Series: Thelma Todd & Patsy Kelly

Director: Gus Meins
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Kenneth Peach
Editor: Louis McManus
Sound: Harry Baker

Stars: Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly, Benny Baker, Eddie Foy Jr, Fred Kelsey, Mr. Miffin
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 23 June 1934
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: A-23
Filming dates: early 1934
Rating: 5/10
I'll Be Suing You


Thelma is with Patsy and is driving erractically along the street in her car before crashing into the back of a parked truck, which then spills its contents, a load of cardboard boxes, into her car. Patsy is prevented from confronting the owner of the truck by lawyer Edward Foy, who sees the potential to make some money out of the accident and offers them $50,000. The truck driver and a policeman come by and get into an argument with Patsy, who refuses to get on a stretcher that has been brought out for her on account of the phony accident. She is tied to the stretcher (upside down) by two orderlies who carry her into Foy's apartment where Foy tells Thelma and Patsy about previous cases he has won where he encouraged his clients to fake injuries. He decides to give Patsy a broken leg and a script to go with it for her to tell in court in order to win their case.
Foy reveals his bed which has a hole in the mattress (I thought you only saw those in male prisons?) and then demonstrates to Patsy how she should lay down with her leg stuck through the hole and then attach a false leg to her kneee to give the impression that her leg is broken. She is reluctant but plays along. Thelma reads from the script with Patsy doing the groaning (screaming). Then a building repairman enters the room to find Foy in bed with the two women - all fully clothed and gives him a knowing wink. Foy tells the girls he is going downstairs to file the claim and advises them that if anybody comes whilst he is gone to be alert. Moments later there is a knock on the door. Thelma lets the man in, believing him to be a doctor but he is actually there to repair the telephone line.
He sees Patsy's leg and enquires if she is hurt. Cue speech: Thelma begins reciting the pre-scripted monologue about how the accident occurred, with added dramatic sound effects being screeched out by Patsy, who milks the scene splendidly. After Thelma finishes her animated dialogue the repairman starts emptying his satchel and places a saw and a hammer on the table. With crossed-wires Patsy asks what he intends to do with his tools, to which he replies, "it depends where the break is". He continues getting out more tools, including a contraption with a flame on it which is used for soldering joints before Patsy sees his bag with the words "Consolidated Telephone Company" written on it. Patsy gets out of the bed and the repairman sees her third leg still in the bed and does a fantastic double-take! The lawyer then returns with two insurance investigators but the two girls are in the next room, with Patsy walking around perfectly fine.
The repairman leaves, saying he cannot repair "it" as he is too much in shock and Foy makes sure the insurance guys hears it. Into the bedroom they all go where the case is discussed and $500 is offered to Patsy but this isn't good enough. The insurance guy asks how the accident happened? And here we go again... Thelma begins her recital, and Patsy begins her wailing as the two men watch with bewilderment before upping their offer to $1000. As Patsy dangles her good leg under the hole in the bed the dog starts to tear off her stocking and then proceeds to lick her bare toes. This leads to Patsy having a laughing fit so she has to quickly get rid of the false leg and replace it with her real one. A mouse runs up her leg and Patsy causes the bed to collapse on her, exposing her false leg for all to see. The insurance men see this and mock the girls by repeating Thelma's rehearsed speech. The film ends on a fade out with Thelma, Patsy and Foy in the bed together.

Favourite bit
The scenes with Patsy in the bed really consume so much of the film to the point where it drags on and on, so it was a nice touch to throw Charley Rogers in there as the telephone repairman who breaks up the monotony of it all.

This was the seventh film in the series.
Copyrighted June 8, 1934.
The dog is billed as Mr. Miffin and is even included in the opening credits on the cast list.
Douglas Wakefield appeared in 9 films for Hal Roach and this was the only one which wasn't part of the All-Star series. Billy Nelson previously appeared in this series as a burglar in Maid In Hollywood.
According to the dialogue the lawyer wants to read in court, the truck was driving at 85mph. When did you ever hear of a truck even being capable of driving at that speed - and especially back in 1934!
There are three occasions in the same scene where Patsy shows off the upper inside of her thighs. The first scene is when she tries to fix the false leg to hers. The second is when Charley Rogers tells her "it depends on where the break is?" The third is when she tries to get out of the bed. Just thought I'd mention it! Images here. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, in this shot you can actually see her right bum cheek! Phew, I've gone all sweaty now.
The opening credits bill Benny Baker third with Eddie Foy fourth. Seems that it must have been done alphabetically because Foy was clearly the third biggest star of the film. Baker's scene is merely a walk-on.
At one point in the film Foy refers to Patsy Kelly as being "unbalanced". Not wrong.
During the final scene where the bed collapses that is not Patsy Kelly, but rather, Betty Danko doubling for her. It is possible that Thelma Todd also used a double for this scene.
What the experts say
"This is a film that kind of gets stuck in the mud and doesn't move anywhere. It comes across as being more FUN than FUNNY. Patsy and Thelma totally over-sell their scenes, especially in the bedroom." ~ Lord Heath.

Thelma Todd
Patsy Kelly
Benny Baker
Building repairman
Eddie Foy, Jr.
Edward J. Hoy,
Fred Kelsey
Insurance adjustor
Sam Lufkin
Truck driver
Charles McAvoy
Billy Nelson
Stretcher bearer
Douglas Wakefield
Stretcher bearer
Charley Rogers
Telephone repairman
William Wagner
Insurance adjustor
Ernie Alexander
Angry driver
Ham Kinsey
Baldwin Cooke
Betty Danko
Patsy Kelly's stand-in
Bob Minford


The following scenes were filmed on the Hal Roach Back Lot and are included in the TOUR

Hal Roach Comedy Shorts Of Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts, Patsy Kelly by James L. Neibaur (book)
Jesse Brisson (identification of Betty Danko)

This page was last updated on: 26 February 2019