Looking back: May 1933Posted by vp19 on 2012.05.07 at 19:08
Current mood: nostalgic
Aside from mediocre reviews for "Supernatural" (this still is indicative of her enthusiasm for the project), which by now was making the rounds of theaters nationwide, not much was going on in Carole Lombard's life during May 1933. Not to say Paramount wasn't giving this horror hokum a push, as evidenced in this ad from the May 10 Zanesville Times Recorder in Ohio:
Other marketing specifically focused on Lombard, playing up the "Jekyll-and-Hyde" angle (seen here in both an ad and a blurb (two columns to the left) from the Corsicana (Texas) Daily Sun of May 30:
An ad in the Greeley (Colo.) Daily Tribune cast Lombard in a more macabre light:
There was another new Lombard film in theaters that month, though she only figured in it tangentially. It was the World War I epic "The Eagle And The Hawk," and note that the Film Daily review of May 6 doesn't list her at all, aside from cast detail:
On the 27th, the Syracuse Herald praised the film, but noted, "For the sake of a feminine name on the program you briefly see Carole Lombard in a sexual moment which well might have been omitted."
"Sexual moment"? That sounds like something from a Tijuana bible. Carole was essentially playing the equivalent of Jean Harlow's character from "Hell's Angels" three years earlier, albeit with substantially less impact.
Louella Parsons' Hearst-based syndicated column featured several mentions of Lombard during May. On the 1st, she noted that Carole and husband Bill Powell were among the film folk who traveled to the Hearst ranch (William Randolph Hearst always preferred that term to "Hearst Castle") on the publisher/film producer's 70th birthday. (Others included Harold Lloyd and his wife, as well as Constance Talmadge.) On May 3, Parsons said Paramount was trying to get Powell, who had just left Warners, to co-star with his wife in "The Big Executive":
Two days later, Parsons reported RKO had beaten Paramount to the punch, and signed Powell to appear with Ann Harding in "Double Harness." Paramount substituted Cary Grant for the male lead, but then Carole herself dropped out, stated the May 12 Hollywood Reporter, replaced by Helen Twelvetrees:
When "Big Executive" hit theaters that October, neither Grant nor Twelvetrees were the leads. Those honors instead went to Ricardo Cortez and Elizabeth Young; the latter made only four films, including a supporting part in Greta Garbo's famed "Queen Christina," and was the wife of Joseph Mankiewicz for three years. A Bryn Mawr alumna (like Katharine Hepburn), she died in March 2007 at age 98.
The Hearst-Lombard connection continued in Parsons' column on May 26; the two segments of it are separated in some terrible newspaper design (I'm a copy editor -- I know these things):
Lombard and the younger Hearst had known each other since the mid-1920s, so this wasn't done to ingratiate herself with the media mogul's family. (Note that Clark Gable and his wife at the time also attended.)
Remember the "phantom" Lombard film, "Billion Dollar Scandal," that we discussed in "Looking back: April 1933"? That movie (in which Constance Cummings actually had the female lead) resurfaced in May at a theater, and in a location, I'd never heard of:
This was from the May 18 Delta (Pa.) Herald Times, and since the theater's location is Cardiff, Md., it's appropriately named the Pen-Mar ("The House Of Perfect Talkies"). Cardiff is in Harford County, northeast of Baltimore. The Pen-Mar -- destroyed by fire in the 1950s -- was a converted Masonic hall; for more about this unorthodox venue, visit http://www.kilduffs.com/PZA_Pen-Mar.htm
Paramount's publicity department sent items of studio news that newspapers often ran as filler. The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia ran two such items on successive Sundays, noting stars' vacation plans on May 7 (Lombard and Powell "have almost decided to take their vacation in Mexico City")...
...and stars' pets on May 14 (Carole owns a dachshund and husky):
Note that underneath the former column was a note about Lombard appearing in "Gambling Ship," for which she had been removed the previous month, while the latter column claimed that Kathleen Burke, the "panther woman" of the hit "Island Of Lost Souls," has "a real pet panther." Stuffed, perhaps, but certainly not a real one.
Carole's picture was used in the May 22 Syracuse Herald to promote an appearance at E.W. Edwards department store...no, not by Lombard, but by Corinne Janes of Max Factor, lecturing on "The Magic Art Of Make-Up."
With the name "Janes," I thought she might have been related to the Janes family of Hollywood Boulevard mansion fame, and she might well have been, but a Google check revealed similar department store appearances in Schenectady and Niagara Falls, so I'm guessing she was the company's upstate New York representative. (As a native Syracusan, I well remember Edwards, an attractive store with a nice restaurant where I regularly enjoyed chicken fricassee in my youth.)
Perhaps the most interesting display concerning Lombard that month was another ad, one that ran only in western newspapers such as the Butte Standard in Montana on May 18:
The ad, for Best Foods Mayonnaise, is dominated by a full-length image of Carole in a two-piece swimsuit, showing off her "glorious, supple figure" (it lists her measurements as 34 1/2-24 1/2-35). But rather than an outright endorsement by her, the ad appears to be speaking to her ("Change to Best Foods Mayonnaise, Carole Lombard...if you want these 6 extra health benefits added to every salad"). Weird.
This week's header is from one of Lombard's more obscure films, 1932's "No One Man," the first feature where she received top billing. Clad in a slinky, metallic dress, she has turned away from Cortez, one of her two co-stars.