We've just profiled Mike Todd Senior, clearly the more famous and important of the two Mike Todds, but let's quickly transition to Junior. Like his father, he was fully Jewish (his mother was Senior's first wife; he was actually two years older than stepmom Liz Taylor), and like his father, he was a producer. But while Senior dabbled with Hollywood spectacles and Broadway revues, Junior is pretty much known for one thing:
You read that right, Smell-O-Vision. (No, not Professor Farnsworth's invention on "Futurama", that would be the Smell-O-Scope.) Smell-O-Vision was a real-life system whose purpose was to pump smells into the theater to match the action on the movie screen. It wasn't alone in its attempt to capture the olfactory perception of the audience, as it competed against something called AromaRama. (No, not Futurama, AromaRama!) Can we just talk about Smell-O-Vision?
While Todd Junior did not invent it, he had it implemented in a film he produced, "Scent of Mystery", in 1960. It starred Denholm Elliott (you might know him from the good Indiana Jones movies), Peter Lorre, and stepmom Liz. It induced the smells of tobacco, shoe polish, roses, gasoline, and bananas. Ads proclaimed, "First they moved (1895)! Then they talked (1927)! Now they smell!"
They smelled indeed. The film bombed so hard that Junior did not produce another one for 19 years. And Smell-O-Vision?
That was it for Smell-O-Vision.