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carole lombard 02

From sublime to ridiculous, and in between

Posted by vp19 on 2012.09.11 at 01:11
Current mood: mischievousmischievous
Checking the latest Carole Lombard items offered on eBay uncovered photos representing what might be called the three faces of Carole -- the classic beauty; the informal, down-to-earth lady; and the practical joker...although this time, the joke's on her.

We'll begin with beauty, specifically a previously unseen Paramount portrait, p1202-468, which I'm guessing to be from sometime in 1933:

carole lombard p1202-468a

It's an 8" x 10" original, in fine condition aside from some yellowing on this sepia portrait. It's being auctioned by the famed Larry Edmunds bookstore in Hollywood; the minimum bid is $29.95, and bids will be accepted through 4:48 p.m. (Eastern) on Monday. If you're interested in this relatively rare image, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-original-portrait-/140847764579?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20cb2e5463 to bid or learn more.

Now take a gander at this Paramount pic from a few years later. Heck, take two ganders, because that's what you'll see in this photo:

carole lombard 2301a

This, p1202-1549, was one of several portraits taken in 1937 extolling Carole -- usually in pajamas, as seen here -- the farm girl. The original snipe is on the back, though it doesn't appear in this ad; according to the seller, it is "telling us that Lombard is pictured with her twin ganders and that she spends much of her leisure time enjoying the livestock at her ranch."

It's 8" x 10", with some creasing on the borders, but otherwise good. The seller is from the UK, and the minimum bid equates to $40.05 U.S.; the deadline for bids is 1:14 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. Want this rural rarity? Then go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Original-1937-vintage-10-x-8-publicity-portrait-/160879386966?pt=UK_Collectables_Photographs_MJ&hash=item257528a156.

Finally, something out of left field. As mentioned earlier, Lombard was beloved for her (invariably good-natured) practical jokes -- and didn't mind a bit when others turned the tables on her. Especially when the sender was second husband Clark Gable.

In late 1940, Carole was filming "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," most of which was shot at the RKO lot in Hollywood. But some scenes were done in Culver City, not far from Gable's turf at MGM. So when Lombard arrived there, Clark was ready to give her a municipal welcome:

carole lombard mr. & mrs. smith 74a front

Looks as if Lombard -- who's wearing the dress a size too small from the Italian restaurant scene -- has been awarded the key to the city (and the sign behind her appears to say "Culver City Welcomes Lombard," although we unfortunately can't guess at what the rest of it says). But what's that she's holding? It doesn't seem to be flowers. Fortunately, RKO's publicity department, and its notorious weird typewriter, has the answer:

carole lombard mr. & mrs. smith 74b back

It's "a bouquet of vegetables" (was this Clark's way of finally getting back at Lombard for the ham with his face on the wrapper at the "No Man Of Her Own" wrap party?) and Carole appears delighted by the joke...while now thinking of a way she could top it. The "key to the city" might be an in-joke from her week-long work handling publicity for Selznick International Pictures in July 1938 (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/450645.html); it ended with Lombard being named mayor of Culver City for a day, and she promptly gave all city workers the day off.

This is an original wire service photo, measuring 8" x 10". Bidding begins at $9.99, with bids closing at 10:25 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. This obscure example of a Gable and Lombard gag can be yours if you bid at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Movie-Star-Carole-Lombard-Mr-and-Mrs-Smith-Location-Original-News-Photo-/150897670993?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item232233bb51.

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