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carole lombard 03

Lounging in glamour, classic Hollywood style

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.21 at 07:57
Current mood: impressedimpressed

A few months back, the Huffington Post website issued an entry showing Carole Lombard and other stars in loungewear and such that in its words, "made tasks as mundane as ironing or talking on the phone look glamorous." Or, as in the image above, standing atop a box transformed into a goddess-like platform to show the full length of this nightgown. (This pic is said to be from 1932, which seems about right.)

So today, I thought I'd show several other pics they selected in a list which Lombard kicked off (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/vintage-hollywood-sleepwear_l_5c9e47d7e4b0474c08cdf0e9). The two others in my personal "holy trinity" of classic-era actresses also made the list, Myrna Loy...

...and Barbara Stanwyck:

(Loy, photographed by George Hurrell, is shown in 1935; Stany's image is from 1942.)

More vintage glamour. First, Ginger Rogers, who as late as 1954 could show off a shapely leg:

Loretta Young, from 1940, enlivens this striped robe:

In "The Palm Beach Story," Claudette Colbert brought glamour to pajamas. (Tell the Ale & Quail Club we said hello.)

Ann Sheridan added oomph to this bathrobe (sorry for using that term, Annie):

Ava Gardner irons her pajamas in 1950 while sparkling in a robe:

Fellow MGM contract player Esther Williams showed she's just as alluring out of the pool:

And Lauren Bacall wants Ginger to know she's not the only one who can look leggy in loungewear:

Finally, the two lead icons of 1950s beauty. First, Marilyn Monroe, taken in the midtown Manhattan house used for "The Seven-Year Itch":

As one might expect, Audrey Hepburn's style is more demure, in this still from 1955:

In other words, save the sweatpants for your next jog outside. Emphasize glamour indoors.

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Carole Lombard, sign in please

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.20 at 20:06
Current mood: contentcontent

While Carole Lombard signed many an autograph during her relatively brief life, they remain among her most valued items of memorabilia. I'm expecting the following piece to do likewise:

Now let's focus on the autograph:

The seller "signature.required," has set $474.50 at the price; were this a "buy it now" eBay item, that would be considered a good price for an authentic Lombard signature -- and this looks like the real deal: It's in green fountain pen, her preferred shade for such signings, and I'm convinced it's genuine. (The seller claims to own the original negative of the accompanying photo.) The entire framed item measures 8" x 10".

But as I noted, $474.50 is the price for the opening bid, and this auction isn't scheduled to end until 10:45 p.m. (Eastern) Monday. Depending upon interest, a four-figure sale isn't out of the question.

If a matted, framed autograph of Carole is something you've always dreamed of, try your hand at this. All the information is at https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-autograph-photo-beautifully-matted-framed/303258607003?hash=item469b9f1d9b:g:QtsAAOSw1oJdOobW.

After all, there's simply something special about a Lombard signature.

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They say it's my birthday (now I'm sixty-four)

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.19 at 06:56
Current mood: thankfulthankful

Facebook friend David Hardwick supplied this surprise -- a scene of Carole Lombard, with birthday cake, from "Brief Moment." It's been some time since I last saw this 1933 Columbia drama, so I don't recall this scene, nor did I know such a still existed.

Yes, today is my birthday, as I turn two to the sixth power...that is, 64. I've already outlived my father by more than 5 1/2 years -- and if I reach my mother's lifespan, I'll still be around in October 2048. (By then, I don't plan to tell kids to keep off my lawn, if only because I've never owned a house and thus have no lawn where anyone could trespass.)

How do I plan to celebrate? Well, I received a nice present Friday when my screenplay "Stand Tall!" was made an official selection of this event, scheduled for next month:

Another nice present would be a job, not the easiest thing to grab when there's gray in your hair. I'm scheduled to talk with someone today regarding senior employment, and perhaps I'll obtain some leads. Beyond that, I may celebrate with some pancakes at Denny's (by using my 15 percent AARP discount, it's under $2, not including drinks beyond complimentary water!)...

...then re-examine a screenplay in progress I've set aside for several weeks. Fresh eyes could provide a new perspective for this currently-stalled project.

While I often gripe about my predicament -- much of which my mistakes have brought on myself -- I'm blessed to have scores of friends, many of whom I've gained via this site. You provide light during the darker moments of my life, and I give thanks.

OK, you expect to hear this song to conclude this entry; I will not disappoint, as Sir Paul McCartney (now 77) explores his English music-hall roots.

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The ballplayer who 'went Hollywood'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.18 at 19:57
Current mood: curiouscurious

Carole Lombard is among the many actresses who are, or were, baseball fanatics. I think of my Facebook friend Mamie Van Doren, who's loved the American League Angels since their inception in 1961 under Gene Autry, or Mamie's contemporary Marilyn Monroe, who loved the sport long before she met Joe DiMaggio. Some years back, Alyssa Milano wrote a book about femme baseball fandom, which my baseball fan mother enjoyed reading (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/244818.html).

But baseball and Hollywood have been on a two-way street, dating back to the early 20th century when Los Angeles was booming for both the film industry and the sport. While logistics kept LA out of the majors until 1958, it was a hub for the Pacific Coast League for decades, eventually replacing the San Francisco-Oakland area as the PCL's key market.

Many ballplayers pursued work in the movies, either as actors or as consultants for baseball scenes. One of them first was bit by the theatrical bug on Broadway, and his status on a high-profile New York team helped him gain footlight fame. And no, that team was not the Yankees, whose first American League pennant wouldn't come until 1921.

No, we're referring to the Giants, an NL power under John McGraw for many years and a favorite of the Broadway crowd -- it was an easy trek from midtown Manhattan uptown to the Polo Grounds (shown above in the 1905 World Series), and they could return to the Great White Way in time to see that night's show.

One of the stars of that champion team was an outfielder named Mike Donlin, shown the following season of 1906:

Nicknamed "Turkey Mike" for his gait, Donlin was a hard hitter during the dead-ball era, finishing his career with a .333 batting average. (The late Tony Gwynn, arguably the best hitter of the expansion era, batted .338.) The flamboyant Donlin played for seven teams, but his greatest fame came with the Giants.

In 1906, he broke his ankle sliding into second base; that year, he also met and married vaudeville star Mabel Hite. A contract dispute with the Giants led him to sit out the 1907 season, but he and Hite performed the baseball-themed play "Stealing Home" for several years.

Donlin had a good season in 1908, but focused on acting the next two years. He returned to the Giants in 1911, but alcoholism and age caught up with him. Hite died of cancer in October 1912, and Donlin failed in several baseball comebacks, finally retiring in 1914. He married actress Rita Ross in late October.

But a friend he made in New York sent Donlin's life west. That friend was drinking buddy John Barrymore, who suggested he join him for work in the movies. Donlin's first film was the Barrymore vehicle "Raffles" in 1917. It's been issued on DVD, and the former big-leaguer is a supporting player alongside Barrymore and Frank Morgan:

Donlin also appeared in Barrymore's 1926 film "The Sea Beast."

The Internet Movie Database lists 68 films for Donlin, never a leading man but always able to find work. He can be found in some notable movies -- as a film studio gateman in Colleen Moore's "Ella Cinders" and as a Union general in another 1926 hit, Buster Keaton's "The General." (Keaton loved baseball.)

Donlin never appeared in a Lombard film, but their paths may have crossed if Carole dropped by Warners to see husband William Powell and friend Kay Francis in the 1932 romance "One Way Passage." That's because the ballplayer was cast as a Hong Kong bartender who gives the leads -- who each are doomed, but don't know the other is too -- a "paradise cocktail."

He can also be seen in uncredited roles in Mae West's "She Done Him Wrong," James Cagney's "Picture Snatcher" and Loretta Young's "Midnight Mary." All were released in 1933, the same year he received credit for a small role in "High Gear," from Poverty Row's Goldsmith Productions:

That Sept. 24, Donlin suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep and weeks before the Giants returned to baseball royalty by beating the Washington Senators in the World Series.

And speaking of the Giants, let's flash forward to 1957, when the team was struggling despite having Willie Mays in his prime. The Polo Grounds and its surrounding neighborhood had deteriorated, attendance was dismal and owner Horace Stoneham was seeking new digs.

Minnesota's Twin Cities seemed to have the inside track (the Giants' top farm team was in Minneapolis), but Brooklyn's Walter O'Malley -- whose Dodgers were bound for Los Angeles -- persuaded Stoneham to go to San Francisco to transplant their rivalry on the West Coast. Sixty-two years ago tomorrow, the Giants' board of directors approved the move, and O'Malley officially moved the Dodgers that October.

On Sept. 29, the Giants bid adieu to the Polo Grounds when they played the Pittsburgh Pirates. Here's a few minutes of color video footage of the oddly-shaped venue taken that day; in 1962 and '63, it would serve as the expansion New York Mets' temporary home: https://www.si.com/mlb/video/2017/09/29/new-york-giants-polo-grounds

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Lots of 'Life' on eBay today

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.17 at 12:13
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Today is Errol Flynn day on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S.' "Summer Under The Stars," which brings to mind that in the summer of 1935, Flynn, along with wife Lili Damita and Marlene Dietrich, were among the guests at Carole Lombard's party at the long-gone Venice Pier.

Three years later, Lombard and Flynn were featured in a new publication with an old name -- something that quickly became a journalistic smash. We're referring to Henry Luce's Life magazine, shown here with its first issue on Nov. 23, 1936:

This Life, completely unrelated from a humor magazine of the 1920s, pioneered photojournalism and spawned numerous imitators (Look was probably the best known). Lombard and Flynn were both cover subjects in 1938, Errol on May 23, Carole on Oct. 17:

These issues, and 24 more from that year, now are available at eBay. Here's the stac, topped by Lombard's issue:

As for the individual covers, here they are in groups:

These issues have a mailing address sticker on the lower rear cover:

Note that due to obvious wear, these issues are listed in "acceptable" condition.

You can get vintage Life into your life, all 26 issues for $50. Few properties are a better gateway to late '30s America than this groundbreaking publication. Buy it or learn more, by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/1938-Life-Magazines-Lot-of-26-issues-Carole-Lombard-Errol-Flynn-etc/254311504298?hash=item3b362599aa:g:TZ8AAOSwLGlcrof5.

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Next month, 'Stand Tall!' in Texas after dark

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.16 at 19:16
Current mood: excitedexcited

Carole Lombard and Clark Gable get lots of love at Love Field in Dallas in December 1939 (that's MGM publicist Otto Winkler next to Carole) as they make a stopover en route to Atlanta for the "Gone With The Wind" world premiere. For Carole -- who looks a bit perturbed by it all -- it's a far cry from her previous visit to the airport in early 1935, as she and Madalynne Fields stopped while returning from Florida and Cuba in relative anonymity.

We know the saying about how everything's bigger in Texas. Next month, the Lone Star state gets a visit from another "big" personality, whose destination won't be the Metroplex, but rather the state capital of Austin:

Yep, it's lovable Colleen Cossitt, all 16-foot-1 1/8 of her, as she prepares to travel by truck from her Las Vegas home (what other means of transport can she fit in?) so she can headline my romantic comedy "Stand Tall!" at this event...

What is the Austin After Dark Film Festival, you ask? Now in its second year, the event celebrates "films that are created for a mature audience," hence the "dark" description. (Many of the 41 films to be presented are shorts between three and seven minutes in length.) There's also a screenplay competition, involving both feature and short scripts, and that's where "Stand Tall!" comes in.

Sixty-five screenplays, in the top 25 percent of those submitted, are official selections in four categories: comedy, dark comedy, horror and science fiction. (I'm presuming "Stand Tall!" will be part of the comedy group, though participating scripts have yet to be categorized.)

The event's host is the Alamo Cinema Drafthouse Lakeline (an Alamo Drafthouse recently opened in downtown Los Angeles, and I hope to visit that venue soon):

This drafthouse has 50 beers on tap (someone get me a chelada!) as well as full restaurant fare.

Austin -- home to the huge flagship branch of the University of Texas, whose library contains all sorts of classic film material for researchers to examine -- has a deserved great reputation as a movie town, especially for indie fare. I'm crossing my fingers that "Stand Tall!", with its blend of old-school romance, charming retro-feminist mindset and vintage sci-fi fun in a contemporary setting (as gentle giant Colleen tells a press conference, "I'm here to entertain people, not attack them") registers with the judges.

Award winners will be announced from 8 to 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, with the first group of films shown from 9:30 to 12:30 a.m. and the second batch from 6 to 9:30 p.m. the following evening. Tickets are not required for the awards and filmmakers' mixer, but they are for the films. An all-access pass is available for $15; go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/austin-after-dark-film-festival-2019-tickets-69229574521?aff=Email to order.

For additional information on the festival -- including nine trailers from nominated films -- visit https://info.filmfestivalcircuit.com/blog/austin-after-dark-film-festival-2019

carole lombard 04

A fragile, but 'banner,' item of memorabilia

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.15 at 01:59
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Carole Lombard and James Stewart "made for" a fine couple in the 1939 Selznick International film "Made For Each Other." Now a super-rare piece of movie memorabilia has been put up for auction:

What is it? We'll let the seller explain:

As proof it "displays well," here are the other photos taken of it. (The first shows it from the back; it isn't flipped.)

The artistry is exquisite, to say the least.

Time's a-wastin' if you want it (and if you had the money, why wouldn't you?). Bidding starts at $170, but the auction closes today at 4:12 p.m. (Eastern). If you'd prefer to buy it before anyone bids, the price is $225.

Learn more, including mailing information, at https://www.ebay.com/itm/1939-BANNER-MADE-FOR-EACH-OTHER-CAROLE-LOMBARD-JAMES-STEWART-V-RARE-POSTER/254326870656?hash=item3b37101280:g:UEEAAOSwT-JdM9su.

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What's so 'negative' about this p1202?

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.14 at 00:01
Current mood: excitedexcited

Its origin, for one thing. It's from a vintage 8" x 10" negative of Paramount p1202-347, an image I've never come across before. The number indicates it's from late 1932 or early '33.

Note it's the negative that's up for auction...and bidding begins at $146.99. Moreover, you don't have much time to bid -- the auction closes at 11:05 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday.

It's a lovely rarity. Bid, or learn more, at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-sexy-and-sleek-VINTAGE-8x10-NEGATIVE/362723150085?hash=item5473fc0905:g:FOgAAOSwXMNdT4YW.

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DeMille and my 'Dynamite' error

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.13 at 02:00
Current mood: embarrassedembarrassed

Life was looking good for Carole Lombard -- or as she was known at the time, Carol Lombard -- in November 1928 when she posed for this delectable shot, aboard Mitchell Leisen's yacht, that ran in the Los Angeles Times. But her ascending acting career was about to hit a speedbump, courtesy of one of the industry's best-known directors...

...Cecil B. DeMille, and his first-ever talkie for his new studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer:

We know Lombard was dismissed from "Dynamite" early on, and since I've never seen the film, I'd always thought she had been up for the lead role that Kay Johnson played on screen. But to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart's Rick in "Casablanca," I was misinformed. Mea culpa.

Carole wouldn't have played the leading lady, but the wife of the second lead (Conrad Nagel) -- and when she was pulled from production, she was replaced not by Johnson but the other woman listed in the poster above, Julia Faye:

Faye was slightly more than 16 years Lombard's senior, but both had attractive legs. She also had another edge on Carole -- familiarity with DeMille's way of doing business. She appeared in more of his films than any other actress...and it also helped that for years, Faye was his mistress. (So was another figure in the director's circle, screenwriter Jeanie Macpherson.)

Below is Faye, behind Johnson, on the set of "Dynamite" with DeMille:

Her arrangement with him sounds similar to Marion Davies with William Randolph Hearst or Carol Dempster with director D.W. Griffith, but unlike those two contemporaries of hers, Faye occasionally acted in outside productions (including Davies' 1931 comedy "Not So Dumb"). Eventually, her intimate relationship with him ended, but the director remained loyal and kept her in his stock company for bit parts.

Faye outlived DeMille, who died in January 1959, and made her final acting appearance in a 1963 "Perry Mason" episode. She passed in 1966, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Lombard could have been devastated by her dismissal, but wrote DeMille a letter admitting she was too inexperienced for the role. The director brought it up when Carole made her first appearance on the DeMille-hosted "Lux Radio Theater" in May 1938, an adaptation of "My Man Godfrey." (DeMille is shown in between Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable on the first "Lux" broadcast from the West Coast June 1, 1936.)

Lombard and DeMille never teamed up for a film.

carole lombard 01

Cover-ing Carole: Fanmags x 5

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.12 at 14:21
Current mood: creativecreative

This, from Hollywood in July 1931, may have been Carole Lombard's first cover of an English-language American fan magazine. (She'd graced the front of Spanish-language fanmags in 1929.) Note it's actual color photography, an experimental process from the renowned glamour artist Edwin Bower Hesser.

For the rest of her life, Carole would remain a popular cover subject. Now five of them have been grouped together as one eBay item:

Let's review the offerings one by one. First, Screen Play, from February 1935:

That cover story, "What Carole Lombard Knows About Men," can be found at https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/690603.html.

Next, Photoplay, November 1936:

Esteemed illustrator James Montgomery Flagg drew this, part of a series of covers he did for the magazine (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/925994.html).

Pic wasn't really a fan magazine, but a general-audience publication that was an imitator of Life (as opposed to the films "Imitation Of Life"!). Barely a month after fabled Alfred Eisenstaedt captured Carole in an uncharacteristically subdued mood...

...Pic responded with this casual (and by Lombard standards, buxom) cover image for its Nov. 29, 1938 issue:

I have no idea whether any Lombard-related stuff is inside.

By early 1939, Carole was telling the studios "no time for comedy," and that February's issue of Screen Book examines the change:

See the "goofy gal goes glamorous" story at http://dearmrgable.com/?page_id=3451.

Finally, Photoplay again, this from January 1940:

Bidding for the fanmag quintet begins at $50, with the auction slated to close at 4:58 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To check it out and perhaps place a bid, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Five-Carole-Lombard-Vintage-Movie-Magazines/163814244255?hash=item262416ff9f:g:29EAAOSwOIJdPgt3.

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Are rom-coms swimming against the 'stream'?

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.11 at 02:02
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

The romantic comedy, a favorite genre of Carole Lombard -- she's shown above directing Alfred Hitchcock's traditional cameo in her 1941 film "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" -- is supposedly making a comeback. Think of last year's surprise theatrical hit "Crazy Rich Asians," for example.

Yet several skeptics disagree, such as New York Times cultural critic Wesley Morris (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/24/magazine/romantic-comedy-movies.html). He cited Katherine Heigl, perhaps the top rom-com leading lady as the genre went into eclipse, who hung on gamely for several years before such films sank from sight. He deems "Crazy Rich Asians" a "fizzy soap opera," adding "Half the time, what gets labeled 'romantic comedy' is just anything with ordinary women in it."

"The Proposal" was one of seven rom-coms to rank among the 50 top box-office performers of 2009, a feat impossible to imagine in the cinematic terrain a decade later. From our perspective, such films were too formulaic, too white, too straight, too corny regarding gender roles.

"What's in these movies for me?" writes Morris, who's single, black and gay. And yet, he adds: "Romantic comedy is the only genre committed to letting relatively ordinary people -- no capes, no spaceships, no infinite sequels -- figure out how to deal meaningfully with another human being."

But what about Netflix and other streaming behemoths, which supposedly has given the genre new life with the likes of last year's Netflix hit "Set It Up"? But in Slate, writer Willa Paskin contends streamers promote quantity over quality (https://slate.com/culture/2019/07/four-weddings-and-a-funeral-hulu-romantic-comedies.html).

Paskin notes streaming rival Hulu has unveiled a 10-episode TV series based on the 1994 British rom-com "Four Weddings and a Funeral." Mindy Kaling is a co-creator, and it has the diverse ethnicity the original largely lacked. However, she writes, its lack of brevity works against it:

"'Four Weddings and a Funeral' is good enough -- if just barely. Good-enough television is not a new phenomenon, but it is a booming one."

Of course, as any avid fan of Turner Classic Movies can tell you, not all movies TCM shows are legitimately "classics" -- the vast majority that air outside of prime time are programmers, even those from studios such as MGM and Paramount known for elegant production values.

According to Paskin, "None of this is specific to rom-coms, but romantic comedies, cinematic as well as streaming, are particularly susceptible to being 'good enough.' ... A rom-com is like an omelet: It may be hard to make a great one, but most of them will do." She writes of Netflix rom-coms, "But they still feel like they could be just a little better, a little sharper, a little funnier."

Labeling them similar to the old genre of TV movies, she notes, "These Netflix rom-coms fall into a newfangled netherworld between the old-school standards of theatrical movies and the newer, higher standards of ambitious serialized television."

"In romance as with rom-coms: Sometimes you settle," Paskin adds; a subhead to her article notes, "Streaming TV is keeping rom-coms alive, but it's also stunting their growth." That comment, not to mention the reference to "settling," caught the attention of my larger-than-life rom-com creation, Colleen Cossitt, who certainly isn't "relatively ordinary" and whose growth is anything but stunted:

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Carole and Shirley, bearly there again

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.10 at 08:47
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Carole Lombard made one movie with up-and-coming child star Shirley Temple, the 1934 Paramount drama "Now And Forever." In her later years, Temple praised Lombard's courtesy and lack of condescension towards a child actor. Here, Shirley plays the daughter of the slightly shady Gary Cooper, Carole the similarly shady lady he falls in love with.

Another still, also showing Shirley with teddy bear, has surfaced on eBay:

This is an 8" x 10" reproduction. Bids begin at $9.95, with the auction set to end at 7:08 a.m. (Eastern) next Saturday. You can also make an offer.

Bid, or find out more, at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-with-Shirley-Temple-holding-a-teddy-bear-movie-star-8x10-photo/254326493389?hash=item3b370a50cd:g:mdIAAOSwfUZdTqWm.

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The great p1202 swimsuit mystery

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.09 at 01:34
Current mood: confusedconfused

"THIS IS AN AMAZING PHOTO!" states the seller of this Carole Lombard eBay item, and few fans would disagree. It's a simply luscious, leggy look at Lombard in a swimsuit, and that come-hither stare from her would reduce any man (and more than a few women!) to an emotional puddle. She's nearly otherworldly, a goddess cavorting among us puny mortals.

It would be even more amazing if we knew where it stood in her p1202 pantheon.

As many Lombard fans know, p1202 is the Paramount player number the studio assigned her in mid-1930, one she'd retain for the next seven-plus years. But while we know this pic is part of the series, we don't know its specific number. The lack of contrast in the lower right-hand corner makes it impossible to discern. Witness an enlargement, near Lombard's painted toenails:

So I decided to try some photographic tricks. First, a negative of that enlargement:

Then, the image in sepia:

Heck, we even tried a sepia negative:

As you can tell, none of these provided sufficient contrast to give us an answer. Perhaps one of you knows enough about image trickery to give it a try and solve this mystery.

Meanwhile, savor everything else about this pic -- it's an 8" x 10" reproduction print on high-gloss photographic paper. (Perhaps an original version of this photo lists the p1202 number with a snipe on the back. The only other possible solution is if Paramount catalogued the images and sufficiently described them, and I doubt such a file exists in its archives.)

We're obviously grasping at straws. The picture comes cheap, at $3.78, and if you wish to buy it, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-8x10-Glossy-Photo-Picture-16091703053/183900550923?hash=item2ad153b70b:g:ThsAAOSwKIhdO-qt.

Do we need to consult Philo Vance?

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'Lux' flux: The Smiths are bumped by a 'Stand-In'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.08 at 01:53
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

This is how we expect to see David and Ann Smith (Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard) -- as a bickering couple really to rip into each other. (You'd be too, if you just discovered that a bizarre legal technicality has rendered their marriage null and void, enabling Ann to throw David out of the Manhattan apartment that was formerly theirs.)

So the following image, showing the Smiths in perfect romantic harmony for their 1941 RKO comedy, appears a bit of a surprise:

But if you think that's surprising, just wait until you read the back:

OK, it's a snipe. Enlarge and examine it, and things get really interesting:

So Carole and Robert are set to reprise their roles on radio, specifically the "Lux Radio Theatre," on April 7. But as many Lombard fans know, that's not what happened. The Smiths didn't hit the airwaves until June 9, and by that time, the Bob playing opposite Lombard wasn't Montgomery, but...

...Bob Hope, whose show now rivaled NBC cohort Jack Benny's as radio's top comedy.

The Hope version of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" was not simply a rehashed version of anything "Lux" had planned with Montgomery. Hope's writers reworked the script with "ad-libs" that Hope made sound like the real thing; there were even occasional breakings of the "fourth wall." And to Hope's credit, it works. (This would be his lone collaboration of any kind with Lombard, and also Carole's final appearance on network radio.)

So what did "Lux" air April 7? Something appropriately titled "Stand-In."

This romantic comedy Hollywood satire was released by United Artists in 1937, but as so often happened on "Lux," the leads were different on radio. The Joan B. here is Bennett, not Blondell, and Howard's role went to Warner Baxter.

When, and why, did "Stand-In" fill in for the Smiths? It's a question that demands further research.

As for the photo, it measures 8.75" x 7.5", has a few minor crease markings, and the "TV" reference on the back likely indicates a newspaper used this from the '50s on to illustrate the movie's appearance on television. It is, of course, an original.

You can buy the photo straight up for $24, or you can make an offer. Find out more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/1941-Vintage-Photo-Carole-Lombard-Robert-Montgomery-in-movie-Mr-Mrs-Smith/202752002859?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160811114145%26meid%3D53610b1a62d84b1cab45fcecc602fc99%26pid%3D100667%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D8%26sd%3D202752002859%26itm%3D202752002859%26pg%3D2045573&_trksid=p2045573.c100667.m2042.

You can hear the June 9 broadcast of Lombard and Hope at https://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Mr._and_Mrs._Smith_(Lux_Radio_Theater,_09/Jun/1941); remember, Alfred Hitchcock directed the movie version of this comedy. Interested in hearing "Stand-In"? Go to https://archive.org/details/Lux06/Lux_41-04-07_Stand-In.mp3.

carole lombard 03

A fashionable time travel trip

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.07 at 18:54
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Carole Lombard looks her usual stylish self in this 1939 fan magazine photo promoting her upcoming film "The Kind Men Marry" (a title soon altered to "In Name Only"). But note who designed it and where it came from -- a tag from a suit supplies the answer:

It's the legendary "Irene" (Irene Lentz Gibbons), who succeeded Travis Banton as Carole's couturier of choice (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/445941.html). And Irene was associated with this legendary store, a favorite of Lombard, scores of other stars both male and female, and those who simply sought to emulate their style.

Bullocks Wilshire, on Wilshire Boulevard just east of Vermont, served generations of Angelenos after its opening in the fall of 1929. It exuded glamour to the nth degree, as this image from the 1930s attests:

Changing shopping habits, along with urban unrest in its neighborhood, led to its closing in 1993. There were fears it would go the way of another art deco architectural marvel, downtown's Richfield Building, razed in the late '60s for a pair of soulless towers:

Thankfully that wasn't the case, and for that we can thank...

...Southwestern Law School. The institution not only took over the building, but has preserved much of its glorious past. And once each year, a la the mythical "Brigadoon," it opens to the public as a fundraiser to keep it iconic.

My Facebook friend and Hollywood fashion maven Kimberly Truhler (http://www.glamamor.com/) attended this one-day open house and graciously let me share many of the photos she took:

There she is on the fifth-floor balcony, from which you can see downtown LA. Few if any of those skyscrapers were around when this was a department store:

The exterior is stunning, the interior more so. This is the first-floor central hall, which must have wowed Lombard on first visit (not just from sight, but scent -- as is the case for many department stores then and now, this was where perfumes were sold). Its current visual appearance (below) is minimally changed.

Even the elevator doors can add an art deco touch (as I can vouch from 10 months' work at New York's Chrysler Building). Here's Bullock Wilshire's take on the topic:

To the second floor we go, and we get a royal feeling from the Louis XVI room.

Also on that floor, La Directoire, where gowns and later furs were sold. It featured a fireplace:

And while I've never seen a photo of Lombard at Bullocks Wilshire, here's one of her good friend Jean Harlow posing in front of said fireplace, taken by George Hurrell:

Irene's salon rounded out this floor of glamour. We see her seated at right:

More of the salon, including an image of Kimberly:

What an overwhelming atmosphere.

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Carole at 'home'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.06 at 17:47
Current mood: curiouscurious

An attractive image of Carole Lombard in the early '30s, which looks to be at home (is William Powell working on a movie?). However, a look at the entire photograph proves it isn't:

It's Carole, in character as upstate New York librarian Connie Randall, entertaining guest Babe Stewart (Clark Gable), not yet fully aware he's a con man fleeing NYC cops. In front, his back turned to us, is Charlie Vane (Grant Mitchell). This is, of course, from 1932's "No Man Of Her Own," the lone time Lombard and Gable teamed on screen.

This is a vintage photo (slightly trimmed to 8" x 9 7/8"), listed in fine/very fine condition. Considering it's nearly 87 years old, that's high praise.

You can buy the pic straight up for $59.95, or make an offer. Get complete info by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-CLARK-GABLE-ORIGINAL-PHOTO-NO-MAN-OF-HER-OWN-PRE-CODE-1932/254263997108?hash=item3b3350b2b4:g:8FsAAOSwYw1dGWcu.

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'So, what's the delivery fee?'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.05 at 18:56
Current mood: hungryhungry

Honestly, I have no idea why Carole Lombard is on the phone from her Paramount dressing room. Did Hollywood restaurants deliver in 1935, which apparently was when this photo (p1202-1164) was made? Whatever, it's a fascinating image of Carole away from work in front of the (motion picture) cameras.

Of course, we'd know more if there was a snipe on the reverse, and the seller hasn't let on whether there is one. Whatever, it's an 8" x 10", apparently vintage...and here it is in full:

Interested? It'll cost you $11.11. All the info is at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-30s-40s-Movie-Publicity-Photo-8x10-B-W-Carole-Lombard-WOW-JSH/193015762371?hash=item2cf0a2cdc3:g:eP4AAOSwbPVdOzZ-.

And if I'd owned a restaurant near Paramount in 1935, I'd waive any delivery fee to her in exchange for an autographed picture.

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Go West, if you Mae, with this auction

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.04 at 14:25
Current mood: creativecreative

Carole Lombard is pictured on the Paramount lot in the mid-1930s...but had it not been for the actress below, the studio's fortunes -- and hers -- might have been considerably different.

Is it an overstatement to say Mae West saved Paramount? Perhaps, but it's no doubt that her films, released at the nadir of the Depression, infused the ailing studio with plenty of sorely-needed cash.

You'll note there's no photo of Lombard and West together -- that's because I'm not sure one exists. They almost certainly crossed paths at the studio, but Mae's productions were largely autonomous (she wrote her own material) and not something Carole would've been involved with. Moreover, West was some 15 years Lombard's senior, and as an emigre from New York viewed herself as an outsider. It should thus come as no surprise that the one Paramount actress Mae felt an affinity for was the similarly unconventional Marlene Dietrich:

West already had a controversial reputation long before heading to Hollywood. She wrote and/or starred in plays dealing with sexual topics that drew the wrath of 1920s censors, including "Sex" and "The Drag," a play about homosexuality that made the front of Hearst's New York Daily Mirror on Feb. 11, 1927. She even was briefly jailed.

Why are we discussing Mae? It's recently been announced that much of her personal memorabilia, from her Broadway and Hollywood days, will be auctioned this fall.

Julien's Auctions is overseeing the event, which will be publicly previewed Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 (the latter the date of the auction) at the Standard Oil Building in Beverly Hills, not far from the Ravenswood in Hancock Park, where she acquired an apartment (shown below in 1933) and lived there until her death in 1980. (While West invested wisely in southern California real estate, she never owned the Ravenswood, contrary to legend.)

These more than 237 lots of items are from the collection of Tim Malachosky, West's personal assistant and secretary for the last decade of her life.

The most expensive prop is the red satin gown West wore as Diamond Lil in the 1933 hit "She Done Him Wrong"; it's valued at $10,000 to $20,000. There's plenty of jewelry (Mae loved rhinestones), a gold tea set she was frequently pictured with and more.

Written memorabilia includes her annotated script from "She Done Him Wrong," for which bids are expected to open at $2,000-$3,000, as well as more than 250 fan letters.

The catalog isn't up yet, but you can learn more about it from http://www.juliensauctions.com/about-auction?id=300, with additional information available at https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/mae-west-assistant-brings-memorabilia-auction-november-1227577?fbclid=IwAR3MsDzYzY6Set_nh-2jYNBwPtfGCqseNVlL7J8o0do9W_S3yzFLTk9Ve60 and at http://www.playbill.com/article/gowns-and-costumes-belonging-to-1930s-star-mae-west-to-be-auctioned?fbclid=IwAR2x_3j6P-P2IKi_bxdSrnQgTKQB0I0Ohj2QPjPOnMl5EiKPvY9a_N37ygc.

This promises to be an auction of high interest, whose subject is a woman far ahead of her time. And while West may not have been close to Lombard, they shared affection for one man, New Yorker George Raft, who worked with Mae in her debut film "Night After Night" (1932) and remained friends for decades.

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In praise (yes, praise!) of Harry Cohn

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.03 at 12:15
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

For the vast majority of Carole Lombard fans, "Twentieth Century" was the pivotal film of her career. While not a huge hit, it did sufficient business and was seen by enough people and critics to realize that this actress -- generally perceived as a clotheshorse of little distinction -- had comedic skills heretofore largely untapped. (Yes, Carole's resume included Mack Sennett training, but in those two-reelers, she was seen as largely decorative.)

We know "Twentieth Century" was made for Columbia Pictures; in fact, it was the fourth of five films she'd make for that studio. And Lombard biographers have noted her relatively good relationship with its mercurial mogul, Harry Cohn. (Carole, like Cohn no stranger to inventive invective, engaged him in plenty of give-and-take, earning his respect.)

Cohn is often dismissed as a vulgarian even by the low standards of studio heads (stories of his coarse relationships with actresses are legion). However, that angle ignores his very real -- and considerable -- accomplishments in the industry. Thanks to film historian Bernard F. Dick, that perception has substantially changed.

His 1993 book "The Merchant Prince Of Poverty Row" uses unstudied source material from Columbia files as well as interviews with studio officials to give a textured portrait of this studio head, who helped found Columbia in 1919, won an internal power struggle with brother Jack Cohn by the late '20s, and ran the studio until his death in February 1958.

Dick rarely goes into "casting couch" anecdotes; he largely leaves that topic to other biographers. He does discuss how Cohn used his street-smart background as a New York song plugger to analyze and adapt his releases to changing audience tastes. (It's one reason he worked so well with his best-known director, Frank Capra.)

These pictures, taken backstage at an Actors Fund benefit in January 1937 where Clark Gable (minus mustache, since he was filming "Parnell" at MGM) and Claudette Colbert reprised part of their Oscar-winning roles in "It Happened One Night," are the only known photos of Lombard and Capra. (She'd been a candidate for leading lady in "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town," a role that went to Jean Arthur, and Capra had written her Sennett comedy "The Swim Princess.")

Yet Capra and Cohn had such joint influence at Columbia that Carole's first two films there were very much in the early Capra mode. "Virtue" -- written by Capra favorite Robert Riskin -- deals little with class distinctions or Lombard's Mae hiding her past as a streetwalker. It's an incorrectly perceived return to such a life that briefly leads cab driver husband Pat O'Brien to question her.

Dick writes that "No More Orchids," her followup film for Columbia, "could have been a combined 'Platinum Blonde' and 'American Madness'," both of them early Capra releases (it has the former movie's class-conscious mentality and the latter's populist financial angle). Indeed, he notes, "Orchids" opens with screwball elements, although the potential bank failure threatened by a status-seeking grandfather (C. Aubrey Smith) shifts the film in a far more somber direction.

"Although Capra never directed Carole Lombard, she appeared in enough Capra-inspired films to qualify for admission to his populist pantheon," Dick wrote, also citing "Brief Moment" and "Lady By Choice." He summed up the Capra-Cohn link with this: "But while Capra needed a studio to give him some degree of latitude, Harry needed Capra to give his studio an identity."

Among the many other things in Dick's book are the studio's repeated run-ins with Joseph Breen (as foul-mouthed as Cohn) and the Production Code (Moviemakers learned how to beat the Code; Harry did it better than most"), along with an examination of Columbia operations.

For example, while the Three Stooges are among the acts most closely associated with Columbia, they and others in their popular short subjects department had very little to do with Cohn. In fact, in 1936 that department left Sunset and Gower for the former Western Pictures lot on Beachwood Drive. Westerns also were big at Columbia, including several later features by Gene Autry (who'd gained fame at Republic) that serve as a sort of preview for his substantial Museum of the American West.

Dick's book (he also edited the collection "Columbia Pictures: Portrait Of A Studio") is a fine tribute to a company that defied the odds in the Hollywood hierarchy, and to a mogul who, for all his many foibles, oversaw his share of classic films while never once finishing in the red.

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A 'Supernatural' Rainbow on the South Side

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.02 at 01:03
Current mood: curiouscurious

Carole Lombard's "enthusiasm" for the hokum that is "Supernatural" is made apparent in this seance scene, where she probably wishes some magic could transport her to a place other than the Paramount lot. Perhaps a few blocks north on Gower Street to Columbia, where Harry Cohn's one-time Poverty Row outfit had just given her two vehicles ("Virtue" and "No More Orchids") that were better than what her home studio was supplying.

But Carole persevered, "Supernatural" was released in the spring, and by November it was making the rounds of second-run houses:

The ad, in closeup:

What venue was this from? The front side of the herald provides some hints:

So the theatre is called the "Rainbow," a not-uncommon moviehouse name of the time, and from its "120th Street" address, it's almost certainly in some large city. But which one? Some sleuthing at cinematreasures.org gave an answer: Chicago.

The theater existed for 34 years under three different names, opening as the Leida in 1917, becoming the Rainbow six years later, then turning into the Ridge in 1936. Here's a herald from March 1942:

Aside from that, all we know about the place is that it seated 734 and shut its doors in 1951. No pictures exist of the theater, and the site now is a vacant lot.

The seller apparently isn't sure whether the Rainbow herald is from the '30s or '40s; it's for sale at eBay for $9.09, 35 percent off its former price. If you collect Lombard heralds, this might be of interest. Check it out at https://www.ebay.com/itm/ORIGINAL-1930s-40s-RAINBOW-MOVIE-THEATER-PROGRAM-CAROLE-LOMBARD-TOM-MIX/254317131783?hash=item3b367b7807:g:4lEAAOSwxDBdKnFr.

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Here's how Lubitsch did it

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.01 at 18:01
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

Carole Lombard didn't have much time to savor the afterglow, but she called working on "To Be Or Not To Be" the best filmmaking experience she'd had in her career. And a book on its director discusses it and other classic Hollywood masterpieces he made.

That director, of course, is Ernst Lubitsch, whose gems also include "The Smiling Lieutenant," "Trouble In Paradise," "Ninotchka" and "The Shop Around The Corner." We've mentioned Joseph McBride's book "How Did Lubitsch Do It?" (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/918672.html), but now I've finally read it, and it's a mandatory volume for any Golden Age fan...particularly those who adore sophisticated comedy.

It's a semi-biographical examination of Lubitsch's work, and of course "To Be Or Not To Be" occupies an exalted space. McBride leads the discussion by writing, "No Lubitsch film is more discussed today, and perhaps more admired, than 'To Be Or Not To Be.'"

And why not? It was a dark comedy about Nazism, made at a time when the outcome of World War II was very much in doubt. (Pearl Harbor, which led America into the war full-force, occurred late in production.) That sort of humor was unknown to film audiences of the time; remember, it was more than two decades before "Dr. Strangelove." No wonder reception was mixed (and probably would have been even if Lombard's death hadn't cast a pall over its release).

Contrary to myth, McBride writes, "To Be Or Not To Be" was not a box-office failure, but neither was it a huge hit -- understandable in those uncertain times. Yet, he adds, that sense of urgency makes it a classic, a quality Mel Brooks' farcical 1983 remake lacks.

Lombard figures prominently in a McBride anecdote about the film. We know United Artists wanted to change the film's title, deeming the "Hamlet" allusion a bit too highbrow (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/42558.html), but according to the author, it was Lubitsch, not UA, who suggested the relatively innocuous "The Censor Forbids" and got co-stars Lombard and Jack Benny into the debate. Benny may have been in on this from the start, but was Lombard? She was en route from Los Angeles to Chicago to prepare for her war bond rally in Indianapolis and sent a telegram opposing the title change.

Veteran film writer Danny Peary discussed the book with McBride last month for the Long Island publication Dan's Papers, and the illuminating two-part interview can be found at https://www.danspapers.com/2019/07/danny-peary-interview-how-did-lubitsch-do-it-author-joseph-mcbride/ and https://www.danspapers.com/2019/07/danny-peary-interview-how-did-lubitsch-do-it-author-joseph-mcbride-part-2/.

A review of the book from last September is at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/hollywood-director-ernst-lubitsch-in-our-day, countering an otherwise complimentary Washington Post review (https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/a-forgotten-filmmaker-who-influenced-alfred-hitchcock-and-billy-wilder-gets-his-due/2018/07/03/7887fc4c-6b61-11e8-bf8c-f9ed2e672adf_story.html?utm_term=.697d9d0bf469) that labeled Lubitsch as "forgotten." And perhaps to the multiplex mass audience of today, he is. Not to connoisseurs of film, though. Most of the Lubitsch legacy survives today, although more than a few of his silents, both in Germany and in the U.S., are lost.

Many of the surviving movies have been given the DVD treatment. While Lubitsch played a key role in establishing the genre of romantic comedy (as opposed to screwball; his one foray into that style, "Bluebeard's Eighth Wife," is one of his least effective films), with acolytes such as Billy Wilder and to a lesser extent Woody Allen, romantic comedies have devolved into relative immaturity, reflecting the changing nature of the cinematic audience in post-WWII decades from adults and general audiences to teens seeking an inexpensive date.

Still, there is hope, thanks to books such as these. Somewhere, Lombard -- who'd wanted to work with Lubitsch from her early days at Paramount -- certainly agrees.

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Get ready for SUTS, the 2019 version

Posted by vp19 on 2019.07.31 at 09:28
Current mood: excitedexcited

That's how Turner Classic Movies promoted Carole Lombard when she was part of its Summer Under The Stars lineup for 2011; she's appeared in SUTS, its annual August celebration of classic Hollywood, two other times, in 2006 and 2014. Perhaps she'll return in a year or two (it would help if TCM acquired rights to premiere a few of her films on the channel, such as "They Knew What They Wanted").

In the meantime, this year's lineup is per usual for the on-air festival, a nice blend of the obvious and the obscure (if any performer who accumulates 24 hours' worth of films can be deemed "obscure"). The schedule -- first-time SUTS honorees shown with an asterisk:

August 1 - Henry Fonda
August 2 - Ruth Hussey*
August 3 - Marlon Brando
August 4 - Shirley Temple*
August 5 - Melvyn Douglas*
August 6 - Lena Horne
August 7 - James Stewart
August 8 - Ava Gardner
August 9 - Red Skelton
August 10 - Rita Moreno*
August 11 - Humphrey Bogart
August 12 - Ann Sothern
August 13 - Brian Donlevy*
August 14 - Liv Ullmann*
August 15 - Rod Steiger*
August 16 - Irene Dunne
August 17 - Errol Flynn
August 18 - Audrey Hepburn
August 19 - Buster Keaton
August 20 - Dorothy McGuire*
August 21 - Joel McCrea
August 22 - Leila Hyams*
August 23 - Fred Astaire
August 24 - Shirley MacLaine
August 25 - Dustin Hoffman*
August 26 - Mary Astor
August 27 - Walter Brennan*
August 28 - June Allyson
August 29 - Paul Lukas*
August 30 - Susan Hayward
August 31 - Kirk Douglas

A pictorial roster:

Twelve newcomers to SUTS, including Shirley Temple (perhaps Disney's purchase of the 20th Century-Fox library made many of these titles available) and Dustin Hoffman (until now, probably deemed too "recent" for SUTS honors; might this lead to Goldie Hawn getting a nod in 2020?). McCrea, Hyams, Astor and Lukas provide plenty for pre-Code fans, while Keaton's silent artistry provides a great way for me to celebrate my birthday.

Find the complete schedule -- which includes recent documentaries on Gardner and Keaton that are new to TCM -- at http://summer.tcm.com/, while some worthwhile recommendations are at https://aurorasginjoint.com/2019/07/28/tcms-summer-under-the-stars-2019-picks-and-pics/.

Enjoy what I call the high holy days of the TCM calendar.

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Collecting scraps, and plenty of them

Posted by vp19 on 2019.07.30 at 21:56
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Above is part of a Carole Lombard scrapbook sold at eBay in January 2015 (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/756332.html). She's part of a large-scale scrapbook now up for auction, featuring at least two pictures of her.

Let's isolate and enlarge those images of her:

The seller knows his or her stuff, as this long description of the scrapbook's contents makes evident:

Its cover looks like this:

And some of the other inside pages:

These pages are from the latter half of the 1930s; the reference to "the late Jean Harlow" make it likely this was a memorial page created for her. Another page has a note about Vivien Leigh winning the Scarlett O'Hara derby.

Bidding opens at $17.50; the auction closes at 10:25 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. Or make an offer, if you prefer. Find out more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/Movie-Star-Scrapbook-92-Pg-Claudette-Colbert-Carole-Lombard-Harlow-Vivien-Leigh/293167426116?hash=item444223ea44:g:9hQAAOSwfSldM7q8.

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'New' p1202s worth a look

Posted by vp19 on 2019.07.29 at 14:51
Current mood: gratefulgrateful

Huh? What are "p1202s," you ask? As many Carole Lombard fans know, p1202 was the "player number" she was assigned by Paramount after she signed a contract with the studio in 1930, used for publicity stills not necessarily associated with Paramount films she was making. Above, the one that started it all -- p1202-1, taken in New York (probably at Paramount's Astoria studio in Queens) while she was filming "Fast And Loose."

About 1,800 of these Lombard shots were issued between 1930 and 1938, when she officially left the studio. Because of cropping and other alterations, the p1202 numbers on many of these have been lost, unknown or can't be ascertained.

Fortunately, thanks to collectors, three more examples of p1202s have been uncovered. And here they are. The first two probably are from 1935. We begin with p1202-1149...

...followed by p1202-1157:

We advance to 1937 for the finale, p1202-1631:

Always good to add to this online collection, as we see Lombard evolve in fashion, personality and more.

In addition, we're thrilled to learn of a second printing for an essential volume for anyone interested in classic.Hollywood portraiture, written by a Facebook friend who worked for the man. And look who's on the cover!

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Happy birthday, Bill! TCM presents plenty of Powell (and lots of Loy, too)

Posted by vp19 on 2019.07.28 at 19:36
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

This photo is likely the last time Carole Lombard and William Powell were pictured together in public. The former couple are seen dancing sometime in 1940 at Ciro's on the Sunset Strip.

The nightclub opened that Jan. 31, and earlier that month Powell -- 16 years older than Lombard -- had married Diana Lewis, more than a decade Carole's junior. (Despite the vast age difference, Powell and Lewis stayed together until his death in March 1984.) Lombard, of course, had married Clark Gable in March 1939.

Tomorrow, July 29, marks the 127th anniversary of Powell's birth, and Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. is celebrating my favorite classic Hollywood actor with seven of his films. Five of them feature his best-known leading lady, and my second favorite Golden Age actress, Myrna Loy, whose 114th birthday anniversary is Friday. (I've always deemed it appropriate MGM's greatest couple were both Leos, as am I.)

Some Loy fans are upset Myrna isn't part of this year's "Summer Under The Stars," the month-long annual high holy days of the TCM calendar. I'll note the event has honored her in previous years, often on her birthday. So view tomorrow as a birthday bash for the lovely Loy, too. (We'll soon do an entry on the 2019 SUTS.)

The schedule (all times Eastern):

* 6 a.m. -- "The Key" (1934). Probably the most obscure of the Powell septet, he plays a British officer stationed in 1920 Ireland who falls for the wife (Edna Best) of an intelligence man (Colin Clive). Directed by Michael Curtiz, the cast includes Donald Crisp, Arthur Treacher (in a rare dramatic role) and Anne Shirley (then known as Dawn O'Day).

* 7:15 a.m. -- "Love Crazy" (1941). In order to keep wife Loy from divorcing him, businessman Powell feigns insanity; you even get to see him in drag! Gail Patrick plays an old flame of his now in his apartment building (Bill has a hilarious elevator scene with Gail and her dog!), while Jack Carson also provides support. Loads of fun. Directed by Jack Conway.

* 9 a.m. -- "Mister Roberts" (1955). Powell ended his career on an up note by starring in this smart wartime comedy-drama about a naval cargo ship featuring a stellar cast (from left, Henry Fonda, James Cagney, Powell and Jack Lemmon). Bill's a doctor who's a voice of reason amidst the clashing personalities of Fonda, Cagney and Lemmon. Directed by John Ford and Mervyn Le Roy.

* 11:15 a.m. -- "Manhattan Melodrama" (1934). Loy's on board for the rest of the Powellathon, and here's their first-ever joint appearance; it's also the only teaming of Lombard's two husbands. Boyhood buddies (the raffish Gable, played as a youth by Mickey Rooney, and the straight-arrow Powell) clash for Myrna's affections. Famed in pop culture as the last film viewed by Loy fan John Dillinger before he was gunned down in Chicago.

* 1 p.m. -- "Libeled Lady" (1936). Powell's '36 is arguably the greatest calendar year any actor has ever had; here's three-fifths of that output. ("My Man Godfrey" and his vehicle "The Ex.-Mrs. Bradford" with Jean Arthur are absent.) We begin with literal and figurative four-star fun, featuring superb dialogue ("She may be his wife, but she's engaged to me!"), Powell's hilarious fishing scene and fine supporting work from reliable Walter Connolly. No wonder this was one of Robert Osborne's favorites.

* 2:45 p.m. -- "After The Thin Man" (1936). Nick and Nora Charles fans had to wait nearly 2 1/2 years for the couple and canine pal Asta to solve another case. But Powell and Loy (shown above with Sam Levene) delivered the goods, although this one was set in San Francisco, not New York. A murder-mystery delight, directed by W.S. Van Dyke, whose cast includes a young James Stewart.

* 5 p.m. -- "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936). Powell headed a film in '36 which won an Academy Award for best picture...but it wasn't for "Libeled Lady" (which at least was nominated) or for "My Man Godfrey." Instead, it was this elephantine biopic about the fabled Broadway showman Florenz Ziegfeld (played by Powell, with Loy as wife Billie Burke,). Luise Rainer won an Oscar for best actress, beating out Lombard in "Godfrey" among others. Credit (or blame) MGM's bloc voting, fully on display here.

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