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carole lombard 06

Lobbying for Lombard, part 1

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.28 at 15:31
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

A treasure trove of Carole Lombard lobby card are to be auctioned a week from Moday by Profiles in History from Part II of the Morris Everett Jr. auction; it's so big, we're dividing it up into three parts, concluding on Momday. And here, the word "treasure" cannot be overemphasized.

Take for example the image above. It's from the long-lost 1921 film "A Perfect Crime," where 12-year-old Jane Peters, the future Lombard, made her motion picture debut with Monte Blue in a film directed by Allan Dwan. Very few images from this movie are extant, and I've never seen this one before.

The other lobby card in this, Lot 475, is from one of Clark Gable's earliest films (where he was an extra), Erich von Stroheim's "The Merry Widow":

Lot 476 has 13 lobby cards from four of Carole's early films, including these rare items from "Big News"...

...and "Safety in Numbers":

Lot 477 is devoted to one of LOmbard's films, the rarely-seen "I Take This Woman." Here are the three pics from this Carole-Coop (Gary Cooper) collaboration:

All three of these lots have starting bids of $400, and you must register with Profiles in History to enter a bid.

For lot 475, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-and-Clark-Gable-2-earliest-lobby-cards-from-2-films-Lot-475-/111825111101?_trkparms=%26rpp_cid%3D56493dcce4b01d80f1de23b8%26rpp_icid%3D56493dcbe4b0992bf369f88c.

For lot 476, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-13-early-lobby-cards-from-4-films-Lot-476-/111825111387?_trkparms=%26rpp_cid%3D56493dcce4b01d80f1de23b8%26rpp_icid%3D56493dcbe4b0992bf369f88c.

And you can find lot 477 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-and-Gary-Cooper-3-lobby-cards-from-I-Take-This-Woman-Lot-477-/111825111665?_trkparms=%26rpp_cid%3D56493dcce4b01d80f1de23b8%26rpp_icid%3D56493dcbe4b0992bf369f88c.

Not long ago, we noted that the building on Pacific Coast Highway where ill-fated star Thelma Todd ran a cafe is being threatened with demolition in January. We're hoping there's still tine to save the strcture -- and there's now a Faceboon site for that purpose, "Save Thelma Todd Building" (https://www.facebook.com/groups/201441020189493/permalink/202910086709253/?pnref=story).

A "Go Fund Me" campaign also is underway (https://www.gofundme.com/btbwu5k4).

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Hollywood sexism, then and (especially) now

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.27 at 10:33
Current mood: frustratedfrustrated

What do Carole Lombard and Jennifer Lawrence have in common beyond solid acting skill and gorgeous looks? Both of them defined in their own time what it meant to be a "cool girl" (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/675934.html). Both also represent Hollywood feminism -- although it's obviously easier for Lawrence to profess such beliefs today than it was for Lombard 80 years ago.

We also should note that in its latest issue, Entertainment Weekly named Lawrence its Entertainer of the Year, and the cover noted "she swears like a sailor." (Another parallel with Lombard...which makes one wonder whether she would have received a similar honor in 1937 had EW existed then. She might have followed ex-husband William Powell, whose exceptional 1936 would've made him a prime candidate that year.)

But Carole -- who had she lived probably would have found her way into producing films once her time as a leading lady waned -- wasn't the only actress of her time with such progressive thoughts. Good friends Jean Harlow (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/456775.html) and Ginger Rogers (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/461080.html) both spoke out for better work for women in the industry...as directors, cinematographers, and so on.

We bring this up because two recent (and lengthy) articles delve into the problems women face in Hollywood. One is from noted columnist Maureen Dowd and ran in the New York Times Magazine (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/magazine/the-women-of-hollywood-speak-out.html?action=click&contentCollection=Magazine®ion=Footer&module=WhatsNext&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&moduleDetail=undefined&pgtype=Multimedia); perhaps many of you already have seen it. The other is local, from the free publication LA Weekly, and focuses on how difficult it is for female-oriented stories to reach theaters (http://www.laweekly.com/news/how-hollywood-keeps-out-the-stories-of-women-and-girls-6277451). Both are worth your attention.

Like actress Teri Garr, Dowd cites Lombard as one of her role models:

It's not that any actress in 2015 would desire to be zapped back to 1935, at least not in a financial sense; women generally were paid less than their male counterparts (although Carole's business smarts enabled her for a time to become the highest-paid actor in Hollywood of either gender). But as patronizing as the studio system could be, from ersatz father Louis B. Mayer to the coarse Harry Cohn, it gave actresses plenty of work, vehicles tailored for their talents. (Sadly, the same could not be said for women in other facets of the industry, who largely were squeezed out in the sound era.)

Lawrence has been outspoken about star salaries, especially after the Sony hacks revealed she was paid substantially less than her male co-stars in "American Hustle," despite her star power and Best Actress Oscar. One presumes she will be paid in the upcoming sci-fi drama "Passengers" as co-star Chris Pratt.

Which leads us to the matter of Pratt's wife...

...Carole & Co. fave Anna Faris, arguably the heir to the funny, smart and sexy tradition established by Lombard and Goldie Hawn. While she now has TV success on "Mom," she's been underutilized on the big screen. (In conttast, Pratt vaulted from a suporting role on "Parks and Recreation" to big-screen leads in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Jurassic World.") And the closest thing Faris has had to a breakout movie hit, 2009's "The House Bunny," might never have been made had it not been for, of all people...Adam Sandler.

Its co-writer, Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith, explains it all in the LA Weekly piece:

That someone of Faris' talent not only found herself rejected by company after company, but subjected to the 21st-century equivalent of the casting couch (being ogled) is reprehensible. (She helped produce "The House Bunny," and did likewise with a later film of hers, "What's Your Number?")

Faris has recently saud actresses need to unite to fight for better roles and stories, noting her husband cooperates with his cohorts in that department -- a trait she said she doesn't normally see in women.

This "sisterhood is powerful" mindset is being felt throughout the industry as women who act, direct, write and produce battle for a more equitable part of the pie. (Some of what they have to say about the situation can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/20/magazine/women-in-hollywood-quotations-maureen-dowd.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fmagazine&action=click&contentCollection=magazine®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=multimedia&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront).

While walking this morning, I saw the following on a license-plate frame: "Well-behaved women rarely make history." Carole would tell today's women in film to keep misbehaving...and this male certainly agrees.

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A happy Thanksgiving to all

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.26 at 09:25
Current mood: thankfulthankful

I hope you hear a "call to arms" from that special someone on this Thanksgiving day here in the U.S., just as Carole Lombard did here with Fred MacMurray in this still from "Swing High, Swing Low." And I wish all of you a wonderful holiday.

Now, a few more pics:

carole lombard 03

That long-awaited book takes another step forward

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.25 at 15:50
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Once Carole Lombard hears the news, she'll probably stop her nautical posing and go into a happy dance...because we figuratively are, too. We'll let the lady who's caused all this joy to explain:

See why we're happy? Thank you, Michelle Morgan.

It'll take a few months for reviewing, proofreading and editing -- but Michelle's an old hand at this (a pardon for using the "old" reference), and as of now everything's on track for the book, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," to be released in the UK next September, with an American printing coming shortly after that, if not simultaneously. (Hey, that's how the publishing business works.)

As stated before, I'm thrilled because I assisted with the research (albeit only a little bit), and the book is dedicated to both myself and good friend Carole Sampeck, who administers The Carole Lombard Archive. Barring the discovery of her unfinished memoirs (not likely), this promises to be the last word in Lombard bios.

So while we're at it, let's give two of Michelle's other books some attention:

"Before Marilyn," an examination of Monroe's early modeling work in the late 1940s that Morgan co-authored, now is available stateside. (Here it is at the famed Powell's City of Books in Portland, Ore.) It's already been promoted in the New York Post, http://nypost.com/2015/11/21/how-norma-jeane-filing-cabinet-model-became-marilyn-monroe/, and the Daily Mail in London, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3330537/Beautiful-images-reveal-bored-housewife-Norma-Jeane-model-moment-reinventing-Hollywood-icon-Marilyn-Monroe.html.

Meanwhile, Michelle's Thelma Todd volume, "The Ice Cream Blonde," is getting rave reviews. The blog "Journeys in Classic Film" loved it, http://journeysinclassicfilm.com/2015/11/23/the-ice-cream-blonde-the-whirlwind-life-and-mysterious-death-of-screwball-comedienne-thelma-todd/, and it's been selected among the Huffington Post's "Best Films Books of 2015" -- it's even listed first, for what it's worth. Written by Thomas Gladysz of Louise Brooks Society fame (there was a lady who appreciated Hollywood history!), it's at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-gladysz/best-films-books-of-2015_b_8615328.html.

In short, Michelle's forthcoming Lombard book will face high expectations once it comes out. But a year from now, I'm pretty confident it will get similar glowing reviews and proudly stand alongside Morgan's literary predecessors.

carole lombard 02

A pic that doesn't ring a bell

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.24 at 18:21
Current mood: artisticartistic

I can't be completely certain I've never seen this image of Carole Lombard before -- but if I have, I can't place it. This looks to have been taken about 1934 or 1935, and I emphasize the word "taken" because the seller makes no claim this is an original photograph. It's "professioal lab quality on glossy paper," and it's gorgeous.

It explains why this 8" x 10", a relatively rare photo in the Lombard canon, is a mere $3.49 under eBay's "buy it now" format. So if you want it, claim it now -- this won't last long.

To purchase it, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-8X10-PHOTO-PICTURE-PRINT-0865-/161895474345?hash=item25b1b8e4a9:g:3Q0AAOSwwE5WUm1s.

carole lombard 01

Sign in, George

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.23 at 18:10
Current mood: creativecreative

Above is George Raft, in the heat of dance passion with Carole Lombard in a still from their 1934 movie "Bolero." (Raft knew something about passion away from the dance floor, too; Lombard privately told friends that strictly in a sexual sense, he was the best lover she ever had.) The back of the pic confirms the film it's from:

But wait -- there's more, as the TV pitchmen used to say. You also get a Raft autograph...not from the movie, but signed on sky-blue stationery from the Dorchester Hotel in London.

One presumes this was from many years later, but it's nonetheless part of the package.

You have two ways of obtaining this: You can buy it straight up for $99.99, or make a bid beginning at $29.99. If the latter route is chosen, the auction will end at 11:02 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you're a Raft fan -- and I know more than a few folks who are -- this is pretty tantalizing. (Incidentally, tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of Raft's death, which occurred only days after the passing of his close friend and one-time Paramount stablemate Mae West.) To bid or buy, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-GEORGE-RAFT-Ink-Signed-NOTE-BOLERO-1934-Still-8-x-10-w-Carole-LOMBARD-/391326218754?hash=item5b1cdc3a02:g:zmYAAOSwcBhWUTlt.

carole lombard 07

A guy, a gal, a horse

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.22 at 15:27
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

But when the "guy" is Clark Gable and the "gal" Carole Lombard, you know the pic is something special. And it is, an image I've never come across before. Fortunately, there'w a snipe on the back, so we know a bit more about it:

It's an MGM photo (we know it's not from RKO, Carole's home studio in 1939-1940, because the typeface is normal), and notes Gable was among those aiding popular character actor Leo Carrillo (yep, the guy for whom the state park in Malibu is named) at his roundup. (I'm sure Carole, an expert horsewoman, could've helped too, if asked.)

The seller lists it as "between scenes," but it clearly isn't, not in a strict sense -- there was no horse in "No Man of Her Oen," the only movie Clark and Carole made together,

This Gable-Lombard rarity is up for auction at eBay, with an opening bid price of $75; the auction ends at 5:18 p.m. (Eastern) next Sunday. If you'd like to corral this pic and have the dineros to do it, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-CLARK-GABLE-Original-CANDID-Between-Scenes-Photo-1930s-/161895353240?hash=item25b1b70b98:g:Pq8AAOSwv-NWUj81.

carole lombard 06

Happy 70th, Goldie!

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.21 at 11:21
Current mood: happyhappy

Carole Lombard's sex appeal was apparent to all in this semi-risque pose for Pathe photographer William E. Thomas in the late 1920s...but as time went on, Lombard proved she had far more to offer, both as an actress and as a person.

The same can be said for the subject of today's entry, a worthy heir to the Lombard tradition who at first was primarily known for her giggle, good looks and great legs:

That's Goldie Hawn, of course, shown in her 1970 sex comedy romp with Peter Sellers, "There's a Girl in My Soup." Goldie's still a stunner, as this shot from January with daughter Kate Hudson makes evident (mom's on the left)...

...but Hawn, who turns 70 today, has developed into so much more. A fine comedic actress and smart businesswoman who produced her string of hit movies in the 1980s and 1990s, Goldie hasn't made a film since 2002's "The Banger Sisters" with Susan Sarandon. But has she been inactive? Far from it.

A philanthropist and humanitarian, Goldie has worked on behalf of children and the less fortunate. She regularly appears at international functions, using her celebrity status to benefit others. All in all, a pretty fantastic life for a youg girl from Takoma Park, Md., whose dream in her youth merely was to dance.

When Goldie turned 62 in 2007, I celebrated with an entry (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/52706.html). Check it out, as much of it still applies today. Happy birthday, Ms. Hawn!

carole lombard 05

She's got your ('Safety in) Number(s')

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.20 at 12:48
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

This was among the very first publicity photos of Carole Lombard that Paramount Pictures ever issued. It was made as part of the keybook for "Safety in Numbers," shot at its Hollywood studio in January 1930 and released that June.

Later that year, Lombard would travel to New York for "Fast and Loose"; by that time, she had signed with Paramount and given the player code p1202. In New York, she posed for the first of more than 1,800 pictures -- mostly solo shots -- issued under that prefix.

Carole (actually still using her Pathe-given first name "Carol" -- she wouldn't revert to "Carole" until later in 1930) was 21 when this was taken. Pathe recently had dropped her and stablemate Diane Ellis, purportedly at the demand of newly-hired Constance Bennett, who reportedly signed on the condition that all potential young blonde rivals be dismissed. After a supporting role in Fox's "In Old Arizona," she latched onto Paramount for "Numbers," a Buddy Rogers musical.

By now, Lombard was no stranger to Hollywood, even ir relatively few recalled her brief time as a Fox starlet in 1925, before an automobile accident sidelined her for about a year. She was athletic and gorgeous in her Mack Sennett two-reelers, and expanded her skills (including mastering the talking picture) during her Pathe tenure. But stills such as this must have persuaded Paramount honchos that this gal had the goods, and good feedback from the set led them to sign her to a contract.

The photo above is up for auction at eBay. Here's the back of the pic:

Carole's come-hither stare still seduces. How else to explain that seven bids, topping at $146.94, already have been made -- with the auction not scheduled to end until 9:34 p.m. (Eastern) Nov. 29?

The pic is 7 3/4" x 9 1/2", in fine condition, with minor storage and handling wear. Want to get in on the actuon (providing you can afford it)? Then go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fine-Art-Deco-Vintage-1930-Carole-Lombard-Sensuous-Pre-Code-Glamour-Photograph/231755451147?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3Dec357f44001647d4ba5208d4dcd04bde%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D231755451147

carole lombard 04

Look where we found a Lombard program!

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.19 at 15:10
Current mood: curiouscurious

In the several years we've searched for programs from Carole Lombard movies, we've discovered them in all sorts of places -- not just in the U.S. and Canada, but in many other countries -- Egypt, China and India to name a few..But here's one from a country I doubted we'd ever find. It's for "Nothing Sacred," and we initially won't tell where it's from; see if you can guess it from the language:

I'm guessing most of you are stumped, and for those of you who aren't, congratulations on your knowledge of...Icelandic! That's right -- this program is from the Austerbaejarbio Theatre in the capital of Reykjavik.

According to cinematreasures.org, the theater opened in the mid-1940s, so this almost certainly was seen there after Carole's death in January 1942. Then again, given wartime conditions, many American movies didn't hit overseas markets for a number of years.

The venue apparently last hosted movies in 2002 and is now a concert venue, although it may retain the capability to show films. And for such an isolated, sparsely populated country, Iceland has played a significant role in international filming -- in part because much of the country is aesthetically beautiful and relatively untouched.

Movies such as Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar," Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" and the TV series "Game of Thrones" have used Icelandic exteriors, and the country's hosted foreign filmmakers since the 1985 James Bond thriller "A View to a Kill." As is the case elsewhere, the government helps subsidize film production (https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/movies/icelands-scenery-tax-breaks-lure-hollywood/2013/10/02/733ab0ee-2788-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html). Learn more about the industry at http://www.filminiceland.com/.

As far as the program is concerned, the opening bid price is $9.99, and the auction is set to close at 2:37 p.m. (Eastern) next Thursday -- Thanksgiving Day in America. Which Carole collector will give thanks for adding this to his or her corral of memorabilia? Might it be you? If interested in this rarity, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-and-Fredric-March-in-Nothing-Sacred-icelandic-movie-program-/301803495376?hash=item4644e3dfd0:g:DREAAOSwLzdWTiSW.

Oh, and one more thing: Because of the direction of the Gulf Stream, parts of Iceland actually have milder winters than New York City.

carole lombard 03

So what's funny? Not much from the '30s, apparently

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.18 at 19:19
Current mood: annoyedannoyed

Carole Lombard escorts hobo William Powell to the scavenger hunt early on in the 1936 classic "My Man Godfrey." It's justly considered one of the great screwball comedies of all time...except, perhaps, to some Hollywood screenwriters.


The Writers Guild of America recently polled its members to determine the 101 funniest screenplays in movie history, and "Godfrey," believe it or not, didn't make the list. In fact, none of Lombard or Powell's movies qualified. Which means no "Twentieth Century," "Hands Across the Table," "Nothing Sacred" or "To Be Or Not To Be" for Lombard, and no "The Thin Man," "Libeled Lady" (with that brilliant fishing scene) or "Love Crazy" for Powell.

Now, much of this probably is the recent of memory having a recency bias. Anyone who recalls the glory days of Top 40 radio knows that when stations compiled their listeners' choices into an "all-time top 300" or something similar, a disproportionate number of songs were from within the past half-decade. (I recall a survey from WOLF in Syracuse in 1969 where only a handful of songs came from the pre-Beatle era -- and the oldest selection was 1961's "Runaway" by Del Shannon.)

Perhaps that's why when I asked veteran comedy writer Ken Levine (second from left, and no, I'm not pictured here), a former Top 40 jock, about the WGA survey, he largely dismissed the results. This was at an event honoring the 10th anniversary of Ken's wonderful blog http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/ -- and, ironically, it was held at the Billy Wilder library of the WGA building at 3rd and Fairfax, diagonally across from Farmers Market. (Someday when my screenwriting ship comes in, I hope to be a member.)

So what did make the list (http://www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=5949)? First of all, it was topped by...

..."Annie Hall," and la-dee-dah, you'll get no complaints from me on that one -- I'm an unabashed Woody Allen fan, and he occasionally still delivers the comedic goods ("Midnight in Paris"). Next in line were Wilder's "Some Like it Hot," followed by "Groundhog Day" and "Airplane!" -- all sensible choices.

So what pre-World War II screenplays cracked the list? Not many.

The Marx Brothers' masterpiece "Duck Soup" topped this subcategory at No. 17 (between "Bridesmaids" and "There's Something About Mary," whose humor is a far cry from Groucho, Chico, Harpo and even Zeppo), followed by the rapid-fire "His Girl Friday" at 21st and "Bringing Up Baby" at 24th. Here's where my ire comes to the fore.

Why does "Baby" invariably get the love "Godfrey" doesn't? Turner Classic Movies never uses "Godfrey" in its promos, whereas "Baby" is seen all the time. And "Godfrey" has a heart and soul its rival lacks. If Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn -- both far better remembered today than Lombard or Powell -- had made "Godfrey" and Bill and Carole had done "Baby," might things be reversed?

With that rant over -- forgive me -- back to the classic-era reps on the list:

32. "The Lady Eve" (1941)
35. "Sullivan's Travels" (1941)
37. "The Philadelphis Atory" (1940)
38. "A Night at the Opera" (1935)
47. "It Happened One Night" (1934)
57. "The General" (1926)
72. "The Palm Beach Story" (1942)
82. "Modern Times" (1936)
90. "City Lights" (1931)
94. "The Gold Rush" (1925)
95. "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944)
97. "Arsenic and Old Lace" (filmed 1941, released 1944)

So 15 films of the 101 are from 1944 or earlier, four of them from Preston Sturges. But note not a single Ernst Lubitsch film was mentioned (and yes, he didn't write his own films, but those who did certainly reflected his sensibilities). And it would have been a travesty if "You've Got Mail" had made the list, since the film that inspired it, "The Shop Around the Corner," didn't. (I'd have also liked to have seen at least one Harold Lloyd film on this list, more so "Girl Shy" than the better-known "Safety Last!")

I understand the biases of the writers, particularly the younger ones. But film history properly should be taken in a complete context. Many of the films that made the cut soon will be viewed as a cinematic flavor of the month, and chances are many of them won't crack this list the next time it's compiled.

In the meantime, I hope many of these voters will check out "Godfrey," "Libeled Lady," "Corner" and other gems from Lombard, Powell and Lubitsch, my all-time favorite actress, actor and director. They might get a better idea of what timeless comedy is all about.

carole lombard 02

Beginning the reign of the Rex

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.17 at 15:19
Current mood: hopefulhopeful

One presumes Carole Lombard was in a slightly better mood than this when she sent a congratulatory telegram to the owners of the new Rex Theater in Pensacola, Fla., for its opening night in November 1937:

And why not? She had jusr finished her latest film, "True Confession," which would premiere hot on the heels -- and in some places concurrently -- with her Technicolor comedy smash, "Nothing Sacred." Add her headline-grabbing romance with Clark Gable, making Carole perhaps the most envied woman in America, and there was no way to escape Lombard as 1937 drew closer to a close. (Then again, who would want to escape her?).

This rarity of Lombardiana is up for auction at eBay, and bidding begins at $269.95. The auction closes at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday -- and if you'd like to place a bid or are curions about this object, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Western-Union-Telegram-REX-THEATRE-Opening-Night-PENSACOLA-FL-/191740494468?hash=item2ca49fc284:g:7iYAAOSwkZhWS42e

Whenever Carole & Co. runs an item that ties Lombard to a vintage theater, we like to learn more about the venue to find out whether or not it had a happy ending. Fortunately for the Rex, it did, so let's find out more about this palace on northwest Florida's so-called "redneck Riviera":

While the Rex began as a theater in 1937, the building itself dates back to 1910, when it was a furniture store. When it moved nearby, the building was converted into a theater with the requisit3e Art Deco-Streamline touches of the era. By the 1960s, this is how the auditorium looked:

As was the case for many other classic movie palaces, suburbanization and multiplexes led to the closing of the Rex in 1977, and the venue was donated to the city. Five years later, it was bought and reopened as a cinema and drafthouse, a concept that has fluorished in other cities but lasted here for only four years. The Rex remained shuttered until 2006, when a variety of owners ran the building.

Since 2012, it's been operated by Harvest Outreach, which gradually restored the place to its late-thirties splendor. It was fully reopened in March, and serves both religious and secular purposes. Here's what it looks like today:

Find out more about the Rex and its history by visiting http://rexpensacola.com/ or its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/RexPensacola/.

I wish the news was as uplifting on another historic site we noted yesterday, but alas, the worst appears to be true. From Michelle Morgan, author of the new Thelma Todd biography "The Ice Cream Blonde":

The good news, if there is any, is that this building -- where Todd died under still-unexplained circumstances in December 1935 -- won't go down without a fight. The Los Angeles Conservancy is spreading the word about this imminent archiectural and historical threat. Go to https://www.facebook.com/losangelesconservancy/?fref=ts to learn more. The distinctive Wiltern Theater on Wilshire and Western was saved from oblivion in 1979; it's time for another miracle

carole lombard 01

Might Thelma's cafe meet its demise, too?

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.16 at 13:40
Current mood: worriedworried

Just as we imagined with Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow a few years ago (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/387404.html), it isn't difficult to envision Lombard and Thelma Todd having each other's careers as actresses. Both were smart, attractive blondes with good senses of humor and both were trained by the masters of comedy shorts (Mack Sennett for Lombard, Hal Roach for Todd). And sadly, as was the case with Harlow, both left us much too soon.

We bring this up for several reasons. First, Michelle Morgan's book on Todd, "The Ice Cream Blonde," is out...

...and Morgan was recently interviewed about it by someone from its publisher, Chicago Review Press (http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/blog/behind-the-scenes-michelle-morgan-author-of-the-ice-cream-blonde/). In fact, she even cited the similarities between Todd and Lombard:

I have no idea whether they knew each other well, though in listings from G.D. Hamann's Hollywood history compilation books (whatever happened to G.D., anyway?), they're occasionally reported as attending the same events, such as weddings. Thelma made two films with the Marx Brothers at Paramount while Carole was there in the early '30s, and Lombard was a friend of the Marxes.

There's another reason we mention this. Next month will mark the 80th anniversary of Todd's still-unxplained death. And the future of the place where she both ran a cafe and met her mysterious demise is reportedly up in the air.

Known as Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe and built in the mid-1920s -- some years before she took over the property -- it's prime real estate, on the Pacific Coast Highway and close to the ocean. In later years, it was home to Paulist Productions, which specialized in Catholic media. Here's what it looks like today:

More on the building, including some photos of its interior, can be found at http://www.palipost.com/property-that-housed-thelma-todds-sidewalk-cafe-sold-for-6-million-exclusive-look-inside/.

The property reportedly was sold earlier this year for $6 million to Hayman Properties, LLC. The building's future is uncertain, and there are unconfirmed reports it could be razed in January. Understandably, this has Hollywood history buffs, architectural preservationists and armchair detectives up in arms. A campaign is beginning to save the structure from the wrecking ball.

It's not far from where Marion Davies' Ocean House stood; all that's left of that magnificent structure are servants' quarters and the pool (both now part of the Annenberg Community Beach House). With luck and some hard work, Thelma's site won't share the same fate.

Finally, I'm proud to announce I will be taking part in the Loretta Young Birthday Blogathon, scheduled for Jan. 3-6, 2016. It honors the 103rd anniversary of Young's birth and hosted by Cinema Dilletante, the Now Voyaging blog and the Young Sisters Appreciation Group on Facebook. (They could have called it the "Loretta-tennial + 3"; I didn't trademark the "-tennial + 3" part back in 2011. In retrospect, perhaps I should have.)

Rivaled by but a few other stars (Lombard included) for sheer etherealness, Loretta Young's talent as an actress (from the late silent era to several decades on TV) and businesswoman are increasingly being appreciated. Thankfully, she lived to see the pre-Code revival, which cast her career in an entirely new light.

Find out more on the event at https://cinemadilettante.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/announcing-the-loretta-young-birthday-blogathon/. Those of you who are bloggers who would like to participate should contact Cinema Dilettante via KathrynGraysonFn@aol.com to suggest a topic.

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See the Crest of vintage architecture -- just as Jane Peters did

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.15 at 15:30
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Yes, she did -- and the future Carole Lombard is shown in 1919, at age 10 or possibly 11 and probably already movie-mad at the time. (Her first actual work as a film actress wouldn't come for another two years.) But this wasn't taken in Hollywood, nor anywhere within the city limits of Los Angeles; it's east of town, in Redlands, where Jane Alice Peters was meeting relatives.

Her aunt, not shown in the photo, was Mrs. J. Alfred Kimberly, a fellow midwesterner (Wisconsin, in this case) who also fell under the spell of southern California. In 1905, she and her husband moved west after wintering there for several years, purchasing a house built eight years earlier that for all intents and purposes was a Victorian castle. (Mr. Kimberly could afford it -- he was founder of the Kimberly-Clark paper company, makers of Kleenex tissues, paper towels, napkins and other items.)

The Kimberly Crest house and gardens remains an architectural and aesthetic marvel, nearly a century after Jane trod the grounds. And this time of year, with the holidays on the horizon, might be the best time to visit it.

From 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, it hosts its annual open house and tour. For $20, see vintage decorations while sampling hors d'oeuvres and champagne. You can find out more and order tickets by phoning 909-729-2111 or visiting http://kimberlycrest.org/.

One week later, at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, Kimberly Crest will hold its Christmas tree lighting ceremony. If you go, expect the place to look something like this:

Kimberly Crest also is used for weddings and other private functions, and it's easy to see why.

For those who think southern California has little more than suburban residential tracts and such, Redlands provides a wonderful retort. Founded in 1888, it's preserved plenty of its heritage homes, in styles that range from Victorian to Mission to the classic California bungalow. For more about what this city has to offer tourists, visit http://www.desertsun.com/story/travel/advice/kathy-strong/2015/11/14/redlands-kathy-strong-going-way-travel/75675710/.

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Picture 'Godfrey'...lots and lots of Godfrey

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.14 at 11:44
Current mood: excitedexcited

Not to mention Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) and the rest of that wonderfully daffy family confounding William Powell's Godfrey, such as her parents, played by Alice Brady and Eugene Pallette...

Now you can picture them in original singleweight stills from this screwball comedy classic -- 20 pictures in all, to be precise. (There are one set of two and two sets of three; the rest are solo shots.) Many of them are fairly recngnizable to collectors, but I don't recall seeing either of the top two before, nor this one of Powell, Pallette and Jean Dixon as Molly the maid:

Or how about this one, of the detective checking out Godfrey at his quarters?

That detective is there only because Gail Patrick's scheming Cornelia Bullock tried to set Godfrey up for stealing her jewelry:

You get the picture, pun intended...some wonderful images from this, the greatest of screwball comedies.

Opening bids on these range from $14.99 to $29.99, and each of the auctions ends after noon (Eastern) next Saturday. Check out the entire set by visiting http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=marley_rare_books&hash=item235d0be38b%3Ag%3AuxQAAOSwLzdWRji4&item=151884915595&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR4.TRC2.A0.H0.Xmy+man+godfrey.TRS0&_nkw=my+man+godfrey&_sacat=0.

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A confession about 'Confessions': I'd like to see this

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.13 at 16:11
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

I've frequently come across this cover of Carole Lombard from the April 1936 issue pf True Confessions -- and each time I do, I always wonder how Carole felt about being associated with a topic such as birth control, which still was a controversial subject in 1936. (And this was some two dozen years before the Pill became an integral part of the sexual revolution.)

Knowing Carole as well as just about anyone else who never actually met her (with the possible exceptions of my friends Michelle Morgan and Carole Sampeck), I'd have to say it didn't bother her. It's apparent that Lombard loathed sexual hypocrisy, including the "double standard"; if she wanted to spend a night with a man she cared for, heck, she'd do it.

Robert Matzen, arguably another one whose expertise on Lombard probably exceeds mine, recently stated that he wouldn't have been surprised if Carole and William Powell occasionally were intimate soon after their divorce in 1933 -- not because they had any thought of getting back together as a couple, but because each wanted a little fun in bed.

But now, there's another reason this issue holds some interest for me: There's a story about Carole inside.

"Carole Lombard Reveals the Seven Steps of Love"? Sounds tantalizing -- probably not a Kama Sutra (even a Bernarr Macfadden publication wouldn't go that far in the mid-thirties), but it could be interesting. Then again, it could merely be a rehashing of an earlier Lombard article with a similar title, "There Are 7 Kinds of Love," in the Photoplay of October 1933 (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/100718.html).

I honestly don't know the answer, because as far as I know True Confessions never has been uploaded online and the sample I have here is too small to read legibly. What I do know is that somebody will find out, because this issue is on sale at eBay for $39.99; the seller says it's in "acceptable" condition and there are no missing or loose pages. This ad, which apparently has nothing to do with Carole, also is included:

Want to claim it as your own? Go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/True-Confessions-April-1936-Carole-Lombard/331706628963?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3Dc73502e4058142208adfb0699d6e1a7f%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D331706628963.

And one more thing: The year before this came out, Lombard was in a romantic relationship with Robert Riskin, who wrote many screenplays for Frank Capra and others ("Virtue" was in the latter category). While we don't know how each officially stood on birth control, Carole wanted children in a marriage and Robert didn't (he'd change his mind after marrying Fay Wray in the 1940s). That may have paved the way for the Lombard-Clark Gable romance, that began about the time this issue hit newsstands.

carole lombard 04

Want to 'watch' Carole? Now you can

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.12 at 15:51
Current mood: hopefulhopeful

Through this watch with Carole Lombard's portrait on it. (And a rather elegant portrait it is.)

What do we know about this timepiece? Well, here's how the seller describes it:

Oh, and the price? $12.99; as of this writing, 10 were available. This might make a good holiday gift for the Lombard lover in your life...even if said lover is yourself. Find out more by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-CAROLE-LOMBARD-STUNNING-Round-Metal-Watch-leather-band-free-shipping-/262140364532?hash=item3d08c886f4:g:YE8AAOSweuxWRASY.

carole lombard 03

Yep, that's glamour!

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.11 at 11:44
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

The seller describes this as a "1930s glamour photo postcard" of Carole Lombard, and who are we to argue? It's gorgeous, probably from sometime in the mid-1930s, and from the font used for her name, it looks to be from Germany's famed Ross-Verlag company (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/52279.html), which issued many picture postcards of that era's Hollywood stars.

This measures 3.5" x 5.5", a vintage original, and is in unused condition. Very nice.

One bid has already been made, for $9.99; the auction ends at 4:27 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. To get in the bidding or learn more about the item, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-1930s-Glamour-Photo-Postcard-/351575831972?hash=item51db8d75a4:g:AMsAAOSwI-BWQmEv.

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She's been framed! (And colorized!)

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.10 at 17:54
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

"Twentieth Century" is generally regarded as Carole Lombard's breakthrough movie, the film where she showed she could stand toe-to-toe with acting titan John Barrymore and even give him a kick (as seen above). An artifact of Lombard from that time now is available on eBay -- a framed black-and-white photo of her to which hints of color have been added:

Here's how the seller describes it:

Note the seller makes no claim regarding the Lombard signature; it's certainly not an original, and probably isn't even hers. For the sake of completeness, here's the back of the frame:

Bidding begins at $19.99 and the auction is set to end at 8:51 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. If you'd like to bid, or simply find out more, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Legendary-Actress-CAROLE-LOMBARD-Original-1934-PORTRAIT-Photo-B-W-w-Colo/161882458320?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3Ddee7ad8907a147d59aecc6dad2fcadb2%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D161882458320.

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Another case for Carole (13 of them, in fact)

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.09 at 19:29
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

No, not that kind of case, especially since it provoked a not-so-heavenly response from the afterlife Carole Lombard (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/50359.html). Instead, we're referring to cases you can use to carry currency, credit cards...even cigarettes if you still indulge in the tobacco habit.

We've promoted these items before here, and the seller has come around again with a few more Lombard-related designs. Unless you're one of the lucky few who actually has seen Lombard's teaming with Gary Cooper in "I Take This Woman" since it resurfaced for public display in 2001, you'll probably find it easier to secure this pic of Carole and Coop.on the case than to actually see the movie. (Let's hope it at last gains more public display in the near future.)

Ten of these cases measure 4" x 2 3/4" x 5/8". Here are a few others, starting with Lombard and Jack Benny in the Ernst Lubitsch marvel of dark comedy, "To Be Or Not To Be":

Carole herself goes over to the "dark side" (temporarily) in the 1933 horror thriller "Supernatural":

You want a Gable and Lombard "case"? Well, here are Clark and Carole from "No Man of Her Own," but there's not a murder in sight. (Whoddya think they are -- Nick and Nora?)

There are a couple of magazine cover reproductions too, including this one from Screen Book:

Three of the 13 items have a slightly different function -- not only can they carry cash or cigs, but hooch, too. They combine a five-ounce flask with "the seentials such as business cards, cash, coins, condoms, pills..." (Those are the seller's words, not mine; I'll simply say that after swigging five ounces of hard liquor, a condom might come in handy.) And this one has an ad for a Lombard film set during Prohibition, 1930's "Fast and Loose":

The flasks sell for $24.99, the cigarette cases for $13.99. View the entire list by visiting http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=coastalcolors805&hash=item3ab6169ee0%3Ag%3A--8AAOSw~bFWQHkn&item=252163038944&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR7.TRC2.A0.H0.Xcarole+lombard.TRS1&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0.

Oh, and congratulations to actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr on the 101st anniversary of her birth. As most of us know by now, Lamarr -- a genuine mathematical wizard -- helped invent a method of radar that enabled the Allies to win World War II and paved the way for cell phone and similar technology. Not bad for an actress who was one of her era's great beauties, but said of it, "Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid." Google honored her today with a birthday salute:

carole lombard 07

She's starring in the 'Talkies'

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.08 at 14:34
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

By early 1931, when Carole Lombard was beginning to climb the ladder of stardom at Paramount Pictures with features such as "It Pays to Advertise," the term "talkies" to specifically refer to motion pictures with sound was rapidly heading towards oblivion. And why not? Only a few theaters in remote locales had yet to be wired for sound -- especially since hardly any studios remained that also produced films in silent versions. The most notable holdout was of course, Charlie Chaplin, whose "City Lights" came out that year with a soundtrack and no dialogue.

But in '31 or perhaps 1932, the word could be found accompanying this 8" x 10" poster of Lombard:

It's part of a 12-card set of Paramount stars up for auction at eBay. Perhaps "Talkies" was the name of a publication that sponsored these; I honestly don't know. But Carole's in good company here. Among others available are Fredric March...

...Jeanette MacDonald...

...Claudette Colbert...

...Sylvia Sidney...

...and Maurice Chevalier:

Other stars in the series are Marlene Dietrich, Frances Dee, Wynne Gibson, Phillips Holmes, Tallulah Bankhead and Miriam Hopkins. The posters are stapled and bound in notebook form at the top border. A rarity, to be sure.

The posters are being auctioned as a unit, with bidding beginning at $229. The auction is slated to end at 3:18 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday. To bid or learn more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-TALKIE-MOVIE-PARAMOUNT-PICTURES-ACTORS-POSTERS-Carol-Lombard-Fredric-March/121810326633?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D8f28ec8000c84ecd9acec86a73936de9%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D121810326633.

I also note that by request of the seller, I am removing Thursday's entry, featuring a Lombard photo taken by Otto Dyar. I will note, however, that while some here have doubted whether the person in the portrait was actually Lombard, I've been told there was an embossed stamp on the back proving Dyar photographed it.

carole lombard 06

Once removed from a Ziegfeld girl?

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.07 at 16:03
Current mood: pensivepensive

Carole Lombard -- shown changing trains in Chicago on Sept. 15 1934 -- could have been a Ziegfeld girl. "With her figure and beauty, of course she could have," many of you probably are saying. But no, I'm not being hypothetical.

According to Lombard biographer Larry Swindell, author Ben Hecht said New York publishing magnate Horace Liveright -- who had a clandestine affair with Carole in 1930 (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/50074.html) -- introduced her to Ziegfeld, who unsuccessfully tried to persuade her to join his latest (and what would be the last) edition of his Follies. Lombard, whose career drive was solely linked to movies, was not interested.

But while Carole apparently never worked for Ziegfeld, she nonetheless was influenced by him. That's because one of the two most important designers in her career, Travis Banton, was a one-time employee of his.

Banton designed for the Follies productions of the aarly 1920s before Paramount lured him westward in 1924. There, he helped provide glamour to sophisticated beauties such as Lombard and Marlene Dietrich. A new book by sisters Cynthia and Sara Brideson points out this oft-overlooked Broadway-Hollywood link.

"Ziegfeld and His Follies" (University Press of Kentucky) examines in part how Lombard got her "look" indirectly from the Follies, with Banton tying them together. The Bridesons cite this Banton-designed outfit Carole wore in her 1936 film "Love Before Breakfast":

The sisters said it "looked like a 'Follies' piece, complete with a fabulous feather headdress." They recently were interviewed regarding the book and Ziegfeld, and it makes for fascinating reading: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-follies-of-fashion-ziegfeld-s-impact-on-style-and-glamour.

Ziegfeld died several years before a heavily fictionalized biopic (with Carole's ex, William Powell, portraying the famed impresario) hit theaters in 1936. And yet, if the story is true that Lombard spurned appearing in Ziegfeld's show, he got the last laugh. Carole's dreams of winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for "My Man Godfrey" were thwarted by Luise Rainer (and, to be certain, heavy MGM bloc voting), for her role as Anna Held in..."The Great Ziegfeld."

carole lombard 05

Two ways to 'cover' a 'True Story'

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.06 at 14:41
Current mood: weirdweird

Carole Lombard's star was burning brightly in the spring of 1937, so why wouldn't magazines not deemed Hollywood fanmags place her on the cover -- even when she wasn't part of anything inside?

That's what happened when the Bernarr Macfadden publication True Story made Carole its cover subject for its April issue:

Nice portrait, isn't it? Let's see part of it in greater detail:

And a glance at the table of contents shows what one could find inside -- no LOmbard, perhaps, but a story from Jack Dempsey on his post-boxing career. (By this time, he ran a popular restaurant in midtown Manhattan.):

Macfadden was an eccentric media magnate, to say the least. A strong believer in something he called "physical culture" (the title of obe of his stable of magazines), he also published True Confessions (which inspired the title of the Lombard comedy "True Confession" at year's end) as well as "True Story."

He even was in the newspaper business from 1924 to 1932 with arguably the most lurid tabloid daily of them all, the New York Graphic (nicknamed the "Porno-Graphic" by media wags for its reliance on composite photographs). Carole may not have believed in many of Macfadden's health theories, but appeared on the covers of his magazines on more than a few occasions, such as in True Confessions in August 1934:

Currently, there are two ways to get the April 1937 True Story via eBay. One copy sells for $18.19, though it only will be available until Saturday. To buy it, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-TRUE-STORY-Magazine-APRIL-1937-Carole-LOMBARD-Cover-JACK-DEMPSEY-/111792460024?hash=item1a075990f8&autorefresh=true. The other method costs a bit more -- either $160.50 or make an offer -- though it will be available through 4:44 p.m. (Eastern) Dec. 6. Learn more by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/TRUE-STORY-PULP-APR-1938-CAROLE-LOMBARD-JACK-DEMPSEY-VF-/331701753292?hash=item4d3af715cc:g:FsQAAOSwo0JWPR9T.

carole lombard 03

Welcome back Anna, and welcome back, 'Mom'

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.04 at 12:39
Current mood: curiouscurious

Carole Lombard and Goldie Hawn long have been among my favorite actresses for their comedic brilliance, sex appeal, likability and intelligence both on and off screen. In recent years, we've found a worthy heir to the Lombard-Hawn tradition, and that is...

...Anna Faris, who's had some success on the big screen but of late has been better known for her television work. And at last, there's good news for fans of her series (and my favorite current sitcom) -- after more than half a year since the last new episode, "Mom" begins its third season tomorrow night at 9/8 Central on CBS.

Starring Faris as Christie (left) and multiple Emmy winner Allison Janney as her mother Bonnie, "Mom" -- which tells the trials and tribulations of two recovering alcohol and drug addicts with humor and heart -- has won raves from critics, not to mention a steadily growing audience. That's the good news.

Alas, it airs on Thursday nights, and CBS airs NFL games for the first half of the season on that evening. Hence the delay. (Some say the network picked it up only as a favor to its creator Chuck Lorre, whose "The Big Bang Theory" is the 800-pound gorilla of sitcoms.)

I'd like to tell you more about tomorrow's episode -- and thought I was going to when I attended the season's first filming on July 31 -- but Lorre and CBS threw me a curve (can I say that now that baseball season is over?). The episode I saw won't air tomorrow; hey, there's no obligation to air them in order of production. All I know is that we will meet Bonnie's birth mother (I have no idea who will play her), and since she wasn't mentioned during the ep I saw, I'm guessing she'll either be a recurring character or a one-shot. We will see.

Anyhow, even if you're not a sitcom person, check out "Mom" -- the writing and acting are top-notch, and there's usually plenty of poignancy to accompany the one-liners. I trust you'll become a fan, too.

(BTW, if you're wondering what happened to the earlier part of this entry, it has been removed by request of the seller.)

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This 'Love Before Breakfast' is literary French toast

Posted by vp19 on 2015.11.03 at 10:51
Current mood: surprisedsurprised

The other day, we did an entry on Carole Lombard's first Universal film "Love Before Breakfast" as part of the Universal Pictures Blogathon. And wouldn't you know it -- a heretofore unseen goody associated with the movie just surfaced on eBay.

It's a French-language book of the film, issued in 1937.

According to the seller, this book has plenty to offer. It's 6" x 10" and 94 pages...with 16 of those pages comprised of photos from the film, such as this:

This item probably is a rarity in France; it certainly is on this side of the pond.

You can buy it for $49.99. Want to say "mais oui" to this offer? Then hurry and go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-LOVE-BEFORE-BREAKFAST-french-book-of-the-film-1937-/151873778414?hash=item235c61f2ee:g:EMIAAOSwYHxWOMbo.

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