Series: Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly

Director: Gus Meins
Producer: Hal Roach
Photography: Hap Depew
Editor: William H. Terhune

Stars: Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly, Don Barclay, Eddie Baker, Tiny Sandford
Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Released: 16 September 1933
Length: 2 reels
Production No.: A-17
Filming dates:
Rating: 7/10

Beauty And The Bus

Available on DVD:

Thelma and Patsy arrive late to an already-packed theater building in anticipation of winning the main prize on offer: a brand new car. Thelma finds a place to sit and hurries Patsy to join her. The clumsy Patsy trips on a rollerskate (anybody wonder what it was doing there to begin with?) and falls down. After picking herself up off the floor, the usher (CHARLIE HALL) asks her to hand back the roll of tickets she has entangled herself with, thought she takes offence to being referred to as "madam". As Patsy sits down, she does so on a man's feet (ERNIE ALEXANDER) that are parked on her chair (again, what were they doing there?) He complains in agony, but Patsy snorts back at him to put his feet where they belong!
The curtain is pulled back and the prized car is revealed as the manager (ROBERT MCKENZIE) asks for a young boy to come and help draw the winning ticket. A lollipop-sucking boy (TOMMY BOND) eagerly obliges, despite his mother trying to stop him. The boy dives head-first into the tumbler and pulls out the winning ticket in his mouth: 108. Seeing that she has lost, Patsy tears up her tickets, which included ticket number 801. Unfortunately for her, the manager corrects himself for reading the winning ticket upside-down and then announces 801 is the winner. Patsy is gutted, but is granted three minutes to find her ticket to claim the prize. She crawls along the floor as the restless audience member whose feet she squashed demands another ticket to be drawn. She gathers the fragments of all the torn tickets and makes her way to the stage but loses her balance and falls off, taking the manager's trousers with her!
The girls are next seen cruising along the streets of Westwood in the car when they are eventually (after numerous traffic violations) stopped by a motorcycle cop for reckless driving. Thelma turns on the charm in order to avoid receiving a ticket, but her cause is hampered by Patsy's confession that Thelma was driving without a license. The traffic cop (EDDIE BAKER) lets them off this time, though not before asking Thelma where she lives in the hope of catching up with her later on!
After fobbing the officer off with a false address, Patsy questions why Thelma had done so, right in earshot of him. The motor cop realises he has been had and threatens to book Thelma for the driving offence, but confesses he has lost his pocketbook. Patsy grills the officer on his incompetence for being ill-equipped to enforce the law, but as luck would have it, the book falls into view when Patsy moves. The girls are booked but as they drive off, the passenger door (Patsy's side) falls off. They head off into town (the Hal Roach back-lot) but are rear-ended by another careless motorist who crashes into the back of them and pushes their car into an on-coming vehicle. The owner is DON BARCLAY who confronts the girls to complain. Patsy protests that their car barely touched his and demonstrates by kicking his fender, which falls off. At this point, Patsy is utterly ruthless, smashing Thelma's headlight and ripping the roof from Don's car, as well as assaulting him in the process. If that wasn't bad enough, Patsy tries to throw a hammer at Don's car, but it bounces off his wheel and smashes Thelma's windscreen instead.

Thelma angrily picks out the pieces of glass from her smashed windscreen and throws them into the road, just as a truck driver passes over them and burts his tire. The angry driver (TINY SANDFORD) demands to know who was the cause of the problem. Thelma points towards Don, and before she can finish her sentence, Sandford is already making his way over towards the little guy. Tiny jumps into (and all over) the girls' car (thinking it belongs to Barclay) and wrecks it. Thelma pleads for him to stop and tries to explain he has attacked her car by mistake.
Tiny is apologetic, but Patsy is already launching her counter-attack by hurling the chairs from the back of his truck directly at him from her elevated position. Now it is Sandford doing the pleading for them to stop. Just then, another truck carrying crates of chickens comes around the corner and spills its load. The traffic cop intervenes (where did he come from?) and he isn't happy to find Patsy and Thelma at the centre of all the commotion and chaos.
The poor girls are next seen having to push their car along the street but lose complete control of it as they push it down a very steep hill. The car rolls down the hill, through a wooden fence and into the lake below. Thelma is tapped on the shoulder by the persistent Don Barclay who continues to attempt communication with them. He is promptly thrown into the lake with the car. As luck would have it, his own car is parked nearby and the girls commandeer it. Thelma sits in the driver's seat and makes poor Patsy run alongside the vehicle, blaming her for all their misfortunes.

Favourite bit
The confrontation of the motorists!
Thelma has just been rear-ended (!!!) and inadvertently struck an oncoming vehicle.
Don Barclay: "You've smacked the devil out of my can!"
The argument that ensues, and Patsy Kelly destroying both cars in the process is both funny, senseless and cringeworthy all at the same time. Barclay's retaliation by making a small tear in the girls' hood is extremely funny!

Copyrighted September 12, 1933.
The first film in the Thelma Todd & Patsy Kelly series.
The shots of Thelma driving the car were shot in Westwood, California, not far from where the UCLA building is now. One of the locations has been suggested to be La Cienega Boulevard.
The poster for the film mis-spells Tiny Sandford's surname as "Sanford".
The title is a play on "Beauty and the Beast".
Thelma's car is a Chrysler Roadster, circa 1931. Don Barclay's is a very old Model T, circa 1908-1910.
Thelma's and Don's cars collide at the same place where Laurel & Hardy parked their lunch wagon in PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES. It's also at the same corner where Hardy ends up in a deep puddle in PUTTING PANTS ON PHILIP and in WHY GIRLS SAY NO. The big brownstone set from PACK UP YOUR TROUBLES is at the intersection, before it was moved.
Patsy Kelly took her own pratfalls in the theatre sequence. Thelma laughed at her and said "We have stand-ins for that!"
The building hosting the raffle for the car is 'The Star Theater'.
Charlie Hall's screen time is one sceen lasting 19.5 seconds and consisting of sixteen words. (To Patsy: "Pardon me madam, may I have the rest of the tickets?" Shortly after, he continues... "One is for you, madam!" There is something about his tone of voice which makes the viewer question whether he was being polite or simply sarcastic. It's hard to tell.
The girls attend a theater in order to try and win a new car. It would be a sad twist of fate that only 2 years later, Thelma died in a car.
Tommy Bond is the young boy who accepts the manager's invitation to draw the winning ticket. However, his mother tries to intervene? Why? That is just cruel to deny him such an exciting experience, isn't it?
Did you get a load of the theater manager's teeth?
The winning ticket is number 801.
Just in front of the stage there is a sloppily-placed curtain. It is obvious that this was placed there to hide the mat on which Patsy falls as she tumbles off the stage.
Patsy Kelly isn't shy about showing some leg. She does so twice; first when she falls in the aisle in the opening scene, and secondly as she falls off the stage.
When the girls are driving off down the street in their new car Patsy nudges Thelma, who is driving. Thelma continues to drive in a straight line whilst staring angrily at Patsy for 5 whole seconds. That is either reckless driving; not possible (not suggesting it is because she's a woman driver!) or the fact the car was raised on a trailer and being pulled by the film crew. Thelma later forces another vehicle off the road as she manoeuvres around a bend at speed and then holds both hands in the air whilst driving as the motocycle cop pulls up along side them. Is she the world's most dangerous driver or what?
The driving scenes with Thelma Todd were shot against a rear-projection.
The license plate of Thelma's car is 1W 98 33.
When Don Barclay first addresses the girls after the car crash, it isn't surprising that the first response Thelma gives him is, "I beg your pardon?" Don Barclay had a bit of a trademark habit of uttering complete nonsense dialogue in most of his comedy films. Also, during this scene look in the background on the left of the screen and you can see Roach regular Jack Hill as one of the bystanders. He is wearing a white hat.
When we first see Tiny Sandford as the truck driver who stops on account of his burst tire, he pulls up opposite a shop that has the word "Schmaltz" in the window. This is a reference to Billy Gilbert's character in The Taxi Boys series, which had just ended.
Tiny Sandford's truck has the number 43 on the side.
Tiny Sandford versus Don Barclay - that has to be the biggest mis-match on the entire Hal Roach castlist!
As Patsy is launching the chairs at Tiny Sandford from the top of his truck, one falls off by mistake. She does actually break character momentarily to observe it. (It's at 15:20 into the film).
The man who jumps into the lake at the end is clearly not Don Barclay. In the preceeding shot, Barclay is wearing a white hat and a white collared shirt. The man who jumps into the lake is dressed in all black and has no hat.
The car driven away by Thelma at the end sounds like a duck.
Patsy makes reference to the then biggest box office attraction, "King Kong".

Thelma Todd
Patsy Kelly
Don Barclay
Eddie Baker
Motorcycle cop
Tiny Sandford
Irate truck driver
Ernie Alexander
Theatre patron behind Patsy
Tommy Bond
Little boy
Charlie Hall
Theatre usher
Robert McKenzie
Theatre manager
Jack Hill
Lew Davis
Buster Brodie

CREDITS (click image to enlarge)

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Max Lanzisera, Gene Sorkin (supplying prints for review)
Jorge Finkielman (poster)
John Bengtson, Chris Bungo, Randy Skretvedt (location identification)
Robert Winslow (identification of the vehicles and locations)
Brent Seguine (identification of Lew Davis, Buster Brodie)
Richard Finegan (stills and press book page)

This page was last updated on: 16 September 2023