Cinema Purgatorio CP09

Cinema Purgatorio #9 regular cover, art by Kevin O’Neill
Cinema Purgatorio #9 regular cover, art by Kevin O’Neill

Annotations for “Revelations of The Bat” 8 pages in Cinema Purgatorio #9

Writer: Alan Moore, Artist: Kevin O’Neill

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Note: Some of this is obvious, but you never know who’s reading and what their exposure is. If there’s anything we missed or got wrong, let us know in comments.

Thelma Todd – photo via Wikipedia

General:The story focuses on the life and untimely death of Hollywood actress Thelma Todd (1906-1935). Todd was a famous mostly-comedic actress whose career spanned silent and early talkie films. Todd’s death was ruled accidental, though murder or suicide have been suggested. Moore and O’Neill make the case that Todd was a victim of the horrific forces brought to bear on her by the film industry. Many of the story’s details (both words and visuals) are taken directly from the book The Life and Death of Thelma Todd by William Donati (hereafter referred to as LaDoTT).
The story plays with tropes from the the 1926 film The Bat, directed by Todd’s sometime-lover Roland West. The Bat inspired the creation of the later comics character Batman. Moore and O’Neil include a surprising number of links to DC Comics, especially Batman.

Cover

  • The bat figure references the 1926 film The Bat directed by Roland West. The full 90-minute silent film is available on YouTube. West also directed a 1930 talkie re-make called The Bat Whispers, also on YouTube.
  • The woman in the red dress reclining is Thelma Todd.
  • Standing left to right are various Hollywood persons who Todd collaborated with:
    1 – Man with white bow tie (reflected in mirror): Todd’s husband, mob-affiliated producer Pasquale DeCicco – see pages 4-6 below.
    DeCicco is depicted flipping a coin, perhaps in reference to Batman foe Two-Face. The DeCicco-Two-Face analogy is not made in the story, but DeCicco was arguably two-faced: sweetly romantic in wooing Todd, then unstable and abusive after getting married. The coin-flip may also may be intended to indicate his mob connections. The trope of “coin-flipping gangster” originated with George Raft’s character in Scarface (1932), and has been parodied countless times since.

    Harry Langdon – image via moviemorlocks.com

    2 – Groucho Marx, crouching – see P3,p2 below.
    3 – Oliver Hardy of Laurel & Hardy – see P3,p3 below.
    4 – Stan Laurel of Laurel & Hardy – see P3,p3 below.
    5 – Man in hat with black band: comedian Harry Langdon, see P3,p3 below.

    Chester Morris – image via Wikipedia

    6 – Man in sailor hat: actor Chester Morris, depicted playing John Hawks in the 1931 Roland West film Corsair, which co-starred Todd. More Morris on pages 2, 3, and 6 below.

    Jewel Carmen 1939
    Jewel Carmen 1939 image via benny-drinion.blogspot

    7 – Woman in glasses: actress Jewel Carmen, the wife of Roland West – see pages 2-4 and 6 below. (A very similar image to the one shown here appears in LaDoTT, where it is labeled “Jewel Carmen at the Coroner’s Inquest”.)

    Roland West in 1935 – photo via Benny Drinnon

    8 – Man in black jacket and white shirt: director Roland West who directed Todd in the 1931 film Corsair, and was her lover for years. West is featured throughout the issue. (O’Neill mostly depicts West with a suit and a large white-collared shirt – as he appeared in several photos in 1935, the year of Todd’s death.)
    9 – The gloved hands are apparently the mysterious titular “The Bat” from the 1926 and 1930 Roland West films.

Ace of Hearts note to Todd – image from the book Ice Cream Blonde
  • Scraps of paper in the lower right corner:
    – “This is the Last Warning” is the second letter from Todd blackmailer “the Ace of Hearts.” See P5,p1-4 below.

    From the 1926 film The Bat – image via Streamline

    – “THE BAT” [bat image] is from the bottom of a note from the 1926 film The Bat (see notes to P3,p6).
    – “ACE – no joke — [image of Ace of Hearts] is from a letter from Todd’s blackmailer. See P5,p2.

Page 1

panel 1

  • Note that this is the first time readers have seen even a partial glimpse of the narrator’s face. (Most of her face is again shown in the reflection in panel 3 below.)

panel 2

  • For what it’s worth, another view of the unnamed female narrator’s wedding ring – shown earlier a couple times, first in CP#3 P8,p4.

panel 3

  • “different charges for minors again” – Possibly a double meaning of “charges” as both financial and criminal?
  • “No Sex Please, We’re Triffids” combines No Sex Please, We’re British (a play made into a 1973 film) and The Day of the Triffids (a sci-fi novel adapted into film, TV and radio.) Triffids are mobile carnivorous plants as illustrated by O’Neill here.
    Moore has mentioned the Triffids source novel in interviews, including in Jess Nevins’ Heroes & Monsters: (page 235)

    Moore: […]when I read John Wyndham’s [TheDay of the Triffids, where the scenes that affected me most were the blinded humanity wandering around getting drunk or committing suicide, because they couldn’t bear this awful new reality that they’d been plunged into. There’s a very kitchen sink element in British apocalyptic fiction that I think makes it all the more terrible, all the more affecting. […]

panel 5

  • Note that the crossbar of the T in the center of “FATED” is in the shape of a bat.
  • If readers look closely, there is a faint black outline of an earlier version of the “FATED” logo.

Page 2

panel 1

Secrecy warning from the 1926 film The Bat

panel 2

  • The panel mimics the opening secrecy warning from the 1926 film The Bat.

panel 3

  • “Hear me whisper” refers to The Bat’s whispering inThe Bat Whispers (see P3,p5).
  • “See the sign” refers to the Bat-Signal like searchlight depicted here (see notes to P3,p5), as well as to the general theme of clues and mysteries.
  • “Hidden stair” refers to The Bat featuring a hidden room/staircase as a plot point.
  • “Dark house” refers to the trope of the old dark house, commonly the scene of murder mysteries.
  • Secret identity” refers both to the trope of the unknown murderer, and the trope of the masked comic book superhero (or villain).
  • This panel references the setting and bat-searchlight from the 1926 film The Bat. (A very similar picture appears in LaDoTT.)
    Bat
    Scene from 1926 film The Bat

    The Bat films feature scenes with candlesticks mysteriously extinguishing.

  • The statue with the sword and cross does not appear in The Bat. It may be (another) symbol of death. Suggest??
  • The narrator’s voice is apparently the costumed criminal known as the Bat.
  • The characters staring up at the searchlight are the various people involved in Thelma Todd’s life:
    • Man – perhaps Roland West (see discussion in next panel’s notes)
    • Woman in hat – Jewel Carmen (see notes to P4,p1.)
    • Couple – ?
    • Man in dressing gown – Pasquale De Cicco (see P5,p5).
    • Chester Morris from Corsair.
    • Bald man – Lyle Talbot (See P5,p5).
    • Right-hand man – Cesar Romero (See P5,p5).

panel 4

  • Depicted here are Roland West (wearing wide collar as on the cover) and Jewel Carmen. The two are seen pursuing The Bat still on P3, p5, and catching The Bat on P7 (where Carmen’s dress has a letter-J insignia).
    The man appears to be filling the role of “Detective Anderson” from The Bat, but is not drawn in his likeness.
  • The windows here are drawn non-representationally, a nod to German Expressionism (though not one seen inThe Bat films).

panel 5

  • “Someone you don’t.” points toward it being quite rare for the masked figure to turn out to be someone that the audience has not been previously introduced to. Perhaps this is intended as an early hint to the true “Revelation of the Bat” on P7.
  • First mention of “Thelma Todd” (1906-1935). She was a famous Hollywood actress, best known for comedy roles. As explored in this issue, she died under mysterious circumstances at age 29.

Page 3

panel 1

  • “Born […] 1906 […]” recaps Thelma Todd’s life story. The date is 1926 so she is “aged just twenty.”
  • “Paramount’s picture school” – Since, as noted, Hollywood was rocked by many scandals at this time, Paramount decided on a unique approach to eliminating them. They sent talent scouts to gather 20 young hopefuls of impeccable character, and train them up 9under strict supervision) as future movie stars. Most of the students failed to go on to film careers, but a few did, of whom Todd was the most famous.
  • Roscoe Arbuckle had been destroyed, made fall guy for Virginia Rappe’s lethally botched abortion” refers to “Fatty” Arbuckle‘s rape scandal, explored in Cinema Purgatorio #1. Similar to Thelma Todd’s inconclusive end (never conclusively ruled suicide, murder, or accident), Arbuckle was never convicted. Arbuckle, in Keystone Kops attire (eye shot out as in issue 1), is shown floating in the pool.
  • “Five years previously” refers to Arbuckle’s trials which took place in 1921 and 1922.
  • Rudolph Valentino” was an ultra-famous movie star and sex symbol in the 1920s. Valentino died in 1926. He is pictured floating behind Arbuckle.
  • Nitpick: “septicaemia” is the British spelling; in America, it is spelled “septicemia“.
  • Charlie Chaplin” was a famous silent film comedian. Lita, his second wife, divorced him in 1927. The scandal surrounding the divorce led groups to call for banning Chaplin movies, but his popularity proved too great.
  • The panel image (minus corpses and sharks) is based on one from LaDoTT, described as “An early publicity photograph in Hollywood (author’s collection).”
  • The sharks refer metaphorically to the way Hollywood is famous for “eating up” those who work in it.
  • The face-down floating woman is not entirely clear – perhaps Virginia Rappe? (Arbuckle’s hand is perhaps reaching toward her groin.)  Suggest?

panel 2

  • “Ziegfeld dancer” refers to a dancer for Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway.
  • Lina Basquette, Sam Warner’s wife” refers to the the wife of the Warner Brothers studio partner. They were married in July of 1925. Lina appears in CP#6 P3, p8. The depiction of the Warner Brothers as Marx Brothers echoes that issue; see CP#6 for The Jazz Singer and baby references.
    Thelma Todd appeared with the Marx Brothers in Animal Crackers (1930) and Horse Feathers (1932).
    In Animal Crackers, Groucho at one point says to Todd’s character: “You’re a woman who’s been getting nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can clean and tighten your brakes, but you’ll have to stay in the garage all night.” The reference to staying in a garage all night became eerily prophetic, in hindsight.

panel 3

`No, I’ll look first,’ she said, `and see whether it’s marked “poison” or not’; for […] she had never forgotten that, if you drink much from a bottle marked `poison,’ it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later. However, this bottle was not marked `poison,’ […]

panel 5

  • Todd starred in Roland West’s 1931 film Corsair. As it was a dramatic role in contrast to her earlier predominantly-comedic work, Todd, at the insistence of West, was credited as “Alison Loyd.”
  • Roland West
    Roland West

    Pictured, left to right are: Roland West directing, an anonymous film crew member, Thelma Todd, and Chester Morris. The portrait of Morris is posed almost exactly as in a poster for Corsair included in LaDoTT; Todd, by contrast, is looking over at West.

    Corsair
    Thelma Todd and Chester Morris in Corsair (1931)
  • Corsair is available online. Read Alexx Kay’s review of Corsair.

panel 6

  • “Aliases and alter-egos” apply to Hollywood’s name changes (see previous panel), comic book superheroes, and to Todd’s “Ace of Hearts” blackmailer.
  • The Unknown Purple is a 1923 Roland West science fiction film, now lost. The plot involved a purple light that could turn people invisible, which seems relevant to this “story of aliases and alter-egos.”
    This purple light also recalls the “violet luminosity” from Lovecraft’s story “From Beyond“, which features in issue #9 of Moore’s Providence. The phrase “The Unknown” is also relevant, being a term for the supernatural used in the ACG comics Moore read as a child, as discussed in the chapter of JerusalemA Cold and Frosty Morning“.
  • The Bat is a 1926 silent mystery film (online), starring West’s wife Jewel Carmen (see below).
  • The Bat Whispers is a 1930 sound remake of The Bat (online).
    These films were a significant (and acknowledged) influence on Bob Kane in the creation of comic book superhero Batman. Elements include:
    – Man wearing a bat costume to conceal his identity and inspire terror, and also spends lots of time climbing ropes and lurking on rooftops.
    – German Expressionist aesthetics, including monumental city architecture and heavy use of shadows.
    – A criminal who leaves taunting notes for the police, announcing the time and location of his forthcoming crime (as many Batman villains did). In the Joker’s first appearance, he not only announced the time and location of his upcoming crime, but used the same trick seen in this movie, of manipulating his victim’s clock, so that the victim would think that the danger time had passed, prematurely.
    – An automobile equipped with a smokescreen device.
    – Though not present in the 1930 version, the 1926 The Bat also featured a spotlight with a bat silhouette, very similar to the later Bat-Signal.
  • The man and woman are apparently West and Carmen – see P2,p4 above.
  • The setting is the rooftop like that featured extensively in the 1926 Bat film and briefly in the 1930 remake.
Jewel Carmen in The Bat – image via Movies Silently

Page 4

panel 1

  • Left to right are: Carmen, West, and Todd.
  • Jewel Carmen was an actress (including in the 1926 The Bat) and the wife of director Roland West, including during West’s affair with Todd. The details about Jewel Carmen‘s early scandals, etc. appear to be accurate. She married West in 1918.

panel 2

  • “After Corsair‘s failure” refers to Corsair being West’s last film.
  • “Numerology-derived” is explained in LaDoTT.
  • “[West] continued his romance [with Todd]” is true, though somewhat over-simplified. The two “broke up” shortly after Corsair (it has been alleged that Todd’s marriage may have been “on the rebound”, or intended to make West jealous). They became involved again after Todd’s 1934 divorce, when West asked Todd to lend her name (and publicity efforts) to a restaurant he was investing in.
  • Left to right are: Todd, West, and Carmen.

panels 3-5

  • Except where noted, all these details are historically accurate. (Exact times seem to differ between accounts, but not by more than an hour.)
Todd and De Cicco
Todd and DeCicco

panel 3

  • First appearance of Pat DeCicco.
  • “Failed marriage to Pasquale De Cicco” refers Todd’s marrying Pasquale ‘Pat’ DeCicco. They married in 1932, then divorced in 1934.
    Moore may be using the full name “Pasquale” to emphasize alleged Mafia connections.
  • The last name “De Cicco” appears to be more commonly be spelled “DeCicco” with no space. Most internet sources have no space, though an L.A. Times article at the time includes a space.
  • “Cohabited” may perhaps give the wrong impression. Todd and West each maintained separate residences not far from the cafe, and they had separate (though connected) apartments in the apartment over the cafe. They did spend considerable time together.
  • “Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe” opened in August 1934. It was located on Pacific Coast Highway near Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe
Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe – photo via Curbed

panel 4

  • “On the 14th” refers to December 14, 1935, a Saturday.
  • Cafe Trocadero” was still fairly new at this point, having only opened in 1934.
  • “3.15 AM” was technically the morning of Sunday, December 15. (nitpick: should be formatted 3:15)
  • Stairs from cafe
    Stairs from Thelma Todd’s Cafe – police photo via My Love of Old Hollywood

    O’Neill seems to have used as reference this 1935 photo of the stairs that led from the apartment level (Castellammare Drive) up to the street (Posetano Road) where Roland West’s garage was – see diagram, immediately below.
    (For what it is worth: based on the street signs – Castellammare Drive and Breve Way – the stairs from the 1935 photo are actually just west of Todd’s restaurant – compare with present day street view. There are several similar staircases in the hills there. Likely,  her chauffer let Todd off at a different nearby stairway that went from Pacific Coast Highway up to Todd’s apartment.)

  • A newspaper sketch of the area between the cafe and where the body was found:

    Crime area
    Crime area map showing Todd’s cafe and West’s home – image via Hollywood Revue

panel 5

  • Nitpick: time should be formatted 10:30.
  • Nitpick: “camelia” should be spelled “camellia”.
  • Thelma Todd was discovered dead on the morning of Monday December 16, 1935. She was discovered in the seat of her car parked in Roland West’s garage.
    As Moore and O’Neil explore, there are possible culprits (Roland West, Jewel Carmen, Pat DiCicco, the mob) who could conceivably have murdered her. Suicide has also been speculated. Her death was ruled accidental, caused by carbon monoxide (car exhaust) in the closed garage. Alcohol may have played a contributory role.
  • This panel is closely based on a police photograph.

    Todd's body
    Todd’s body – image via Silent Movie Blog
  • “Parked in the garages adjoining” is true, though the parking situation appears to have been rather complicated. A blog post about Thelma Todd reports:

Two streets behind the cafe and about 5 blocks over was Roland’s mansion as well as a smaller garage that sat on a curve down the hill in front of it.  It was inconvenient but the only place that Thelma and Roland could keep their cars at night.  They had a system which made things a bit tolerable in regards to their parking situation.  Each morning during the week, Thelma’s housekeeper, Mae Whitehead, would drive her own car over to the garage, move Thelma’s Phaeton out, park her own in its place then drive Thelma’s car to the front of the cafe so Thelma would have quick access to it.  At night around midnight, the bartender, Rogers would drive Thelma’s car back over to the garage, always backing it in so that Mae could easily switch cars the following morning.  Thelma seldom had to go the 5 blocks to retrieve her own car or put it away at night.  Roland drove a Hupmobile that he kept in the garage next to Thelma’s.

See also the newspaper sketch of the area, above.

  • “Lincoln Phaeton” refers to Todd’s 1934 chocolate-colored Lincoln.
Thelma Todd Christmas photo – image via Benny Drinnon

Page 5

panel 1

  • O’Neill has based the “gag Christmas card” image on this photo, and on a (possibly erroneous) description from LaDoTT: “Thelma dressed in children’s clothing, decorating a Christmas tree for Santa.”
  • “Death threats” – see next panel.

panel 2

  • This letter (the first from the Ace of Hearts) was received on February 25, 1935. A bit of this letter can be seen on the cover.

panel 3

  • The setting appears to be the entry to the secret room, from The Bat or The Bat Whispers. Todd’s heart dress appears very specific but does not correspond to any photo source we’ve located.
  • “Coincidental burglary” refers to a burglary at Todd’s house on June 27, 1935.
  • “Persisting threats” refer to further letters from the Ace continuing to arrive.
  • “creaking, haunted mansion” is another reference to the old dark house trope.

panel 4

  • Todd is nearly at the top of the stairs shown on P4,p4.
  • Edward Schiffert gave himself up on November 5, 1935, in order to exonerate a man who had been falsely accused of being the Ace that August.

panel 5

  • “A drinks party earlier that fateful December” is recounted in LaDoTT, from an interview Basquette gave in 1990. The date of the party “is unclear.”
  • Pictured, front row, L to R:
    • Lina Basquette – Actress, widow of Sam Warner – see P3,p2-3 above
    • Lyle Talbot as Lex Luthor – photo via Superman Wikia

      Lyle Talbot – Actor, who went on to play Batman ally Commissioner Jim Gordon and Superman foe Lex Luthor (hence “famed for playing a costumed hero’s bald arch foe”.) Talbot is depicted as bald, though he would almost certainly not have been at this time.

    • Thelma Todd
    • Cesar Romero – Actor who went on to play the Joker (hence “insane criminals who based their personas on playing cards“), pictured in the middle of a Joker-like laugh. Nitpick: Mispelled “Caesar” should be “Cesar”.
  • Behind the table:
    • Man with prominent stubbled chin?
    • Older man?
    • Pasquale DeCicco – Todd’s ex-husband producer, reputed to have mob connections. The smoking jacket and “brooding playboy” reference may be intended to make him seem similar to Bruce Wayne.
    • Johnny Roselli – Hollywood-based Mobster (nitpick: here mispelled as Johnny Rossellini.)
  • According to LaDoTT, the actress Lina Basquette (see P3,p2-3 above) had a relationship with mobster Johnny Roselli.

Page 6

Martha Ford
Martha Ford – photo via Benny Drinnon

panel 1

  • The “friend” who claimed to have spoken with Todd is Martha Ford, wife of actor Wallace Ford.
  • In context the phrases “into lurid speculation” and “into the unknown purple” are equivalent. West wrote and directed a film called The Unknown Purple, see notes to P3,p6.
  • Ford is communicating simultaneously by phone and ouija board, a device supposedly used to communicate with the dead. The scene depicted echoes one early in The Bat Whispers where characters Cornelia van Gorder (played by Grayce Hampton) and maid Lizzie Allen (played by Maude Eburne) use an Ouija board. (For what it is worth, the bow on O’Neill’s maid’s head looks more like the 1926 Bat‘s Lizzie Allen played brilliantly by Louise Fazenda.)
Ouija board scene from The Bat Whispers – via YouTube

panel 2

  • Regarding the “subsequent retraction” by Jewel Carmen (Roland West’s wife – see P4,p1 above): Carmen had not mentioned this ‘sighting’ when she first spoke to the police. In all, her story contained many problematic details, casting serious doubt on its veracity.
  • Carmen’s testimony stated that she had been driving, as opposed to how she’s depicted here.
Lucky Luciano mugshot via Wikipedia
  • Later writers hinted” – apparently starting with Nicholas Hordern in 1976 (according to LaDoTT).
  • Despite Carmen’s dubious testimony, there has never been a credible link between mobster “Lucky Luciano” and Todd, nor even evidence that Luciano was ever in Hollywood. This is according to William Donati who, in addition to LaDoTT, also wrote a heavily-reasearched biography of Luciano.

panel 3

  • West “revealed they’d never actually been married” was possibly just a claim to avoid a heavy divorce payout. The suit was eventually settled for $50,000.
  • Note that the three ‘false fronts’ are flat and two-dimensional.
  • The right two fronts appear to be based on the photos below.
Jewel Carmen photos via Benny Drinnon
  • The small image of Carmen on the right wears a beret similar to the image on the cover – see above.

panel 4

  • “Leaving Jewel one dollar” refers to a common legal a common legal tactic at the time. Someone who would normally be an heir, but was left nothing could legally contest the will; leaving a single dollar prevented this. Thelma Todd herself left Pat DeCicco one dollar in her own will.
    Another mysterious detail is that West also left $1.00 to one Helen Knight “who may be known as Helen Knight West”. No other facts are known about her. Did West have another not-necessarily-a-real-wife?
  • “L. Lane” refers to Lola Lane, who Roland West married in 1940. Moore no doubt gives only her first initial in order to draw attention to the similarity between her name and Superman’s famous girlfriend Lois Lane.
  • West’s “deathbed confession” was allegedly given to Corsair actor Chester Morris, who the man in the black suit here resembles (compare to late Morris images here.) By the time the story first appeared in print, Morris himself was dead.

panels 5-8

  • The theory portrayed here is one shared by many (perhaps even most) experts: Todd accidentally killed herself by carbon monoxide poisoning. It is (at least as normally conveyed) the least dramatic, and thus the one that is least often presented in popular media.

panel 5

  • “Reluctant to wake Roland” references that Thelma had her door key with her – but not the key to the deadbolt, which was locked. (Roland did not know she had left with just the one key.) On a previous occasion, finding herself similarly locked out, Thelma had managed to awaken Roland.
  • The stark shadow echoes the use of shadow in the Bat films, and indeed much of the film noir genre.
Selected shadows from The Bat films – images via YouTube
  • Nitpick: time should be formatted 4:00.

panel 6

  • “Had she argued with West?” is an interesting semantic question, based on West’s own testimony, which included such ambiguous sentences as “We have argued, but never in anger.”
    Some dramatized accounts of Todd’s death tell of how earlier West demanded she return by 2 a.m., to which Todd reportedly replied that she would be back at 2:05 a.m. While the exchange did take place, by contemporary accounts it was a joking one.
  • “Heading for her mother’s” is a speculative detail not included in the usual summations of the theory, but is suggested by West’s testimony at the inquest.
  • Nitpick: time should be formatted 4:00.

panel 7

  • “Was the Ace of Hearts still at large?” is one theory that can be ruled out. Todd’s blackmailer (see P5,p2-4 above) was not, but disturbing and threatening letters from others were allegedly received by Todd shortly prior to her death, and Roland West received many such letters after her death.
Newspaper photo of garage
Newspaper photo of garage

panel 8

  • This panel shows the exterior of the garage, with The Bat‘s spotlight illuminating it. The garage stands today at 17531 Posetano Road in the L.A. neighborhood of Pacific Palisades.

Page 7

panels 1-3

  • The bat mask and rooftop setting are similar (but not identical) to those from the 1926 film The Bat.

panel 3

  • The standing broom is what was holding up the Bat costume.
  • The “J” on her lapel would seem to confirm that this is Jewel Carmen.

panel 4

  • So, was the narrator of this film actually The Bat? Who can say…
  • Ironically, West said to reporters in late 1935:

    […] it is best that the inquiry be exhaustive and thorough. Ten years from now, someone will not be able to break out with a new solution of the so-called ‘Todd Mystery,’ if there ever is a mystery, because then the authorities can pin such a party down to these facts.

    Of course, more than eighty years on, new theories continue to crop up.

panel 5

  • Adam West starred as Batman in the 1960s television show.

Page 8

panel 1

  • “People always jump to such bloodthirsty conclusions.” or, like the narrator did in the previous chapter, lustful conclusions. Note that her next thought is related to just that.

panel 2

  • “Icy Love” – See CP #4, P8,p3-4.
  • “That old man along the end of your row, the one you fretted about” – See CP #7, P1,p4 and P8,p5.
  • This panel appears to be illuminated by some kind of disco ball.

panel 3

  • The old man has not changed posture. He is now notably surrounded by flies. There are also straggly hairs emerging from his formerly-bald head, possibly due to post-mortem contraction of the scalp. The presumed odor doesn’t seem to bother any of the patrons, though perhaps it has gotten the attention of the cat.
  • The fat man (and black cat) were also seen across from the old man in CP#7, P1,p4. The fat man may be the actor Sydney Greenstreet.

panel 5

  • First mention of “Geraldine” who may be the “her” whom the narrator was grumbling about twice earlier. In CP#5, P2,p5 the narrator mentions “it could have been [happy] with Richard… if a certain person hadn’t gotten in the way.” Then in CP #6, P8,p3 she mentions “some people, for all you know, they could be plotting against you, trying to ruin your life… put her out of your mind.”

>Go to Purgatorio Annotations Index
>Go to Cinema Purgatorio #10 Moore and O’Neill annotations

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