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The Todd Killings (1971)

Based on the true story of '60s thrill-killer Charles Schmid ("The Pied Piper of Tucson"), Skipper Todd (Robert F. Lyons) is a charismatic 23-year old who charms his way into the lives of ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Roy
Amata (as Sherry Miles)
Joyce Ames ...
Sam Goodwin
Mrs. Roy
Mrs. Mack
Fred Reardon
Sandy Brown Wyeth


Based on the true story of '60s thrill-killer Charles Schmid ("The Pied Piper of Tucson"), Skipper Todd (Robert F. Lyons) is a charismatic 23-year old who charms his way into the lives of high school kids in a small California town. Girls find him attractive and are only too willing to accompany him to a nearby desert area to be his "girl for the night." Not all of them return, however. Featuring Richard Thomas as his loyal hanger-on and a colorful assortment of familiar actors in vivid character roles including Barbara Bel Geddes, Gloria Grahame, Edward Asner, Fay Spain, James Broderick and Michael Conrad. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Skipper Todd digs girls. It's his idea of killing time... See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 August 1972 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

What Are We Going to Do Without Skipper?  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Inspired by real-life 1965 murders orchestrated by Charles Schmid, so-called "Pied Piper of Tucson," a charismatic young Southern Arizona homicidal maniac whose crimes (involving teen followers and victims) roughly paralleled those later perpetrated by teen guru/killer Charles Manson. See more »


Roberta: You actually came to see me without any of your baby-pimps? Wow. How do I rate that honor?
Skipper Todd: I just loved your performance at the pool.
Roberta: So, you're the one who rides the dune buggy and "services" the little girls huh?
Skipper Todd: Oh yes... and speaking of little girls, how old are you?
Roberta: 16. Just about your speed too, isn't it?
Skipper Todd: Ha-ha! It's a good age. It's a little over the hill these days, but it will do.
Roberta: How old are you?
Skipper Todd: 23
Roberta: Why don't you do something besides hang around the pool.
Skipper Todd: I'm a songwriter. I'm gonna ...
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References They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

Jaded modern teenagers and their killer mentor
24 October 2017 | by See all my reviews

Fictionalized portrait of a real-life sociopath and killer from Arizona (nicknamed "The Pied Piper of Tucson"), a 23-year-old dropout from reality who easily enchanted all the bored, feckless teenagers hanging out at the local high school and community swimming pool. Robert F. Lyons is quite persuasive as the seductive charmer, disassociated from reality and living off his mother (Barbara Bel Geddes, who enables his freeloader lifestyle). He enjoys playing big brother and lover to the misfit kids in his stifling suburb (it feeds his ego) and, after killing a girl because he "had nothing else to do," he has no trouble getting a few of the teens to help him cover up his crime. Richard Thomas is somewhat miscast as a hitchhiker Lyons takes under his wing (Thomas is intrinsically too bright to play this antisocial rube), but the supporting cast is excellent, particularly Bel Geddes, Gloria Grahame as Thomas' mother, Edward Asner and Michael Conrad. It's a technically assured picture, but one which is ultimately uneasy as a dramatic entertainment. Was it intended as a warning film? Rather, it's an exercise in glamorously dangerous narcissism--the disaffected youth too cool for society. ** from ****

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