Catch As Catch Can, Daily Production Sheet
original production material
This is an ORIGINAL HAL ROACH STUDIOS, INC DAILY PRODUCTION SHEET.It was used for the daily filming of CATCH AS CATCH CAN and is dated May 23, 1931. This Studio document is all typed, It came DIRECT from the HAL ROACH STUDIOS. It lists all the key players in the film, featuring the daily shoooting that day at 10:30 am at a City College Stadium for the 1931 film,
Catch as Catch Can
Zasu falls for a wrestler, drags Thelma to his next fight. Roommates Thelma and Zazu are phone operators at the Empire Hotel. Thelma is frank and brassy; Zazu, who misses the cows of Joplin, is laconic and droll. Thelma's boyfriend Harry manages the Strangler, a wrestler homesick for Kansas. Even though there's a big match that night, with all of Harry's money riding on it, the Strangler wants to leave for home now. When he stops at the operators' station to call home, he chats with Zazu. They click and Harry realizes that Thelma's pal might be the key to keeping the Strangler in town for the bout. And the wrestling match? Should Zazu throw her hat in the ring?
H.M. Walker (dialogue by)
Zasu Pitts, Thelma Todd and Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Strangler Sullivan (as Guinn Williams)
Harry (Strangler's manager)
!MORE INFORMATION ON THELMA TODD: Thelma Todd was born on July 29, 1905, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a small town near the New Hampshire state line. She was a lovely child with good academic tendencies, so much so that she decided early on to become a schoolteacher. After high school she went on to college, but at her mother's insistence entered several beauty contests (apparently her mother wanted her to be more than just a "schoolmarm"). Thelma was so successful in these endeavors that she entered on the state level and won the title of "Miss Massachusetts" in 1925 and went on to the "Miss America" pageant. Although she didn't win, the pageant afforded her a chance to be seen been by talent scouts looking for fresh new faces to showcase in films. She began appearing in one- and two-reel shorts, mostly comedy, which showcased her keen comic timing and aptitude for physical comedy (unusual in such a beautiful woman). She had been making shorts for Hal Roach when she was signed to Paramount Pictures. Her first film--at 21 years of age--was as Lorraine Lane in 1927's Fascinating Youth (1926), a romantic comedy, which was Paramount's showcase vehicle for its new stars. Thelma received minor billing in another film that year, God Gave Me Twenty Cents (1926). The next year she starred with Gary Cooper and William Powell in the western Nevada (1927). That year also saw her in three more films, with The Gay Defender (1927) being the most notable. It starred Richard Dix in the role of a man falsely accused of murder. As the 1920s closed, Thelma began getting parts in more and more films. In 1928 and 1929 alone she was featured in 20 pictures, and not just comedies--she also did dramas and gothic and horror films. Unlike many silent-era stars whose voices didn't fit their image or screen persona, Thelma's did. She had a bright, breezy, clear voice with a pleasant trace of a somewhat aristocratic, but not snobbish, New England accent, and easily made the transition to sound films. In 1930 she added 14 more pictures to her resume, with Dollar Dizzy (1930) and Follow Thru (1930) being the most notable. The latter was a musical with Thelma playing a rival to Nancy Carroll for the affections of Buddy Rogers. It was a box-office hit, as was the stage production on which it was based. The following year Thelma appeared in 14 more films, among them Let's Do Things (1931), Speak Easily (1932), The Old Bull (1932) and On the Loose (1931). Her most successful film that year, however, was the Marx Brothers farce Monkey Business (1931). While critics gave the film mixed reviews, the public loved it. In 1932 Thelma appeared in another Marx Brothers film directed by Norman Z. McLeod, Horse Feathers (1932). She also starred in This Is the Night (1932), a profitable film which featured Cary Grant in his first major role. In 1934 Thelma made 16 features, but her career would soon soon come to a grinding halt. In 1935 she appeared in such films as Twin Triplets (1935) and The Misses Stooge (1935), all showcasing her considerable comic talents. She also proved to be a savvy businesswoman with the opening of "Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe", a nightclub/restaurant that catered to show business people. It also, unfortunately, attracted some shady underworld types as well, and there were rumors that they were trying to take over her club and use it as a gambling establishment in order to fleece the wealthy Hollywood crowd. According to these stories, Thelma and her boyfriend, director Roland West, wouldn't sell their establishment once they found out what the gangsters had in mind, thereby incurring the enmity of people it was not a good idea to become enemies of. Whether the stories were true or not, on December 16, 1935, Thelma was found dead in her car, in her garage, in Los Angeles. Her death was ruled a suicide due to carbon monoxide poisoning. She was only 30 years old. At the time, as today, many felt that her death was actually a murder connected to the goings-on at her club, a theory that was lent credence by the fact that no one who knew her had ever seen her depressed or morose enough to the point of being worried about her committing suicide. Another factor that aroused suspicion was that her death was given a cursory investigation by the--at the time--notoriously corrupt Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the case was quickly and unceremoniously closed. Her death has remained a controversial one even to this day. Three films she made before her death weren't released until the following year: Hot Money (1936), All-American Toothache (1936), and The Bohemian Girl (1936). The latter saw her quite substantial role cut down so much that she was barely glimpsed in the picture. Thelma had made an amazing 115 films in such a short career, and her beauty and talent would no doubt have taken her right to the top if it hadn't been for her untimely demise.
MORE INFO ON ZASU PITTS:
Classic comedienne Zasu Pitts, she with the timid, forlorn blue eyes and trademark woebegone vocal pattern and fidgety hands, was born to Rulandus and Nellie (Shay) Pitts, the third of four children on January 3, 1894. Her aged New York-native father, who lost a leg back in the Civil War times, had settled the family in Kansas by the time ZaSu was born, but relocated to Santa Cruz, California when she was 9 seeking a warmer climate and better job opportunities. She attended Santa Cruz High and somehow rose above her excessively shy demeanor to join the school's drama department. She went on to cultivate what was once deemed her negative qualities by making a career out of her unglamorous looks and wallflower tendencies in scores and scores of screwball comedy treasures.Pitts made her stage debut in 1915 and was discovered two years later for silent films by pioneer screenwriter 'Frances Marion' , appearing obscurely in vehicles for such Paramount stars as 'Douglas Fairbanks' and 'Mary Pickford' . Mary cast her in another of her films to greater effect and the rest is history. She grew in popularity following a series of Universal one-reeler comedies and earned her first feature-length lead in 'King Vidor' 's Better Times (1919). She met and married potential matinée idol 'Tom Gallery' in 1920 and paired up with him in several films, including Bright Eyes (1922), Heart of Twenty (1920),Patsy (1921) and A Daughter of Luxury (1922). Their daughter Ann was born in 1922. In 1924, the actress, now a reputable comedy farceur, was given the greatest tragic role of her career in 'Erich von Stroheim' epic classic Greed (1924), an over four-hour picture edited to less than two. The surprise casting initially shocked Hollywood but pointed out that she could draw tears and pathos with her patented doleful demeanor as well as laughs. The movie has grown tremendously in respect over time, having failed initially at the box office due to its extensive cutting.Trading off between comedy shorts and features, she earned additional kudos in such heavy dramas as Sins of the Fathers (1928), The Wedding March(1928), also helmed by Von Stroheim, and War Nurse (1930). Still, by the advent of sound, which was an easy transition for Pitts, she was fully secured in comedy. One bitter and huge disappointment for her was when she was replaced in the war classic All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) by 'Beryl Mercer' after her initial appearance in previews drew unintentional laughs. She decided, however, to make the most of a not-so-bad situation. She had them rolling in the aisles in such wonderful and wacky entertainment as The Dummy (1929), Finn and Hattie (1931), The Guardsman (1931), Blondie of the Follies (1932),Sing and Like It (1934) and Ruggles of Red Gap (1935). She also excelled deliciously in her comedy partnerships with stunning blonde comedienne 'Thelma Todd' (in short films) and comedian 'Slim Summerville' (in features).Breezing through the 1940s in assorted films, she found work in vaudeville and on radio as well, trading quivery banter with 'Bing Crosby' , 'Al Jolson' and 'Rudy Vallee' among others. She also tackled Broadway, making her debut in the mystery "Ramshackle Inn" in 1944. The play, which was written especially for her, faired quite well, and, as a result, took the show on the road frequently in later years. Post-war films continued to give Pitts the chance to play comic snoops and flighty relatives in such quality fare as Life with Father (1947), but into the 1950s she started focusing on TV. This culminated in her best known series role playing second banana to cruise line social director 'Gale Storm' in "The Gale Storm Show" (1956) [aka "Oh, Susannah"]. As Nugie, the shipboard beautician and partner-in-crime, she made the most of her timid, twitchy mannerisms.Sadly, ill health dominated Pitts' later years when she was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1950s. She braved on and continued to work until the very end, making brief appearances in The Thrill of It All (1963) and the all-star comedy epic It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963). Having married a second time after her divorce from actor Gallery, the beloved sad sack comedienne passed away at age 69 on June 6, 1963, leaving behind a gallery of scene-stealing worryworts for all to enjoy.
MORE INFO ON PATSY KELLY: She teamed up with Thelma Todd in a series of 2 reelers 1931-35. She won a tony in 1971 for "No, No, Nannette" Her brother gave her the nickname "Patsy." Frank Fay, her boss at one point, developed a crush on her, but she rejected him. Later, when she called him "Frank" instead of Mr. Fay, he fired her. Won Broadway's 1971 Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Musical) for "No, No, Nannette. She was again nominated in the same category in 1973 for "Irene." In 1934, she was the only passenger in an automobile on the Santa Monica pier driven by actor and female impersonator Gene Malin. He accidentally backed the car off the pier and subsequently drowned. Kelly survived.
MORE INFO ON HAL ROACH: Hal Roach was born in Elmira, New York in 1892. After working as, among other things, a gold prospector, he wound up in Hollywood and began picking up jobs as an extra in comedies, where he met comedian Harold Lloyd. He began producing, directing and writing a series of short film comedies starring Lloyd around 1915. These were quite successful, and Roach started his own production company and eventually bought his own studio. By the early 1920s he had eclipsed Mack Sennett as the King of Comedy and created many of the most memorable comic series of all time, even by today's standards. These include the team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase and The Little Rascals. By the late 1930s Roach's formula for success was jeopardized by audience demands for bigger, feature-length productions, and he was forced to try his hand at making full-length screwball comedies, musicals and dramas, although he still kept turning out two-reel comedies. By the 1950s he was producing mainly for television. In 1983 his company developed the first successful digital colorization process. Roach then became a producer for many TV series on the Disney Channel, and his company still produces most of their films and videos.
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