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Walter L.

Wheeler & Woolsey

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Is anyone following the Wheeler and Woolsey marathon to-day? I am!

  I won't/can't watch everything, but. I'll restrain further comment till later. So I can watch it!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Girl Crazy is the interesting one, since most movie fans would probably better remember the Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland version.

Well, there's also all that two-strip Technicolor in the early W&W movies.

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Cockeyed Cavaliers at 5pm (EST) has an additional asset in the presence of lovely Thelma Todd, this being one of two films of the comedy team in which the lady appeared.

cockeyedcavaliers_framegrab.jpg

Todd was a very popular co-star of a number of the top comedians of the early talkie era, including Laurel and Hardy, Charley Chase (who, at the time of Todd's death, still had hopes of being re-united with her in a series of comedy shorts - these two had delicious chemistry), Harry Langdon, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers. She was also co-starred with British comic Stanley Lupino (father of Ida).

Todd was known as a jovial, good natured performer on a Hollywood movie set. One of the biggest problems with Thelma was the necessity for some re-takes because she kept breaking up with laughter at the antics of some of her co-stars. She was also a good sport, willing, unlike some other actresses, to get physically involved with pratfall humour.

I could be wrong but it strikes me that Cockeyed Cavaliers does not come on TCM with the same frequency as some of the other Wheeler and Woolsey comedies.

One film of the comedy team which, I believe, has yet to be shown by TCM: So This Is Africa (1933), made on a rare loan out to Columbia. It was possibly their most censored comedy. There is currently a copy of this film available on You Tube.

 

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

One film of the comedy team which, I believe, has yet to be shown by TCM: So This Is Africa (1933), made on a rare loan out to Columbia. It was possibly their most censored comedy.

 

I have a shooting script for this film. Fascinating to compare the two to say the least.

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I'm a big fan and try to get good recordings of anything they did.  There is a sort of mismatch between the two of them, yet they play off each other well and quite evenly.  It wasn't just a one-man show with a sidekick.

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13 minutes ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

I'm a big fan and try to get good recordings of anything they did.  There is a sort of mismatch between the two of them, yet they play off each other well and quite evenly.  It wasn't just a one-man show with a sidekick.

Great point. They were two successful entertainers prior to them being paired and had equal skills in that regard.

They were not even a team when they were cast in the stage production of Rio Rita.

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I was going to record these but then thought the better of it.  I've given these guys enough chances already, I can't bear the thought of sitting through another eight or so of their films.

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I'm not really one for watching movie marathons in real time either, but that goes for any films.  It is still nice to have them around for when I have time or am interested.  So my only concern with piling all these rarely shown movies into a single day, rather than distribute them over a wider period of time, is it presents a greater liability given the chance there could always be a local power outage, inclement weather, or other issues on that day.  Then you might get 100% of nothing.  I haven't actually experienced that yet though with any of these blocks I care about recording.  Single recordings, yes.

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1 hour ago, JonasEB said:

I was going to record these but then thought the better of it.  I've given these guys enough chances already, I can't bear the thought of sitting through another eight or so of their films.

Personal opinion here, but I think THE NITWITS is their best film and the easiest one to watch..even for people who don't appreciate that brand of comedy.

But shhh, don't tell anyone.

screen-shot-2019-04-23-at-7.21.42-am.jpe

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a whole Friday blown on these two? tcm continues to do the wrong things programming-wise.

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Looking into it a bit, the only movie-length Wheeler & Woolsey feature, other than So This Is Africa (last shown in 1994 according to my list), that I don't have and TCM hasn't shown in recent years is Silly Billies (1936).  That hasn't been shown since 2007.

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3 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

a whole Friday blown on these two? tcm continues to do the wrong things programming-wise.

They are really zombie alien vampires.  Now do you like them?

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3 minutes ago, slaytonf said:

They are really zombie alien vampires.  Now do you like them?

They're still missing the extra three seconds of the intro from the British release though. :lol: 

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14 hours ago, Fedya said:

Girl Crazy is the interesting one, since most movie fans would probably better remember the Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland version.

Well, there's also all that two-strip Technicolor in the early W&W movies.

It doesn't share much in common plot or score-wise (since only a fraction of the score was retained) with the Gershwin play but it's still enjoyable. It also has uncredited choreography by Busby Berkeley. 

girlcrazy1932.17949_083020131235.jpg

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I never really could get "into" them.  But too, I'd never suggest that a whole Friday of them is the "wrong thing" programming-wise.  After all, I don't( nor does anyone else here) have a letter from God that guarantees that TCM will only show what prefer.  ;) 

And Tom failed to mention that THELMA TODD also made a few shorts with LAUREL and HARDY too. (BOGUS BANDITS is one...

Sepiatone

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35 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

But too, I'd never suggest that a whole Friday of them is the "wrong thing" programming-wise.

Well yeah, since the distributors actually dictate broadcast frequency of the rental package. TCM programmers may not have the choice.

I do enjoy shorts whether it a newsreel, cartoon or comedies between feature films, like a theater experience. Shorts do wonders if paired correctly as a warm up to a movie.

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I've always thought that Laurel and Hardy were at their peak as a comedy team when they did their 20 minute shorts.

Wheeler and Woolsey made only feature films together with one exception, a 1931 short called Oh! Oh! Cleopatra. Apparently only the audio portion of this short still exists, unfortunately. I found this on You Tube:

 

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11 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

And Tom failed to mention that THELMA TODD also made a few shorts with LAUREL and HARDY too. (BOGUS BANDITS is one...

 

BOGUS BANDITS isn't a short.  It's an alternate title for their feature length film, THE DEVIL'S BROTHER. 

Thelma was in Laurel and Hardy's first sound short, UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE.  She also was in the shorts, ANOTHER FINE MESS and CHICKENS COME HOME.

Her final film was with Laurel and Hardy, THE BOHEMIAN GIRL.  Originally, she had a bigger role, but she died before it was released, and because of the scandal surrounding her death, they cut her role down to one musical number shown early in the film.

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2 hours ago, Stoopnagle said:

BOGUS BANDITS isn't a short.  It's an alternate title for their feature length film, THE DEVIL'S BROTHER. 

Thelma was in Laurel and Hardy's first sound short, UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE.  She also was in the shorts, ANOTHER FINE MESS and CHICKENS COME HOME.

Her final film was with Laurel and Hardy, THE BOHEMIAN GIRL.  Originally, she had a bigger role, but she died before it was released, and because of the scandal surrounding her death, they cut her role down to one musical number shown early in the film.

It's a shame that the Thelma Todd material chopped from The Bohemian Girl was destroyed by the Roach Studio, the last work done, along with her final short in her series with Patsy Kelly, by this popular comedienne. Not a lot of sentimentality for an actress would had helped the studio to prosper over the years. Now the "awkwardness" of the circumstances surrounding her death is just regarded as an inconvenience by them.

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Yeah, that was a crappy way to do things.  And since it's still unclear as to whether her death was accidental, suicide or murder, I don't see how it could have been ANY kind of "blot" on the reputation of the studio. They were just bastards is all.  :angry:

And STOOP...  thanks for the correction.

Sepiatone

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20 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

Yeah, that was a crappy way to do things.  And since it's still unclear as to whether her death was accidental, suicide or murder, I don't see how it could have been ANY kind of "blot" on the reputation of the studio. They were just bastards is all.  :angry:

 

It is frustrating to me, as a fan of Thelma Todd, that her second last work (finished just before her final short with Patsy Kelly, An All American Toothache) can't be seen because the studio at which she had worked for years decided to destroy it. It's one thing to cut the material from a film but the studio heads didn't even save it somewhere for posterity's sake. At least, I've never seen a sign of her cut film footage anywhere.

Thelma died a week and a half before Christmas and soon after the blaring headlines of her death the Christmas cards she had mailed to her friends started arriving at their homes. Charlie Chase is said to have broken down and cried when he received his. Thelma was very popular within the Hollywood community and at the Roach Studio itself (she was known for her generosity, once, for example, paying for the tonsils of a young boy to be removed when she heard his family couldn't afford it) yet the sons of guns at the top made the decision to, not just set aside, but DESTROY her work in The Bohemian Girl. Grrrrr.

Yeh, you're right, Sepia, a bunch of cold bastards.

7b9428334db7c16f5828b724f39b27b1.png

One of Thelma's few moments that were kept in the opening minutes of The Bohemian Girl. She sang a gypsy song and her singing voice is clearly dubbed. Todd got second billing in the film after Laurel and Hardy despite the fact her screen time is probably less than three minutes.

Thelma had completed all her scenes for the film, and her role had been a substantial one, apparently. I found a couple stills of her with Antonio Moreno that are presumably some of what was cut and now lost forever.

the-bohemian-girl-1936-thelma-todd-anton

THE+BOHEMIAN+GIRL.jpg

 

Sorry for the off topic rant on a Wheeler and Woolsey thread. Please consider this a side bar to the boys as Thelma had been one of their best known co-stars.

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I guess I contributed in veering off-topic, so to get back on-topic, I will say that, so far,  COCKEYED CAVALIERS and HIPS, HIPS, HOORAY! are favorite Wheeler and Woolsey films.  That Thelma happens to be in both of them may or may not be a coincidence 😀.

Not only were Wheeler and Woolsey in GIRL CRAZY, where the Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland remake is better known, but they were also in RIO RITA, which is better known by the remake with Abbott and Costello.

Tom, thank you for posting the BOHEMIAN GIRL stills.  I had never seen those before.

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I saw pieces of their films, some of it was amusing, but not a big fan. I always thought if Edna May Oliver and George Burns ever had a child, it would look like Robert Woolsey.

Image result for edna may oliver imagesImage result for george burns images

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Yeah, that was a crappy way to do things.  And since it's still unclear as to whether her death was accidental, suicide or murder, I don't see how it could have been ANY kind of "blot" on the reputation of the studio. They were just bastards is all.  :angry:

And STOOP...  thanks for the correction. 

Sepiatone

Maybe at the time of her death there were questions, but my understanding is that Chester Morris said that Roland West, who was romantically involved with Todd at the time of her death, gave a deathbed confession of her murder to Chester Morris in 1952. That confession was never independently verified.

The only other story I've heard concerned a ring. When Todd died, a sardonic ring that was inscribed “my lambie” was missing from her finger. Years later a mystery man gave it to Patsy Kelly backstage after her performance in a play and said “this was Miss Todd’s”.

Nobody thought it was suicide since Todd was in good health, had many friends and an active social life, and a good career at the time.

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17 minutes ago, calvinnme said:

Nobody thought it was suicide since Todd was in good health, had many friends and an active social life, and a good career at the time.

Actually Todd had heart issues and was known to have passed out on a few occasions when she got overly excited. But, yeh, there's no way this lady killed herself.

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