Yesterday was Thelma Todd day on TCM. Up until then, all what I knew about her was that she had a very messed up death (but NO ONE’S death is more messed up than Albert Dekker’s. NO ONE’S). I was determined to eradicate this ignorance of Thelma once for all, so I tuned in to watch a zillion half-hour Hal Roach comedies that featured Thelma with either ZaSu Pitts or Patsy Kelly.
I also tuned in to watch Monkey Business (1931) and Horse Feathers (1932), which paired Thelma up with the Marx Bros. Hilarious Robert Osborne moment: he couldn’t believe she actually survived making a film with them! And seeing these films, I’m actually surprised she survived too. Once again, I got a total ab workout laughing at these films (which is good on account I need to fit into a pretty new vintage-style dress I bought!)
Great Moments from Monkey Business: Harpo pretending to be part of a Punch and Judy puppet show and doing that weird gookie face of his, Groucho hiding in Thelma Todd’s closet, the brothers impersonating Maurice Chevalier, and the frog in Harpo’s hat. All the little falls, trips, and popping out of random places were priceless as well. And I love anything Harpo does. Definitely my favorite Marx Bro, with Groucho at a close second, since I love witty humor.
Great Moments from Horse Feathers: Groucho bursting into song and practically creating a stage musical (maybe an inspriation for that stupid, inspipid, made for TV movie High School Musical?), Chico and Harpo delivering ice to Thelma and throwing it out the window, Groucho serenading Thelma while riding in a canoe with her, and nothing beats Harpo and Chico playing football at the end!
What I learned: there’s more to Thelma Todd than a mysterious death. She was pretty, talented, and downright hilarious! It was shame to lose her so early in her career.