A Blog For Thelma Todd
Thelma Todd was a star of silent movies and later the talkies. She is remembered as much today for her mysterious death as she is for her films. In this blog, we take a look at Thelma Todd, her movies, and various commentaries.
The DVD commentaries mentioned Allan Lane, because he was in one of the films with Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts.
WAR MAMMAS - Allan Lane, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, Zasu Pitts, Thelma Todd
The commentary claimed that you were not likely to have seen any of Allan Lane's work other than MR. ED, a show about a talking horse, for which he provided the voice. I don't think that show was run here very much. They had it on Channel 40 for a while, but that station also ran western movies, including the ones with Allen Lane.
The only good thing about MR. ED was that Connie Hines was on it.
My advice would be to skip MR. ED and stick to Allan Lane's other work.
Allan Lane played the comic strip character Red Ryder in movies and later on television.
VIGILANTES OF BOOMTOWN ( 1947 ) with Robert Blake.
Reblogged from museumsanfernandovalley.blogspot.com/2012/01/allan-lane-was-cowboy-superhero-in.html
There were also Allan Lane comic books, which were based on his western movies.
In real life Allan Lane was at one time married to actress Shelia Ryan, who had worked with him in the movies.
Shelia Ryan worked with Laurel and Hardy in GREAT GUNS ( 1941 )
Reblogged from www.doctormacro.com/Movie%20Summaries/G/Great%20Guns.htm
and A HAUNTING WE WILL GO ( 1942 ), both at Fox.
World War II pinup photo of Shelia Ryan.
Reblogged from https://www.wwiidogtags.com/pinups/sheila-ryan/
Shelia Ryan was in the seventh episode of THE LONE RANGER with Clayton Moore.* I was later on television with Clayton Moore, which could be seen as linked to the television work of one of Laurel and Hardy's costars. It could even be seen as something liked to the Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts series, since Shelia Ryan had been married to Allan Lane.
* Shelia Ryan, Clayton Moore, and Jay Silverheels ( "Tonto" ) were all in the supporting cast of THE COWBOY AND THE INDIANS during the same period. Gene Autry was the star. )
Clayton Moore was linked to Lupe Velez, another of Laurel and Hardy's costars, but did not appear in her movies.
This is something I've had for a while and simply hadn't used yet. After listening to the commentaries on the Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts DVDs I decided to put it through.
I have to agree with what this said about Charlie Chase. The good as well as the bad. Some of the other short subjects produced by Hal Roach did not appeal to me and did not do well at the box office. Singling out Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts for criticism while ignoring the shortcomings of other series is unfair and ignores the fact that Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts actually succeeded where some of the others failed.
I don't seem to have kept track of where this came from, but I think it's from PHOTOPLAY or one of the other fan magazines of the 1930's.
The commentaries on the Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts DVDs mention that director Gus Meins ended up killing himself after he was accused of being a child molester. I don't know if he was guilty, but I remember that someone took a picture from my blog and used it as an illustration for a book that had that story. Here is the photo, which shows Gus Meins with Patsy Kelly, Spanky McFarland, Thelma Todd, and another little boy, who seems to have been Spanky's brother.
I don't remember the name of that book, I just remember that it turned up on a google search and that I was credited in the book as the source of the photo. If I find out what the name of it was I'll post it here.
Recently the Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts comedies became available on DVD.
This set has commentaries by Richard M. Roberts, Randy Skretvedt, Brent Walker and Robert Farr. But I have to say that I do not agree with everything that they said. Unless Zasu Pitts actually said that communists should be castrated, they were guilty of misrepresentation. The first three films or so had commentaries that didn't say much about Thelma Todd or Zasu Pitts, they just kept saying they'd get around to it later. They mentioned that there was a radio station at the studio, but failed to mention that Todd and Pitts had their own radio show while the series was in production. A little about Zasu Pitts was spread over more than one of the commentaries, and then they had a little about Thelma Todd during the very last one. They failed to mention that she was seen as a popular type during the 1930's, like Jean Harlow and Joan Blondell at other studios, or that she was considered the queen of the lot at the Hal Roach studio. For some reason, Thelma Todd's petticoat was called a "negligee" repeatedly in the commentaries, although the two are not the same thing.
There was a recurring thread in the commentaries that physical humor wasn't funny when done by women.
Not everyone agrees. I don't. I thought Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts were funny, but that some of the men in the same films were not funny. Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts appeared to be having fun. It didn't come across as something that should be taken seriously. Charlie Hall, on the other hand, did not strike me as funny when he punched Bud Jamison in THE SOILERS. That looked serious. And when Guinn "Big Boy" Williams shot Blanche Payson in WAR MAMMAS ( 1931 ) that didn't strike me as funny either. That looked even more serious, and if there was supposed to be some reason why she wasn't killed in the story*, I think the commentary should have made some sort of explanation. Which they failed to do.
The impression that I got was that they either did not like Thelma Todd or had no interest in her. At one point they mentioned Donati's book when they were talking about Anita Garvin, but from what they said you would never know that it was a book about Thelma Todd. Incidentally, Randy Skretvedt's is the author of a book about Laurel and Hardy which has some information on Thelma Todd, as well as Anita Garvin and others who were at the Hal Roach studio.
*They could have said the gun was loaded with blanks.
"Radio" refers to RKO. FRAT HEADS was a planned college comedy that would have been something like the Marx Brothers' HORSE FEATHERS; they ended up making COCKEYED CAVALIERS, which was a period piece like Laurel and Hardy's THE DEVIL'S BROTHER. Thelma Todd had been in both.
This item can be seen in the middle of the lower part of this page.