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carole lombard 02

She's finally complete in Picture Play

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.16 at 10:40
Current mood: amusedamused
carole lombard 1937 name change arrival 00a

We know her as Carole Lombard, but legally she's still Jane Alice Peters...but not for long. She's ready to enter an office to sign the paperwork that officially will make her Carole Lombard -- that's "Carole," with an "e.'

This photo was taken in early 1937, a time when just about everyone knew her as Carole -- with one glaring, obvious exception:

carole lombard picture play january 1937 cover large
carole lombard picture play january 1937 table of contents large

That holdout was Picture Play magazine. As recently as the January 1937 issue, the moniker "Carole" was verboten in its pages (other than in ads for upcoming films, Max Factor cosmetics or Lux soap; publisher Street & Smith's wasn't going to turn down advertising revenue, no matter how you spelled Lombard's name). What led to this policy? Nearly six years earlier, the magazine gave a reason, one as flimsy as the lingerie Lombard showed on screen in pre-Code days:

carole lombard picture play june 1931c
carole lombard picture play june 1931 closeup

Records of names show there were Caroles some time before Lombard adopted it in the mid-1920s, so she did not invent it. We have no record as to whether Lombard ever complained to the magazine about its name policy; indeed, Picture Play wrote several articles on her over the years, most of them positive.

But by the February 1937 issue, Picture Play must have decided it was time to give up the ghost (though we don't know whether it was related to Lombard's official name change):

carole lombard picture play february 1937aa

Note that in the above item, Picture Play effectively misspelled its own name (by listing "play" in lower case). Also note that not everyone at Picture Play got the name-change memo, as Carole had no "e" in several spots of that February '37 issue:

carole lombard picture play february 1937ba
carole lombard picture play february 1937ca
carole lombard picture play february 1937da

So much for Carol(e) the kegler.

By the following month, everyone at the magazine was on board with the new policy; witness this photo of Carole with Fred MacMurray for "Swing High, Swing Low":

carole lombard picture play march 1937aa

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