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Lombard and LeRoy -- oh, baby!

Carole Lombard is pictured with Paramount child star Baby LeRoy on the cover of the June 1934 Screen Book. (Note LeRoy gets lead billing.) We've previously noted the meteoric career of this toddler actor (, and now the studio still that inspired this portrait has surfaced.

I can't make out the p1202 number, but we do know what film it was going to be from:

"It just isn't possible." For Lombard and motherhood, that sadly was true.

It's from "You Belong To Me," and while Paramount issued a film by that name in 1934, the Lombard project was retitled "Now And Forever," and Baby LeRoy was replaced by a child actor whose fame soon would eclipse his -- Shirley Temple.

Later that year, a Spanish-language publication used the still:

The photo, an 8" x 10" original in excellent condition, is available at eBay. Bids open at $8.88, with the auction ending at 9:15 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. To bid or for additional information, visit
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The Carol(e)(s) remind you to stay safe

It's been slightly more than 24 hours since we first sent this image of Carole Lombard, as Irene Bullock of "My Man Godfrey" fame, wearing a mask for health reasons (and presumably to protect her beloved "protege" Godfrey, too). It's drawn a welcome response -- I like to think that somewhere, Lombard gets a laugh from it -- and I wanted to salute its creators.

My Facebook friend in San Diego, author Carol Sveilich, is famed for her puckish sense of humor as well as her two cats, Mr. Yao Katzenberger (pictured with her) and Sadie.

Sveilich frequently places herself in photos, such as becoming one of Dean Martin's Golddiggers on a holiday show:

Knowing this, I asked her late on Friday to do a Lombard-themed coronavirus pic for me, only to learn she didn't make them herself but commissioned someone to create them. I replied "fine," or something to that extent, and moved on to Saturday's entry on suggested screwball/romantic comedies to watch while quarantined.

I had nearly completed it late that morning when Carol messaged me with the delightful news that the pic was ready...although it happened to originate from the same still I had planned to use. No problem -- I simply substituted another "Godfrey" pic where that pic was going to run.

"Coronavirus Carole" has made the rounds of both Facebook and Twitter (where it's been retweeted), a fun image for many classic Hollywood fans. If you'd like to copy it, be my guest.

As I wanted to give credit where credit is due, I asked Carol for the creator's name, but she replied he preferred to remain anonymous. So whomever he is, kudos for a job well done.

Another longtime friend named Carol S. -- OK, Carole S. (Sampeck) -- has also come up with another Lombard-themed creation. Sampeck, who with me is one of the two people "Carole Lombard -- Twentieth-Century Star" is dedicated to (BTW, happy birthday to its author, Michelle Morgan!), finally finished this fabulous Lombard drawing on March 29:

Sampeck notes: "Technically, it took me only 32 years to finish this. There was always something slightly 'off,' but I couldn't determine what. Fixed it today. (YAY!) My girl Carole Lombard."

Well worth the wait, Carole. It's beautiful.

Stay safe, everyone.
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Let Irene and Hazel come to your coronavirus rescue

If Irene Bullock and Hazel Flagg had somehow crossed paths in a cinematic Manhattan of the mid-1930s, what might have they said to each other, aside from "You look like someone I know quite well"? It's open for conjecture, but what isn't is that both serve a public benefit more than 80 years later.

That's because both Carole Lombard comic creations can give pleasure, and laughter, to a largely quarantined world in desperate need of plenty of both. The best comedies of Hollywood's Golden Age hold up remarkably well, and in recent days several media outlets have issued viewership guides for households cooped up with coronavirus.

Chris Hewitt of the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted, "Not much good ever came from censorship or the Great Depression, but at least they gave us screwball comedies." Screwball was a by-product of the Hays Code once it was rigidly enforced in mid-1934 to clean up the raciness of film fare.

Of "Godfrey," Hewitt writes: "One way screwball comedies assured stressed Americans that the rich didn't have it so good was by depicting them as dopes. It's hard to know how to read the class struggle in a comedy where a wealthy woman (Carole Lombard) befriends, hires and falls in love with a homeless man (William Powell), but the banter is so much fun that it doesn't seem to matter." Read more at

In New Jersey Monthly, reviewer Ken Schlager suggests a dozen old Hollywood comedies for these trying times, though a few such as "She Done Him Wrong" or "Modern Times" aren't screwballs or rom-coms. (Thankfully, he also cites the oft-overlooked 1936 gem "Libeled Lady,")

Two of his 12 have Lombard ties -- "Godfrey" ("Carole Lombard was filmdom's first great comedienne; this hilarious screwball comedy is her finest film") and "Nothing Sacred" ("Here's the terrific Carole Lombard again, this time as Hazel Flagg, a Vermont woman who fools all of New York City into thinking she's dying of radium poisoning"). That's Fredric March with her, BTW. It's at

At public radio's KPBS-FM in San Diego, blogger Nora Fiore (aka "The Nitrate Diva") says of screwballs, their "sheer speed and amount of wit and joy in these films can really take a load off your mind. They're so fast-paced and they're so beautiful to look at." Such as in "Godfrey's" streamlined and still dazzling opening credits, for instance:

And "Godfrey" is one of Fiore's two recommendations (the other is "It Happened One Night"). Hear a transcript of the Friday podcast she appeared on:

And romantic comedies have resurfaced in recent years; some latter-day highlights of the genre are cited at

Happy viewing...oh, and Carole's staying safe, too:

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The lady picked 'By Choice'

"Lady By Choice" would be the last of five films Carole Lombard made at Columbia, and the only one made after her pivotal success there with "Twentieth Century." The title implies a relation to an earlier Columbia hit, "Lady For A Day," although such ties are in name only (pardon the pun). Frank Capra had nothing to do with this film.

This late 1934 comedy stars Carole as a fan dancer in trouble with the law who "adopts" a struggling elderly lady (May Robson) for publicity purposes...but they wind up changing each other in unexpected ways. Lombard and Robson have terrific chemistry, aided by the splendid character actor Walter Connolly as a judge.

Lombard's PR-stunt "adoption" is set up to appear authentic, as she selects Robson (who's in on the scheme) from a group of older women:

This original 8" x 10" still is new to me, and it can be yours for $30 straight up (or you can make an offer). Visit to find out more.
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Mondays in April, tussle with Russell on TCM

While Carole Lombard wouldn't live to see many post-World War II stars perform on screen, during her lifetime she was aware at least two of them existed. Olympic-level swimmer Esther Williams had a screen test with Clark Gable that Carole witnessed ( As far as the other one, I'm not sure they ever met, but during 1941 Lombard likely read of her exploits in the press, regarding a movie she made that year which ran afoul of the Hollywood Production Code.

You know her from this famed pose:

Yep, it's Jane Russell, in a portrait taken by George Hurrell for the Howard Hughes film "The Outlaw," made in 1941 but not initially issued until 1943 and not widely seen until '46 due to censorship problems over her ample bustline.

But as early as January 1941, the Hughes publicity machine (led by Carole's old Selznick International PR pal Russell Birdwell) was working on Russell's behalf. Lombard -- no stranger to Howard's machinations (in early 1929, she may have lost her virginity to the eccentric aviation-movie mogul) -- might have seen this in the Los Angeles Times that Jan. 24 (double-click to see it at full scale):

Russell could've wound up a one-note figure (pardon the pun), a joke in the industry. That she didn't is a tribute to both her talent and her drive. Like a prior Hughes "discovery," Jean Harlow, Jane complemented her sex appeal with a blend of humor and toughness; unlike Harlow, Russell was a skilled singer who held her own in musicals.

Moreover, neither took their personas seriously. Jean was a low-key type who enjoyed writing, while Jane was deeply religious and did plenty of charitable work for orphans. Consequently, Russell carved out a considerable career well before becoming a bra spokeswoman for "full-figured gals" in later decades. (She died in February 2011.) And in April 2020, Jane is Turner Classic Movies' Star of the Month in April:

The TCM tribute covers most of Jane's best films. The schedule (all times Eastern):

April 6
* 8 p.m. --
"The Outlaw" (1943). A sexy take on Billy the Kid (portrayed by another film newcomer, Jack Beutel), Russell steals the show as planned playing Rio, mistress of Doc Holliday (Walter Huston). Hughes ostensibly directed, but another Howard (Hawks) directed many segments and assisted with the screenplay.

* 10:15 p.m. -- "The Paleface" (1948). Westerns have long been a subject of satire -- think "Destry Rides Again" (1939) or "Along Came Jones" (1945) -- but this spin on the genre revived Russell's career. This time, she plays the legend (Calamity Jane), who marries inept, cowardly dentist Peter Potter (Bob Hope). She makes a great foil for him. (Alas, rights issues prevent TCM from airing its equally funny 1952 sequel, "Son Of Paleface," or "The Tall Men," her 1955 western with Clark Gable.)
* midnight -- "Double Dynamite" (1951). This charming comedy starring Russell and Frank Sinatra as bank employees, along with Groucho Marx, was actually filmed in 1948, but Hughes held its release for three years (and RKO changed the title from its original "It's Only Money"; you can guess why). Frank and Jane sing "Kisses And Tears."
* 1:30 a.m. -- "Young Widow" (1946). Jane plays a young journalist who tries to get over the loss of her husband in World War II. She's earnest in this low-key drama, but a bit overwhelmed at this stage of her career.

April 13
* 8 p.m. --
"His Kind Of Woman" (1951). The first of two teamings of Russell and iconoclast Robert Mitchum -- two contrasting personalities who nonetheless became close friends -- this film noir with comedic elements, finished in May 1950, has become a cult favorite over the years. Vincent Price (as a ham actor) and Raymond Burr (as a Lucky Luciano-type mobster) add to the fun.
10:15 p.m. -- "Macao" (1952). This weird Russell-Mitchum film was also made in 1950 but held up, another victim of Hughes' bizarre ownership of RKO. Josef von Sternberg, its initial director, was soon dismissed and replaced by Nicholas Ray. His soon-to-be ex, Gloria Grahame, and William Bendix round out the cast. I personally prefer this to "His Kind Of Woman" (you'll learn why later). A wonderful essay on Russell and Mitchum is at
* midnight -- "The Las Vegas Story" (1952). This uneven paean to Hughes' later residence (where he owned several casinos) stars Russell, Vincent Price, Victor Mature and Hoagy Carmichael. Jane and Hoagy team for his standard "I Get Along Without You Very Well."
* 1:45 a.m. -- "Montana Belle" (1952). Made for Republic in 1948 after "The Paleface," Russell here plays western legend Belle Starr, directed by Allan Dwan (27 years after he helmed Jane Alice Peters' film debut in "A Perfect Crime"). He encouraged Russell to sing on screen for the first time, and those scenes are the most effective in the film.

April 20
* 8 p.m. --
"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953). Two icons of mid-century American sexuality, Marilyn Monroe and Russell, light up the screen in this re-telling of the Anita Loos tale. It's directed by Hawks in uncharacteristic (for him) Technicolor splendor, and Charles Coburn has a fine supporting role as a diamond mogul.
* 10 p.m. -- "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes" (1955). Russell co-produced this splashy if inconsistent musical filmed in England, although the best reviews went to Jeanne Crain (whose singing was dubbed by Anita Ellis). Also in the cast are Alan Young and Rudy Vallee.
* midnight -- "The French Line" (1954). Controversial in its day for its gaudy celebration of Jane's buxom figure -- this also was filmed in 3-D, though TCM is airing the "flat" version -- has its moments, simply not enough of them. It received a condemned rating from the Legion of Decency, and was denied a Production Code Seal.
* 2 a.m. -- "The Revolt Of Mamie Stover" (1956). Jane portrays a prostitute forced to flee San Francisco. Co-starring Richard Egan, Joan Leslie and Agnes Moorehead.
* 3:45 a.m. -- "The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown" (1957). Jane dons a blonde wig to play an actress who's kidnapped, but believes it a publicity stunt. The film, her last as a lead, lost money. Directed by Norman Taurog ("We're Not Dressing"), co-starring Una Merkel and Adolphe Menjou.

April 27
* 8 p.m. --
"Foxfire" (1955). Set in modern-day Arizona, Russell (shown with Mara Corday) plays a white woman with a half-Apache husband (Jeff Chandler) who runs into problems when his excavation project of an Apache treasure leads to problems. With Barton McLane.
* 10 p.m. -- "Hot Blood" (1956). Nicholas Ray directed Russell (making her fifth film in 13 months) in this tale of gypsies. With Cornel Wilde, Luther Adler and Joseph Calleia.
* 11:45 p.m. -- "Underwater!" (1955). Russell's last film for Hughes, this time Howard sought to promote scuba gear. Jane plays the wife of skin diver Richard Egan (do we see her in swimsuits? Of course!), as they and fortune hunter Gilbert Roland pursue buried treasure. Its world premiere was held underwater in Florida, as critics either donned scuba suits or watched from inside one of six submarines.
* 1:45 a.m. -- "The Born Losers" (1967). Jane Russell meets Billy Jack (Tom Laughlin) in this early motorcycle pic that made quite a bit of money for American International Pictures. Her character is a rape victim.

To close, a sample of Russell's underrated singing, from the aforementioned "Macao." It's Jane's fine version of the perennial "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)."

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Be a good American. Come to your Census.

Meet Jane Alice Peters (right), 11, of 605 North Harvard Boulevard, Los Angeles. Jane, of course, is better known as Carole Lombard, the actress name she adopted when entering the film industry in the mid-1920s (and a name she'd take for official in the fall of 1936). While I believe this was taken in 1919, Jane was duly recorded the following April in the 1920 United States Census:

Jane is the youngest of three children, all of school age. Movie buffs will note a neighbor of theirs -- Delmer Daves, who later gained renown as a screenwriter and director.

Push the clock ahead a decade, and we find some changes in the Peters family.

Jane Peters, shown at left with an unnamed friend, now is known (for census purposes, at least) as Carole Peters; after some ups and downs as an actress, she just latched on with Paramount Pictures, whose studio on Melrose Avenue is a convenient drive for her from the family's resident at 139 South Wilton Place, at the eastern edge of Hancock Park.

Now let's go ahead another 10 years to 1940, and we find Carole not only is a top-tier star in her own right, but is married to the movies' premier box-office attraction (and her second husband), Clark Gable:

She and Clark call the San Fernando Valley home, specifically a ranch on Petit Avenue in Encino she had purchased from director Raoul Walsh the year before:

That would mark the last time Lombard was noted in the census, although Gable would be listed at that address in 1950 and 1960. (Those records will be made public in 2022 and 2032, respectively.)

Why are we noting all of this? For a very good reason. Today marks the unofficial census day for the U.S. in 2020 (don't get uptight, however; today is the reference day, not a deadline).

What's in it for you? Well, you help your community count in terms of federal funding, legislative redistricting and the like. Pretty important stuff. And while the coronavirus pandemic has postponed, canceled or rescheduled all sorts of things, the 2020 census will go on, although many fear an undercount, especially in minority or ethnic communities.

Fortunately in these days of social distancing, census takers don't have to walk through neighborhoods, canvassing residents in search of sundry information. (In 1990, I assisted the U.S. Census in the Philadelphia suburb of Bensalem, Pa., going through an apartment complex predominantly comprised of natives of India -- it seemed as if two-thirds of those I canvassed had the last name of "Patel.")

Many of you may have received a census form in the mail, though you can also respond online.

Frequently asked questions about the census process are at A sample form can be found at

Before responding, get the details at The form is at, and takes about 10 minutes...a small price to pay for aiding your community.

Lombard noted in 1938, "I gave the federal government 65 percent of my wages last year, and I was glad to do it, too. ... Income tax money all goes into improvement and protection of the country. ... I really think I got my money's worth."

The census helps federal and local governments apportion all that money. Make certain you're counted to help your area. Carole wouldn't have it any other way.

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Eat a la LA (and a la Lombard)

Our world was so different when this month started, wasn't it? We could watch movies in theaters, follow our favorite sports teams on TV, go to our jobs (assuming we had one). Now, as a result of something barely visible in the U.S. on March 1, it seems so long ago.

Coronavirus has isolated America, and the globe. If we're wise, we practice something called "social distancing" (who among us used that term on the evening of Feb. 29?) and rarely leave home unless buying groceries or visiting the pharmacy. Your favorite TV series may have a new episode or two left before production was shut down, and all sports activity has ground to a halt. And dine in at a restaurant? Forget it.

How long will this period of inactivity last? When will we return to a semblance of "normal"? That's up for the fates to decide. We're in the 21st-century version of 1918-1919.

Fortunately, you can make your own meals at home (or get carry-out or delivery). And if you'd like to add some Los Angeles flair to your food, you can do that, too.

Since Carole & Co. began nearly 13 years ago, we've run a number of recipes from Lombard (from all accounts a capable cook) and others with ties to classic Hollywood. Today, we'll reprint a few and add a link to several more.

We'll start with one of my favorites -- spinach soup a la Lombard. This, as well as a recipe for lettuce soup, comes from a 1929 cookbook by the Beverly Hills Woman's Club (hence the reference to "Carol Lombard, Pathe Player"), and it's simply delicious. Easy to prepare, too.

This mid-'30s recipe, with the offbeat title "angels on horseback," probably makes a good party appetizer...but since parties now are verboten, it's likely something you should save for when society gives the "all clear" signal.

We can pinpoint when this Lombard recipe ran: The spring of 1939, soon after she'd married Clark Gable and when she was still associated with Selznick International. (Carole soon would sign with RKO.) A tasty main course -- though if you have Catholics in your household, don't serve it on Fridays until after Lent -- and it apparently makes for good leftovers, too.

How about this recipe for something called "chicken mousse"?

It's from Picture Play in July 1933 (the magazine refused to add an "e" to Lombard's first name until early 1937). As I noted when running this in 2012 (, I sense the "gelatine" is the type used for cooking, not dessert.

A piece at the site LAist inspired this entry -- "Classic LA Recipes For Your Quarantine Cooking Needs" ( It includes such perennials as Chasen's chili and Cobb salad, as well as paprika chicken.

Enjoy while you're cooped up!
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More 'stylish striking' pictures

Today;s entry features some more delightful Carole Lombard photos available via eBay. Take this, for example, a heretofore unseen image of her taken at Columbia, although I can't immediately associate it with any of the five films she made there. Nor is there any information on the back.

All I know is that it's another from the George Smoots collection, an 8" x 10" single-weight in excellent conditions, which the seller describes as a "stylish striking portrait." I fully agree.

One bid has been made as of this writing, for $39.99; the auction is scheduled to close at 10:12 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. If you'd like to top that bid, or merely find out more, visit

Here's another pic, apparently from 1934:

This one formerly resided in the Photoplay magazine library:

It also goes for $39.99, though you can either buy it straight up or make an offer. Do either, or simply learn more, by going to

Another seller has this Carole Columbia image:

It's not in the best of shape, listed as "brittle, with chips around the edges" and a slight tear. On the other hand, it's now discounted from $20 to $17.60, although you can make an offer on this one too. Check it out at
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Carole and Shirley, 'Now And Forever'

As we remain in self-isolation, let's celebrate Carole Lombard and her last surviving co-star, Shirley Temple, in their 1934 Paramount drama "Now And Forever." Within months, Temple would become a mega-star at Twentieth Century-Fox, and years later she praised Lombard for her generous personality while never patronizing her.

The above still is an 8" x 10", with an opening bid of $39.99; the auction ends at 8:12 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. If you're interested, go to

The same seller has this 8" x 10" film publicity still, where the pair are joined by Gary Cooper:

The same bidding conditions apply, though it closes a minute earlier. All the info is at

A different seller is hawking this still of Lombard and Temple:

This pic sells straight up for $14.99 -- and if you buy three such stills from the seller, you get a fourth free. (Many Lombard photos are among those available.) Find out more at
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Shop Carole! (Here are two examples)

Cooped up by coronavirus? Carole Lombard can help. According to eBay, as of this writing it has more than 5,600 Lombard-related items you can purchase from the safety of your own home. Two of them are shown in today's entry.

Above is a photo of her I've never seen before. It's from Columbia Pictures, and from the blondeness looks to be from early in her tenure there (1932?). On the rear is a stamp labeling it from the Lester Glassner collection, a frequent contributor to Lombard eBay items:

Bidding on this 8" x 10" begins at $29.99, with the auction closing at 8 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. You can put your bid in by visiting

Our second example, also unfamiliar to me, is some stunning Lombard leg art:

There's no studio identification here, but it appears to be from either her Mack Sennett days (Sennett loved leg art) or her time at Pathe, taken by William E. Thomas. However, we at least know where this photo was filed:

It's Hearst's The American Weekly Sunday supplement, founded in November 1896 and lasting well into the 1960s. Based in lower Manhattan, the publication employed James Montgomery Flagg and many other noted illustrators. Here's Dorothy Lamour as Cleopatra from October 1946 ("Pin-Up Girls Of History"):

The 8" x 10" leg art photo also has an initial bid of $29.99, and its auction closes a minute later than the Columbia pic. Learn more by visiting

Do your part to bolster the economy -- buy Carole Lombard memorabilia!
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