The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Movieland Mystery Photo


  Dec. 13, 2010, Mystery Photo  
  Los Angeles Times file photo  

Jan. 17-19 1936: The foreman of the Los Angeles County Grand Jury says the case of Thelma Todd is still open despite the autopsy surgeon's finding that death was caused by carbon monoxide.

And Gerald K. Burnett writes in the Sunday magazine: Hollywood laughs and the world laughs with it. Hollywood cries and the world is deluged with tears. Hollywood dies and the world rips ink-damped sheets from the arms of newsboys and revels through all the machinations of "the case."

Servants, wealth, armed guards, high fences, isolation -- all avail nothing when tragedy walks abroad.

There is the "case" of Thelma Todd, the concentric ripples of which welled out on the surface of the golden pool where tragedy threw its pebble. "Death by monoxide" the banner lines screamed -- then "death by mystery."

  Jan. 17, 1936, Thelma Todd  

  Jan. 19, 1936, Thelma Todd  

Jan. 19, 1936, Thelma Todd

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Comments (9)

Billie Dove?

Loretta Young?

Y'know, I still vote for "too much to drink, fell asleep in car." The mob doesn't kill you by putting you in a garage with the motor running, they put a bullet in your head. The bloody nose could either come from the effects of the carbon monoxide or (plus the bruised ribs) from falling forward or having convulsions in the car prior to death.

I know that's not mysterious enough to make people happy, but it really does seem the most likely and logical conclusion.

I am inclined to agree with Eve, accidental death. I would absolutely be convinced of it but for that weird phone call made to Wallace Ford's wife well after Thelma Todd was supposed to have died.

The caller used a nickname Todd despised and sounded enough like her that Mrs. Ford was sure it was she. Why? And if TT was still alive to actually make the call, how does she end up dead Monday morning with alcohol in her blood and still wearing the clothes from Saturday night?

Either way, it doesn't add up.

I believe this is Thelma from THE DEVIL'S BROTHER 1933.

Binnie Barnes?

I went ahead and Googled the Mrs. Wallace Ford info, and it seems likely that she simply misremembered when she got a call from Thelma--assuming she DID get a call from Thelma, and was not just one of those testifyin' fools who pops up in every murder case.

It seems more likely that Mrs. Ford thought "Sun." when it had been "Sat." than that Thelma was up and making phone calls while being dead at the same time.

Re: Mrs. Ford being confused about the day of her supposed call with Thelma Todd:
I initially thought this, too, except that the Sunday party "Thelma" was calling about had already started, and Ford had witnesses to the conversation.

Unless she was talking to a completely different woman and assumed it was TT. A woman who also needed directions from the area of the Todd cafe. And sounded just like Thelma Todd. Could be.

this is Thelma Todd.


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