Just as we imagined with Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow a few years ago (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/387404.html), it isn't difficult to envision Lombard and Thelma Todd having each other's careers as actresses. Both were smart, attractive blondes with good senses of humor and both were trained by the masters of comedy shorts (Mack Sennett for Lombard, Hal Roach for Todd). And sadly, as was the case with Harlow, both left us much too soon.
We bring this up for several reasons. First, Michelle Morgan's book on Todd, "The Ice Cream Blonde," is out...
...and Morgan was recently interviewed about it by someone from its publisher, Chicago Review Press (http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/blog/behind-the-scenes-michelle-morgan-author-of-the-ice-cream-blonde/). In fact, she even cited the similarities between Todd and Lombard:
I have no idea whether they knew each other well, though in listings from G.D. Hamann's Hollywood history compilation books (whatever happened to G.D., anyway?), they're occasionally reported as attending the same events, such as weddings. Thelma made two films with the Marx Brothers at Paramount while Carole was there in the early '30s, and Lombard was a friend of the Marxes.
There's another reason we mention this. Next month will mark the 80th anniversary of Todd's still-unxplained death. And the future of the place where she both ran a cafe and met her mysterious demise is reportedly up in the air.
Known as Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe and built in the mid-1920s -- some years before she took over the property -- it's prime real estate, on the Pacific Coast Highway and close to the ocean. In later years, it was home to Paulist Productions, which specialized in Catholic media. Here's what it looks like today:
More on the building, including some photos of its interior, can be found at http://www.palipost.com/property-that-housed-thelma-todds-sidewalk-cafe-sold-for-6-million-exclusive-look-inside/.
The property reportedly was sold earlier this year for $6 million to Hayman Properties, LLC. The building's future is uncertain, and there are unconfirmed reports it could be razed in January. Understandably, this has Hollywood history buffs, architectural preservationists and armchair detectives up in arms. A campaign is beginning to save the structure from the wrecking ball.
It's not far from where Marion Davies' Ocean House stood; all that's left of that magnificent structure are servants' quarters and the pool (both now part of the Annenberg Community Beach House). With luck and some hard work, Thelma's site won't share the same fate.
Finally, I'm proud to announce I will be taking part in the Loretta Young Birthday Blogathon, scheduled for Jan. 3-6, 2016. It honors the 103rd anniversary of Young's birth and hosted by Cinema Dilletante, the Now Voyaging blog and the Young Sisters Appreciation Group on Facebook. (They could have called it the "Loretta-tennial + 3"; I didn't trademark the "-tennial + 3" part back in 2011. In retrospect, perhaps I should have.)
Rivaled by but a few other stars (Lombard included) for sheer etherealness, Loretta Young's talent as an actress (from the late silent era to several decades on TV) and businesswoman are increasingly being appreciated. Thankfully, she lived to see the pre-Code revival, which cast her career in an entirely new light.
Find out more on the event at https://cinemadilettante.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/announcing-the-loretta-young-birthday-blogathon/. Those of you who are bloggers who would like to participate should contact Cinema Dilettante via KathrynGraysonFn@aol.com to suggest a topic.