervyn LeRoy. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Remember the picture of Thelma Todd with Charlie Chaplin? I think that was Alfred Santell on the left in that one, the guy that somebody said was Hal Roach. Mervyn LeRoy is on the right in both pictures.

circa 1931: Alice White, the silent era First National player, is playing leap frog with Thelma Todd, also of First National


Monday, November 25, 2013


We've seen this one before, too, but this is a better copy then the one we had.


Thelma Todd And Charlie Chaplin Photo

We've had this photograph on this blog before, but information on it turned up on another site recently. To be specific, a copy that had been published in CINE-MUNDIAL in 1928 with a caption which told which movie it was from.

Reblogged from

Translation:"Charles Chaplin with Thelma Todd, the First National blonde, and the directors with same company, working on RITZY ROSIE."

RIZY ROSIE would eventually be released as NAUGHTY BABY, so this photo was taken during the production of that movie. NAUGHTY BABY was an Alice White movie and she was associated with Charlie Chaplin, so it's not surprising that he turned up during the production of this film.

One book on Chaplin had a date of 1935 on this photo and I've referred back to that myself in the past. Occasionally you see where the man on the left in this photo is referred to as Hal Roach, but he appears to be one of the people who was working on this movie*. The man on the right is Mervyn Leroy.

Reblogged from

Here we have a photo of actress Anita Stewart visiting NAUGHTY BABY costar Jack Mulhall at the same location, the Santa Monica beach. Notice that the same building is visible in the background.

And here we have a photo of Alice White at the beach.

*I believe this is director Alfred Santell , who can also be seen in another picture with Thelma Todd and Alice White from NAUGHTY BABY.


Here is a message from beachgal concerning the location where these photos were taken:

I think I had put a comment on this in the first blog you had with the photo of Thelma and Charlie but will leave it here since I just ran into this blog now -- they are standing in front of The Breakers beach club at Santa Monica - there's a pretty good photo of it here - the photo of Alice White might have been taken behind one of those glass wind-breaks you can see in the photo link here - I have no association with the page this photo links to - I just know a lot about the various beach clubs along SM beaches through the years. Thought you might like to have a specific name to where they were standing.

The Breakers Beach Club of Santa Monica


Charlie Chaplin:

Jack Mulhall:

Alice White:


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hugh Herbert

There's a little about funnyman Hugh Herbert at . I didn't know a lot about him myself, but I've seen some of his movies.

He's best known for his feature films, but he also starred in short subjects. Here's a lobby card for one he made with Christine McIntyre.


Saturday, November 23, 2013


Here is a herald for the movie VAMPING VENUS.




This is a news item from FILM DAILY, January 9, 1928.

IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME would eventually be released as VAMPING VENUS. Thelma Todd played Venus and Joe Bonomo played Hercules in a story which had both modern and ancient settings.
This item comes from the lower left hand side of this page.  



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thelma Todd Engagement To James Ford Announced

Thelma Todd was said to have been engaged to a number of different men over the years. This item claims Thelma Todd was engaged to fellow actor and Lawrence native James Ford. According to Donati, Thelma denied these reports and said that he was only a childhood friend.

This item was on this page at the lower right.


Monday, November 18, 2013

"Lessons In Beauty" - MOTION PICTURE, February 1926

Some early publicity. Thelma Todd pictures were used to illustrate a beauty article in the February 1926 issue of MOTION PICTURE. She is not mentioned in the article itself.




Thelma Todd in MOTION PICTURE, January 16, 1926

At the dawn or her career, Thelma Todd was a classical beauty with long and beautiful hair, which the studio insisted should be cut to conform to the currently popular style.

Me, I like her that way.
This item comes from the January 16, 1926 issue of MOTION PICTURE.

Thelma Todd is at bottom left. June Marlowe, later to play "Miss Crabtree" in the "Our Gang" shorts, can be seen at top right.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Thelma Todd Book By Michelle Morgan

Michelle Morgan just made an announcement on her website.

Reblogged from

Exclusive News - Thelma Todd Book!

Several weeks ago I promised you some exclusive news.  Well here I am, and at last I can finally tell you that I have just signed a contract with Chicago Review Press, to write my long-awaited book about Thelma Todd.  This is a huge deal for me because I have wanted to write the book for almost four years now.  It took a long time to get together a proposal that both myself and my agent were happy with, but finally last year we found the perfect words, and two months ago, Chicago Review Press made an offer to publish.  CRP are also the authors of the new book on Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, entitled 'Room 1219,' which has had fabulous reviews.  For this and many other reasons, I know that CRP are the perfect publisher for my Thelma book.

Provisionally titled '271 Steps: The Mysterious Life and Death of Thelma Todd', the book will chart Thelma's life from birth to death, and will include a special investigation into what I believe happened to her on that last, fateful evening.

I am hard at work on the research and writing of the book, and am currently looking for anyone who can help with rare documents, letters, photographs etc, and would love to hear from anyone in that regard.  Perhaps you know someone who owns something rare, or was related to Thelma in some way; or maybe you have a photo that you would like to share.  If that is you, I'd love to hear from you.  Just leave a message and your email address in the comments section, and I will get straight back to you. (please note that all comments are private until I approve them, so you can leave your email address in confidence that it won't be published here).

So that is my news, and I hope you are as excited about it as I am. You will see the finished product in December 2015, to coincide with the 80th anniversary of Thelma's passing.  It seems far away, but when you have 80,000 words to write before September 2014, it is actually quite close!  So I must get back to it, but look out for news and updates along the way towards publication.

Thanks for all your support!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

George Marshall

George Marshall had a long and successful career after he left the Roach studio,

George Marshall (director)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George Marshall
Born(1891-12-29)December 29, 1891
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedFebruary 17, 1975(1975-02-17) (aged 83)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Other namesGeorge E. Marshall
OccupationActor, screenwriter, producer, film and television director
Years active1915 - 1975
George E. Marshall (December 29, 1891 – February 17, 1975) was an American actor, screenwriter, producer, film and television director, active through the first six decades of movie history.
Relatively few of Marshall's films are well-known today, with Destry Rides Again, The Sheepman, and How the West Was Won being the biggest exceptions. Marshall co-directed How the West Was Won with John Ford and Henry Hathaway, handling the railroad segment, which featured a celebrated buffalo stampede sequence. While Marshall worked on almost all kinds of films imaginable, he started his career in the early silent period doing mostly Westerns, a genre he never completely abandoned. Later in his career, he was particularly sought after for comedies. He did around half a dozen films each with Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis, and also worked with W.C. Fields, Jackie Gleason, Will Rogers and Laurel and Hardy.
For his contribution to the film industry, George Marshall has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7048 Hollywood Boulevard.

Selected filmography

Awards and nominations

1964Western Heritage AwardsWonTheatrical Motion PictureHow the West Was Won
(shared with John Ford, Henry Hathaway, and James R. Webb)
1967Laurel AwardsNominatedDirector

External links

                                                   *                          *                          *

I wouldn't have said that "relatively few" of George Marshall's films are well known today. A number of his movies are considered classics. The films of Laurel and Hardy, W. C. Fields, Bob Hope, and Jerry Lewis still have a following today, as do Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Betty Hutton, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Marie Wilson, Paulette Goddard, and Jimmy Stewart to name a few of the people who appeared in his films. I'll admit that the Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd series is more obscure, but it too still has it's fans.

                              Behind the scenes with George Marshall, Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts.


George Marshall with Laurel and Hardy

And with Marie Wilson
MY FRIEND IRMA shared a few similarities with the old Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd series. Again we have a story with two girls who complain that the only place their dates ever take them to is Coney Island, and the addition of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis could even be seen as similar to the cameo appearance of Laurel and Hardy in ON THE LOOSE. You see a lot of similarities in these things as they keep reusing standard stuff, along with some genuine coincidences where things just happen to work out that way.

George Marshall:

George Marshall cameo in PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES:

George Marshall fired by Ginsberg:



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

George Marshall

Marshall directed a number of famous classic movies. He also directed four films in the Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd series.

Reblogged from

George Marshall Shorts

Strictly Unreliable (1932)
The Old Bull (1932)
Alum and Eve (1932)
The Soilers (1932)

George Marshall, the director of such memorable genre-bending comedies as Destry Rides Again (1939) and The Ghost Breakers (1940), spent his early career helming a variety of short subjects at a number of studios. He began at Universal in 1916, turning out numerous western shorts, some starring Harry Carey. Marshall made both shorts and the occasional feature at Fox in the 1920s, and directed a series of Bobby Jones golf shorts at Vitaphone-Warner Bros. in the early sound years. By 1932 Marshall had landed at Hal Roach Studios. In the early 1930s at Roach, Marshall was in the midst of directing comedies with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (the feature Pack Up Your Troubles [1932], as well as shorts like Their First Mistake and Towed in a Hole, also in 1932), when he found himself in charge of four shorts featuring the female comedy team of ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd. Pitts and Todd had first been paired by Roach in a three-reeler called Let's Do Things (1931); they made 16 more two-reelers in two years. In 1933 Pitts left the series to concentrate on feature work, and Patsy Kelly was recruited for another 21 shorts with Todd. Thelma Todd died (under mysterious circumstances) at the age of 30 in 1935.

The first Pitts-Todd short directed by Marshall, Strictly Unreliable (1932), does not particularly play out like a team effort, coming off as more of a solo ZaSu Pitts comedy. Thelma Todd gives fine support, but so do Roach regulars Billy Gilbert and Charlie Hall. ZaSu is a housekeeper in a boarding house for show people; as such, she is always on the outside looking in. As the short opens, she is literally doing that as she watches a dancer/contortionist practice through the keyhole! ZaSu attempts the contortionist moves herself in the hall, threatening to tie herself in knots. Thelma is getting kicked out of her room by the landlady, leading to various hijinks as the landlady's out-of-work actor brother (Bud Jamison) moves into her room. The highlight of the short, though, occurs when ZaSu stumbles onto a stage show and thinks the proceedings are real. A villain (Billy Gilbert) is engaged in a drawing-room drama and pulls a gun. ZaSu is certain that she has been shot, but merely ends up in a variety of other vaudeville acts, including on the top chair belonging to a group of acrobats! ZaSu's style of underplayed reaction ("If someone don't get me down pretty soon, I'll get mad") is truly put to the test in this sequence.

Producer: Hal Roach
Director: George Marshall
Music: Leroy Shield
Cast: Zasu Pitts (Pitts), Charlotte Nemo (Mrs. Hawkins), Bud Jamison (Bud), Billy Gilbert (The Actor), Symona Boniface (The Actress), Thelma Todd.

In The Soilers, the girls are "working their way through college" by selling magazines door-to-door. Their sales pitch is only falling on the deaf ears of suburban housewives, so they decide to go to the City Hall building downtown and pitch to the men behind executive office doors. They have no trouble attracting customers, as Thelma adjusts her stockings in front of the smoked-glass doors. The girls also attract the attention of Detective Bud Jamison, who is protecting the Judge from threats he has been receiving. This short falls on some tired slapstick clich├ęs involving banana peels and revolving doors, but has an occasional gem. At one point six people, a workman's ladder, and a revolving door are tangled in a variety of ways. As often happens in these shorts, Thelma's dress is accidentally hiked up to show some leg ("Well, Thelma – your skirt was almost up to your neck").

Producer: Hal Roach
Director: George Marshall
Film Editing: Richard C. Currier
Music: Leroy Shield
Cast: Bud Jamison, James C. Morton, Charlie Hall, ZaSu Pitts, Thelma Todd.

The Old Bull opens with the girls taking a drive in the country. Experienced driver Thelma lets ZaSu scoot over (with great difficulty) to the wheel and take over. Against rear-screen projection, the car goes out of control and into a farmyard; pigs, chickens, bees and cattle have to duck before the girls plow into a barn. As in most of the George Marshall-directed shorts, the girls end up untangling themselves from more objects – wires, clothes, coyote traps, milk buckets, etc. The major conflict is apparently an escaped circus lion and the farmhands' attempts to keep out of the lion's way while they hold onto the girl's car (to pay for the damage they have done to the barn). The funny conflict, though, is between the girls and a persistent, biting duck that follows them around throughout both reels.

Producer: Hal Roach
Director: George Marshall
Film Editing: Richard Currier
Music: Leroy Shield
Cast: Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts, Otto Fries, Bobby Burns.

Alum and Eve finds the girls pulled over by a cop (James C. Morton) for speeding. He somehow comes to the conclusion that ZaSu is pregnant and gives them an escort to Peaceful Valley Hospital. The hospital orderlies have quite a time getting ZaSu on a gurney, in a scene featuring some very Olive Oyl-like under-the-breath mutterings from Pitts. More complications ensue in getting ZaSu out of the gurney – Thelma, the cop, a nurse and two orderlies are tangled up in it before they are done. The rest of the short is spent with scenes of the girls trying to escape the hospital; they must contend with a parade of newborns, doctors with enormous hypodermic needles, dogs under observation for rabies, and a vial of pucker-inducing Powdered Alum. The nurses come to expect that ZaSu might be going mad – "You can't miss it – always shows in the mouth first." To disrobe the lovely Miss Todd in this outing, the filmmakers have her lose her skirt on a convenient nail while sliding out a window!

Producer: Hal Roach
Director: George Marshall
Screenplay: H.M. Walker
Music: Leroy Shield
Cast: Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts, James C. Morton, Almeda Fowler, Bobby Burns, Otto Fries.

In his 1970 book, Movie Comedy Teams, Leonard Maltin notes that the publicity department at Hal Roach Studios emphasized the notion that Todd and Pitts were "the Laurel and Hardy of comediennes." Maltin writes that "Director Marshall took the publicity literally and decided to give ZaSu and Thelma a Laurel and Hardy look by having them do physical, knockabout comedy. His films with the girls...consist mainly of ZaSu getting stuck in something or other, and Thelma trying to bail her out. This type of humor really doesn't suit Pitts and Todd, and simply isn't funny. With Laurel and Hardy in the same situations, it might be hilarious, but when ZaSu gets stuck in a hospital cart in Alum and Eve, and Thelma, a cop, and two male orderlies become intertwined, the impact is nil. When [director] Gus Meins took over the series in 1933, he found a better formula for the girls – situation comedy with slapstick undertones."

By 1933 Marshall had left Roach and was directing a few comedy shorts for Mack Sennett and Paramount Pictures, as well as more golf one-reelers for Warner Bros. He began his feature career in earnest after arriving at Fox in 1934, directing such films as the romance Wild Gold and the musical 365 Nights in Hollywood (both 1934). He began to hit his comedic stride in features with the Will Rogers pictures Life Begins at Forty and In Old Kentucky (both 1935).

by John M. Miller


George Marshall:

George Marshall cameo in PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES:

George Marshall fired by Ginsberg:



Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day!

"Whatever we do for soldiers can't be enough in return for what they do for us. They are wonderful!" ~ Carole Landis


Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Stargazing With Mitzi Cummings" - PHOTOPLAY Oct. 1934

Mitzi Cummings mentions Dorothy Lee and Thelma Todd as being at a party where George Raft, Anita Louise, and Sally Eilers were also present.


Ida Lupino was a newcomer to Hollywood at the time. She and her father Stanley knew Thelma Todd.

You see Ann Dvorak dancing in some of the movies of the early thirties, such as FREE AND EASY ( 1930 ) with Buster Keaton.

Mitzi Cummings: