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Zane Grey Todd

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by GRW, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    "Zane Todd, who has died aged 89, believed himself to be an inspiration for The Third Man (1949), the classic British post-war film noir thriller written by Graham Greene.

    As a special agent in charge of the criminal investigation division in the American sector of Vienna immediately after the war, Todd was exposed to the treacherous tensions between the occupying powers of Britain, France, Russia and the United States. His most dangerous case involved two American medical officers who were stealing and selling penicillin on the black market, aided by a former Miss Austria, with whom they were living.

    The case became the basis, first of Greene’s film screenplay for The Third Man, and subsequently for his novella of the same name. Although Todd was never credited for the role he played in Greene’s story, he believed the author acknowledged him through Joseph Cotten’s character, Holly Martins, an alcoholic American writer of pulp western stories. In the film, Martins gives a lecture in Vienna on the books of the Wild West author Zane Grey, an apparent nod to Todd — who was named Zane Grey Todd by his mother after her favourite writer.

    In his 1994 biography of Greene, The Man Within, Michael Shelden suggests that the author was told about black-market penicillin being sold by a gang that uses Vienna’s system of sewers to move around the city by Peter Smollett, a Viennese journalist born Hans Peter Smolka.

    Todd insisted, however, that he knew his investigation was the inspiration for The Third Man because it closely mirrored his case, “except for the running around in sewer stuff that never happened”. But perhaps the most compelling link to Todd is the woman in Greene’s story. According to Todd, both doctors in the real case were romantically linked to the former Miss Austria and she was the conduit to the black market.
    Holly Martins passed into film legend not least on account of the long dialogue scene with the morally-repugnant American racketeer Harry Lime (Orson Welles) at the Great Wheel and the celebrated cuckoo clock speech: “In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed... ” Todd, on the other hand, became chairman and chief executive of the Indianapolis Power and Light Company, retiring in 1989. During the 1980s he played a prominent role in the city’s development, and considered his efforts to preserve its historic Circle Theatre to be one of his greatest achievements.
    Zane Grey Todd was born on February 3 1924 at Hanson, Kentucky, into a family descended from Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of President Abraham Lincoln. An academically gifted boy, Zane had a prodigious memory, and in his dotage claimed he could remember every day of his life.
    In 1943 Todd was drafted into the US Army, serving in Europe as a military police officer. After the war he also worked as special agent in charge of the criminal investigation division in the American sector of Vienna under General William Yarborough, later known as the “father of the modern Green Berets”. In 1946 Todd shared the first US Army Commendation Medal with John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight Eisenhower."
  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

    Jun 3, 2011
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    The Land of 10,000 Loons
    Be at peace, Mr. Todd.

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