Sunday, September 30, 2018

Doris Dazey

On October 4, 1935, actress Doris Dazey died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a Santa Monica garage only a few miles from Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café. Her death was ruled a suicide, but there was no note, and there was some doubt about it.

Doris Dazey was in the news again when her husband was arrested in December of 1939.

He was accused of murder, but nothing ever came of it. The death of Doris Dazey was still considered a suicide.

The case had some similarities both to the death of Thelma Todd and that of a fictional character in Raymond Chandler's book LADY IN THE LAKE, leading to discussions by Chandler fans about the possibility that these cases might have been sources of inspiration for that novel. The fact that another woman had recently died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the same area and that it had been covered in the news* tends to weaken the story that Thelma Todd didn't know anything about carbon monoxide: moreover, Patrick Jenning, who apparently favors the accident theory, has written about the Dazey case but never seems to have considered that aspect.

Patrick Jenning's BAY CITY DOCTOR says that Dr. Dazey provided Mabel Normand with dope, but the story that Mabel Normand was on dope is also controversial, and has also been labeled a "myth" at

So there is some opposition to the story about Mabel Normand being on dope, just as there is some opposition to the one about Thelma Todd, but Patrick Jenning believes one and not the other.

* There had been a lot of carbon monoxide fatalities in the news. This was pointed out when the claim was made that Thelma Todd didn't know anything about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. This particular one took place only a few miles from where Thelma Todd lived.

Doris Dazey:,1738629

Raymond Chandler:



Rita Hayworth Photo

Here is a picture of Rita Hayworth in a black dress from the 1937 Columbia picture GIRLS CAN PLAY. I'm not sure if this is the dress that Thelma Todd wore in AFTER THE DANCE in 1935, but it might be.


Saturday, September 29, 2018


This 1938 French magazine has a little about the 1935 movie AFTER THE DANCE, which had Thelma Todd in it, along with George Murphy and Nancy Carroll.



A publicity photo for Thelma Todd and George Murphy in AFTER THE DANCE ( 1935 ).



Thelma Todd with George Murphy and Nancy Carroll in a publicity photo for AFTER THE DANCE ( 1935 ).


Friday, September 28, 2018

Thelma Todd's Height

Thelma Todd made her last public appearance at a party given by Ida Lupino's father at the Trocadero on December 14, 1935. The Grand Jury listened to the testimony of witnesses who claimed to have seen her still alive the next day, which would have meant that the authorities had been wrong about the time of her death. The authorities believed that these witnesses were mistaken. One of the reasons given for this opinion was that these witnesses described the woman they had seen as having a height of five foot six, which was taller than Thelma Todd. So her height was considered to have some importance to the investigation.

Five foot two used to be considered the ideal height for a woman. Movie actresses were usually kind of short. Thelma Todd was considered tall. But TESTIMONY OF A DEATH doesn't give you that impression at all. On page 145 she is actually referred to as "diminutive".

How tall was Thelma Todd? Well, she did wear high heels, so that would have made her look taller than she would otherwise.

Shoes worn by Thelma Todd at the time of her death. 

The coroner said her height was five foot three. Usually her height had been given as five foot four. It's possible that the coroner was wrong ( the coroner was supposed to have given the wrong height for Marilyn Monroe ), but that is a difference of only one inch, which doesn't seem to matter very much.

How tall is the average woman today? Not quite five foot four according to the site at ( link at the bottom of the page ). That would mean that Thelma Todd would still be fairly close to average height today. 

Thelma Todd's height had sometimes been given as 5' 6", as in STARS OF THE PHOTOPLAY ( 1930 )

That's an old photo, by the way. They made her lose weight and cut her hair after it was taken.

Five foot six was also the height given for Rita Hayworth. There was a dress that was worn by Thelma Todd in one movie that was worn by Rita Hayworth in another later on*. That makes it sound like they were close to the same size, although it's possible that Rita Hayworth could have grown after having worn the dress that had been worn by Thelma Todd.

The waitress costumes worn by Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly in ALL-AMERICAN TOOTHACHE ( 1935 ) were reused in GHOST CHASTERS ( 1951 ).

Jan Kayne, Leo Gorcey, Bernard Gorcey, William Benedict, Bernard Gorcey, and Huntz Hall in a publicity photo. 

I don't have any information on the height of Jan Kayne, but she must have been somewhere around the same size as either Thelma Todd or Patsy Kelly ( five foot two and a half ) to wear one of the same costumes.

They could reuse the same costumes for years afterwards because they continued to use actresses of about the same size. These actresses were probably thought of as being about average in height at the time. They were.

It might be said that the perception that Thelma Todd was tall could have weakened the authorities' claim to have accurately established the time of her death. But the authorities knew more about such things than I do, so there probably isn't much point in worrying about that now.

Patrick Jenning and Marshall Croddy still got it wrong when they referred to Thelma Todd as "diminutive" in their book.

*According to my files, this was in the book THOSE GLORIOUS GLAMOUR YEARS by Margaret J. Bailey. Thelma Todd wore a black dress in the 1935 Columbia picture AFTER THE DANCE that was worn by Rita Hayworth in the 1937 movie GIRLS CAN PLAY.

Rita Hayworth:

Height of average woman:

Height of 5'4" given for Thelma Todd and other actresses:

Height of Patsy Kelly:


Monday, September 24, 2018

TESTIMONY OF A DEATH By Patrick Jenning And Marshall Croddy


Another book about Thelma Todd.

This book was published a couple of years ago, I just hadn't written about it here before. After I first read it I was very ill and had to be hospitalized for a couple of months. That was from the aftereffects of chemotherapy, however, and not from the book. 

Actually this book is similar to Donati's, and comes to the same conclusion in that the authors feel that the death of Thelma Todd must have been nothing more than an unfortunate accident. They go on to say that some of the stories in other books came from things that were misunderstood or distorted in retelling, something that I had written about before.

But I do not agree with everything that is in their book. I don't like the way they were using the word "myth". A myth is something that is known to be untrue, not something that you simply do not believe. Part of the problem is that Jenning and Croddy did not prove what had actually did happen to Thelma Todd. Because of that, they can only believe in one theory and disbelieve another.*

There were conflicting stories about some things, such as the nickname "Hot Toddy". You would not know there was any controversy about that from this book, which fails to mention that some people thought that it was perfectly all right to call Thelma Todd "Hot Toddy".  Mickey Daniels called her "Hot Toddy" in the 1931 Boy Friends comedy LOVE FEVER.  Incidentally, Thelma Todd was called "Toddy" throughout SEAL SKINS, in which she called Zasu Pitts "Pittsy": they evidently called each other "Toddy" and "Pittsy" all the time, and not just when they were making this film. 

The name was also used for the Andy Edmonds book. Concerning that book, Jenning and Croddy say "The tenor of HOT TODDY is inductive and imaginative, rather than deductive and critical" ( page 206 ).

Their own book is guilty of the same. The authors make references in several places to using their imaginations or "sensing" things. On page 128 we are told that "One can easily imagine" something, which is not exactly the sort of thing to say in a book that is arguing against the use of imagination in the production of what purports to be history.

One of the complaints the authors have is that Andy Edmonds depicted Thelma Todd as "promiscuous", yet on page 195 she is described as being one of Roland West's "paramours": the word implies an illicit relationship. Which was what was going on according to none other than Jennings and Croddy themselves**, they just don't like the word promiscuous. And after complaining about Thelma Todd being called promiscuous, on page 289 they put in a story that Jewel Carmen ended up being a prostitute in Mexico, which is not true. 

TESTIMONY OF A DEATH does not contain information I have concerning the amphetamine tablets mentioned in the Andy Edmonds book.

Posted on this blog on Dec. 18, 2012,  prior to this book's publication:

"The book HOT TODDY by Andy Edmonds said Thelma Todd was taking diet pills that contained amphetamines. But diet pills containing amphetamines seem to have come into use after the second World War. Something that criticism of the book seems to have somehow missed, even though some of the same people found lots of other mistakes, some of which aren't even in there."
states that amphetamine tablets came into use in 1937. Widespread use ( and abuse ) of these tablets does seem to have followed the second World War.

It appears that Jenning and Croddy have themselves perpetuated this same story since they say that Thelma Todd took "pick up pills", presumably amphetamines, commonly called "pep pills".*** 

On page 65 mention is made of Bugsy Siegel being in Los Angeles and then it goes on to say that Lucky Luciano had no connection with the area. Bugsy Siegel was associated with Lucky Luciano.
This association is well known and I remarked on it back when Patrick Jenning made a similar statement in a letter to CLASSIC IMAGES. Bugsy Siegel was associated with Pat DeCicco, but I don't know how far back that association went. Thelma Todd, Pat DeCicco and Patsy Kelly were all associated with Jean Malin, who was linked to Dutch Schultz and through him to Lucky Luciano... you can link them, all right, but it doesn't necessarily prove anything. I'm willing to agree that the record shows that Luciano wasn't out in California himself in that period, but I don't know if that really proves a lot, either.

All in all I prefer Donati's book, but I admit I'm biased. I helped Donati with that one.

*Page 213 says that "With Luciano, the story broadens into one of mythic proportions, with Todd combatting crime and corruption on a grand scale. Edmonds' claim that Luciano was known as 'Charley Lucifer' among his contemporaries - a fact somehow unnoticed by the chroniclers of organized crime in this century- suggest the full flowering of this fable, with Todd as a matyr opposing the devil Luciano's schemes to enslave the Hollywood community in gambling and sin." For all their talk of myths, the beliefs of Jenning and Croddy themselves have to be accepted on the basis of faith and therefore are like a religion.

**Specifically, they state that Thelma Todd and Roland West were living in sin, only they didn't use that term, either. They did refer to Thelma Todd as Roland West's "mistress" on page 242. The use of that term also implies an illicit relationship. It also implies that a woman is being supported by a man financially, which was not supposed to have been the case here.

***Page 148 tells us that Richard W. Bann said that Thelma Todd was not on dope. But Richard W. Bann also said that "Hot Toddy" was Thelma Todd's nickname at the Hal Roach studio. ( See link to "Hot Toddy" being used in LOVE FEVER at bottom of page ). Something that wasn't mentioned in TESTIMONY OF A DEATH.

Amphetamines not available in pill form till 1937:

Amphetamines story in the Andy Edmonds book:

Pat DiCicco:


TESTIMONY OF A DEATH discussed along with other accounts in SHOCKING AND SENSATIONAL by Julian Upton:

"Hot Toddy" used in LOVE FEVER:

"Toddy" used in SEAL SKINS:


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hollywood And The Underworld

Gangster films were very popular during the thirties. And Hollywood had many dealings with the underworld in that period. The studios paid protection money to prevent sabotage of the theaters. There was more to it than that. The gangsters became involved in supplying the studios with different things, not all of them legal. Some of the studio bosses liked to gamble with the gangsters. Some stars frequented the speakeasies and gambling joints in the area that were controlled by the underworld. Some of the girls in comedies were somehow linked to gangsters.

Thelma Todd had trouble with gangsters. There were extortion notes ( some were said to be the work of a crazy fan, but later ones might not have been ) and problems related to the Sidewalk Café. They thought that the gangsters might have killed her. But they don't seem to have said much of anything about the gangsters at the time. Later writers attributed the problems to Lucky Luciano, but some more recent writers have cast doubt on that story.

What about Lucky Luciano? Was he actually involved? Could Thelma Todd have been connected to him in some way?

Here we see Pat DeCicco, Gene Malin, Thelma Todd, and Lois Wilson at the club New York in Hollywood in 1932.
In New York, Gene Malin had worked at the Club Abbey, a queer joint that was run by Dutch Schultz.  Dutch Schultz was involved with Lucky Luciano, but eventually Luciano had him killed... as has been said, the authorities watched Luciano after that, and he was not in California with Thelma Todd. But because of Gene Malin, Thelma Todd was linked to Luciano, if only indirectly.

Gene Malin's wife was involved with prostitution, like DeCicco, which could be another connection.* But Patsy Kelly was more closely associated with Gene Malin than Thelma Todd and Pat DeCicco. She was with Malin when he accidently drove his car off a pier into the ocean and drowned in 1933.

Geneva Mitchell was in NIGHT LIFE OF THE GODS ( 1935 ) with Pat DiCicco, 

Pat DiCicco as Perseus in the rear at left, Geneva Mitchell as Hebe at center in front.

Today she is probably best known as the dance instructor in the Three Stooges comedy HOI POLLOI. History also tells us that she had some complaints about the underworld.

In 1932 she gave testimony in court that gangsters had kidnapped her brother. 
Kidnapping was in the news that year as the son of Lindbergh had been kidnapped. A number of movie stars received kidnap threats in the thirties. Thelma Todd and Mae West were both the recipients of kidnap threats that were said to have been the work of lone individuals rather than members of a gang. Bebe Daniels and her family went to live in England to escape this threat.

Doris Houk also worked with the Three Stooges. Today she is probably best known as the brunette who tried to pressure Shemp into marrying her in BRIDELESS GROOMS.

Reblogged from

 She married Fred Otash, a Los Angeles detective alleged to have underworld connections who was involved in a number of scandals. He was also associated with CONFIDENTIAL magazine, a publication that was noted for being scandalous.

June Brewster of the "Blondes and the Redheads" series at RKO married Guy McAfee, who was head of the vice squad. While in that position he owned brothels and gambling joints in Los Angeles.** Later he relocated to Los Vegas, where that stuff was legal, and she went with him.

Reblogged from - which has June Brewster confused with McAfee's previous wife, who had been a Los Angeles madam.

June Lang was in BONNIE SCOTLAND ( 1935 ) with Laurel and Hardy, and later made ZENOBIA with Harry Langdon and Oliver Hardy. 

In 1940 she married mobster Johnny Roselli, who was involved in the Chicago mob's extortion of millions of dollars from the motion picture industry. Roselli had also dated Lina Basquette, who was one of Thelma Todd's friends.

Lona Andre ( left ) and Iris Ardian ( right ) with Laurel and Hardy in OUR RELATIONS ( 1936 ).

Iris Adrian mentioned having been around Lucky Luciano in the 1930's. Although that was when she was in New York. She mentioned Stan Laurel being in New York during that period, too.

Here we see Dorothy Appleby and Barbara Pepper with George Raft and Edgar G. Robinson in MANPOWER ( 1943 ). Dorothy Appleby and Barbara Pepper appeared in many comedies.

Dorothy Appleby was engaged for a time to a lawyer named Sidney Korshak who was linked to gangsters. George Raft had underworld connections and is frequently mentioned in connection with Pat DeCicco. Raft was also associated with gangster Bugsy Siegel, who he knew from New York.

Bugsy Siegel and George Raft

Bugsy Siegel was associated with Lucky Luciano, who is said to have sent him out west. Some people have thought Siegel was around Thelma Todd. He was in Hollywood during the last years of her life, and was around some of the same people. Thelma Todd made her last public appearance at the Trocadero, a Hollywood night club owned by William Wilkerson. William Wilkerson later became involved with Bugsy Siegel in building the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas.

Bugsy Siegel is frequently mentioned in connection with Jean Harlow, who appeared in Laurel and Hardy comedies before she was a star. 

                    Stan Laurel, Jean Harlow, and Oliver Hardy in DOUBLE WHOOPEE ( 1929 )

Frequently their association is said to have been friendly, but there were also stories of a less pleasant nature. Some people said that he was extorting money from her. Evidently Siegel had a habit of "borrowing" large sums from people which they were afraid to ask him to pay back.

Virginia Hill was another woman who was associated with Bugsy Siegel.

Reblogged from

She wasn't a movie star, but people sometimes thought that she was. She hung out with the stars. She was considered to be something of a celebrity herself.

 Included in the photo are- Ava Gardner, Mickey Rooney, Groucho Marx, Ann Rutherford and Virginia Hill (yes the mob queen) in Hollywood.

The story is that Virginia Hill was introduced to Bugsy Siegel by Pat DiCicco. And Bugsy Siegel was associated with Lucky Luciano. Although Luciano was in prison by the time that DeCicco made the introduction.

Luciano allegedly had Bugsy Siegel killed, just as he'd allegedly had Dutch Schultz eliminated. They said it had something to do with the Flamingo Hotel, on which Siegel had spent vast sums of money after taking the project away from William Wilkerson. Like many other stories about Luciano it was never really proven, but accepted as fact nonetheless.

*Luciano eventually controlled all the prostitution in New York, which was also what he was convicted of, and imprisoned for, in 1936.

**Guy McAfee ran the Clover Club, a Sunset Strip gambling casino that Thelma Todd is known to have gone to.

Iris Adrian:

Dorothy Appleby:

The Man Who Kept The Secrets ( Sidney Korshak ) - Dorothy Appleby mention

Newspaper article announcing engagement:,1660600

June Brewster:

Pat DeCicco:

Gangsters' extortion of money from the studios:

Jean Harlow ( Official site ):

Doris Houck:

Laurel And Hardy:

Lucky Luciano:

Gene Malin and Patsy Kelly:

Guy McAfee:

Geneva Mitchell:

Geneva Mitchell ( Denny Jackson's Glamour Girls Of The Silver Screen ):

Fred Otash:

George Raft:

Johnny Roselli:

Johnny Roselli and Lina Basquette:

Bugsy Siegel and Virginia Hill:

William Wilkerson:


Monday, September 3, 2018

Thelma Todd In Hell's Angels

Thelma Todd was in the silent version of HELL'S ANGELS, but was left out when much of the film footage was redone to make it a sound movie.

This photo of Thelma Todd in HELL'S ANGELS was posted in the Thelma Todd Fans group on facebook

Here are some pictures from that movie that I had on the blog in the past.

They used to call them "negligee girls". Carole Lombard was a negligee girl too, til they changed their minds and started publicizing her as a two-fisted he-man type girl.
You were supposed to take that seriously, although Carole Lombard was supposed to be funny.

The retoucher worked on this one, and somebody put in a watermark later on.

A SCENA MUDA, May 3, 1928, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The same photo colored for publication in a Brazilian magazine.

Special thanks to Jorge Finkielman for providing us with this picture.


Sunday, September 2, 2018

Alison Loyd Calendar

"Alison Loyd" was the stage name Thelma Todd used in CORSAIR in 1931. An Alison Loyd calendar was available for some time after that. This particular example comes from 1933.

1933 Brown & Bigelow Alison Loyd Carolina Moon Sample Calendar Lithograph 

Ebay seller's description:

1933 Brown & Bigelow Alison Loyd Carolina Moon Sample Calendar Lithograph

I recently purchased a 1930's calendar salesman's portfolio of advertising calendar samples. They had been stored in the old portfolio for over 80 years. 

This sample is approx. 22.5" x 16". There is some light staining along the edges.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Thelma Todd's Sidewak Cafe Photos

Some photos of Thelma Todd's Sidewalk café and the surrounding area.

 Posted by Michael Grahm in the Thelma Todd Fans group on facebook.

Out from the side of the cafe, the start of the concrete walkway Thelma Todd and guests would take to get the underpass that led to Castle Rock beach.

Heading to the beach... A lot of it in ruins, especially along the highway.

View of Castlerock (photoshop) as you cross the street.

There is a one hundred yard flat section with a rise at the far end that leads to a stair section and highway underpass across from the rock. This is where the highway was straightened out.

Cars used to whisk closer by before they straightened the highway. A higher and a lower wall made up the pathway through here. (See archive pics at the end of the set).

Walkway buried in shrubs careened up to this stairwell that dropped down to the underpass.

View from the stairwell.

Through the highway underpass.

At the beach 

Back to the Cafe: Underpass is halfway up the steps to the right.

Today the underpass (right) is blocked off. It was open until the end of the '60's.

Back from under the highway.

View between the two stair sections, looking south (east) toward the cafe.

Bits of the lower wall, right. We're on the walkway.

Back at Thelma's Cafe. 

Adam Tunney: I believe this picture was taken on the beach almost directly in front of the Sidewalk Café, albeit years before it belonged to Thelma Todd. The rock formations are still there, unless I'm mistaken.