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carole lombard 03

Getting the upper hand

Posted by vp19 on 2010.09.29 at 00:55
Current mood: impressedimpressed


That's a wonderful photo of Carole Lombard in a black sweater, and it's courtesy of my friend Tally. She came across it the other day, but said the original had "disgusting scan lines." Thanks to her enterprising photo editing, such lines have been removed. It's a splendid gift she has, and she uses it well.

So when I came across a photo being auctioned at eBay that needed some touching up, guess who I called upon? (And to the seller of this or any other item where I have a watermark or lines removed, it's not done as a ripoff. I have never, nor will I ever, reproduce and sell these images for commercial use, but merely show them as historical artifacts.)

And the following artifact ranks as arguably the most unusual of the more than 1,700 publicity stills Lombard made during her seven-plus years at Paramount. Why? Because you don't see her face, just...



...her hands. (It's Paramount P1202-495, proving it's a Lombard still, and I'm guessing this was taken in late 1932 or early '33.) Said Tally of the photo, "There were a LOT of scratches in the black velvet part of the picture, so turned the contrast up...Obviously it's black velvet...I bet she wore a turban in this picture session, yes?"

She's obviously referring to this photo:



I can't give Tally a yes or no answer on this one because the copy of the photo I have lacks a P1202 mark; for all we know, this portrait may have been taken at some other studio. (A check of the Paramount portrait gallery at carolelombard.org failed to include this photo.)

Getting back to the photo at hand, pardon the pun, it proves Lombard had a lot more going for her than an ethereal face, a sleek figure and magnificent legs. (Incidentally, one of my aunts was a commercial hand model for several years, and no, she did not suffer the same fate as George Costanza in the "Seinfeld" episode -- was that "The Puffy Shirt"? -- where he briefly takes up that occupation.)

The back of the photo, which had been property of Culver Pictures in New York, may have had a snipe at one time or another, but it isn't there anymore.

The photo is 8" x 10", and bidding begins at $19.99; as of this writing, none have been placed. Bids end at 9:21 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. If you're interested, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Photo-Hands-Carole-Lombard-M-/220675087213?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3361429b6d.

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