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carole lombard 05

A really late-era p1202, with special guest star...

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.19 at 10:33
Current mood: surprisedsurprised
carole lombard p1202-1719d

Until this morning, I believed this sultry image -- Paramount p1202-1719 -- was the last image of Carole Lombard Paramount ever issued in its p1202 series, which had dated back to soon after she arrived at the studio in 1930. But it turns out I was wrong...and I almost missed it.

And, for that, you can blame Clark Gable.

A glance of eBay's Lombard memorabilia list included a thumbnail photo of Clark and Carole together in public. Initially, I thought it was something I already had in my collection, so I didn't investigate. This morning, I did -- and I'm glad of it. Otherwise, this would have gotten past me:

carole lombard p1202-1720a front

This p1202-1720 knocked me for a loop for two reasons:

* Lombard's p1202 portraits usually were solo shots, with no "guest stars" involved. Unless there's something from the time "No Man Of Her Own" was released, none of them included Gable.

* The p1202 tag is at the bottom center of the photo, not in a corner (usually the right one), as was the case for the vast majority of such pictures.

That in itself is good. What's even better is that the seller included the back of the photo, which includes information that provides answers...and leads to questions:

carole lombard p1202-1720a back

So Clark and Carole were at the preview of William Wellman's "Men With Wings" (a Paramount picture, which explains why the photo was taken in the first place, by studio photographer Don English). Both had previously worked with Wellman, while Carole's resume included four films with MacMurray (and a few with Milland in supporting roles). But the date stamped is Nov. 23, 1938; we know that even though Lombard's last work at Paramount came in "True Confession" in the fall of 1937, she retained an office there until ceding it to good friend Dorothy Lamour. But did Carole keep ties to Paramount this late into 1938?

A check of "Men With Wings" at the Internet Movie Database indicates the likely answer is no. According to IMDb, the film premiered in New York on July 16, 1938; the preview was in Los Angeles, almost certainly some days beforehand.

Whatever the answer to that is, you don't have much time to make this 7" x 9" photo your own (there are "a few stains on the back and a few creases on front," but it's still in good condition). The minimum bid is $14.99...but bidding on this genuine rarity closes at 5:34 a.m. (Eastern) tomorrow. If interested, visit

carole lombard 04

A quintet of Carole from Walter

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.18 at 12:34
Current mood: enthralledenthralled
carole lombard love before breakfast 21c preston foster

Few Carole Lombard fans would label "Love Before Breakfast" as one of her finest moments on screen, but this 1936 Universal comedy has its charms. And if you're a fan of the film, this might be of interest to you -- Walter Reuben at the fine site Walterfilm has a rare poster from the movie on sale:

carole lombard love before breakfast poster 07b

Some of you, especially those who deem themselves experts on Lombard memorabilia, might think, "Haven't I seen that somewhere before?" Well, not quite; a similar poster surfaced in cyberspace a few years back, but look closely and you'll note several differences, notably in the shape (the one at the top measures 36" x 14"):

carole lombard love before breakfast poster 05a

The poster up for sale is described this way by Walterfilm:

"This rarely seen poster is bright in color and offers a glamorous yet comedic pose of the very talented star. Unfolded, there is soiling to the blank white border, more so on both sides of the bottom third of the poster. There is creasing at the bottom right corner and there are four small edge tears, which are ½" to 1" (2.5 cm.), one near the bottom left edge side of the poster and three at the right edge of the poster. These are not major issues and this poster has brilliant colors -- and try finding another one unfolded. VERY GOOD."

All things considered, it's in splendid shape, especially since it's unfolded -- and adding rarity to the mix, it's no wonder the asking price is a whopping $4,000, probably beyond the reach of all but the most serious of Carole collectors. You can learn more at

However, Walterfilm has four other Lombard items for sale, and their combined cost is less than half the "Love Before Breakfast" poster. Two are from her 1934 dance film "Bolero," a 14" x 22" window card...

carole lombard bolero window card 01b

...of which the seller says, "The colors on this poster are stunning. It has been cleaned, restored and re-backed with top and borders repainted, with background touch-ups and a bit of touch-up on Raft's jacket and hat, a bit of touch-up on right edge of Lombard's skirt. VERY GOOD."

The other "Bolero" item is an 11" x 14" single-weight glossy silver gelatin publicity still heretofore unseen by me and in "near fine" condition, showing Carole and George Raft getting dressed to dance:

carole lombard bolero 55d

The window card sells for $600 and is at The still has an asking price of $350; for more info, visit

Next up is a 21-year-old Lombard in 1930 and a portrait for "Safety In Numbers," her initial film for Paramount, and what may be the first photo Eugene Robert Richee ever took of her:

carole lombard safety in numbers 106a front
carole lombard safety in numbers 106a back

Reuben says of the photo, "Minor emulsion flaw above her lip, not bothersome, trimmed by publication, VERY FINE-." It's selling straight up for $300, or you can make an offer. Go to for additional information.

Finally, a promotional still for "My Man Godfrey," possibly from a keybook for the film:

carole lombard my man godfrey keybook 00d

This "Vintage original 8 x 10” (20 x 25 cm.) single weight glossy silver gelatin print still photo," said to be in "very fine" condition, is selling for $350 -- although, as is the case with the "Safety In Numbers" photo, you have the option of making an offer. Find out more by visiting

carole lombard 03

King and queen together, times two (oh, baby!)

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.17 at 23:19
Current mood: draineddrained
carole lombard clark gable 1941b ciro's front

There's a misconception that once Carole Lombard and Clark Gable were married, they stayed at the ranch and eschewed nightlife completely aside from film premieres or charitable work (e.g., promoting Greek war relief). Actually, the Gables occasionally drove down from Encino to have fun times, though hardly to the extent they did before they were linked as a couple.

Take the image above, for instance. From the snipe on the back, we learn it's from August 1941, with Clark and Carole dropping by Ciro's, owned by Billy Wilkerson of Hollywood Reporter fame on Sunset Boulevard:

carole lombard clark gable 1941a ciro's back

It's one of two vintage photos of the couple up for auction; the other is from December 1940 and was taken outside Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore:

carole lombard clark gable 1940 johns hopkins 02b front

While we now know quite a bit about their visit and the real reason they were at Hopkins (, the snipe with this pic adds some more information (did Clark and Carole ride from Washington in a car provided by President Franklin D. Roosevelt?):

carole lombard clark gable 1940 johns hopkins 02a back

The photo taken in Baltimore measures 7" x 9" and has an opening bid of 99 cents, but expect several bids to be made before this auction closes at 9:57 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. To bid or get more information, go to

The pic from Ciro's is 8" x 10" and has two bids as of this writing, topping out at $1.04, and ends one minute before the Hopkins shot. Curious? Then visit

There's one more pic of Carole with a male...but he's substantially younger than Gable:

carole lombard made for each other 75b front
carole lombard made for each other 75a back

Most of us know this 6" x 8" image is from "Made For Each Other," where Lombard plays the wife of James Stewart and whose character has a baby. But one of those who didn't know was the seller, who lists it as "A Vintage 1940s Original Photograph featuring Carole Lombard holding her little one." (Carole never had a child, and if she'd had one at the time "Made For Each Other" was made, it would have raised quite a fuss, since it was filmed in late 1938 and she and Clark hadn't married yet.)

One bid has been made, for 99 cents, and the auction ends at 9:58 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. Learn more about the photo at

carole lombard 02

Fit for a princess (even a fake one)

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.16 at 12:12
Current mood: stressedstressed
carole lombard p1202-1329

It's always a pleasure to find a previously unseen Carole Lombard Paramount p1202 portrait, and so it is with great pride today I unveil p1202-1329, from 1936. With the furry outfit Carole is wearing's it's obviously designed to promote her upcoming film, "The Princess Comes Across," where she plays a Brooklyn showgirl trying to pass herself off as a Swedish princess on board a transatlantic ocean liner, headed to America (and eventually Hollywood).

This photo is along the lines of p1202-1328, which likely was taken at the same session and was a profile shot:

carole lombard p1202-1328a

Getting back to p1202-1329, it's an 8" x 10" vintage with a foreign-language stamp, according to the seller. The photo "is in nice shape, with wear in the borders and corners."

Unless the bidding surprisingly amps up, collectors of original Carole portraits may find this pic in their financial neighborhood; bids open at $7.95, with the auction scheduled to end at 6:50 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. Interested? Go to to learn more.

janis paige 00ajanis paige 2012

Today marks the 92nd birthday of Janis Paige, always a welcome presence on stage, in movies or on TV for several decades. (That photo on the right was taken two years ago -- we all should age so gracefully!) In her honor, here's a song she performed in the 1957 MGM musical "Silk Stockings" called "Satin And Silk," a salute to the sexual power of women's undergarments (something most of us already know). I think of it as the '50s equivalent to the famed "Jazz Up Your Lingerie" from "The Smiling Lieutenant," and I'm pretty certain Cole Porter was aware of that song when he sat down to write this one:

Carole looks charming in what appears to be a beige hat-coat-skirt combo. Whatever shade it is, it's Paramount p1202-527 and is our latest Lombard LiveJournal header.

carole lombard 01

You've got questions, we've got...

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.15 at 15:51
Current mood: productiveproductive
carole lombard bolero 22a

One of the things I most enjoy about running Carole & Co. is that I can provide information about Carole Lombard to those who have questions -- particularly where her memorabilia is concerned. For example, take the picture below:

carole lombard bolero with veloz 01a

It's among several Lombard images a seller is offering -- and while this person knows a lot about grading photos, he or she wasn't entirely aware of what the photo was about (and that's not meant as a criticism -- were I in that business, handling photos and related items from many classic-era stars, I'd probably be similarly unsure regarding some things):

Original 8x10-inch black-and-white, double-weight publicity photo/movie still was produced to promote popular actress CAROLE LOMBARD. It was produced in the 1930s. We are not sure whether this photo is from a particular film, or was just a publicity photo promoting the star. This is an original studio-issued still -- NOT a copy or reproduction. The double-weight still was likely created for use in a studio key book, although the extra flap with the holes has been trimmed off the top. The photo features a great portrait of the lovely Ms. Lombard dancing with an unidentified man. Overall condition: Solid VG+/EXCELLENT... The still has a few mild surface marks, plus an extremely mild stress bend along the center -- but this is mainly noticeable when light hits the photo surface just right. These minor flaws are not very distracting, and otherwise, the photo is clean and bright.

OK, let's answer his or her questions:

* The man dancing with Lombard is Frank Veloz, a renowned ballroom dancer of the 1930s who with his partner Yolanda Casazza worked with both Carole and George Raft (shown in the top photo) in the Paramount dance films "Bolero" and "Rumba" (, also doubling for Raft and Lombard in long range during dance sequences in both movies.

* I'm not certain which film this was meant to promote, but I'll guess it's "Bolero" since a few years ago, I found this photo of Lombard and Veloz to publicize this film, and they're wearing identical outfits:

carole lombard bolero with veloz 00d

It's a lovely picture of Lombard in dance, and you can buy it straight up for $35 or choose to bid, starting at $24.99; bidding is set to end at 10:22 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. Learn more by visiting

That person also had questions about this and two other Lombard pics:

carole lombard brief moment 26b

Original 8x10-inch black-and-white, glossy publicity photo/movie still was produced to promote popular actress CAROLE LOMBARD. It was produced in the 1930s. We are not sure whether this photo is from a particular film, or was just a publicity photo promoting the star. This is an original studio-issued still -- NOT a copy or reproduction. The photo features a great portrait of the lovely Ms. Lombard wearing a low-cut gown with frilly sleeves. Overall condition: Solid VG/VG+... The still has edge wear, some light creases around the upper right corner, a small chip missing from the lower right corner, plus a few mild surface marks/dings. However, most of these flaws do not affect the main image area, and those that do are not very distracting. Otherwise, the photo is clean and bright and it will display well.

* First, this picture (and the two others) all are from Columbia Pictures, where Lombard made five films while on loanout from Paramount. All three have Columbia markings, not the p1202 coding Paramount employed for most of its Lombard portraits:

carole lombard brief moment 26c

* This happens to be from her 1933 movie "Brief Moment"; we know this because she wore the same ruffled dress in several other stills from that film:

carole lombard brief moment 17a front
carole lombard brief moment 23a

The photo up for auction has minimum bid and "buy it now" prices of $33.99 and $45, respectively. More information is at

Unlike the first pair of pictures, the second two aren't new to me, but I can't pin down which Columbia film either are from. However, I'm guessing the photo on the right is from 1932, when Lombard wore lighter hair than in later years (in '32, she made "Virtue" and "No More Orchids" for Harry Cohn's studio):

carole lombard columbia 00ccarole lombard columbia 01c

(Don't you think the streak in Lombard's hair in the photo on the left makes her look a mite devilish? I'm certain she saw that before the image was approved, and probably got a laugh out of it.)

The pic on the left is rated VG/VG+; the one on the right VG. Each also goes for $33.99 (minimum bid) or $45 (buy it now).

For the photo with the "devil's horn," go to; for the one where she's sipping a drink, visit

Anyway, glad to be of help.

carole lombard 07

A site to check out the Chinese

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.14 at 19:37
Current mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
carole lombard william walling 03c hat by connie foster

No, not like that, although Carole Lombard certainly looks fetching in that Connie Foster-designed hat. Nor are we referring to the ersatz Asian appearances of Myrna Loy...

...or Loretta Young:

loretta young the hatchet man 00b

The "Chinese" meant here is Grauman's Chinese on Hollywood Boulevard, arguably the world's most famous movie theater:

(Yes, I know its official name now is the TCL Chinese Theatre -- ironically, TCL is a Chinese-based firm -- but most people referred to it as Grauman's Chinese even when it was a Mann property, out of deference to theater mogul Sid Grauman, who followed his Million Dollar Theatre downtown with the Egyptian on the other side of Hollywood Boulevard before opening the Chinese in 1927.)

Any movie buff worth his or her salt knows the Chinese is renowned for its court featuring hundreds of imprints of stars' hands, feet, etc. Here's the block for Loy, who began her career as a dancer at the Egyptian and gave her thanks to Sid in concrete:

myrna loy grauman's chinese 00

Now, the Chinese has been honored with a website saluting its unparalleled history --, with material bound to fascinate nearly every classic movie buff. There's a timeline, a history of the theater, information on its projection and sound systems over the years, and a history of marquees and signage, such as this spectacular premiere for "Hell's Angels" on May 27, 1930:

052730 grauman's chinese hell's angels premiere 00

But best of all for those who love classic Hollywood, there's a list of every movie that has played the Chinese since "King Of Kings" opened the venue in 1927. Few theaters have such a listing -- one that does is the Stanford Theatre in northern California, where you can see what ran there from 1925 to 1961 ( -- and this goes the Stanford (a neighborhood house back in the day) one better by listing the elaborate shows that accompanied the films, especially in the Chinese's early days.

We know that her early passing probably denied Lombard the chance to join husbands William Powell and Clark Gable in posting a cement tribute, but what other ties does Carole (whose star sits across Hollywood Boulevard from the theater) have with the Chinese? The answer: Not as many as you would think.

In fact, a Lombard film never played the Chinese until December 1937 -- her Technicolor comedy "Nothing Sacred," with a Frank Morgan film on the lower half of the bill:

carole lombard grauman's chinese 00

(I'm guessing neither Paramount nor Columbia had connections with the Chinese, unlike MGM and Fox -- heck, few Paramount hits nor "It Happened One Night" played there.) At about the same time, Carole covered the other side of the boulevard as the Egyptian ran her concurrent film, the Paramount comedy "True Confession":

carole lombard true confession egyptian theater 00b

Fast forward to February 1939, and Lombard's other film for Selznick International, "Made For Each Other," comes to the Chinese. And while I've often quipped that it seems that every time I check movie listings of the time, the second feature invariably stars Lynn Bari, and that actually happened here:

carole lombard grauman's chinese 01

The third Lombard film to appear on the Chinese screen was a world premiere, but one presumes the atmosphere was somewhat subdued. That's because it was for "To Be Or Not To Be" in February 1942, barely two months after the U.S. had been brought into World War II and slightly more than a month since Lombard became one of the war's first victims:

carole lombard grauman's chinese 02

In my review of Cinecon 50 (, I wondered if the Bari vehicle "The Night Before The Divorce" played second feature to "To Be Or Not To Be," as both were released at about the same time. Well, we now know it happened in at least one theater.

The site also lists Lombard as being one of the guests for the premiere of "The Champ" in November 1931 -- heck, just about every star in the industry was there:

carole lombard grauman's chinese 03

Note it played for five weeks, in the days when extensive runs was the Chinese's policy. A few years later, it shortened such runs to a week, still longer than most theaters of the day. (I'm guessing Lombard attended several other premieres, but don't have written proof.)

I know of one other instance where Carole appeared at the Chinese; it came in early 1941, as part of a radio broadcast to promote Greek war relief. She's shown with Gable, Loy, Melvyn Douglas and Charles Laughton:

carole lombard clark gable 010841a greek war relief myrna loy charles laughton

But do please check out the Grauman's web site, a fitting tribute to a legendary venue. Now can someone put together a listing of all the films that played the Chinese's East Coast equivalent, Radio City Music Hall?

carole lombard 06

Black and white...but with red lips

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.13 at 20:58
Current mood: irritatedirritated
carole lombard colorized 02
carole lombard colorized 01
carole lombard colorized 00

Over the years, I've rarely run colorized images of Carole Lombard, aside from occasional newspaper rotogravures or magazine covers made at the time. The reason is that, for the most part, I tend to be cool to them, no matter how good the intentions of the colorizers may be -- and quite a few of them are done quite well, better than some of the films featuring Lombard that were colorized in the late 1980s (specifically "My Man Godfrey" or "Made For Each Other").

The reason? Few of them can convince me they're the "real deal" or even resemble it. Instead, they are the visual equivalent of those "reprocessed" stereo versions of monophonic recordings record labels issued in the '60s and '70s, resulting in recordings from legends such as Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley that were so bathed in echo or similar tricks that they proved nearly unlistenable. Eventually, the labels learned to leave well enough alone, and you hear Sinatra or Presley circa 1956 the way they deserve to sound.

So it is with colorized Carole. The top pic is subtly done, looking close to realistic. But the colors on the bottom two images simply are too intense for the sophisticated viewer (in the last pic, one doubts Lombard ever owned a casual blouse in such a deep blue).

So I present the following photo to you with a bit of trepidation, although it's a vintage image from the mid-thirties, one I've never seen before (Paramount p1202-1116 to be precise). That's because it's in black and white -- save for the red added to Lombard's lips.

carole lombard p1202-1116c front

Curious about how it would look without artist-engineered lipstick? So was I -- so I did a greyscale version of the image, and here it is:

carole lombard p1202-1116e front

As for the photo itself, it measures 7 1/4" x 10", and the seller writes "it has been trimmed and has glue and tape remnants on back and a little creasing and paper loss on one top corner." A view of the back confirms that information:

carole lombard p1202-1116a back

Bidding opens at $19.95, and the auction closes at 4:07 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. To bid or learn more, visit

carole lombard 05

Keepin' calm with Lombard love

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.12 at 19:57
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful
carole lombard 1929

Above is one of my favorite Carole Lombard photos, showing her beauty, sex appeal and zest for life all at the same time. So when I received a sign on Facebook reading "Keep calm and watch old movies"...

keep calm and watch old movies 01

...then discovered a site called "Keep-Calm-O-Matic" (, which allows people to create their versions of the "Keep calm and..." messages found on everything from T-shirts to cyberspace, I figured there should be something celebrating Carole. So I used the site, took the photo at the top, and voila:

carole lombard keep calm 00a

If you're a Facebook friend of mine, you received that today. But I also decided to do two more samples of Lombard love -- this in a sultry sepia shade...

carole lombard keep calm 02a

...and this, showing Carole in color:

carole lombard keep calm 01c

There are yours to copy and paste, as this site continues to spread the Lombard love throughout the Internet.

carole lombard 04

Along a different Pathe, and 'just stupendous'

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.11 at 22:20
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative
carole lombard william e. thomas 09c

Think of Carole Lombard's photos for Pathe in the late 1920s, and the initial name that comes up is William E. Thomas, the studio's primary photographer. The first man to take many images of Lombard, his portraits ran the gamut from demure to racy, and he almost certainly aided her knowledge of lighting, angles and other tips of the photo trade.

But Thomas wasn't the only Pathe photographer of Carole during this period. Preston Duncan took a few portraits of her, and today I discovered someone else who performed such honors while Lombard was a Pathe player. His name was Kenneth Alexander, and a photo of her from 1929 now is being auctioned at eBay. Here's the photo:

carole lombard pathe kenneth alexander 00a front

Pretty stunning, isn't it? In her appearance, there's a hint of the more sophisticated Lombard that was to come in the 1930s. Some stuff on the back provides more information:

carole lombard pathe kenneth alexander 00 back

It's marked "10/22/29," probably referring to the day it arrived or was stored in the Photoplay library. Since no other dates or markings are listed, I'm guessing the magazine never got around to using it.

The picture measures 11" x 14" on double weight semigloss paper stock; the seller adds, "This vintage photograph is in near very fine condition with only minimal edge wear and minor stains to margins as seen. Just stupendous." (For that matter, so is she.)

Before giving you the specifics regarding the auction, here are two more examples of Alexander's work. One is of Lombard and was auctioned last December:

carole lombard pathe kenneth alexander 01a

The other, also from 1929, is of Constance Bennett, the newly-hired blonde rival to both Carole and Pathe pal Diane Ellis:

constance bennett 1929c kenneth alexander front
constance bennett 1929a kenneth alexander back

It's been alleged, but never confirmed, that Bennett successfully managed to get fellow blondes Lombard and Ellis dismissed from the studio, perhaps fearing competition. If that's the case, Carole managed some karmic revenge -- all three of her Pathe talking features have survived, while Bennett's first two films for the studio, "Rich People" and "This Thing Called Love," are lost.

As of this writing, one bid has been made on this item, for a mere $4.95. But given the rarity of this image, not to mention its superb oversized condition, don't expect it to remain there for long. In fact, since the auction isn't scheduled to end until 9:33 p.m. (Eastern) Sept. 21 -- a week from Sunday -- don't be surprised if the winning bid is in triple figures. If that likelihood doesn't daunt you, enter a bid or learn more by visiting

Finally, today marked the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and as he has done annually, modern-day renaissance man Ken Levine (longtime sitcom writer/director, baseball announcer and one-time Top 40 disc jockey -- three things I always wished I could be) paid tribute at his award-winning blog to two of the victims of that horrible day, people he knew well: David Angell, co-creator of "Wings" and "Frasier" as well as a writer on "Cheers," and his wife, Lynn, who was active in helping children. I urge you to read this moving piece at

Our latest Lombard LiveJournal header has Carole as a vision in white for Paramount p1202-525.

carole lombard 03

Carole's costumes, coast to coast

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.10 at 16:59
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic
36 godfrey 027c
carole lombard my man godfrey gown v&a museum london 00

Can't make it out to Los Angeles to see Carole Lombard's "My Man Godfrey" gown when it's part of the upcoming "Hollywood Costume" exhibit sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ( You're in luck, especially if you enjoy lobster and the white version of clam chowder.

That's because the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has just kicked off an exhibit of its own, entitled "Hollywood Glamour" (it began Tuesday and continues through March 8, 2015) and representing Carole is another glittery gown designed by Travis Banton -- this one made for a film at her home studio of Paramount, "No Man Of Her Own":

carole lombard no man of her own 47dcarole lombard no man of her own gown 01b

The MFA website doesn't specifically identify the gown, but from an article by Jill Radsken of the Boston Globe (, it's pretty certain this is the one. She describes it this way: "My eyes immediately found their favorite, a Banton gown designed for Lombard ('No Man of Her Own'). The plunging neckline hits the navel, and the overt sexiness is striking."

Yep, I think that's the one.

Carole's not the only legend the MFA celebrates; other costumes on display were worn by Betty Grable, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlow, Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo and Mae West. Here's a gown Banton designed for Anna May Wong about 1934...

mfa anna may wong gown travis banton 1934

...and one Ina Claire wore in 1926:

mfa ina claire gown 1926

One notable difference of the Boston exhibit from its West Coast counterpart is the presence of jewelry worn by West, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers and June Knight, among others. (Ginger's set includes diamond and emerald earrings, bracelet, dress clips and ring.) As an example, some Joan Crawford jewels from about 1935:

mfa joan crawford jewelry 1935a

Film clips showing the clothes and jewelry in movies of the era accompany the exhibit.

The MFA is at 465 Huntington Avenue; phone 617-267-9300. For more information, visit, which includes a link to a video previewing the event. A talk on the exhibition is scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18; learn more about that at

carole lombard 02

A 'White Woman' in a kimono

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.09 at 12:22
Current mood: hothot
carole lombard white woman poster 02

If any Carole Lombard picture deserves having the term "guilty pleasure" attached to it, "White Woman" probably would be the most obvious candidate. It has "over-the-top" written all over it, led by Charles Laughton's shameless overacting. Lombard knows the entire thing is ridiculous (and knows that we know, too), but plays along to keep the steamy story going. In other words, "White Woman" was camp long before Susan Sontag or the "Batman" TV series came on the scene. (Heck, in 1933, the Batman character had yet to be created.)

Since the film is set in what then was known as the Malayan jungle, Carole's character has to keep her cool about her, both figuratively and literally. And here's one of the ways she does it -- by wearing a kimono for much of the film:

carole lombard kimono 00a

This vintage photo, an image I'm pretty certain I've never seen before, is up for auction at eBay. The seller says Lombard, who looks bored (perhaps she's letting on the absurdity of the movie's premise) is "in a very sultry and sexy, reclining pose, with bare legs and partially exposed breast." Partially exposed breast? Before some of you leave Pavlovian saliva on your keyboards, let's take a closer look:

carole lombard kimono 00b

As was the case with one of her banned publicity photos for "Twentieth Century" (, the jury is out on whether that's a nipple or merely Carole's cleavage (what little she had of it). But the rest of the description certainly is accurate.

The seller describes this 8" x 10" as a "hard to find image," and I wouldn't disagree with that. However, he or she knew little else about it; it doesn't help that the back of the photo is blank. However, the number "1461-67" is listed, and checking my inventory of Lombard images, "1461" is the code number for "White Woman." In fact, there are several publicity stills from the movie showing Carole in that very kimono:

carole lombard white woman 13b
carole lombard white woman 20b
carole lombard white woman 29a
carole lombard white woman 35b

The photo has "Pin holes on each corner. Whole photo has a curl to it," according to the seller.

The opening bid is $40, and bidding is set to conclude at 9:29 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you find Carole in a kimono -- with a goodly amount of Lombard leg and perhaps a hint of nipple -- a turn-on, then go to

Now excuse me while I go cool off.

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Get ready to explore another historic backlot

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.08 at 22:55
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic
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What do "The Gay Bride" (left) and "Fools For Scandal" have in common, aside from being two of Carole Lombard's lesser movies? Each was filmed on a historic backlot (in both cases, it was the only film Lombard shot there), and each lot has been or is being immortalized in a comprehensive, "coffee-table" book.

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We've discussed "MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot" before (; I own a copy, and it's a splendid resource for anyone interested in the history of that studio. Now one of its authors, Steven Bingen, has come out with a book regarding another famous backlot -- Warner Brothers:

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The Warners lot in Burbank has provided film fans with so many classic moments. Think of all those gritty pre-Codes produced there, featuring stars from James Cagney and Joan Blondell... Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell... later dramas with Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart...

...not to mention Bette Davis in "Jezebel"...

...and Errol Flynn's derring-do in "The Adventures Of Robin Hood":

And that's just the 1930s.

I haven't read the book yet -- I'm not sure it's received an official release -- but I'll guess creating this book presented a substantially different challenge to Bingen than the one on MGM. It may have been easier in some ways; much of the MGM lot disappeared in the '70s, as land (and memorabilia) was sold or auctioned off. In contrast, Warners has been going strong for decades, as it was among the first studios to aggressively pursue television production and its animation department is iconic.

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However, Bingen had assistance from a wonderful source -- Marc Wanamaker of Bison Archives, which has an extensive array of behind-the-scenes photos.

And the Warners Burbank lot initially wasn't under Warners control. For much of the 1920s, it belonged to First National, one of that period's major studios. However, the Warner brothers purchased First National in 1928 because their rapidly growing studio needed more space for the new process of talking picture production than its small lot on Sunset Boulevard could provide. I'll be interested to see how Bingen covers this aspect of history.

(Incidentally, last Saturday I watched the North American premiere of the restored version of a 1929 First National release -- Colleen Moore's final silent, "Why Be Good?" It was plenty of fun, the restoration was meticulous and Moore was a revelation, so full of energy.)

Have I stoked your appetite for this book? Well, if you live in southern California, or will be here Sept. 18, you can catch an event about it at 7:30 p.m. at the famed Larry Edmunds Bookshop, 6644 Hollywood Boulevard. Bingen will give a presentation, complete with slideshow (and of course, copies of the book will be on sale). Find out more at

Oh, and a suggestion to Steve: If you're going to continue this backlot series, please make Paramount your next project. Not only is it a studio filled with close to a century of history, but Lombard actually made some good films there.

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A gem from Columbia: Lombard in lingerie

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.07 at 20:50
Current mood: hornyhorny
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Carole Lombard's first film for Columbia, 1932's "Virtue," was more suggestive than racy, at least on screen; while her character Mae is a streetwalker, convicted at the start of the movie for soliciting and ordered to leave New York City (the part of the film the audience doesn't actually see), we don't actually view Mae at work on the streets. However, through the publicity still above (probably taken on behalf of "Virtue"), one can get a good idea of the wares she was selling...and I'm certain many newspaper and magazine readers, particularly those who were male, wished they were buying.

This sensual photo of Lombard at her blondest and boldest -- pre-Code at its most breathtaking -- is up for auction at eBay. It's an 8" x 10" original, and the seller says it "has a little handling wear" (like Mae herself?) "and a slight trim on top edge."

The opening bid is a mere $7.50, but such services, er, pictures tend to increase in value. Unless the vice squad comes in to close shop (and it shouldn't -- selling such photos is perfectly legal), the auction ends at 7:48 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. Learn more about what Lombard's selling at

Since love for sale is the topic, so to speak, how about hearing the Cole Porter song of that name? (Because of the subject matter, it wasn't allowed to be performed on the radio for many years.) Here's Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians from 1930, with the Three Waring Girls singing those salacious lyrics, and a record that was a big hit in its day. (Note some of the images associated with this are NSFW.)

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Celebrating the centenary of a 'revived' rail station

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.06 at 09:13
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic
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Shown on a train in New York in 1935, Carole Lombard visited many a rail station during her brief life, from arriving at Washington's Union Station with husband Clark Gable in December 1940 to leaving the Los Angeles facility of the same name in January 1942 for what would be a final departure from her adopted hometown.

Now, a station that likely played a key role in Lombard's life has been upgraded for its centennial. We're referring to the Baker Street Station in her first hometown, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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It almost certainly was from here that 6-year-old Jane Alice Peters, her mother and two brothers embarked from Fort Wayne in late 1914 for a new life in California. At that time, it was a spanking new building, housing both the Wabash Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad, having opened for business that March 23 as 10,000 people visited, possibly including the Peters family themselves.

Architecturally, it was true to its time period -- built in American Craftsman style but also featuring some classical traditions, according to Jaclyn Goldsborough of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. "The cruciform structure blends a mixture of classical and medieval elements including large arched windows, a barrel-vaulted concourse, elaborately buttressed corners, parapeted gables, terrazzo and green-veined marble flooring, oak woodwork and bronze electrolier lamps."

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Unless there was a trip east from California that Lombard biographers know nothing about, Carole's next visit to Fort Wayne (and the Baker Street Station) didn't come until June 1930, when she and her mother, Elizabeth Peters, came to town for a few days. By then, Lombard -- headed on to New York to work on "Fast And Loose" in Paramount's Astoria studios -- possessed a new acting name, had been the female lead in several features and was treated as local girl makes good. (Her mother made a side trip to Fort Wayne in January 1942 to see friends, shortly before rejoining Lombard in Indianapolis for the fateful war bond rally.)

Goldsborough wrote a wonderful feature on the station (, although her story gives the incorrect impression that Lombard and second husband Clark Gable visited the station together. It's entirely possible Gable rode through or stopped at the station sometime during his life; many celebrities did. In fact, in May 1929, bandleader Paul Whiteman and his orchestra, on their way to Hollywood to make the film "King Of Jazz," gave a concert in the concourse, including "Mean To Me" sung by his then-relatively unknown vocalist, Bing Crosby.

At least three current or future presidents held rallies at the station -- Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944...

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...Harry S Truman in 1948...

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...and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952:

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Even Albert Einstein passed through Fort Wayne in 1931, although he remained in the rail car during his stop:

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However, rail service gradually fell out of favor following World War II, and the Pennsylvania Railroad's passenger trains were absorbed into Amtrak in 1971. By then, the station had declined as well.

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In November 1990, Amtrak re-routed its service some 25 miles north to Waterloo, Ind. -- and the main reason was the station's condition, not its ridership.

Baker Street Station continued its deterioration into the '90s, and by early 1996 the city -- which now owned the structure -- had two permits to demolish the station. It was in dire need of a hero, and got one in Vic Martin of Martin Riley, a local architecture and engineering firm who spent much time in the station during his youth.

On May 9, 1996, Martin purchased the building, which by then had no electricity, heat or sewer service. Those soon were added, and six months later -- aided by an array of volunteers -- Martin Riley moved into the structure. Subsequently, the concourse was restored, and other vintage touches such as clocks and reproductions of brass plating have been added.

Baker Street Station is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and also is used for banquets, weddings and other events. Aside from the removal of seats in the concourse and the lack of train service, it has much the same ambiance as when a youthful Jane Alice Peters bid adieu to Fort Wayne a century ago and an up-and-coming Carole Lombard returned home in 1930. And who knows -- perhaps someday, rail service will return, too.

Here's a three-minute video on the history of the station:

Our Lombard LiveJournal header today is Paramount p1202-522 -- taken at the same session that produced p1202-521, the header it replaces, but showing Carole in a slightly different pose.

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To Mary, with love...but it's from 'Bolero'

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.05 at 21:10
Current mood: impressedimpressed
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OK, the subject line is an in-joke, using the title of a 1936 film starring Myrna Loy and Warner Baxter called "To Mary -- With Love." Actually, there's no "love" from Carole Lombard to the Mary it was autographed to, just the word "cordially" associated with Carole's signatures.

From the penmanship and her favored green fountain pen ink, it's definitely from Lombard. The portrait is an oversized vintage matte-finish signed photo from the 1934 Paramount dance film “Bolero,” measuring 10.75" x 13.75". The seller says there's a "pin hole at the top and, some creases, minor tears and corner wear. Most of the faults could be matted out." A certificate of authenticity is included.

Also in this package are two other photographs, both unsigned (and unpictured, alas). First, there's an 8" x 10" behind the scenes of the film “My Man Godfrey” (1936), starring Lombard and ex-husband William Powell. Written on verso in pencil is “Michael at side of camera.”

The other also measures 8" x 10", and shows Carole and the crew on one of her films. Written on verso in pencil is “The crew on one of Carole Lombard’s pictures. Can you find Mike?” Both photos show handling and corner wear.

Autographed Lombard photos are rarely inexpensive, especially when they're oversized, and this is no exception; the seller is asking $1,250. If you've got that kind of money, go to

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The 'Virtue' of pre-Codes, plus a postscript on a classic

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.04 at 16:24
Current mood: stressedstressed
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We mentioned this slightly more than two months ago, but each Friday in September, Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. is showing 24 hours of pre-Code films (, 66 movies in all -- including Carole Lombard in "Virtue" (1932), which airs at 9:45 a.m. (Eastern) this Friday. She's quite good in it as a streetwalker trying to go straight to please the cabbie she's in love with.

Those of you unfamiliar with pre-Codes will be impressed by their frankness about gender roles, sexuality and related topics. Here's the complete schedule (all times Eastern):

Sept. 5
* 6 a.m. --
The Big Shakedown (1934)
* 7:15 a.m. -- Parachute Jumper (1933)
* 8:30 a.m. -- Ex-Lady (1933)
* 9:45 a.m. -- Virtue (1932)
* 11 a.m. -- Wild Boys of the Road (1933)

* 12:15 p.m. -- Safe In Hell (1931)
* 1:30 p.m. -- Frisco Jenny (1932)
* 2:45 p.m. -- Female (1933)
* 4 p.m. -- Illicit (1931)
* 5:30 p.m. -- Night Nurse (1931)
* 6:45 p.m. -- Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (documentary, 2008)
* 8 p.m. -- Baby Face (1933)
* 9:30 p.m. -- The Divorcee (1930)
* 11 p.m. -- Footlight Parade (1933)
* 1 a.m. -- Gold Diggers Of 1933 (1933)
* 2:45 a.m. -- Search For Beauty (1934)
* 4:15 a.m. -- Taxi! (1932)

Sept. 12
* 6 a.m. --
The Naughty Flirt (1931)
* 7 a.m. -- Ten Cents A Dance (1931)
* 8:30 a.m. -- When Ladies Meet (1933)
* 10 a.m. -- Double Harness (1933)
* 11:15 a.m. -- For the Defense (1930)
* 12:30 p.m. -- Union Depot (1932)
* 1:45 p.m. -- Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933)
* 3 p.m. -- The Age of Consent (1932)

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* 4:45 p.m. -- Bombshell (1933)
* 6:30 p.m. -- Red-Headed Woman (1932)
* 8 p.m. -- Red Dust (1932)
* 9:30 p.m. -- Design For Living (1933)
* 11:15 p.m. -- Trouble in Paradise (1932)
* 12:45 a.m. -- Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (1932)
* 2:30 a.m. -- The Story Of Temple Drake (1933)
* 3:45 a.m. -- Freaks (1932)
* 5 a.m. -- Jewel Robbery (1932)

Sept. 19
* 6 a.m. --
Parole Girl (1933)
* 7:30 a.m. -- Three Wise Girls (1932)
* 8:45 a.m. -- Lady Killer (1933)
* 10:15 a.m. -- Possessed (1931)
* 11:45 a.m. -- Two Seconds (1932)
* 1 p.m. -- The Little Giant (1933)
* 2:30 p.m. -- The Mind Reader (1933)
* 3:45 p.m. -- Beauty And The Boss (1932)
* 5 p.m. -- Waterloo Bridge (1931)
* 6:30 p.m. -- Hot Saturday (1932)
* 8 p.m. -- Blonde Venus (1932)
* 9:45 p.m. -- I'm No Angel (1933)
* 11:30 p.m. -- She Done Him Wrong (1933)

* 12:45 a.m. -- Blonde Crazy (1931)
* 2:15 a.m. -- Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood (documentary, 2008)
* 3:30 a.m. -- Skyscraper Souls (1932)
* 5:15 a.m. -- She Had To Say Yes (1933)

Sept. 26
* 6 a.m. --
A Free Soul (1931)
* 8 a.m. -- Downstairs (1932)
* 9:30 a.m. -- Ladies They Talk About (1933)
* 10:45 a.m. -- Loose Ankles (1930)
* noon -- They Call It Sin (1932)
* 1:15 p.m. -- Heroes For Sale (1933)

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* 2:30 p.m. -- Employees' Entrance (1933)
* 4 p.m. -- Midnight Mary (1933)
* 5:15 p.m. -- Other Men's Women (1931)
* 6:30 p.m. -- The Public Enemy (1931)
* 8 p.m. -- Scarface (1932)
* 9:45 p.m. -- Little Caesar (1930)
* 11:15 p.m. -- Penthouse (1933)
* 1 a.m. -- Three on a Match (1932)
* 2:15 a.m. -- Call Her Savage (1932)
* 3:45 a.m. -- The Hatchet Man, The (1932)
* 5 a.m. -- State's Attorney (1932)

That's one heckuva lineup, including films I've never seen before and many I wish to see again. ("Search For Beauty," Ida Lupino's American film debut, and Clara Bow's "Call Her Savage" are TCM premieres.)

Joining Robert Osborne in prime time will be Alec Baldwin, who's a polarizing figure to many for all sorts of reasons -- but the guy knows his classic movies. (That's his strong point, just as sports is with the similarly polarizing Keith Olbermann.) For more on this month-long event, go to

As most of you know, I'm an avid baseball fan, specifically of the Washington Nationals, and with the Nats in my new hometown of Los Angeles this week, I went to all three games of the series for a showdown between division leaders (Washington in the NL East, the Dodgers in the NL West). Wednesday's finale was a 12:10 p.m. start, and on the shuttle bus from Union Station to Dodger Stadium, a person asked if the return trip might encounter afternoon rush-hour traffic, and someone answered no. I impishly added, "Unless it goes 14 innings." Little did I know how prophetic I would be.

It turned out to be a contest for the ages, arguably the best MLB game of the 2014 regular season, filled with twists and turns, heroes and goats. The Nats rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the ninth to go ahead 3-2 and appeared ready to win the game in regulation...but normally reliable right fielder Jayson Werth dropped the potential final out, allowing the tying run to score. From there, these things happened:

* The Dodgers had the bases loaded with one out in both the 10th and 11th, but Nats relievers managed to successfully walk the tightrope and escape danger.

* Washington took a 5-3 lead in the top of the 12th, but with one on and two out in the bottom half, Carl Crawford homered to re-tie the game.

* LA could have won in the 13th, but with a man on third and two out, speedster Dee Gordon just missed bunting for a hit.

* Washington finally pushed across three in the top of the 14th as first baseman Adam LaRoche, no speedster he, beat out a potential inning-ending double play for the go-ahead run and Asdrubal Cabrera (a great trade-deadline pickup from Cleveland) then homered for insurance. Not many were left in the ballpark by then, but those wearing the curly W could exhale after an 8-5 win to seal the Nats' first series win at Dodger Stadium since 2005. What a remarkable game, yet another reason why I love baseball.

LaRoche -- whose ailing lower back forced him to sit out Tuesday's loss to lefthanded ace Clayton Kershaw, and who didn't enter Wednesday's game until coming in to pinch-hit in the ninth -- turned out to be the day's hero, driving in five runs. Here's how he did it:

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Remembering Russ Columbo

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.03 at 20:06
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative
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Yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the bizarre death of Russ Columbo, among the more important figures in Carole Lombard's life. Columbo, nine months older than Carole, was felled by a Civil War-era gun that inexplicably went off, ricocheted and fatally struck him in the eye.

Columbo and Lombard were close, but the jury is still out on what might have happened between them had fate not intervened. Some biographers maintain that while Carole appreciated the near-worship she received from him, she wasn't comfortable with that sort of adulation and didn't want a long-term relationship. Others believe he was the one love of Lombard's life (more so than William Powell or Clark Gable), and a few think they possibly may have married.

What can't be denied, however, is that Russ brought some romance back to Carole's life at a time when she was getting back in the social swing following her August 1933 divorce from Powell. He was a talented vocalist, musician and composer, and arguably was stronger in the latter two categories than his friendly rival at the time, Bing Crosby.

I cordially invite you to check out the Russ Columbo Society (, which is working hard to give him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Since Russ was an integral part of the early '30s Los Angeles music scene, performing at venues such as the famed Cinegrill at the Hollywood Roosevelt in addition to his recording, songwriting, radio appearances and film acting, the honor would be appropriate.)

In his honor, here's a song Columbo recorded Aug. 31, 1934 with Jimmie Grier's orchestra, two days before the fatal accident. It's the beautiful ballad "I See Two Lovers":

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Carole's hometown to celebrate her life on birthday's eve

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.02 at 12:59
Current mood: excitedexcited
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Carole Lombard's exciting, albeit tragically abbreviated, life began as Jane Alice Peters Oct. 6, 1908 in the house shown above on 704 Rockhill Street in Fort Wayne, Ind. Now, her hometown is to celebrate Carole's accomplishments -- both professional and personal -- the day before the 106th anniversary of her birth.

The Fort Wayne History Center will hold a free presentation on Lombard at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 at the center at 302 East Berry Street, a building that at one time was its city hall. Specifically, the event will be at the Shields Room, the former council chambers:

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The event is entitled "Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3," with Robert Matzen, author of the well-received book. But don't let that title dismay you; this is a celebration of Lombard's life, not her death, just as Matzen's book examines the entirety of her 33-plus years on this planet as much as the tragedy that ended it.

Matzen will do a lecture and presentation, followed by a Q & A. He'll also have two guests who contributed mightily to the success of his book -- my good friend Carole Sampeck of The Carole Lombard Archive, and Marina Gray, another Lombard expert.

But as the old commercial spiel goes, wait -- there's more! Before and after the presentation, tours of the Lombard birthplace will be given. If you've never visited this beautiful Victorian house that was the catalyst for one of entertainment's most beloved and remarkable personalities, you're in for a treat.

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There's also more good news from Matzen: Not only is "Fireball" selling well, but he's accumulating even more information about Carole that probably will make its way into a softcover second edition of the book next spring.

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"The people who raise their hands for questions test my knowledge and challenge my assertions. They bring new information to the table, like the woman who tipped me off to a significant and forgotten incident in Indianapolis, or the woman in Las Vegas who possessed deeply buried information about Carole Lombard’s faith. This is all new information worthy of the revised trade paperback second edition of 'Fireball' due out next spring.

“The first printing is nearing sellout and demand is still strong. A second printing of 'Fireball' is in order, so why not add in some more facts where possible? I owe it to the 22 souls aboard Flight 3, people I bonded with on the mountain and people who haven’t left me since. I could feel them about me that first night in Santa Monica, and they’ve been nearby many times since. I’ll be curious to see if I feel anything special when I’m standing in the room in which Carole Lombard was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’ll be a special weekend and I invite you to join me there."

Please join Robert, Carole, Marina and other Lombard fans in Fort Wayne Sunday, Oct. 5. It promises to be an incredibly special day.

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Looking back at a fabulous Cinecon 50

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.01 at 23:45
Current mood: exhaustedexhausted
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I trust all of you had a pleasant Labor Day weekend -- and if for some reason you didn't, the above portrait of Carole Lombard should help get you there. Mine was tiring, but thrilling, capped off with a 6-4 victory by my beloved Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. (Yes, I've said I root for the boys in blue, but only when they're not facing the fellows wearing the curly "W." Old habits die hard.) The Nats again own a seven-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East, as several Philadelphia pitchers teamed up to not only blank the Braves, but no-hit them.

But you can read all that stuff on the sports pages. Let me tell you what I did before I took in baseball, from Thursday evening to midday Monday: I attended my first Cinecon, the Labor Day weekend classic film extravaganza held in Hollywood, and believe me, I don't intend to make this my last. (This year's event was Cinecon 50.)

I saw about two-thirds of the films that were screened, and can't say enough good things about the presentation. Most were fairly obscure, including silents and early talkies, and I learned a lot about genres and stars I frankly was unfamiliar with.

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Movies were shown at Grauman's Egyptian on Hollywood Boulevard -- yes, the same place where I tripped during the TCM Classic Film Festival in April ( This time I remained upright in the lobby, although I had a bit of trouble navigating the aisles in the darkened theater. But it was worth it.

Several movies made particularly strong impressions on me; I'll review them chronologically (not from when they were made, but when I saw them):

* "Paths To Paradise" (1925). I knew little about Raymond Griffith as a silent comic, but from watching this movie with Betty Compson, I came away impressed. He was a dapper, funny fellow, sort of an American equivalent to the legendary European Max Linder. The last reel in this heist comedy is missing and feared lost, but anyone who watches it wouldn't feel deprived. (It was followed by a semi-remake, 1945's "Hold That Blonde!" with Eddie Bracken -- whose comedic talent went beyond those two classic films he made with Preston Sturges -- and Veronica Lake.)

* "Almost A Lady" (1926). The Marie Prevost of the silent era was a considerable star, particularly in comedies, and this enabled me to see why. Here she is as a delightful star, not the character actress she became in the 1930s, and she's quite good. With the original Harrison Ford as her leading man. (Romantic comedies of the '20s still tend to get short shrift from film historians, an injustice that's increasingly being rectified as more of them are rediscovered.)

* "Buck Benny Rides Again" (1940). There's a tendency to dismiss Jack Benny's radio-oriented film vehicles, but they tend to be at least solidly entertaining, as is this one, where Jack has to prove he's a westerner to win the love of a singer (Ellen Drew) who's come to despise him. But the real revelation here is Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, who nearly steals the show with the always-welcome Theresa Harris on "My, My." Who knew dancing was on his resume? It certainly wasn't required on radio. (One wonders if that segment was excised for southern audiences a la Lena Horne's scenes in some MGM films.)

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* "The Night Before The Divorce" (1942). Whenever I glance at movie theater advertising pages from the early 1940s, Lynn Bari invariably seems to pop up as the lead in the second feature -- but until now, I'd never seen her act, and she comes off pretty well in this 20th Century-Fox feature with Joseph Allen Jr. and Mary Beth Hughes. Lynn portrays the "perfect wife," a bit too perfect for her husband (she even beats him in golf after taking up the sport). Bari reminds me somewhat of Rosalind Russell or Gail Patrick; this film came out at about the same time as "To Be Or Not To Be," and I wonder if they appeared somewhere as a double bill.

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* "East Is West" (1922). I've heard a lot about Constance Talmadge as a silent comedienne but never actually seen her at work, aside from the atypical (and non-comedic) "Intolerance." This restoration of a previously lost film changed all that, and I'm glad it did. Connie is beautiful and vivacious; it's easy to see why audiences fell in love with her (and why Lombard was a fan). The film, adapted from a hit Broadway play, has the usual racism of the era, and the ending is a cop-out to that period's fear of miscegenation (you don't believe Talmadge is Chinese for a minute, and as it turns out, she isn't). But she's such a delight that you frankly don't care. With Werner Oland, a decade before he became known as Charlie Chan.

* "Meet Me In St. Louis" (1944). OK, I confess: Until Sunday, I had never seen this piece of early 20th century Americana, even though I was familiar with several of its songs ("The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song" and of course "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"). All I can say is, what took me so long? It's as pitch-perfect as Judy Garland's magnificent voice, sentimental without being cloying. Margaret O'Brien, who was splendid as Tootie, was on hand after the movie, and is as charming now as she was then.

* "Always In Trouble" (1938). I admit that I'd heard of Jane Withers as a child star, but never actually watched one of her vehicles, and after watching this comedy, also starring Jean Rogers in a non-Dale Arden role and Charles Lane (as one of the bad guys!), I came away impressed. Jane's got spunk -- and unlike Ed Asner's Lou Grant on the first episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," I love spunk. (I met Jane at the banquet Sunday night; she attends Cinecon nearly every year.) I'm definitely going to check out more of her work.

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My Facebook friend Francine York (second from left) took part in a discussion titled "The '60s Kids" with Diane McBain, BarBara Luna and H.M. Wynant; all received film career achievement awards from Cinecon at the banquet, as did Ruta Lee and O'Brien. Many other Hollywood veterans also attended, including Marsha Hunt, Monica Lewis, Julie Adams, Anne Jeffreys and Ann Robinson. A good time was had by all, including myself. See you next year.

A note to those who use the WordPress site: We're now caught up on the entries. My recent move, in which I used a laptop for a long period, prevented me from copying entries from the principal LiveJournal site for nearly 2 1/2 months. Now we're back to normal. Oh, and speaking of LiveJournal, our first Lombard header for September is Paramount p1202-521, where she waves so chicly (does that word actually exist?) in a cute white dress.

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Two chances to board the 'Twentieth Century'

Posted by vp19 on 2014.08.31 at 00:39
Current mood: frustratedfrustrated
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"Twentieth Century," Carole Lombard's breakout film, was last released on DVD in North America in early 2005 -- and based upon many of the reviews from customers, they'd like to do to Sony what Lombard is doing to John Barrymore in the photo above. Many consider the video transfer subpar, unworthy of this Howard Hawks-directed screwball classic, while others bemoan the lack of extras.

Since the DVD release took place nearly a decade ago, it's difficult to find -- but here are two copies of "Twentieth Century" now available on eBay.

We'll start with one that in effect is "brand new"; it's never been opened, still sealed in its clingwrap (witness the rather muddled, filmy photos below).

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carole lombard twentieth century dvd 01

Bids on this begin at $35, with bidding scheduled to end at 3:54 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you'd like to place a bid, visit

The other copy is being sold, not auctioned, for $39.99. It's been previously used and is in good condition; according to the seller, there are "A few scuffs to disc surface, not affecting playback." To purchase this, go to

Whether you obtain one of these two or another version floating the market, it might simply be better to wait for Columbia to finally come to its senses and give this romantic comedy gem the first-class treatment it deserves -- with a top-tier transfer and a Blu-ray option, either done by itself or parceled out to others. (Think of Criterion's superb work on "My Man Godfrey" back in 2001 or Kino's more recent transfer of "Nothing Sacred.")

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A 'Supernatural' journey to Atlanta...via UCLA

Posted by vp19 on 2014.08.30 at 00:54
Current mood: scaredscared
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It can safely be said that "Supernatural" was not one of Carole Lombard's favorite film-making experiences. Horror was hardly her strong suit, and to work for the Halperin brothers in the spring of 1933, fresh off their success of "White Zombie," must have led Lombard to wish her home studio was Columbia (where Harry Cohn already had given her two comparatively good vehicles, and by late 1934 would give her three more) rather than Paramount (which put her in all sorts of projects, not really quite knowing what to do with her).

Nevertheless, "Supernatural" is a film every Lombard fan should see at least once. Considering her antipathy for, or discomfort towards, the horror genre, Carole comes off reasonably well, making herself at least semi-believable amidst the hokum.

If you're in Atlanta, you'll be able to see "Supernatural" next month at Emory University's Cinematheque, which is showing it as part of the “UCLA Festival of Preservation,” a 12-film series focusing on movies recently restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. "Supernatural" will be run Sept. 24 along with "Double Door" (1934), directed by Charles Vidor, about an older woman keeping a brother and sister hostage. (The next film in the series is the 1950 noir classic "Gun Crazy," set to run Sept. 3.)

If you're into lighter fare, check out the silent twin bill Sept. 10, pairing Clara Bow's vehicle "Mantrap" (1926) with the 1928 romantic melodrama "Midnight Madness." The Sept. 17 card has three early '30s comedies -- "International House" (1933), with W.C. Fields, George Burns and Gracie Allen, plus Cab Calloway performing "Reefer Man"; "Thirty-Day Princess" (1934), starring Sylvia Sidney and Cary Grant; and the 1933 Laurel and Hardy short "Busy Bodies."

All films begin at 7:30 p.m., and admission is free. For the complete schedule, as well as information on other film series shown by Emory, visit Carole will get you in the mood for Halloween a month early.

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Carole at Columbia, Harlow style

Posted by vp19 on 2014.08.29 at 00:44
Current mood: surprisedsurprised
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It's no secret that in the early 1930s, Carole Lombard, searching for the optimal "look," briefly emulated Jean Harlow's ultra-blonde appearance -- not quite the platinum locks Harlow already was famed for, but an ash-blonde effect that looked equally at home in black-and-white portraits.

However, that style generally is associated with Lombard's days at Paramount, mostly from late 1931 to sometime in 1932. But the photo above wasn't taken at Paramount -- there's no p1202 number in sight. Look in the lower left-hand corner, and you'll spot this:

carole lombard 2568d front

You can barely make out the "C.P.", standing for Columbia Pictures. I'm guessing this was taken at Gower Gulch fairly early in Carole's Columbia tenure -- perhaps in mid-1932, while she was making "Virtue," her first film for Harry Cohn.

This is a pic I've never seen before, and it's impressive. Moreover, it's an 8" x 10" original on glossy single-weight stock, listed "in fine condition with crinkling where the paper did not set perfectly when printed."

Two bids, topping out at $6.50, have been made as of this writing; since the auction doesn't end until 9:52 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Sunday and the image is relatively rare, there's an excellent chance this will significantly increase by that time. If you feel like making a bid, visit

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One more legal artifact from the Lombard estate

Posted by vp19 on 2014.08.28 at 15:29
Current mood: morosemorose

Carole Lombard, Clark Gable and furs are the subjects of today's entry, albeit under rather unhappy circumstances. In recent months, we've run some legal documents Gable signed as executor of Lombard's estate following her death in January 1942. This time, it concerns money owed to a furrier.

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The business was Leonard H. Hoffman Furs of 706 South Hill Street in downtown; the invoices were to remake a silver fox skirt into a stole and for several black Persian broadtail skins for a hat. The total charge came to $118.45.

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(A Google search found no current listing for a Hoffman Furs in Los Angeles, and 706 South Hill is part of an office building.)

Gable signed the document...

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...while the seller is providing a certificate of authenticity:

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You can buy it straight up for $750 or make a bid, beginning at $200, in which case the auction will last through 2:07 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. If you'd like to get in on the action or simply seek to learn more, visit

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Possible historic horror: A 'Phantom' stage could be razed

Posted by vp19 on 2014.08.27 at 21:15
Current mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
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Carole Lombard made two films at Universal, both in 1936: "Love Before Breakfast" and the screwball par excellence "My Man Godfrey" (she's shown above with fellow cast members Alice Brady, Mischa Auer and William Powell as well as director Gregory La Cava). I have no idea what soundstage either movie was shot on; I suppose a call to Universal's archives might produce an answer. All I know is that "Godfrey's" place on the lot wasn't mentioned when I took the Universal studio tour in March 2000 -- no big shock since Universal's tour traditionally has been far more of a theme park compared to the more genuine working tours presented by Paramount and Warners. (Columbia offers a tour at its Culver City lot that once was home to MGM, but since I've never taken it, I can't comment on its tone.)

We bring this up because the future of one of Universal's most historic soundstages apparently is threatened. Specifically, it's Soundstage 28:

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From the outside, it looks rather anonymous...but go inside, and you can imagine the stories it could tell.

Built in 1925 and measuring some 14,000 square feet, the stage gained cinematic immortality that same year when the Lon Chaney horror classic "The Phantom Of The Opera" was filmed there, and the set pieces representing the boxes for the Paris opera house remain.

universal soundstage 28c

However, soundstage 28 has been used for many other movies, including the horror and suspense classics Universal long has been renowned for such as "Dracula," "The Bride Of Frankenstein" and "Psycho." More recent productions have been filmed there, including this year's "Muppets Most Wanted."

28 is the oldest stage on the Universal lot...and unfortunately, it happens to be located close to the profitable theme park section of Universal's lot. So according to the site "Inside Universal" (, the company probably wants to use the area to expand the theme park. The "Phantom" set pieces would be preserved and moved elsewhere, but the stage itself would be torn down. (Soundstage 28 isn't included in the regular Universal tour, but is part of a special VIP tour when the stage or set is available.)

As you might guess, news of this has raised a furor among both classic Hollywood fans and preservationists. One person commented, "Stage 28 should be declared an historical landmark and preserved. Amusement parks are a dime a dozen. This stage is an extremely rare jewel of American cinema/Hollywood history. Once it is gone, it can never be replaced." There's also a petition to make the stage a national historic landmark ( And all this is coming a year before the centennial of Universal City.

Let us hope 28 is preserved in some form -- someone suggested that Universal's special effects department could create a Phantom figure to wander along the catwalk and opera boxes. (For decades, studio lore has stated the stage is haunted.) Otherwise, Universal officials more concerned with minions...

...might find themselves challenged by Chaney:

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Happy New Year. Yeah, right.

Posted by vp19 on 2014.08.26 at 09:25
Current mood: pensivepensive
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It's fall 1938, perhaps a bit too early to welcome in 1939 in real life, but that's probably not why Carole Lombard is grimacing as she sits opposite James Stewart on the set of "Made For Each Other" and its pivotal New Year's Eve scene. Maybe she's listening to a suggestion from director John Cromwell. Maybe it's a repeated take, and Carole's getting slightly upset. Or maybe it's something else entirely.

carole lombard made for each other 70a

I have no idea whether the top photo was taken prior to or following an accident that took place on the set the morning of Saturday, Oct. 1, when Edmund Fellegi, a 25-year-old property man, fell from a scaffold into a crowd of extras while preparing a batch of balloons that were to be released ( Fellegi fell into a coma and died the following Monday. (The Los Angeles Evening Herald-Express listed the man's address, and I note it's not that far from where I currently live.) And yes, Lombard -- along with the 150 extras gathered for the scene -- witnessed the fatal fall.

Anyway, the 8" x 10" picture, not an original, is available via eBay. The minimum bid is $6.75, with bidding slated to end at 5:01 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday, or you can swoop in and buy it right off the bat for $9. If you're interested in this image, one I've never come across before, visit

We've got Carole facing us again in our latest Lombard LiveJournal header. This one, where she tries to look dramatic in a wide-brimmed hat, is Paramount p1202-502.

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