The Hal Roach Comedy Shorts of Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts and Patsy Kelly

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About the Book

Hoping to follow his Laurel and Hardy success with a female comedy team, producer Hal Roach paired Thelma Todd with ZaSu Pitts in a 1931 series of two-reel shorts. Pitts left the studio for other pursuits, was replaced by Patsy Kelly and the series continued to be successful. Todd died under mysterious circumstances in 1935 and Kelly tried to carry on, first with Pert Kelton, then with Lyda Roberti. When Roberti died in 1938, the series ended.
This book takes the first film-by-film look at each of the comedies these women made, how they responded to different directors and how production adapted to changes along the way. Credits, production information, period reviews, and critical assessments are included.

About the Author(s)

James L. Neibaur is a film historian and educator with more than 20 books and hundreds of articles appearing in Cineaste, Classic Images, Film Quarterly, Films in Review, Filmfax, and Encyclopædia Britannica.

Bibliographic Details

James L. Neibaur
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 185
Bibliographic Info: 52 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7255-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3431-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
1. The Early Life of Thelma Todd 5
2. The Early Life of ZaSu Pitts 8
3. The Films of Thelma Todd and ZaSu Pitts 11
Let’s Do Things (1931) 11  Catch-As ­Catch-Can (1931) 16  The Pajama Party (1931) 20  War Mamas (1931) 23  On the Loose (1931) 26  Sealskins (1932) 30  Red Noses (1932) 34  Strictly Unreliable (1932) 37  The Old Bull (1932) 40  Show Business (1932) 45  Alum and Eve (1932) 49  The Soilers (1932) 52  Sneak Easily (1932) 56  Asleep in the Feet (1933) 59  Maids a la Mode (1933) 62  The Bargain of the Century (1933) 65  One Track Minds (1933) 69
4. The Films of Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly 74
Beauty and the Bus (1933) 74  Backs to Nature (1933) 78  Air Fright (1933) 81  Babes in the Goods (1934) 84  Soup and Fish (1934) 87  Maid in Hollywood (1934) 90  I’ll Be Suing You (1934) 94  Three Chumps Ahead (1934) 97  One-Horse Farmers (1934) 100  Opened by Mistake (1934) 105  Done in Oil (1934) 109  Bum Voyage (1934) 112  Treasure Blues (1935) 115  Sing Sister Sing (1935) 118  The Tin Man (1935) 121  The Misses Stooge (1935) 124  Slightly Static (1935) 127  Twin Triplets (1935) 130  Hot Money (1935) 134  Top Flat (1935) 136  All American Toothache (1936) 140
5. The Death of Thelma Todd 144
6. The Film of Patsy Kelly and Pert Kelton 147
Pan Handlers (1936) 147
7. The Films of Patsy Kelly and Lyda Roberti 151
At Sea Ashore (1936) 151  Hill Tillies (1936) 154  Nobody’s Baby (1937) 158
8. The Later Years of ZaSu Pitts and Patsy Kelly 166
Chapter Notes 169
Bibliography 171
Index 173