Series: Thelma Todd & Patsy Kelly
Director: Gus Meins
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Kenneth Peach
Editor: Louid McManus
Sound: Harry Baker
Stars: Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly, Benny Baker, Eddie Phillips, Frank Moran
Released: 14 July 1934
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: A-24
Three Chumps Ahead
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Patsy is in the apartment kneeling on top of the piano and trying to pin a picture up on the back of the door when Thelma comes charging in, knocking her (well, her stunt double) to the ground. (see Trivia section below for a breakdown of all the mistakes observed in this scene!) Thelma is excited and tells Patsy she has fallen in love with a guy who she invites round to the apartment. Desperate to make a good impression Thelma gets Patsy to make some effort in dressing appropriately for the occasion. They act out a rehearsal as to how Patsy ought to answer the door to the gentleman when he calls as Thelma hides in the closet. Just at that moment the guy turns up and Patsy lets him in and after an awkward introduction Thelma comes out of the closet to meet him.
Thelma entertains the guest on the sofa whilst Patsy sits across the room hammering nuts. Thelma orders Patsy out into the kitchen to make some sandwiches and tells her to behave but Patsy expresses her reservations about Thelma's new boyfriend (and even kicks her back into the living room!) As Thelma and Archie snuggle up close on the sofa Patsy does everything she can to distract them by shouting out questions as to where the bread and balogna is? Archie gets the idea to phone up his brother Eddie and get him to come over to keep Patsy company. Meanwhile Patsy is out in the kitchen preparing to sabotage the sandwiches by adding some foul-smelling Limburger cheese to the bread (whilst applying a peg to her nose) before presenting the food to Thelma and her guest.
Thelma is wise to Patsy's attempts to ruin her evening and has a word with her. Benny turns up and is shown inside the apartment and is told to keep Patsy company. The unimpressed Patsy begins to play the piano whilst Benny munches on one of her sandwiches, breathing his smelly breath in her face and trying to sing to her in the process. Benny tries hard to win Patsy over and offers her a whistle to blow on but as she does so her face gets covered in talcum powder from it. It's the last straw for Patsy who gets up abruptly to find that Thelma and Archie have sneaked out. Patsy lures Benny into the kitchen to ask him where Thelma has gone and when he refuses to co-operate he receives her wrath with the sound of all things nasty (which we don't get to see!)
Patsy finds Thelma and Archie at a cafe where she tells Thelma all about Archie's shady character after beating it out of Benny. Archie takes Benny aside and asks him how much money he has. They have less than a dollar which they have to split between the four of them. After seeing the owner violently eject a couple of guys who couldn't pay for their beer, Patsy orders half the menu. Unable to pay for the bill, Archie, the slimy bastard, makes an excuse and slips out with Benny, leaving the girls stranded. In the final scene the girls are in the cafe's kitchen scrubbing a large pile of dishes. When the smug, know-it-all Patsy asks Thelma what she now thinks of her wonderful boyfriend Thelma stacks one last plate on the overloaded pile before it comes crashing down.
It's that kick! Patsy unexpectedly kicks Thelma out of the kitchen and into the living room where she lands flat on her face!
• Copyrighted June 20, 1934.
• The eighth film in the series.
• When Thelma enters the room at the beginning of the film and knocks Patsy off the piano: two things - if you freeze-frame it at just the right moment you can see that it is in fact Betty Danko doing the stunt. Secondly, we hear the sound of the piano but her position as she falls suggests she was not close enough to make those notes on the piano. In fact she is already on the ground when we hear the piano. I had to watch this scene three times before I realised that Patsy was actually kneeling on the piano and it's cover before she is knocked off (at first I thought it was a table!)
• There's an interesting 'naughty' moment when Thelma rubs her breast and asks Patsy to "feel here" - to which Patsy rubs her own backside and invites Thelma to "feel here!" Yep, that had me smiling all over the place!
• When Patsy answers the door to Archie she introduces herself as "Patricia Kelly" - though her real name was actually Bridget. (yeah I know, try not to laugh at that thought!)
• Thelma and Patsy live at Romain Apartments, room 101.
• Archie uses Thelma's telephone without asking her first. He also answers the door when Benny arrives.
• It takes Archie 13 seconds to answer the door to Benny. Not only is this rude manners but an awful long time considering the small room he is in.
• Harry Bernard and Ernie Alexander both appear in the pool room scene and are all later seen in the cafe in some capacity: Alexander is a diner whilst with Bernard is as a waiter. There is a guy in the pool hall scene smoking a cigarette that resembles Baldwin Cooke but on close inspection it isn't him.
What the experts say
• "It feels like an even distribution of screen time and dialogue for both Thelma and Patsy here in what appears to be a well-established on-screen partnership they had formed by mid-1934. The storyline is acceptable. Thelma keeps her clothes on (which is rare) and Patsy just edges it in terms of most enjoyable character. Still seems a bit slow in places though." ~ Lord Heath.
Pool hall attendant
Pool hall patron/
Pool hall patron/
Man ejected from cafe
Man ejected from cafe
Patsy's stunt double
(click any image to enlarge)
The Hal Roach Comedy Shorts Of Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts And Patsy Kelly by James L. Neibaur (book)
Jorge Finkielman (lobby cards)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Sam Lufkin and Joseph Young)
This page was last updated on: 15 July 2019