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carole lombard 01

Can you wait a little while longer?

Posted by vp19 on 2016.09.05 at 21:57
Current mood: annoyedannoyed
It'll be worth it, I promise. What am I talking about? This.

Michelle Morgan's long-anticipated Carole Lombard biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," was scheduled to be released in Great Britain (where Morgan is from) on Thursday. But this morning came an update from Morgan's Facebook author site:

"Heads up, Carole fans -- I have just heard from my publisher, and although the official publication date for the Carole book was 8th September, they are now not expecting copies to arrive in their office and distribution centre until at least the 5th October. This means that book shops won't have it in stock until shortly after that, This is extremely disappointing, especially as since there has not been an explanation as to why the hold-up has occurred. However, I will keep you all up-to-date with developments, and I hope that the copies come in much sooner than they are currently anticipating. Please keep your pre-orders in place, as books will be sent out as soon as they are ready. Sorry for any inconvenience!"

"Disappointing" is an accurate word...but for those of us who have waited years for this, what promises to be the definitive Lombard bio, we can afford to wait several weeks more. And Oct. 5 is the eve of the 108th anniversary of Carole's birth. (Yes, I suppose that's rationalizing.)

Understandably, Morgan fears some may decide to cancel their pre-orders -- but I think fans of both Lombard's cinematic work and Michelle's books on classic Hollywood will continue their support. Keep the faith.

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That book's release draws nearer...

Posted by vp19 on 2016.08.28 at 12:48
Current mood: pleasedpleased
And you know the book I'm talking about... Michelle Morgan's long-awaited biography of the subject of this site, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star." (Alas, current finances prevent me from showing the book's cover, or any illustrations, for that matter; I hope to rectify that in the near future.)

It should be released in Great Britain, where Michelle lives, in less than two weeks, with hopes an American printing soon will follow. Fortunately, you can order it regardless of where you live -- simply go to the UK publisher's website and order, http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/carole-lombard-twentieth-century-star/9780750966054/ or https://www.amazon.co.uk/Carole-Lombard-Twentieth-Century-Michelle-Morgan/dp/075096605X. I would not be surprised if the Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard will get copies in the near future, as it has promoted Morgan's recent (and well-received) Thelma Todd biography.

I haven't read "Twentieth-Century Star" yet, although I'm certainly eager to (as many of you are aware, Michelle has dedicated the book to both myself and Lombard authority Carole Sampeck), but Morgan's track record on Hollywood bios -- her several books on Marilyn Monroe focus on her as a person, unlike so many Monroe biographers who are too blinded by her sex-symbol persona -- and her talent at research promise to make this volume the definitive Lombard bio. (Disclosure: I assisted her with research.)

A week ago Monday, the London daily the Express ran an interview with Morgan about Carole (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/702434/carole-lombard-life-new-book-twentieth-century-star-michelle-morgan), and it's fascinating.

As Morgan wrote promoting the book at her site, http://michellemorgan.co.uk, "Carole was a woman well ahead of her time, and her experiences have taught me a lot about how I want to conduct my own career. ... She was definitely a woman to be admired, and I hope this comes across in the book." (Morgan's offical Facebook author page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/124973377514850/, also is worth checking out.)

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It was a most unusual day

Posted by vp19 on 2016.08.19 at 23:29
Current mood: nervousnervous
it was a birthday I'll never forget...though Lord knows I'll try to.

It was late morning, and I was in an office talking to a counselor. The next thing I know, I'm in an ambulance, headed to Glendale. (And while I wouldn't mind that city's Forest Lawn becoming my permanent home, assuming I can afford it, I'm not planning to finish my life there.)

For much of the afternoon, I was at Glendale Memorial Hospital with low blood sugar. I was given a good, hearty lunch that brought me back to a steady level. Following a few hours' observation, I was released. Had a birthday cup of Earl Grey at my favorite Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, above the Wilshire/Vermont Metrorail station, then went back to my abode.

A lesson learned, to be more careful.

It's funny. Early in the day, I answered a Craigslist ad for a comedy screenwriters lab that meets in Sherman Oaks each Tuesday night. I'll be there next week, with hopes of making a good impression. Learn more about it at http://www.deadlinejunkies.com.

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They say it's my birthday...

Posted by vp19 on 2016.08.19 at 00:21
Current mood: thankfulthankful
As of a few minutes ago, I turned 61. I find that hard to believe.

Not because I've lived the type of life that would make reaching that milestone an improbability; I'm hardly the daredevil sort. And I can't claim to be in the usual condition to celebrate, not what with all that's gone on during 2016. Still, I roll with the punches and hope for a happy ending.

As Rare Earth (a white Motown rock band, kiddies) once sang, I just want to celebrate another day of living. At this stage, that's sufficient satisfaction for me. Many of you already have sent online regards, to which I say thank you. Keep your fingers crossed that this year will end on a high note. I like to think somewhere, Carole Lonbard is rooting for me.

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It's once again time to get 'Under the Stars'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.07.31 at 14:48
Current mood: excitedexcited
Tomorrow begins August, many classic film fans' favorite month. Why? Because for more than a decade, Turner Classic Movies uses those 31 days to commemorate 31 notable actors and actresses in an event it calls "Summer Under the Stars."

While Carole Lombard won't be featured this year (she was honored in 2007, 2011 and 2014), quite a few classic Hollywood favorites -- including quite a few first-time recepients -- are included. Here's who TCM in the U.S. is highlighting during Summer Under the Stars:

August 1 - Edward G. Robinson
August 2 - Lucille Ball
August 3 - Bing Crosby
August 4 - Fay Wray
August 5 - Karl Malden
August 6 - Montgomery Clift
August 7 - Jean Harlow
August 8 - Esther Williams
August 9 - Tim Holt
August 10 - Hedy Lamarr
August 11 - Spencer Tracy
August 12 - Janet Gaynor
August 13 - Ralph Richardson
August 14 - Cyd Charisse
August 15 - Roddy McDowall
August 16 - Anne Baxter
August 17 - James Edwards
August 18 - Angie Dickinson
August 19 - Ruby Keeler
August 20 - Humphrey Bogart
August 21 - Bette Davis
August 22 - Robert Montgomery
August 23 - Brigitte Bardot
August 24 - Constance Cummings
August 25 - Van Johnson
August 26 - Boris Karloff
August 27 - James Garner
August 28 - Jean Arthur
August 29 - Charles Boyer
August 30 - Jean Simmons
August 31 - Dean Martin

An intriguing and eclectic list, isn't it? Some old reliables, some obscurities (James Edwards was a black actor in the '40s and '50s, mostly in supporting roles), and some stars whose diverse parts may surprise some (e.g., Boris Karloff, who excelled in genres far beyond horror, and Fay Wray, far more than a "scream queen").

I'm delighted Angie Dickinson (whom I met at a memorabilia show last year) is around to see herself honored, and wish Esther Williams and James Garner similarly were still here. And on the 19th, my 61st birthday, the honoree is Ruby Keeler, who was my mother's favorite actress in her youth.

For more on the event, go to the channel's site at http://summer.tcm.com/. My friend Aurora brings her own perspective on the festivities at https://aurorasginjoint.com/2016/07/29/tcms-summer-under-the-stars-2016-picks-and-pics/.


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Hot and Bothered, the Films of 1932 Blogathon: 'No More Orchids'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.07.09 at 13:33
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

From Lyle Talbot's rather bored look, you'd get the mistaken impression that "No More Orchids" is among Carole Lombard's least interesting pictures. Far from it. And while I can't quite call it a four-star classic, it's at least a 2 1/2-star movie, and in more charitable moods I might raise my rating to three. It's solid entertainment that rounds the gamut from comedy to drama to tragedy. And like its predecessor, "Virtue," it again proves that in 1932, Columbia had a better sense of Lombard's strengths than did Paramount, the studio she was loaned out from.

And speaking of 1932, this entry is part of the blogathon "Hot and Bothered: The Films of 1932," co-hosted by Once Upon A Screen (https://aurorasginjoint.com) and CineMaven's Essays From the Couch (https://cinemavensessaysfromthecouch.wordpress.com).

"No More Orchids" deserves a better reputation than it has; in its review of the film, Turner Classic Movies describes it as one of Carole's "dreary dramas" before she saw the comedic light with "Twentieth Century" nearly two years later. In reality, it could be encapsulated as a comedy that turns dramatic, in much the same vein as the far better known "No Man Of Her Own," which came out at the tail end of '32. Then again, that film answers the trivia question, "What is the only feature in which Carole Lombard co-stars with Clark Gable?" (Of course, they later married.) No one ever asks, "What is the only feature in which Lombard co-stars with Lyle Talbot?" And truth be told, as movies they're roughly on the same level.

Somewhere, Carole might be wondering the same thing.

The answer probably is that while both films have plenty of Lombard pre-Code sex appeal as well as appropriate endings where love wins in the end (as it should), "Orchids" concludes in a downbeat, even tragic manner, thanks to Walter Connolly, the magnificent character actor making his first of several teamings with Lombard. He plays her father here, a banker in trouble during the Depression (banks were failing left and right, a year before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation protected bank customers). In fact, "No More Orchids" reached theaters not long after Frank Capra's "American Madness," where Walter Huston portrayed a failed banker.

The only way Connolly's character can salvage his bank is if he gives into his father-in-law's demands that Carole's character marry into royalty, not the struggling lawyer portrayed by Talbot, the man she really loves. Oh, and the father-in-law is played with 1 percent smarminess by C. Audrey Smith, my choice for the most despicable villain in any Lombard film (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/689208.html) -- at least Gail Patrick in "My Man Godfrey" learns her lesson at the end. Here are Connolly and Smith, when it appears the latter will get what he wants:

Jameson Thomas (shown below) portrays Prince Carlos, the suitor Lombard doesn't want; nearly 18 months later, he'd again play a prospective Connolly son-in-law, this time a "king" -- King Westley, that is, who intends to marry Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) in the much better known "It Happened One Night." He again is thwarted, this time under far happier circumstances. (Edward Bernds, a sound recorder for Columbia who held that position on "Orchids" and later directed many of its comedy shorts, most notably those of the Three Stooges, made that observation in his book "Mr. Bernds Goes to Hollywood.")

Louise Closser Hale plays Lombard's paternal grandmother, who's sympathetic to Talbot's plight and adds plenty of comic sparkle early on. Like many on and off screen in the early '30s, she ignores Prohibition (and can legally do so for some of the movie, since she's on a ship outside U.S. waters).

Two other good sources for info on "Orchids" are a fine review of the film at pre-Code.com in 2014 (http://pre-code.com/no-more-orchids-1932-review-carole-lombard-walter-connolly/) and Bernard F. Dick's 2015 book "The Merchant Prince of Poverty Row: Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures."

As stated earlier, this is a film that frankly deserves a better re-evaluation, especially as it shows that even in 1932, Lombard had the skills for talking-picture comedy, even if Paramount either didn't seem to know it or, to their eventual detriment, didn't care.

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Some 'Tall!' news (and good news, too)

Posted by vp19 on 2016.06.29 at 12:21
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

No, that's not my script Carole Lombard's reading... but with luck, in the not-too-distant future, some actress will. That's because my romantic comedy screenplay "Stand Tall!" has reached finalist status at the Los Angeles CineFest.

What does this mean? According to the director of the event, if someone in the industry asks about the work, "we'll let them know how to contact you directly." Hey, it's a start.

"Stand Tall!" is a charming little story about a casino waitress who needs to "get bigger" (in the bust, that is) so she can moonlight as an exotic dancer to help pay her young nephew's medical expenses. A scientist friend and customer of hers suggests an experimental operation to enlarge her breasts, and she indeed gets bigger -- in an unintended way. The very moment the procedure occurs, a minor earthquake throws the device off kilter, and she's instead tripled in size to 16 feet, 3 3/8 inches tall.

He unsuccessfully tries to undo her growth as she stays in his lab (a converted trucking warehouse), and they also find they're falling in love. The casino's billionaire owner tracks her down, promises to pay the nephew's hospital bills, then signs her to a million-dollar contract to sing and dance at his showroom. She becomes the top attraction in Vegas, a beautiful giant beloved by young and old... but when the scientist is kidnapped by a mobster, will she have to sacrifice the size she's come to like to save the man she's come to love?

You can read the latest version of the script -- it's 105 pages, but a smooth read, I promise -- by visiting https://filmfreeway.com/projects/476988. If you know any producers, please bring them over.

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Help a screenwriter 'Stand Tall!'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.06.15 at 12:12
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

From the late 1920s onward, Carole Lombard was noted for her sharp sense of story -- although as far as I know, Lombard herself never attempted to write a screenplay. (Had that infamous automobile accident that prematurely ended her tenure at Fox been even slightly more severe, thus dooming her career as an actress, she might have pursued a different path to remain in the industry she loved. Perhaps that path might have been as a screenwriter.)

So while Carole didn't write screenplays, nearly 90 years later, I'm trying my hand at the game. It won't be a lead-pipe cinch by any means -- the competition is fierce, and you can see many folks honing their scripts while using their laptops at the local Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (SoCal's equivalent of Starbucks, and since I drink tea and not coffee, my preferred hangout).

I've partially completed one romantic comedy, and have finished another. And that latter, completed script has earned semi-finalist status at the Los Angeles CineFest, a monthly competition. And here's where you come in...you can help me win the event.

Simply go to http://www.lacinefest.org/page-9-52016.html and cast your vote for my script, "Stand Tall!" And you don't have to worry about being sold a bill of goods -- there's a link to the screenplay, so you can judge for yourself. (It's 103 pages, and I promise a fun, smooth read, even if you've never read a script before.)

So what's "Stand Tall!" all about? Well, remember the 2013 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tournament, a competition Carole won on her third try? I promoted her successful campaign, and in one of my ads I used a bit of trick photography to show Lombard was one of Hollywood's larger-than-life figutes:

Yep, it's a "giant woman" story, a tall tale Hollywood has liked telling many a time since the late 1950s (in addition to 50-foot women, there have been 50-foot cheerleaders, 60-foot centerfolds and 30-foot brides). What makes "Stand Tall!" stand out from the rest of the queen-sized pack? A few things. Colleen Cossitt, our story's heroine, is rather puny compared to her towering cinematic predecessors, a mere 16 feet, 3 3/8 inches. She's generally too good-natured to "attack" anybody (although any bully should beware; as she says, "I look out for the little guy -- I used to be one myself"). And this is a full-fledged romantic comedy, with Colleen's target of desire one Keswick Fletcher, a regular customer of hers at the Bryson casino in Las Vegas, where she is a singing and dancing waitress.

When Colleen, whose ex drained her bank account and also physically abused her, needs to moonlight at a gentlemen's club to raise money for her 8-year-old nephew Ivan's medical expenses, she's rejected by its smarmy owner, Vito Cortez, who tells her to "get bigger" (a reference to her bustline, folks). Keswick, who's devised a machine that isolates and enlarges body parts, offers to enlarge her bust for free -- but at the moment Colleen undergoes the experimental treatment, a minor earthquake causes everything to go awry. Instead of the volume of her breasts being tripled, her entire body is made three times larger. She has to hide in Keswick's lab (a converted trucking warehouse) as he seeks to undo the process. Meanwhile, they gradually fall in love and equally struggling older sister Maureen and Ivan move in (to Colleen's relief, he loves that she's "fee-fi-fo-fum size").

Colleen is soon tracked down by Ernest Sanderson, the casino's eccentric billionaire owner, who accedes to her demand that he pay her nephew's hospital bills. Ecstatic, she picks him up and kisses him, saying she's so happy she "could sing and dance" -- and he signs her to do just that in his showroom (for a million dollars), with Keswick as her manager. After a clumsy beginning, she becomes beloved by young and old alike in Sin City, literally the biggest star in Vegas. (The above is from a one-sheet I commissioned early in the story process; were I to suggest a poster today, it would be of Keswick, on a stepladder, kissing and embracing the giant Colleen in her dressing room.) Meanwhile, Ernest is smitten with Maureen. Life is good.

But a secret in Keswick's past threatens their romance, and when he's kidnapped, Colleen must come to his rescue. Since this is a romantic comedy, there's of course a happy ending, with twists and turns you might not expect.

I've even proposed music for the story -- the girl-group sound of the '60s, which would wonderfully complement the script. One of the songs I "suggest" would involve Colleen performing with kids (at a special family "Team Colleen" weekend matinee). Try to imagine this 1963 gem from Brill Building legends Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry (who released this under the name "The Raindrops") as a dance routine. As Colleen later tells Keswick in her dressing room, "Isn't that the perfect song for a kids' chorus? OK, the lyrics are a bit ancient, but it's so cute." I hope that can be said of the entire screenplay.

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Nine years! Hard to believe

Posted by vp19 on 2016.06.13 at 11:56
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

That's right -- it was nine years ago today this site began, as a way to honor Carole Lombard, her life and times, and the people she worked with. As blogs often do, Carole & Co. soon took a life of its own, and in those nine years, nearly 3,300 entries have appeared.

My life too has significantly changed, a major reason posts this year have been relatively few -- and this from someone who prided himself on doing some sort of entry every day. (Now I seek to do a few each month.) Reality often sends you in another direction, forcing you to reassess your priorities. While I won't burden you with the particulars, that's more or less what's happened to me.

This promises to be an epic year for Lombard fandom. Michelle Morgan's long-awaited biography of Carole is scheduled to arrive in less than three months, and if her previous biographies -- whose subjects have ranged from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna to Thelma Todd -- are indicative of what we can expect, there's a very good chance her book will take its place as the definitive Lombard bio.

There are some intriguing things happening in my life as well, things I promise to fill you in on later this week. For now, let's celebrate Carole & Co.'s number nine...with hopes that when its 10th anniversary occurs in June 2017, the celebration will be far less muted.

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RIP, Mr. Schallert

Posted by vp19 on 2016.05.09 at 15:23
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative
Today's a sad one in the entertainment industry, as we lost one of its stalwarts -- veteran character actor William Schallert, who died last night at age 93.

Like many of you, I grew up watching him on all sorts of TV series -- "Dobie Gillis," "The Patty Duke Show" (shown above), "Get Smart" and countless others. He also appeared in many movies, worked on stage and did plenty of voiceovers. He even was president of the Screen Actors Guild.

I was fortunate to interview Mr. Schallert in 2002, and you can find a transcript here: http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/190884.html. It's well worth a read.

Let us celebrate a life well lived.

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On Mother's Day, a future gift of 'Orchids'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.05.08 at 09:25
Current mood: pensivepensive

A happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there -- thanks for bringing us into the world! -- so I thought I'd open this entry with this fan magazine pic of Carole Lombard and her mother, Elizabeth Peters, from the summer of 1931, not long after Carole married William Powell and honeymooned in Hawaii. (She caught ill there, a harbinger of a rocky marriage that evolved into a successful friendship.)

But today's entry focuses on the future, specifically something coming up in a bit over two months...

...a new blogathon headed our way. The topic: The films of 1932, a year that may not possess the inherent majesty of 1939 but in many ways is its pre-Code equivalent. Yes, '32 was a terrific year for movies, despite the Depression (which impacted the box office and in turn, the industry). Think of the many classics issued that year -- "Shanghai Express" (illustrated in the banner), Academy Award winner "Grand Hotel," Ernst Lubitsch's exquisite "Trouble in Paradise," the steamy "Red Dust," and so many more. It's only natutal I'd want to get in on the action with a Lombard spin on things.

But which film of Carole's?

Five productions starring her were released that year, and while the best of the quintet probably was "Virtue" (easily the most pre-Code in tone of the group), I've written extensively on it, perhaps too much so. If any fellow bloggers want to take a stab at it, be my guest.

"No Man Of Her Own" has that irresistible Clark Gable angle plus Lombard in lingerie (something for everybody!), but as a movie I find it falls apart in the second half and doesn't quite equal the star-studded sum of its parts.

"No One Man" (made in late 1931, issued in early '32), Carole's first top-billed Paramount production, is rather pedestrian despite the presence of Paul Lukas and everyone's favorite pre-Code antagonist, Ricardo Cortez. The same can be said of that summer's release...

..."Sinners in the Sun," perhaps now better remembered as Cary Grant's second film (a supporting role) and one where Lombard shows off a variety of fashions (from gowns to swimsuits) but does relatively little else.

So by process of elimination, I'm going with...

..."No More Orchids," Carole's Columbia followup to "Virtue." It's got a lot going for it: a hint of the comedic Lombard to come, a capable leading man in Lyle Talbot, the presence of Walter Connolly, a superb character actor who'd support Carole on three other occasions, and C. Aubrey Smith in an uncharacteristic bad-guy role. What else will I write about "Orchids"? You'll have to wait two months to find out.

To find out more about this blogathon, go to https://aurorasginjoint.com/2016/05/07/hot-and-bothered-the-films-of-1932-blogathon/. It's being co-hosted by Aurora and CineMaven's Essays From the Couch (https://cinemavensessaysfromthecouch.wordpress.com/).

Many fascinating films from '32 are still there for the taking -- not just the four from Lombard I left on the table, but several superb movies from her husband at the time, William Powell, notably two fine pairings with Kay Francis, the moving "One Way Passage" and the outrageous "Jewel Robbery" (aka the erudite Mr. Powell engages in drug humor!). Hope both of them are claimed soon.

And again, a happy Mother's Day as I reflect on my mother, who reached age 93 and left us in December 2013.

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On the set of the 'Century'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.05.07 at 08:29
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Here's Carole Lombard taking a break on the set of what arguably is her most important movie, "Twentieth Century." It was released by Columbia in the spring of 1934 and helped transform her reputation from a clotheshorse with good legs but an undistinctive persona into the queen of a new cinematic genre, the screwball comedy.

Second from left is its director, Howard Hawks, a distant cousin of Carole's. (She'd had a supporting role in his first directorial effort, the lost 1926 silebt "The Road to Glory," which is unrelated to a film of the same title Hawks directed a decade later.) Hawks had a fascinatingly varied career, never tied down to a particular studio or genre, which may explain why it wasn't until the auteur theory took hold in the 1960s that his talent was fully appreciated.

As for the other two people pictured here, the seller has no idea who they are, and neither do I. Any ideas?

This original image, from the Frank Driggs collection, is up for auction at eBay:

The photo is described as in fine condition, with "light corner wear":

As of this writing, eight bids -- topping at $31 -- have been made for this rare pic, and the auction won't end until 9:21 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Monday. By then, expect bids to reach triple digits. If that doesn't daunt you or you want more information, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Howard-Hawks-Carole-Lombard-Rare-Set-Twentieth-Century-Vintage-Photograph-1934-/231910625128?hash=item35fef34f68:g:ET4AAOSwSzdXC~m1.

The reviews were positive (although here, co-star John Barrymore, not Lombard, is the focal point), as this feature from the Hollywood Reporter makes evident:

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Starring in 'The Racquet-eer'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.04.29 at 15:20
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

It's no secret Carole Lombard loved her tennis, and this group of three pictures from the mid-1930s proves it. Above, she's practicing her game in 1935, as we see from the bottom of the image. (Can any of you make out the Paramount p1202 number? As is the case with her famed black swimsuit pose, I couldn't.)

Even better news -- all three pics have snipes on the back, explaining what they were about. Check out this one:

How good a player was Lombard? Here's a photo of Carole with her mixed doubles partner:

And check out his resume:

Or maybe he simply enjoyed playing with such a glamorous, beautiful and lively partner. Couldn't blame him for that, either.

One of Lombard's closest pals was tennis champion Alice Marble. Lombard sponsored her career, which featured four U.S. Open singles titles and a Wimbledon singles championship. This hardly is a rare photo of the two, but adding the snipe gives the image an entirely new angle:

This pictorial trio all are originals, generally in good condition for photos roughly eight decades old. The three are being sold as a unit, with bids opening at $20. Since bidding is set to close at 3:54 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday, the winning price may not be too exorbitant.

To bid or learn more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/THREE-ORIGINAL-CAROLE-LOMBARD-TENNIS-PHOTOS-/322090973097?hash=item4afe1e37a9:g:kJ8AAOSw3mpXHSNW.

It's been more than a month since I've done an entry; as many of you know, life has temporarily interfered with my normal doings. (It's why I'm not at the TCM Classic Film Festival, though it's only a few miles from me. To those of you there, have a wonderful time, and I miss being with you.) Keep the faith -- soon I hope to be back with more frequent entries. Carole, you may not realize it, but you provide excellent therapy.

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The "Dot" Blogathon: Linking Lamour and Lombard

Posted by vp19 on 2016.03.12 at 13:07
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

This entry, focusing on Carole Lombard's relationship with Dorothy Lamour, is part of the Dorothy Lamour Blogathon this weekend, hosted by Silver Screenings (http://silverscreenings.org) and Font and Frock (http://fontandfrock.com).

Many classic Hollywood fans know Lombard and Lamour made a film together, the 1937 musical "Swing High, Swing Low" -- Paramount's biggest moneymaker for the entire year. But relatively few are aware of the friendship that developed between them.

And perhaps it began with a 1934 automobile accident that claimed the life of Lamour's good friend and fellow New Orleans resident Dorothy Dell at age 19. Lombard quickly was given Dell's role in the film "Now And Forever," and Lamour -- who by now was making a name for herself as a band singer (and a pretty good one) -- was signed to a contract at Paramount.

She and Carole soon became friends, and when Lamour was assigned to "Swing High, Swing Low," Lombard used her considerable clout at the studio to make sure Dorothy's part was beefed up with a few extra pages of script (http://dearmrgable.com/?page_id=3314).

When Lombard finally severed her contract with Paramount in 1938, she made certain Lamour inherited her dressing room on the lot.

Following Lombard's death in 1942, Lamour became active in the war bond effort,helping sell several million dollars' worth of bonds. By now, of course, she was one of Paramount's top stars, though she no longer was renowned for her jungle or "sarong" pictures. Instead, she was best pals to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in their successful series of "Road" films. (Indeed, her autobiography was titled "My Side of the Road.")

Lamour died in 1996 at age 81. She is buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

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Carole is red-faced...and that's good

Posted by vp19 on 2016.02.29 at 18:27
Current mood: excitedexcited

And here, "red-faced" doesn't mean in an embarrassing way. Carole Lombard's image for her long-awaited biography by my friend Michelle Morgan has been announced...

A classic Carole smile, with a cover describing the title.

The hardback book is set to be released six months from now (Sept. 1) by Britain's The History Press. Those in North America will be able to order it online, with hopes a U.S. publisher soon will be found.

This promises to be the definitive Lombard biography, from an author whose works on other stars (Marilyn Monroe, Thelma Todd) have garnered deserved praise. Congratulations, Michelle!

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Playing the name game

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.28 at 14:58
Current mood: distresseddistressed

It's been nearly a week since I've posted an entry, and I apologize to my fellow Carole Lombard fans for the delay. In all honesty, my life has been a struggle of late; here's a bit on that before I proceed.

I'm writing this from Jacksonville, Fla., where I've been since Jan. 10. Tomorrow night, I'm boarding a Greyhound and will return to Los Angeles sometime Monday. There, I hope to find work and shelter and get my life back together -- if any of you in southern California can help with either or make suggestions towards that end, it would be appreciated. Truth be told, I made some mistakes during my first stay there, and hope I've learned from them...especially since this time, I have no margin for error, and pray I don't wind up homeless.

That out of the way, here's today's entry, dealing with the photo above. It's fron November 1936, when Jane Alice Peters officially changed her name to Carole Lombard. I've seen photos of this before, but don't believe I've come across this one. It's from Hearst's International News Service, as the back of it explains:

The snipe, in close-up:

This original photo, nearly 80 years old, is up for auction at eBay. As of this writing, two bids have been made, topping at $12.50. Bidding closes at 10:14 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday, and if you'd like to get in on the action, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/1936-Actress-Carol-Lombard-Hollywood-Movie-Star-Press-News-Service-Photo/371541656697?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3Df0c80ec178424c8b83e10df7af270de6%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D121877712904.

If you bid, I wish you good luck...and please return the favor. I need all the good fortune I can get.

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It's in the cards

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.21 at 18:50
Current mood: confusedconfused

Apologies to Carole Lombard fans, but it's been a while since my last Carole & Co. entry. I apologize, but my life's been rather confusing of late. So let's rectify things with news of a rare Lombard goodie.

We're referring to a collection of 32 Lombard Ross cards from the 1930s.

The cards are said to be originals, measuring 2 3/4" x 1 3/4". They are in very good condition with a glossy front and blank back.

Bidding on the collection begins at $79.95. The auction is slated to end at 5:33 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. For more information, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Collection-of-32-0riginal-vintage-1930s-ROSS-tobacco-photo-cards-CAROLE-LOMBARD-/361473573948?hash=item542981043c:g:WbAAAOSwX~dWoTKA.

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Remembering her angel day

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.16 at 10:44
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

As someone who loves Carole Lombard, I always dread writing an entry on this day -- for it was 74 years ago today, Jan. 16, 1942, that we lost Carole, her mother Elizabeth Peters, MGM press agent Otto Winkler and 19 others in an airplane crash in Nevada.

This marks the ninth year I've written a Jan 16 entry, and given the volatiity of my life of late, I really haven't thought much about how I'll approach it. So this year, I'll keep things relatively brief.

Lombard was but 33 at the time of her passing, and certainly had more personal and professional triumphs ahead of her. We can only guess what they might have been.

So Carole, thank you for your accomplishments...and simply for being you.

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Lombard, au naturel? (Quasi-NSFW)

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.14 at 16:48
Current mood: cynicalcynical

Carole Lombard was no stranger to provocative photos, particularly when pictured by Pathe's ace photographer, William E. Thomas. But did she ever cross the line into nudity, even tasteful "art" poses? Her contemporary Jean Harlow posed for such images, such as this from Edwin Bower Hesser at Griffith Park in 1929...

Now, someone has claimed to come up with a Lombard nude, specifically this:

Is it the real deal? At least one Lombard expert, Carole Sampeck of The Carole Lombard Archive, has her doubts. Asked for her thoughts on the veracity of the image, here's what she wrote:

"Would LOVE to know how/why the seller believed this might even remotely bear any resemblance to CL.

"Just about the only thing this charming unknown girl shares with CL are the facts that

1) They are both blondes, and

2) They both probably have ladyparts,"

So to potential buyers, caveat emptor. More information: The photo measures 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" and its country of manufacture is France.

If you're still interested, the minimum bid is $9.99 and the auction ends at 11:35 p.m. (Eastern) Jan. 22. Learn more by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Original-Photo-Sexy-Nude-Carole-Lombard/231812091770?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D0509fe04796b4b1caf6339a09b1cf107%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D371532451783.

There very well may be a fully documented Lombard nude somewhere, but the search apparently continues.

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Celebrating Carole with three films in Indianapolis

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.13 at 19:40
Current mood: tiredtired

This week tends to be a melancholy one for Carole Lombard fans, as Saturday will mark thr 74th anniversary of her passing. But in Indianapolis -- where Carole made what would be her final public appearance raising funds for war bonds on Jan. 15, 1942 -- there will be a happier reason to remember her.

That's because on Saturday, the Garfield Park Arts Center will begin something it calls "the Carole Lombard Marathon" -- three of her films on Saturday nights through March. Two of them are relatively rare and show an often-forgotten side of her...the dancing Lombard.

At 7 p.m. Saturday for a mere $5, you can see Carole cavort with George Raft in...


It's pre-Code (issued at the start of 1934), so you get to see a bit more of Lombard than you would later on. Here's what I mean:

Yep, Lombard in her underwear.

The complete schedule abd information is here:

As you see, "Rumba" (1935), her other dance film with Raft (and somewhat tamer than "Bolero"), will be shown Feb. 20...

...followed by Carole's final movie, "To Be Or Not To Be," on March 26:

Both also have $5 admission, and all three will have $1 concessions. A nice way to celebrate a Saturday night if you live in central Indiana.

Credit film historian Eric Grayson (http://www.filmeric.com) for making the event possible.

Oh, this also marks my first entry from Jacksonville, Fla. So far, so good, and we'll see where this leads. And to my friends back in Los Angeles, congratulations on regaining something Jacksonville's had for two decades: the NFL. Enjoy the return of the Rams.

carole lombard 06

For now, say goodbye to Hollywood

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.09 at 15:44
Current mood: sadsad

It pains me to write this entry, since for now this probably is the last one I'll write from Los Angeles, the city Carole Lombard called home for most of her much too brief life. A perfect storm of problems -- financial and otherwise -- as well as an inability to find work are leading me to pull up stakes.

My next stop: Jacksonville, Fla., a city I've never visited but my brother loves. I'll be staying with him for a while as I try to get my life back together...with hopes I can return to Los Angeles, a place I've come to love, in the near future.

It breaks my heart to leave LA; I've made more than a few friends there during my nearly two years in town. To those of you, please keep in touch (and if any of you come across work I might be suited for, please let me know). I'll continue to hone my screenwriting skills, and perhaps one of these scripts might be my ticket back. I surely hope so.

So to LA, my warmest regards. I'll miss the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, riding the Metro, chiliburgers from Tommy's, pancakes from Du-par's at Farmers Market and so many other things.

Here's hoping this winter's El Nino somehow both alleviates the drought and causes minimal damage, that the many homeless I see around town find shelter, safety and comfort...and that next week, NFL owners decide on at least one franchise for Los Angeles, maybe two.

Thank you, City of Angels. I love you.

P.S. And don't worry -- this is not the end of Carole & Co., though you may not see quite as many entries here as in the past. I'll continue to keep up with Lombard, classic Hollywood and everything that goes with them. I owe it to you all, since your support and encouragement has kept this site going for more than 8 1/2 years.

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A gal and her horse

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.08 at 12:06
Current mood: lovedloved

If this photo doesn't make Carole Lombard's affection for her Palomino gelding Pico evident, then what will? It's a lovely image from 1937 (Paramount p1202-1514 to be precise), one I don't believe I've seen before.

It's an 8" x 10" original, selling for $85. Want it? Then go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Original-8x10-Photo-K2521-/381514017697?hash=item58d401eba1:g:SYAAAOSwoydWj8OO. But hurry, before this gallops away into the proverbial sunset.

carole lombard 04

'Godfrey': A lobby card for a lot, a DVD for a little

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.07 at 15:07
Current mood: amusedamused

Is "My Man Godfrey" Carole Lombard's most famous movie? It's certainly among the greatest screwball comedies ever made, with a social message that doesn't compromise its humor. It's expertly acted, from Powell and Lombard to the superb supporting cast.

Now, two "Godfrey" items are available at eBay...but it's a lobby card commanding four figures while a first-class DVD of the film is being sold for a bargain price.

The lobby card first:

The opening bid for this 11" x 14" lobby card above is $1,500. Why such a prodigious sum? Let the seller explain:

This auction concludes at 10:21 p.m. (Eastern) next Wednesday. If interested, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/MY-MAN-GODFREY-CAROLE-LOMBARD-WILLIAM-POWELL-NEAR-MINT-1936-LC-/151941574732?hash=item23606c704c:g:aFMAAOSwL7VWjdmt.

In contrast, you theoretically could obtain 1,000 copies of this Criterion Collection DVD of "Godfrey," as its initial bid is all of $1.49:

Criterion issued this in mid-2001 and like its companions from the company, this is expertly remastered, with all sorts of extras -- including the "Lux Radio Theater" 1938 adaptation, with Lombard, Powell and Gail Patrick reprising their film roles. Best of all, it's ib brand new condition.

This auction is set to expire at 2:14 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday, and there'll probably be a few more bids by then, If you want one of them to be yours, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/My-Man-Godfrey-DVD-Criterion-Collection-William-Powell-Carole-Lombard-/151942423375?hash=item236079634f:m:mQ2SrVIh-UpTwaVRwlp17fA.

A similarly inexpensive, like new Criterion copy is currently at $3.25 after six bids; it's slated to end at 6:51 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To bid or learn more, check out http://www.ebay.com/itm/My-Man-Godfrey-DVD-2001-Criterion-Collection/231798766560?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D35006%26meid%3D5860796e0f3e4e378b60a232bd6f4253%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D151942423375&rt=nc.

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The Loretta Young Blogathon: Pinch-riding for Carole in a 'Taxi!'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.06 at 12:50
Current mood: numbnumb

This entry is part of the Loretta Young Blogathon, as today is the 103rd anniversary of Young's birth.

Other than sheer luminosity, Carole Lombard and Loretta Young really didn't have much in common. (OK, there was Clark Gable, but that's another story for another time.) They never worked at the same studio together, Lombard's strength was in comedy while Young's was in drama, although both were effective when switching genres, and I've never seen a photo of them together. (Could a camera have handled so much etherealness?)

But they did cross paths, so to speak, in late 1931, leading to one of Carole's few career missteps and Loretta's early triumphs -- not to mention her only collaboration with a fellow screen legend.

It's the fall of 1931, and Lombard, recovering from a bout of the flu that forced her to withdraw from the Samuel Goldwyn production "The Greeks Had a Word for Them," is loaned out from her home studio of Paramount to Warners to co-star in a film with James Cagney, "Taxi!" Paramount represented European chic (Lubitsch, Paris, etc.), while Warners epitomized the urban proletariat. Cagney, a New Yorker to the core, was coming off a success in "Public Enemy," but his talent wasn't completely obvious just yet.

So Lombard, on the advice of both husband William Powell -- who'd just jumped from Paramount to Warners earlier in the year -- and agent Myron Selznick, balked at the loan. Fine, Warners officials said, we'll stay in-house and go with Loretta Young as Cagney's leading lady.

Don't let this publicity still fool you; Cagney played the New York cabbie (there's even a brief bit where he speaks Yiddish, a dialect he learned on the streets of the Yorkville section of Manhattan), while Young played a restauranteur's daughter. (Loretta driving a cab in the early '30s might be an interesting story today, but that was a job few, if any, women held back then.) James and Loretta are in love -- in fact, we even see them on a date at a movie theater...showing Warners product, of course:

It's a fun, fast film, typical Warners product for the era, directed by Roy Del Ruth (husband of Winnie Lightner, an early Warners talkie star). It drew good reviews and was a box-office success, and Lombard soon realized she'd made a mistake (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/65901.html).

Perhaps word got out around the industry about her blunder, because she received an offer to do another cabbie movie...not from Paramount, but from Harry Cohn's Columbia studio. Carole didn't work with Cagney this time, but with the next best thing -- fellow New York Irishman Pat O'Brien. This film also had a one-word title: "Virtue."

Here, Lombard was a streetwalker -- among the toughest characters she ever played -- trying to reform by falling in love with and marrying O'Brien, who's unaware of her past. Things nearly fall apart before the requisite happy ending.

There is one more Lombard-Loretta link. Carole was guest editor of the April 1936 issue of Screen Book (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/672326.html), and Young sent her an autographed photo wishing her well:

carole lombard 02

Carole as cat lady

Posted by vp19 on 2016.01.05 at 16:57
Current mood: artisticartistic

Carole Lombard adored animals, owning a menagerie of species during her relatively brief lifetime. One wonders how she would have reacted to the current term "cat lady," which these days as often as not is preceded by the perjorative adjective "crazy."

Lombard probably wouldn't have sought that title for herself; truth be told, like most Americans in the 1930s, her primary pet of choice likely would've been a dog, not a cat. (Carole owned several of both species.) But last fall, she became the cover subject for a book about women and their felines -- a volume from Diane Lovejoy called "Cat Lady Chic." But her kitty companion isn't that Siamese you see on top, but a black cat that frankly looks mangy, or even stuffed:

Why put out a book celebrating the cat lady? This promotional material supplies the answer:

Lovwjoy, publications director of Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, owns 10 cats herself (though she also is married). And the many pix of femmes with felines proves woman + cat indeed can = glamorous. The "Conscious Cat" website (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/344899.html) gave it a largely positive review; after having perused it at the Los Angeles Public Library's store the other day, I think you'll feel that way too.

Learn more about "Cat Lady Chic" (Harry N. Abrams) by visiting http://www.amazon.com/Cat-Lady-Chic-Diane-Lovejoy/dp/1419714023;

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