Another book about Thelma Todd.
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 ).
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.
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.
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.
Hollywood And The Underworld:
"Toddy" used in SEAL SKINS: