Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Destination: Thelma's Sidewalk Cafe

While researching some good stops for us on the PCH, I came across the legend of Thelma Todd and Thelma's Sidewalk Cafe. Who was Thelma Todd you say? She was a young actress, popular during the 1930's, starring in several Marx Brother's comedy films until her death in 1935. She also, however,  ran a cafe called Thelma's Sidewalk Cafe, located on the PCH. When we heard this, we had to investigate it further!
     Thelma Todd reportedly died under extremely mysterious circumstances, the official report stated carbon-monoxide poisoning. She allegedly committed suicide, but to this day, there is speculation that she was actually murdered, and the evil deed covered up. In December of 1935, her body was allegedly discovered in her car, parked in the garage of Jewel Carmen, a former actress herself, and suspiciously the ex-wife of Thelma Todd's lover Roland West according to what I could find of old police reports. Nobody can say for sure why she would take her own life, or why anyone would want to murder her, but according to reports she was found with blood on her face and dress from a wound. While a grand jury ruled her death a suicide, there has been speculation that she was the victim of extortion, and refused to pay. Her ex-husband was Pat DiCicco, a gangster with alleged ties to New York crime families, as well as relative of James Bond producer Albert Broccolli. There continues to be reported sightings to this day of Thelma Todd's "ghost" walking the stairs of her cafe, as well as in the garage where she tragically lost her life...
     Not only does the Pacific Coast Highway run along some of the most beautiful coastline in California, it appears that along this beautiful road, there lies dark history and secrets.  We'll be following SR-1 for a short time, until it turns into US-101 as we cross into Oregon and Washington, and hopefully leave the ghosts behind! 

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