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carole lombard color 00

Warm up with some soup, courtesy of Carole

Posted by vp19 on 2017.01.19 at 17:00
Current mood: hungryhungry


In the 1941 romantic comedy "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," Carole Lombard's character Ann discovers she's not legally married to her husband David (Robert Montgomery), leading to all sorts of complications. Perhaps they could've been smoothed over if Ann and David had tried some spinach soup, courtesy of...Carole!

We ran this Lombard recipe back in December 2011, and while I haven't been able to recover a full-sized illustration of the page it ran in ("Fashions in Foods in Beverly Hills," Beverly Hills Woman's Club, 1930), we do have the ingredients, and thus can reprint it for your culinary pleasure.

no title

Given the cold, rainy and/or snowy weather much of the U.S. currently is undergoing, spinach soup might just come to your rescue. I've enjoyed it numerous times, and once I'm back on my feet with a home of my own, I look forward to having it again.

The recipe:

Mix together

2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons grated cheese
salt
pepper

Add

2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup cooked spinach

Let simmer for about 20 minutes over a slow fire.


It should come out looking something similar to this:



I've usually made it with canned spinach, though fresh spinach works well too, and have tried variations with spiced flour, different style cheeses, seasoned salt and such. It always comes out tasty -- use your imagination.

On the same page, "Pathe Player" Lombard (the first edition of this cookbook came out in 1929, while she was on Pathe's roster) also had a recipe for lettuce soup. I've never had the courage to try it, but if you're willing to, here it is:

To make lettuce soup, cook several good heads of lettuce, from which the outer leaves have been removed, with three cupfuls of milk. A double boiler is best, and the lettuce should be cooked in the milk about 20 minutes. Mix together

2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon chopped onion

Add to the lettuce and milk, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper and cook in double boiler 10 minutes
.

This apparently is the finished product:



Carole said her recipes "will be novel to many housewives, I think, and a welcome change from the standard varieties." Try them out, and see if you agree.

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The 'outsider' who never got in: Imagining a President Hearst

Posted by vp19 on 2017.01.19 at 10:32
Current mood: weirdweird


Carole Lombard was a frequent visitor to Hearst Castle, such as at this circus-themed 75th birthday party for William Randolph Hearst that she and Clark Gable attended in April 1938. Here's another, lesser-seen pic of Carole and Clark with the media magnate:



Why are we running these pics? In less than 24 hours, America's executive branch will be making a switch, from Barack Obama to Donald Trump:



And while many are comparing the unlikely rise of Trump to the fictional Lonesome Rhodes, portrayed so brilliantly by Andy Griffith in 1957's "A Face in the Crowd" (a film Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. is airing Friday)...



...one also could compare Trump to Hearst. Both were outsiders who sought the White House, but Hearst had to settle for two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and failed bids for New York City mayor and New York State governor. (Lombard briefly dated one of his sons in the mid-1920s.) What would a President Hearst have been like?



Of course, it largely would've depended upon when the publisher gained the presidency. The progressive Hearst of 1908 was a far cry from the conservative Hearst of 1932. It was this change that probably made Hearst such a tantalizing figure to Orson Welles, and is why the lord of San Simeon takes such a commanding role in the composite magnate that was Xanadu's fictional Charles Foster Kane.

I asked my Facebook friend Lara Gabrielle Fowler, who's been researching a planned Marion Davies biography, for her thoughts on Hearst vs. Trump. Here's what she had to say:

"I've gotten a lot of questions about this and I've always said they're not comparable but had trouble thinking of why. After some thought I've come to the conclusioh that Hearst had a real respect for sophistication and culture that Trump doesn't."

To some who view Hearst through the prism of "yellow journalism," screaming headlines and all-caps editorials, that may not make much sense. But she elaborates:

"Trump is low and crass. Hearst was highly cultured and sophisticated. Trump's cabinet is the epitome of incompetence, where I think Hearst's would have been on the verge of being too experienced. He respected people who were knowledgeable and could teach him things. He was a major proponent of education, while Trump has a disdain for education and knowledge."

The University of California Berkeley campus had a major benefactor in Hearst's mother Phoebe. And speaking of women...

"Also, Hearst's cabinet would be filled with competent women on an equal par with men. There wasn't a misogynistic bone in that man's body."



The most visible example in today's eyes is architect Julia Morgan, who designed many Hearst projects, including the old Los Angeles Herald-Examiner building on Broadway (it's being converted into residential space) and, of course, Hearst's truly palatial home between the Bay Area and LA, now a state-owned major tourist attraction -- a far cry from Trump Tower or the incoming president's Mar-A-Lago:



"The similarities are clear -- powerful men in the private sector. But I think they end there."

Of course, we don't know how a President Hearst would have handled having Marion Davies in his life (although she didn't become a major part of it until about 1917), if he couldn't have married her. (His wife Millicent refused to grant him a divorce for sundry reasons.) But both as an actress and as a person, Davies -- a talented and beloved Hollywood figure whose charity extended to many, even Hearst himself when his corporation hit hard times -- certainly was in a far higher league than any of Trump's women.



It's going to be a fascinating four years, at the very least.

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The Profane Angel Blogathon: Here's what was contributed

Posted by vp19 on 2017.01.18 at 19:31
Current mood: impressedimpressed


The Profane Angel Blogathon, created to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the death of Carole Lombard, completed its third and final day today, and I want to thank its co-hosts, In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood (https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/) and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies (http://phyllislovesclassicmovies.blogspot.com/). You did a yeoman job, and I was proud to participate.



Here's a list of everything that ran -- and what I said about the co-hosts also applies to the contributors. The entries I've read have all been fabulous, offering new insights to this beloved Hollywood legend, her life and times. Thanks to all of you.



Silver Screenings examines that raucous comedy of yellow journalism, "Nothing Sacred": https://silverscreenings.org/2017/01/12/carole-lombard-takes-on-the-high-profile-illness/. It's also covered by Real Weegie Midget: https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/lombard/.

"Hands Across the Table," the first of Lombard's four pairings with Fred MacMurray, is contributed by Love Letters to Old Hollywood: http://loveletterstooldhollywood.blogspot.com/2017/01/lombard-and-macmurray-fall-head-over.html, along with scores of screengrabs from this charming comedy.

Wide Screen World compares "Made For Each Other" to another movie involving an ailing child: http://widescreenworld.blogspot.com/2017/01/made-for-each-other.html. It's also the film that made Christina Wehner a Lombard fan: https://christinawehner.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/made-for-each-other-1939/.

Mike's Take On the Movies looks at "Virtue," which many deem Lombard's best film prior to "Twentieth Century": https://mikestakeonthemovies.com/2017/01/16/virtue-1932/.



How about two entries from That William Powell Site? https://thatwilliampowellsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/carole-lombard-immortal/ and https://thatwilliampowellsite.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/bill-and-carole-post-divorce-bffs/.

The Old Hollywood Garden takes us on board the "Twentieth Century," Carole's career-changing performance: https://theoldhollywoodgarden.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/twentieth-century-1934-2/.

"My Man Godfrey" may have been about a "forgotten man," but it's well remembered by Taking Up Room: https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/forgotten-man-where-art-thou/. And The Wonderful World of Cinema from Virginie Pronovost (can't go wrong with those initials, folks!) reviews Lombard's Academy Award-nominated performance in it: https://thewonderfulworldofcinema.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/12106/

We'll never know whether Lombard could have been a conventional "Hitchcock blonde," but she enlisted the master of suspense to direct the fine romantic comedy "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." A Shroud of Thoughts tells us all about it: http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2017/01/mr-mrs-smith-1941.html.



Co-host Phyllis wrote this piece about Lombard's first home in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the flooding little Jane Alice Peters experienced in 1913: http://phyllislovesclassicmovies.blogspot.com/2017/01/carole-lombards-childhood-home-and.html, as well as a look at the star sapphires Carole adored: http://phyllislovesclassicmovies.blogspot.com/2017/01/carole-lombards-star-sapphires.html.

Back to Golden Days reviews Lombard's fateful final few days: http://back-to-golden-days.blogspot.pt/2017/01/the-profane-angel-blogathon-final-hours.html.

Some guy at Carole & Co. wrote this about the updated edition of Robert Matzen's "Fireball": http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/857304.html.

Carole, Coop and Shirley Temple provide plenty of star power in "Now and Forever." Critica Retro examines the film in both English and Portuguese: http://criticaretro.blogspot.com.br/2017/01/agora-e-sempre-now-and-forever-1934.html?m=1.

"Vigil in the Night" is as solid a drama as Lombard ever made, and it's reviewed by The Stop Button: https://thestopbutton.com/2017/01/17/vigil-night-1940/.

I wasn't aware how Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz helped Clark Gable cope after Carole's death until reading this entry from Whimsically Classic: https://whimsicallyclassic.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/carole-lombard-blogathon/.

The second Lombard-MacMurray teaming, "The Princess Comes Across," is the topic of this entry from Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: https://wolffianclassicmoviesdigest.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/the-princess-comes-across/.

My friend and White Sox fan Dan Day Jr., happy today that former Chisox and Montreal Expos star Tim Raines was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (along with Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez), wrote this about Lombard's final film at Columbia, "Lady By Choice," at his The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog: http://dandayjr35.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-profane-angel-blogathon-lady-by.html?spref=tw.

Classic Movie Hub Blog provides an always-welcome pictorial entry of Lombard and second husband Gable: http://www.classicmoviehub.com/blog/carole-lombard-the-profane-angel-blogathon-lombard-and-gable-pictorial/.



Carole's final film, the Ernst Lubitsch-directed "To Be Or Not To Be," gets coverage from both Cinema Cities (https://cinemacities.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/carole-lombard-in-to-be-or-not-to-be-1942/) and Karavansara (https://karavansara.live/2017/01/16/carole-lombard-the-profane-angel-blogathon-to-be-or-not-to-be-1942/).

Lombard's six screwball movies are viewed by Old Hollywood Films: http://www.oldhollywoodfilms.com/2017/01/carole-lombard-screwball-queen.html.

Many of us may regret that the lone Lombard pairing with Cary Grant was a drama and not a comedy, but The Flapper Dame nevertheless loves "In Name Only": https://theflapperdamefilm.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/in-name-only-1939-carole-lombard-blogathon/.



Again, thanks to all of you...and somewhere, Carole is thanking you, too.

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The Profane Angel Blogathon: A new, improved 'Fireball'

Posted by vp19 on 2017.01.16 at 15:19
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative


It was 75 years ago today that Carole Lombard joined the ranks of the angels, decades sooner than it should have occurred. This entry honors her as part of The Profane Angel Blogathon, sponsored by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood (https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/) and Phyllis Loves Classic Movies (http://phyllislovesclassicmovies.blogspot.com/)



In a just universe, Lombard, her mother Elizabeth Peters, MGM publicist Otto Winkler and the others on board that DC-3 -- many of them Army Air Force pilots -- should have gone on with their lives and helped win World War II. But fate decreed otherwise, and many in the entertainment industry still cherish Carole's memory.

It's a memory nearly all now know only secondhand; if you were out of your teens when the crash took place, today you're at least 95. A mere handful of Hollywood folk who actually met her are still around.

Fortunately, biographers have researched Lombard's life story, and have done a wonderful job. In recent years, three new books about Carole have been issued, and today one of them -- "Fireball," by Robert Matzen -- has been reissued in a new trade paperback edition through Goodknight Books (https://www.goodknightbooks.com/titles/fireball-carole-lombard/).



"Fireball" was a terrific book in its first go-round, and in fact won the Benjamin Franklin Award in 2015 as the best biography from an independent publisher (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/779384.html). This time, according to Matzen, it's even better. Check out these added elements:

* Information on Lombard's Baha'i faith.
* New information -- including eyewitness accounts -- on Carole's day in Indianapolis on Jan. 15, 1942.
* Her full Cadle Tabernacle speech. (Lombard fan Brian Lee Anderson has uncovered an audio recording, a link to which can be found at http://www.indystar.com/story/news/history/retroindy/2017/01/15/75-years-after-her-death-zinnias-carole-lombard/96244106/, along with a touching story about his mother, who attended the war bond rally at the state capitol.)
* The body of one of the victims of the crash was found on Mount Potosi in 2014, and the new edition includes that information.
* Twice as many pages of photos, from 16 to 32.

"Fireball" covers the totality of this tragic, inexplicable event, telling the stories not just of Lombard, but of its other victims. The original made for compelling reading -- I'm certain this version will do likewise.

Matzen has written a book about one of Lombard's co-stars, James Stewart ("Made For Each Other," several radio programs). It's called "Mission," and examines a sometimes-overlooked aspect of this quintessential American actor -- his military service during World War II.



At the time of Carole's death, Stewart already was in the service (he had enlisted in the Army Air Corps the previous March after he was initially rejected for being underweight), and that month was commissioned a second lieutenant. Stewart -- who sought to be sent overseas -- had to settle for training other pilots until he was transferred to England in November 1943. By March, he was flying combat missions.

Stewart flew 20 such missions as a command pilot. His forays often took him deep into Germany. By war's end, he had been promoted to colonel and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal and the French Croix de Guerre. Like his friend Clark Gable, who joined the Army a few months after Lombard's death, the war profoundly affected Stewart. Both lost many new friends through the conflict.

It showed in Stewart's post-war career -- the one-time light small-town innocent of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" developed a deeper resolve in his film roles, beginning with "It's A Wonderful Life" (1946). Matzen examines this pivotal movie, which led to later triumphs in westerns and with Alfred Hitchcock, and how Stewart's air career affected his portrayal of George Bailey at https://robertmatzen.com/2016/12/18/a-jagged-edge/.



Finally, more Lombard book news: Michelle Morgan reports her bio "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star" will get an American release in May. More info soon.

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To Francine, with love (RIP)

Posted by vp19 on 2017.01.07 at 12:48
Current mood: thankfulthankful


Most readers of Carole & Co. know that for the past several years, I've opened every entry with a photo of Carole Lombard. Today, I'm making a rare exception...and not because that's me in the pic above. Rather, it's because it was the first time I met Francine York, a splendid actress and even better lady whom we lost yesterday.

The event came in June 2014 at Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard, when actress Diane McBain promoted her new book (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/705489.html). Francine, a longtime friend of Diane's, dropped by, as did Tippi Hedren. York posed with both.

Francine and I had known each other via Facebook for several years, but this marked the first time we had met in the flesh. She was gracious -- and as you can see, her glamour made even me look good.

We met several more times, including at Cinecon 50 over Labor Day weekend 2014 (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/722471.html), where Francine received a film career achievement award. I congratulated her, and she kissed me...and there's nothing like being kissed by a beautiful Hollywood actress.

Some of you are saying, who was Francine and why did she receive such an honor?



Chances are that if you've watched 1960s television, you saw Francine; she seemingly was a guest star everywhere. Drama ("The Untouchables," "Perry Mason"), comedies ("I Dream of Jeannie," "Gomer Pyle USMC," "Green Acres," "Bewitched"), sci-fi/fantasy ("Lost in Space," "Batman," "Land of the Giants") -- York always was a welcome presence. (While she starred on several pilot episodes of projected series, none were picked up.)

She was a reliable actress in movies as well, appearing with Elvis Presley in "Tickle Me," Jerry Lewis in several films including "It's Only Money" and many other stars. The closest she came to a major cinematic triumph was starring in 1973's "The Doll Squad," sort of a precursor to "Charlie's Angels" (three attractive women battle evildoers), although the exploitation-oriented film was substantially more violent than the eventual Aaron Spelling TV production.



The statuesque (5-foot-8) Iron Range of Minnesota native blended sex appeal with talent in the '60s and '70s, and continued to get plenty of work through later decades. In 2000, she appeared with Nicolas Cage in "The Family Man"; later TV roles included parts on "The King of Queens" (as Jerry Stiller's romantic interest), "Hot in Cleveland" and "The Mindy Project." She even appeared in a video for a CD by fellow Iron Range native Bob Dylan:



While she never married, she looked after longtime director Vincent Sherman until he died at age 99 in 2006.

Last month, I received a holiday card from Francine; she had heard of my recent struggles, and sent me one where she was dressed in a Wonder Woman costume; the message was, "To a WONDER-ful 2017!" I was thrilled to receive it, and mailed one back to her Sherman Oaks residence saying in part, "Like a true superheroine, you came to my (emotional) rescue," adding my best wishes for her personally, and professionally, in the upcoming year.

Alas, in this real world, not even superheroines can conquer cancer. Francine, wanting to keep working, understandably kept her condition a secret to all but her closest friends. It wasn't until her Facebook post Thursday night, saying she may have to go to the hospital, that we learned something was amiss. She died the following morning. (Obituaries have listed her at age 80, although she claimed her birth came in August 1938; of course, for professional reasons many actresses alter their listed age. Heck, even Lombard did it for a time.)



Thank you, Francine. I love you.

A screenwriting dream of mine was to write a role for her, as her joie de vivre would enliven any production. One of my projects, the thriller-romantic comedy "Fugitive Sweetheart," includes a part designed for her as small-town Colorado newspaper publisher Alexandra Wintergreen, who hires eastern emigre Duane Llewellyn as a reporter. He learns the paper's copy editor, Susan Birch, actually is his old New Jersey high school classmate Eloise Kellogg, who's changed her identity under the federal witness protection program. (I once mentioned it to Francine, and she was interested.)

In York's honor, I'm renaming the character the similarly-euphonious Francine Wintergreen.

Here are several obituaries for Francine, giving you an idea of her fascinating career and life:
The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/francine-york-dead-batman-doll-squad-actress-was-80-961611
Variety: http://variety.com/2017/film/people-news/francine-york-dead-dies-batman-bewitched-1201954404/
TV Guide: http://www.tvguide.com/news/francine-york-dead-batman/?ftag=fbsoshares
MeTV: http://www.metv.com/stories/rip-francine-york-the-batman-actress-and-1960s-star-has-died-at-age-80/ (She appeared in promotions for the channel.)


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National Screenwriters Day: This 'princess' had a semi-secret identity -- script doctor

Posted by vp19 on 2017.01.05 at 11:11
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative


Today marks the inaugural National Screenwriters Day (http://nationalscreenwritersday.com/). Since Carole Lombard had a great appreciation for screenwriters -- she worked with many of the best of her era, including Roberft Riskin, Norman Krasna, Ben Hecht and more -- it seemed proper to write a screenwriter-oriented entry today. (Lombard's premature passing prevented her from working with Billy Wilder, who knew and admired her.)

From the early '30s on, Lombard gained a reputation as someone with a sharp sense of what worked in a script and what didn't, even though she never wrote one herself. Writers often used her as a sounding board. (She was romantically linked to Riskin, whose partners also included Glenda Farrell. In the 1940s, Riskin married Fay Wray, who also appreciated writers -- John Monk Saunders was a prior husband.)

In the classic Hollywood era, each major studio had its own script department, and revisions almost always were done in-house. It wasn't until the studio system broke down in the 1960s, long after Lombard left us, that the concept of "script doctors" -- outsiders who would examine and suggest changes to scripts -- took hold. Many such people, including Quentin Tarentino and Joss Whedon, first gained industry fame as script doctors. Meanwhile, someone whose reputation came before the camera, not behind it, did likewise:



That's right...Carrie Fisher, best known in popular culture as Princess Leia from the "Star Wars" franchise (and who died Dec. 27 at age 60), was for a time considered one of the premier script doctors in Hollywood.

For those of us who know Fisher as a humorist (she also wrote several novels), it shouldn't be much of a surprise; she had a wonderfully witty way with words. And this skill of hers wasn't hidden to the public -- this story came out in 2015 (http://www.themarysue.com/carrie-fisher-script-doctor/). Nevertheless, it was one of her more unrecognized talents. She rarely if ever gained a screen credit for her scriptwriting surgery.

Some of the films Fisher aided may surprise you -- "Hook," "Sister Act," even "Lethal Weapon 3" and "Outbreak" (http://hellogiggles.com/10-movies-absolutely-no-idea-carrie-fisher-helped-write/). As Fisher once said, "I'm a good script doctor because I respect the original tone or dialect of the original and try to rewrite it according to what it is already. ... There's usually not a lot of me in it, just some line I put in it."

Other sources to learn about Fisher as script doctor include http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/carrie-fisher-secretly-hollywood-best-script-doctors-article-1.2925689, http://www.slashfilm.com/carrie-fisher-script-doctor/ and http://mashable.com/2016/12/27/carrie-fisher-script/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link#5ri4oGzuomq8. It's from the last I derive my closing quote. Asked what it takes to heal bad dialogue, she said: "Make the women smarter and the love scenes better."

Amen.

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Closing the book on a challenging year

Posted by vp19 on 2016.12.31 at 12:59
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic


Cheers from Carole Lombard; from where and when I write this, less than 12 hours remain in 2016. And I dare say that for many of us, we bid it good riddance.



If you live in Southern California, chances are you've seen this image on a billboard or bus: an ad for Health Net showing an adorable kid getting ready to ride a box down the stairs (though the "stairs" are drawn around him, so we know in real life he won't be hurt). For me, this year was much like that little boy's voyage, although my staircase brought plenty of figurative bumps and bruises.

Three days into 2016, I relinquished my apartment. After spending three somewhat uncomfortable weeks in Jacksonville, Fla., with my brother (the feeling was mutual), I returned to Los Angeles at the start of February. Despite my recent setbacks, it's a city I've grown to love. Here's a pic of LA's skyline from a few winters ago, when the higher elevations of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains actually get some snow:



Upon my return, life was hardly that picturesque. Unable to find sustained work once I returned and making a few crucial mistakes involving money many of you provided me (for which I apologize), I bounced from shelter to shelter, which I'm still doing today.

Take it from me, Skid Row is a scary place, although I've been fortunate in that I've never had to spend a night on the street. (And given the recent rain and cold in the Los Angeles area, my heart goes out to those who must endure those dreadful conditions.) I've been working temporary assignments since late October, though the hours are sporadic, but I can see flickers of light at the end of my tunnel.

I haven't discussed my recent life very much, both out of embarrassment and because I don't like to depress people. Had I been able to continue my online proofreading work -- which ended about the time I settled in -- none of this might have happened. Things are going to get better, but I have to be patient. Through my romantic comedy screenplay "Stand Tall!", which I still hope to sell (https://filmfreeway.com/projects/476988), I may be able to corral other screenwriting assignments. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can find some sort of permanent job, which then will enable me to get an apartment.

Despite all these travails, I'm keeping the faith for 2017, with hopes that you will too. The upcoming year will be this site's 10th anniversary, and although I understandably haven't written much of late, much will be going on. The 75th anniversary of Lombard's passing will be commemorated with a blogathon, and I've promised to participate. I'm hoping Michelle Morgan's terrific Lombard bio gets some sort of American printing. And as more people discover Carole, her talent and magic, this site will continue to thrive.

Goodbye to 2016. Can't say too many of us are sorry to see it go.

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At last, my review: 'Twentieth-Century Star'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.12.05 at 16:57
Current mood: gratefulgrateful


I'm certain many of you were wondering, "Just when is he going to review the new Carole Lombard biography?" Well, truth be told, I've been very busy of late, getting plenty of work from an agency...work that requires long commutes from downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley. So I simply haven't had much time to gather myself and write something.

Now I have -- and rest assured, Michelle Morgan, I love "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star." There are a few flub-ups scattered throughout its pages, minor things that I hope can be fixed for a softcover or American printing of the book. (This comes from The History Press, a British publisher.)



What I like most about this book is that it lets Lombard explain herself in her own words, through comments from newspapers or fan magazines of the time. Yes, some of them may have been sanitized by the studios for public consumption, but if you read between the lines, the real Carole comes through. For example, here's part of an interview Lombard gave reporter Ellsworth Finch in mid-1932:



"I love movies. I must, otherwise I'd have got myself a saner job long ago. I hang on stubbornly, hoping that someday I'll have a crack at a really intelligent, fine picture. I laugh about the stupidities afterward, but at the time it is heart-breaking and nerve-racking. The stories, little confections that have been stirred up by half a dozen hands into a tasty morsel that would drive any adult into acute nausea! The whole system is so cockeyed. The talent is there, but it is so badly used -- the wrong people doing the wrong things, world without end, amen! Casual anecdotes of ordinary studio routine are more harrowing than the darkest Russian tales you can name. It's such a pity -- directors and writers forced into niches where they don't belong. And of course, the actors are eventual victims too."

If we somehow zapped Lombard ahead 84 years into the largely comic- and animation-driven movie world of late 2016, her indignation probably would be amplified tenfold. And one wonders whether a Paramount executive called her into his office to suggest she be a mite kinder to the film industry.

The biography is well-organized, with plenty of fascinating pictures and background on Lombard's family. No matter what part of Carole's career you're particularly interested in, chances are you'll find it here.




And finally, a disclaimer I've mentioned several times before -- I assisted with research on this book, as the above dedication notes. She adds in the acknowledgements,

"Vincent Paterno, Carole Sampeck, Debbie Beno, Douglas Cohen, Bruce Calvert, Robert S. Birchard, Dina-Marie Kulzer and Ann Trifescu have all been gracious enough to share their photos, letters, rare documents and other memorabilia with me. Vincent also trawled the archives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- a kindness I will never forget."

Neither will I forget being attached to a project such as this. Thank you for letting me be part of it.

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Lots going on in Lombardland -- a blogathon and (another) book

Posted by vp19 on 2016.11.28 at 17:31
Current mood: impressedimpressed


So much Carole Lombard stuff is happening, it's getting hard for me to keep up -- and that doesn't include Michelle Morgan's new biography "Carole Lombard: Twentieth Century Star," of which I hope to have a review up in a few days. (I will say at the outset it's very good.)

But it's not all that's going on. Not by a long shot.

Less than two months from now, the 75th anniversary of Lombard's death will be commemorated, and as a tribute, two sites -- Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood -- will co-host a three-day event, "Carole Lombard: The Profane Angel Blogathon," from Jan. 16 to 18. (And yes, I plan to participate, though I haven't yet selected a topic.) As of this writing, 24 blogs are scheduled to contribute something...and you can, too. Find out more by going to https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/announcing-the-carole-lombard-the-profane-angel-blogathon/ or to http://phyllislovesclassicmovies.blogspot.com/2016/11/announcing-carole-lombard-blogathon.html.

My friend Crystal Kalyana Pacey has created eight banners for the blogathon, which you can access at either site. Here are three of them:





As someone who's administered a few blogathons (including one on Lombard in 2011), I hope you'll take part. These events not only inform, but are plenty of fun.

Additionally, Morgan's bio isn't the only new Lombard-related book out there. Carole's intense but ill-fated romance with singer-musician-composer Russ Columbo is the topic of a new volume, "Two Lovers: The Love Story of Carole Lombard and Russ Columbo," written by Beverly Adam.



You can read the first chapter and part of the second at https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_p_kb_dp&asin=B01N0FYPIH&tag=facebook0c410-20&reshareId=QF1R29773BSDXD1CCTE7&reshareChannel=system. From what I read, this book looks fascinating, and I await the rest of it. ("Two Lovers" can be ordered from with Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and formats include large print and audio book.) A Facebook site dedicated to the book is at https://www.facebook.com/Two-Lovers-the-love-story-of-Carole-Lombard-and-Russ-Columbo-692980384187271/.

And its title? "I See Two Lovers" was the last song Columbo ever recorded, on Aug. 31, 1934, two days before his shocking death in a freak gun accident. This book makes me wish that planned 1992 Lombard-Columbo biopic, with the ethereal Michelle Pfeiffer as Lombard and Tom Cruise as Columbo (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/48480.html), had reached fruition.


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Do me a favor, and please do it now!

Posted by vp19 on 2016.11.23 at 05:17
Current mood: determineddetermined


My romantic comedy "Stand Tall!" is in the running for a $250 prize in the Thanksgiving best screenplay contest at IndieWise, part of the IndustryBOOST competition.



You only have a few hours to help -- the deadline is 8:30 p.m. Pacific/11:30 p.m. Eastern, a bit more than 15 hours from when I typed this.

Here's what you do:

* Go to https://getindiewise.com/eQ8gqp4EDal, where you can read my script (which I hope you genuinely love). After the final page, you can provide feedback, helping with my ratings. If you join GetIndieWise.com (it's free), you can nominate it for best screenplay. The most-nominated script wins $250.



I've already earned finalist status, but winning the cash would be nice, too. (And I could use it.)

By the way, there's lots of stuff going on in Lombardland...and come tomorrow (Thanksgiving), I intend to tell you all anout it.


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What a wonderful feeling to be booked with Carole!

Posted by vp19 on 2016.11.08 at 19:36
Current mood: excitedexcited
In the words of Jack Paar, I kid you not. Turn to one of the introductory pages of Michelle Morgan's new biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," and look what you'll find:



Wow, what a thrill. I feel so honored to be one of two people this book is dedicated to -- and delighted my good friend Carole Sampeck, a wonderful lady who's been a splendid source of information about Lombard lo these many years, has been similarly honored.

Now I await reading the book. It should arrive any day now...

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A 'Cult' celebrates 'a life less ordinary'

Posted by vp19 on 2016.11.03 at 13:19
Current mood: satisfiedsatisfied


The reviews are coming in for Michelle Morgan's new biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star." One of them is from the British site "We Are Cult" (http://wearecult.rocks/), and it's glowing.

The reviewer notes, "we are presented, and not for the first time, with an actor's life which is arguably more interesting than any of the characters she played," adding, "What a biopic Lombard's life would make. Comedy! Tragedy! Sex! Death! A typical Hollywood star, but no stroppy and insecure egomaniac was she."

Thr reviewer praises Morgan's digging up "virtually every interview Lombard ever gave to the Hollywood press, either official or fan-based." Carole supposedly "quickly grew frustrated -- and often furious -- with fan magazines' intrusion into her personal life." (This may explain why Lombard, despite having good rapport with fans, apparently never established a fan club, http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/487094.html.)

The book is called "entertaining and lucid" and is said to present Lombard as "a confident and down-to-earth person, determined to demonstrate her independence as far as she could."

Read the entire review at http://wearecult.rocks/a-life-less-ordinary-carole-lombard-twentieth-century-star, which includes a link to ordering the book through amazon.co.uk.

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Here's a five-star Halloween treat

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.31 at 16:49
Current mood: impressedimpressed
It's from vlogger (video blogger) Andrea Pryke on Michelle Morgan's new Carole Lombard biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star." It lasts for nearly 10 minutes. but it's worth a listen:



Andrea loves the book. Once I'm able to see it, I'm certain I will, too.

(For those of you who have read it, will you kindly provide your own review?)

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How'd ya like to win a book?

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.28 at 08:28
Current mood: chipperchipper
And not just any book, but Michelle Morgan's new biography of Carole Lombard? Now you can -- and it's autographed by the author herself.

As she says:

"My author copies of Carole Lombard have arrived at last! Whoopee!! To celebrate, I am giving away a signed copy on Facebook... All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning, is to a) join my Official Michelle Morgan Authoe page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/124973377514850/), b) share this post and c) tell me why you'd like to win. I will choose the winner at random on 1 November. Good luck!!

Best wishes to all who participate.

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In store for Carole (and perhaps don't get Amazon-ian)

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.12 at 12:34
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful
If you're in the United Kingdom and you want Michelle Morgan's new Carole Lombard biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," drop by your local bookstore. There's a very good chance it's arrived.

According to Morgan, it's now heading into stores, and of course she's thrilled. "Releasing a book out into the world, is like releasing a baby in a way," she commented on her blog, http://michellemorgan.co.uk/carole-hits-stores-last/. (Having done neither, I'll simply take her word for it.) "You want everyone to like your offspring, and for them to be loved and make people happy!"

If you want to see Morgan's Lombard literary delivery, perhaps you shouldn't contact Amazon.com's UK division. As of today, she wrote, it had only one copy left in stock, although she added more should be on the way soon. Fortunately, there are alternative processes available, and her link above lists a few.

And for my British friends, please do Morgan a favor. If you buy a copy at a store or simply see one in stock, take a selfie of you plus book and send it to her via Twitter or Instagram (@MMwritergirl). Mom the author will be so proud.


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An author's thrill of victory

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.08 at 09:06
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic
Visual proof of Michelle Morgan's new Carole Lombard biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," from the writer herself:



How delightful! It also gives us a feel for what the book will be like when we get it in our hands.

Congratulations, Michelle.

P.S. For a limited time, you can purchase it at a 31 percent discount, with free shipping, through this link: https://www.bookdepository.com/Carole-Lombard-Twentieth-Century-Star-Michelle-Morgan/9780750966054.

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News of a birthday present -- to us!

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.06 at 11:06
Current mood: thankfulthankful
This just in from Michelle Morgan:

"The books have arrived in the warehouse and publisher's office! This means that UK bookshops will start to receive them very soon. Overseas fans can still order them though, from Amazon and The Book Depository, etc. Happy Birthday to Carole, and Happy Publication day, too! I'm very happy!"

We can tell, Michelle, from all those exclamation points.

The book, of course, is "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," Morgan's long-awaited Lombard biography, from the British publisher The History Press. And isn't it fitting that news of the release takes place on the anniversary of Carole's birth? (Did she use her celestial powers to make sure it happened that way? I wouldn't put it past her.)

In ensuing weeks, many of us will receive copies of this book, and I'm certain we will cherish it. Those of us who have enjoyed Morgan's books on Marilyn Monroe and other subjects look forward to seeing what nuggets of Lombardiana she has uncovered through her thorough research.

Somewhere, Lombard is smiling. So are we.

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Celebrate her 108th!

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.06 at 01:59
Current mood: excitedexcited
It was 108 years ago today that Jane Alice Peters came into the world in Fort Wayne, Ind. That world would come to know, and love, her as Carole Lombard, an actress who would have a relatively brief life (less than a third of a century), but one with plenty of impact -- both in her work (immortalized through the process of motion pictures) and in her deeds (she made plenty of friends along the way). What a wonderful legacy.

Carole's millions of fans, most of whom hadn't yet been born when she left this earth in 1942, will celebrate that life today.

And what's the latest on what promises to be the definitive Lombard biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star?" No update, according to author Michelle Morgan. "I am very frustrated," she messaged me. "I hope it arrives today." As do we.

At her Facebook page today, Morgan saluted Lombard on her birth anniversary, calling her "the woman who has taught me so much about business, and how important it is to stick to your guns and trust your instincts." She left us with this quote from Carole: "A woman has just as much right in this world as a man and can get along in it just as well if she puts her mind to it."

Morgan's recent piece on Lombard, as well as a link to order her book, can be found at http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/how-carole-lombard-s-career-was-almost-over-before-it-began/.

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TCM's birthday present: Lots of Lombard

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.04 at 16:11
Current mood: happyhappy
For the 108th anniversary of her birth on Thursday, Turner Classic Movies is multiplying Carole Lombard by five. That's right -- five films of hers will be shown during the day, and it's a good collection, focusing on the last few years of her career.

Things begin at 6:30 a.m. (Eastern) with 1937's "Nothing Sacred," her only three-strip Technicolor feature, followed at 7:45 with her other movie for Selznick International, "Made For Each Other" with James Stewart. Then it's a trio from RKO: "Vigil In THe Night" at 9:30, "In Name Only" (her only starring vehicle with Cary Grant) at 11:15 and the 1941 "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" with Robert Montgomery (directed by Alfred Hitchcock, his lone romantic comedy) at 1 p.m. (That segues into several of Hitch's other films.)

The schedule for the day is at http://www.tcm.com/schedule/index.html?tz=PST&sdate=2016-10-06. Enjoy.

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A taste of what's to come...and thank you, Vin

Posted by vp19 on 2016.10.01 at 21:25
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Sometime next week, if all goes according to plan, The History Press, a British publisher, will release Michelle Morgan's long-awaited Carole Lombard biography, "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star." (I believe it's already available via Kindle, for those who prefer to go that route.)

And Morgan wrote a story for the publisher's website which gives an idea not only of what the book is all about, but her incomparable research. It deals with an incident that came close to derailing Lombard's career -- the automobile accident that effectively ended her career as a teenage starlet, perhaps to her benefit. (It's hard to gauge, as none of the films she made before the accident have survived.)

Morgan uncovered several interviews Lombard later gave in which she referred to the accident. In one, she said, "No girl should start picture work in a leading role [as Carole did in her first film at Fox, "Marriage in Transit"]. It's unfair to her and punishment to an audience."

According to Morgan, Lombard "immersed herself in self-study," reading plays, including Shakespeare. (I regularly visit the Los Angeles Central Library, which opened in 1926, and wonder whether the teen Lombard used it as part of her recovery.) We even learn that later in 1926, she returned to one of her favorite pre-accident hangouts, the fabled Cocoanut Grove nightclub, where she reached the finals of a dance contest. (Her rivals included Joan Crawford and Billie Dove.)

The page is at http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/how-carole-lombard-s-career-was-almost-over-before-it-began/, which also has a link to purchase "Twentieth-Century Star" and another Morgan book, "Before Marilyn" (about Monroe's early modeling career; Morgan arguably is the definitive Marilyn authority).

Sunday is a very special day for those of us who love baseball, as it's the final broadcast in the 67-year career of Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. It'll be in San Francisco, where Scully -- the last link to the Dodgers' Brooklyn roots -- announced the first major-league game on the West Coast (an 8-0 loss to the also-transplanted San Francisco Giants) at Seals Stadium in April 1958.

Carole & Co. paid a "heavenly" tribute to Scully two years ago (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/713739.html). It isn't merely his longevity that has made him special, but his quality, his way with words, his knowledge of the game. (He played baseball at Fordham University.) This finale will be carried on TimeWarner SportsNet LA and Channel 5 in Los Angeles; in addition, KLAC radio, the Dodgers' flagship, will simulcast Scully's TV call the entire game. (Normally, only his first three innings are simulcast.)

Here's a special treat -- Scully calling a Brooklyn Dodger game! It's from June 4, 1957 at Ebbets Field against the Chicago Cubs, the start of a two-week homestand against the "western" teams (in 1957, the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Braves and St. Louis Cardinals). To make things even more fascinating, the Brooklyn starter was erratic young lefthander Sandy Koufax, who eight years later would fire a perfect game against the Cubs.

Scully -- who notes at the start of the game he had just spilled some coffee in his lap! -- comments that the following night's starter (at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City) would be Don Drysdale, like Koufax a future Hall of Famer in Los Angeles. (Don would become part of the Dodgers' broadcast team.) It's about three hours long, but worth a listen to anyone who wondered what Scully sounded like early in his career (his eighth with the Dodgers, fourth as lead announcer). Hear it at https://youtu.be/9w7Kt1vo-3Y.


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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/.

Enjoy.


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