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carole lombard 05

Carole, Will and Leslie at the polo grounds

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.22 at 08:59
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

No, not the fabled upper Manhattan ballpark the Polo Grounds, which baseball fan Carole Lombard may have visited during her 1930 stay in New York, but a real polo field, the Uplifters Fields in Santa Monica. (The Uplifters was a SoCal social club founded by L. Frank Baum, author of the "Oz" books.) During the glory days of Hollywood, the sport was popular with the film set.

On May 21, 1934, a team of actors defeated a producers' team, 9-3 (hooray for labor!), and Lombard handed a trophy to the winners -- from left: Leslie Howard, James Gleason, Will Rogers, Spencer Tracy and Johnny Mack Brown. Here's another photo of them, with the hills of Malibu in the background:

Who was on the conquered club? Judging from his footwear, one of the members may have been Walt Disney. The animation pioneer is shown with Howard that day:

More on Howard the avid polo player is at https://lesliehowardsteiner.blogspot.com/p/polo.html.

There is a tragic, one-in-a-million footnote to the top two pictures: Less than a decade after they were taken, Lombard, Rogers and Howard all died in air crashes.

The pair of photos are available at eBay, each 8" x 10" reproductions on sale for $14.95 (or you can make an offer). The first is at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leslie-Howard-Spencer-Tracy-Carole-Lombard-polo-match-movie-stars-8x10-photo-2/254130654484?hash=item3b2b5e0d14:g:zvcAAOSwylBcESQA. The second is at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leslie-Howard-Spencer-Tracy-Carole-Lombard-polo-movie-star-8x10-photo/392242493869?hash=item5b537979ad:g:9NgAAOSw7rlcESHN.

carole lombard 04

A Lombard-Columbo diary, and a rockin' 50th anniversary history

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.21 at 16:52
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

The Russ Columbo-Carole Lombard saga didn't end with his mysterious death in 1934, her fatal airplane crash in 1942 or the death of his mother in 1944. (She had a severe heart condition, and family decided not to tell her Russ was dead, but instead was touring the world. While alive, Carole aided the ruse.)

The ill-fated couple returned to headlines on Dec. 8, 1948. This item ran in the Associated Press:

Here are headshots of Columbo's relatives:

Thanks to Brian Lee Anderson for tracking this down; it's new info to me. But at least one aspect of it doesn't make sense -- since diaries are supposed to be confidential to the person writing it, why would Carole give Russ hers? Might the diary instead have been blank that Lombard supplied, perhaps suggesting Columbo, a bandleader-songwriter, use it when an idea came to mind.

Just another mystery regarding this fascinating twosome.

More than two decades after this story ran -- and after Columbo's signature song, "Prisoner Of Love," had been recorded on an album by Frank Sinatra, then made a hit by, of all people, James Brown -- a new style of music was saluted on a Los Angeles radio station that had once played a key role in the rise of Russ' friendly rival, Bing Crosby. We're referring to KHJ, which on this date in 1969 kicked off a historic event in Top 40 radio:

"The History Of Rock & Roll" was a 48-hour documentary on the rise of the genre, made at a time when the music had no historians to speak of, The project, an outgrowth of a short film explaining the music to potential advertisers, was devised by legendary consultant Bill Drake, who suggested it to KHJ programmer Ron Jacobs. Since rival LA station KRLA was about to unveil a weekly program with a similar historical theme, KHJ decided to do a two-day extravaganza on the theme. But it had only seven weeks to create at what the time was a gargantuan undertaking. As Richard Wagoner of the Los Angeles Daily News notes:

"There was no Internet, of course, nor was anything like this done before. There just was not easily accessible research to be found...indeed there was little research on the subject at all -- it had to be done in-house, by the team themselves and some assistants and contributors. In just seven weeks. After regular station duties on and off the air were done. During a cold, rainy Los Angeles winter with numerous electrical outages and a manual typewriter."

But the KHJ crew worked, and worked, 15 to 20 hours a day and finally completed it at 10 a.m. Feb. 21, 1969, a mere two hours before it began. This ad ran in the Los Angeles Times that morning:

In retrospect, Wagoner wrote, the original "History" "...was not perfect. It included errors and omissions, misjudgments and more, most of which were fixed in a full rewrite" done in 1978. But considering the terrain of rock research at the time, this nevertheless was a job well done. The event was a huge hit -- KHJ's ratings of 25.4 nearly tripled its closest competitor.

"The History Of Rock & Roll" was repeated and refined by KHJ and its sister Drake stations, with the most recent version airing in 1981.

Read Wagoner's account at https://www.dailynews.com/2019/02/19/radio-khj-made-history-itself-by-presenting-the-history-of-rock-and-roll-50-years-ago/. Hear snippets from the original show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzEtC6DSoGE, and bootleg versions of it abound on the Internet. It's great listening for any rock fan.

carole lombard 03

'Ethereal,' indeed

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.20 at 13:07
Current mood: mellowmellow

It's Carole Lombard Paramount p1202-1274, and we also can tell it's from 1935. Thankfully, this photo also has a snipe on its back:

Can't read it? Here it is, magnified:

It's ethereal, all right, but then again most of Travis Banton's outfits for Carole were. As for the film listed, note "Hands Across The Table" has been crossed out, replaced by "Concertina," That was to have been the name of Lombard's next Paramount release, but it was soon changed to "The Princess Comes Across," after George Raft walked off production and Fred MacMurray replaced him as leading man (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/166158.html).

Another vintage pic from the George Smoots collection, this measures 8" x 10" and is in "fine" condition. The starting bid is $39.99 and the auction closes at 10:31 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. Think you may want it? Then go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Original-Vintage-1935-PARAMOUNT-PICTURES-PORTRAIT-Photo/372589988330?hash=item56c01809ea:g:ejwAAOSwfvtcTgbc:rk:34:pf:0

carole lombard 02

Oh MoMA, some finds from the Fox

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.19 at 13:57
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

As "Fox" fades out of sight as a film studio where Carole Lombard worked (she's seen above with Warner Baxter in 1930's "The Arizona Kid"), there's good news for fans of the fabled studio whose cinematic assets are headed to Disney. Alas, Lombard -- who made several silents for Fox in 1925, then returned for the one-shot a few years later -- isn't part of the package...though let's hope one day she will be.

More than 80 years after a fire in a New Jersey storage facility destroyed the entire Fox library of negatives and most of its positive prints, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has worked closely with the 20th Century-Fox studio in Los Angeles to preserve and restore the nitrates and reference copies that do exist.

This is nothing new for MoMA, long a leader in film preservation (in fact, it did a three-week Fox retrospective last summer). And next month, the public can see 27 of these treasures in "William Fox Presents: More Restorations and Rediscoveries From the Fox Film Corporation" (the complete schedule is at https://www.moma.org/calendar/film/5049?locale=es&fbclid=IwAR3YaObvk7qpbkDhzk-nTadgeVLZzeYwWkZnwo9Tk3b-0kxMjqXESemSyuw). If I were back east, I'd surely try to take it in.

Loretta Young fans such her daughter-in-law and Facebook friend Linda Lewis will be pleased to know she's part of the retrospective, appearing in 1933's "Zoo In Budapest" (from the pic, you know it's pre-Code!). Gene Raymond co-stars, and it will run at 1:30 p.m. March 3 and 7 p.m. March 15.

Many of filmdom's finest directors worked for Fox, most notably John Ford -- in fact, he directed nine of the titles, six of them silents. Among them is his first talkie, "The Black Watch" (1929), and leads Myrna Loy and Victor McLaglen's inexperience with dialogue is evident. This is slated for 6 p.m. on both March 9 and 17.

The retrospective kicks off at 7:30 p.m. March 1 with stars Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell reuniting with director Frank Borzage for 1928's "Street Angel" (the trio had posted a big hit the year before with "7th Heaven"). The artistry from this late silent shows why many regard 1928 as a peak year for not merely silent film, but cinema, period (think also of King Vidor's "The Crowd" and "Show People"). If you can't make the first go-round, it'll have an encore at 2 p.m. March 24.

Among the earliest titles is "While New York Sleeps" (1920), directed by Charles J. Brabin, whom a dozen years later helmed a similarly tough film, "The Beast Of The City" for MGM. This, shot at Fox's Manhattan studios and on location throughout the area, tells three separate stories, on Long Island, Times Square and the East Side. Its dates are 4:30 p.m. March 14 and 6:30 p.m. March 18.

Now let's hope that someday, one of those missing Lombard Fox films show up.

carole lombard 01

A still FOR a film, but not FROM one

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.18 at 15:14
Current mood: contentcontent

This is Carole Lombard's RKO portrait CL-264, from "They Knew What They Wanted." No, not really. Her character in the 1940 drama, Amy, dressed like this...

...and this...

...and this:

Hardly the glamour type, right?

Getting back to the vintage portrait of Mrs. Gable at the top, it's 8" x 10", single-weight and in very fine condition. It's from the George Smoots collection.

Bidding opens at $39.99, with the auction closing at 10:41 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. Want to learn more, or bid? Then go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Original-Vtg-1940-RKO-PORTRAIT-Photo-THEY-KNEW-WHAT-THEY-WANTED/372589986319?hash=item56c018020f/

carole lombard 07

A second glance at a September 'Shado'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.17 at 08:19
Current mood: curiouscurious

And no, that's not a misspelling. We're referring to Shadoplay, the short-lived, low-priced sibling of its legendary sister fan magazine, Photoplay.

Shadoplay began publication in early 1933 (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/484371.html). While the 10-cent mag promised the same level of sophistication as Photoplay, which had a good reputation in the field, it soon gained the unwanted rep of being a home for spillover articles not deemed good enough for its 25-cent big sis. Add that the Depression perhaps wasn't the best of times to start a magazine, and by mid-1935 Shadoplay was folded into Movie Mirror.

Carole Lombard's on the cover of the September 1933 issue, one we've previously examined (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/552459.html), but a copy has surfaced on eBay, and the seller has added samples of heretofore unseen pages. (Photoplay issues from this era are available online, sadly not the case for Shadoplay.) We'll begin with the table of contents:

Aside from the Earl Christy-painted cover, the only other Lombard reference I could find was an ad for Borden's Malted Milk designed as a tie-in to her upcoming Columbia film "Brief Moment":

Whom did the magazine label "Hollywood's Most Dangerous Lover"? None other than Gary Cooper:

Among the other goodies: A story on "The Broken Romance Of Mary And Doug," how the marriage of Hollywood's first couple, Pickford and Fairbanks, had collapsed...

...full-page photos of Dolores Del Rio and Jackie Cooper...

...capsule reviews of some new releases...

...and several ads from the studios:

Bids for this rarity begin at $50, with the auction set to close at 12:06 a.m. (Eastern) Feb. 27. The issue has 82 semi-glossy pages and is in good condition. To find out more or to bid, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shadoplay-Sept-1933-Carole-Lombard-Earl-Christy-Art-Cover-Movie-Ads-Candid-Stars/264200605122?hash=item3d83954dc2.

For Carole, being on the September cover was a considerable step up from a story it had run in May (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/335692.html):

carole lombard 06

Old-school romcoms, and a spin on the genre today

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.16 at 20:55
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery "battle" on the set of their romantic comedy "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," in theaters 78 years ago today. Audiences cheered Carole's return to comedy after several dramas, and the in-and-out genre now known as "romcoms" appears back in again.

"Crazy Rich Asians" did far better at the box office than anyone expected last year, Netflix had plenty of success streaming original romcoms and now a good-hearted send-up of genre conventions, "Isn't It Romantic," is holding its own against the usual comic book/superhero/dystopian competition.

Director Todd Strauss-Schulson did his research for the movie...and I mean that literally. In an interview, he said he watched every romcom made between 1988 and 2007 (https://www.slashfilm.com/isnt-it-romantic-interview-director-todd-strauss-schulson/?fbclid=IwAR23EKLnpFyiaqIg8JXnJdxwcq4yf_NQDkm3DslYvutQbSilcFUFFVSNYwU).

"It was somewhere between 80 and 100" over a two-week period, he said, calling the era "the modern heyday of romantic comedies" (beginning with "When Harry Met Sally"). It also would have most influenced Rebel Wilson's lead character, an outerborough New York architect who finds herself in a romcom Manhattan universe that she wants nothing to do with.

The director added, "a lot of those '90s romcoms were referencing the great romances of the 1940s and 1950s" (did he forget the '30s, the golden era of screwball?). But on his own, he wanted to "crack the code" of what makes romcoms tick without devolving it into an "Airplane"-style parody.

The 160-page "brain dump" can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/i22o0rvs897fu10/ROM%20COM%20DECK%20FINAL.pdf?dl=0.

What can the romantic comedy popularized by Lombard, William Powell, Myrna Loy and Cary Grant teach today's versions of the genre? Plenty, I think. And the resurgence of Powell's popularity in the 35 years since his death in 1984 gives romcom fans such as myself much hope.

carole lombard 05

Lombard, Lukas, linen

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.15 at 13:02
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

I've never before seen this still from Carole Lombard's first top-billed feature, "No One Man" (Paramount, 1932). It shows her dancing with future Academy Award winner Paul Lukas (1894-1971). Not only is it in nearly excellent condition, but it's linen-backed and measures 7.75" x 9.75".

The good news: The seller's opening bid is a very reasonable $9.99. The bad news: The auction doesn't end until 7:04 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Sunday so expect it to go significantly higher.

Bid or learn more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Paul-Lukas-No-One-Man-1932-ORIGINAL-photo-LINEN-BACKED/312472112495?hash=item48c0ca0d6f:g:Q-8AAOSwUSRcYj7d:rk:14:pf:0.

carole lombard 04

Happy Valentine's Day, and a 'new' p1202 to love

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.14 at 10:40
Current mood: lovedloved

Happy Valentine's Day, as Carole Lombard plays Cupid and shoots a love arrow your way. Someone apparently created this two years ago in a job well done. And here's something else to adore: A heretofore unseen (at least by me, and I've searched Lombard images for decades) photo from Paramount's p1202 collection of publicity stills. (As many of you know by now, p1202 was the studio's "player code" number for Carole.)

Ladies and gentlemen, p1202-366:

From its number, I'm guessing this is from late 1932 or early '33. It shows her standing in front of a French-language map of southern Europe and northern Africa -- and here's a close-up:

A fascinating design on that dress, by the way.

I'd like to provide additional information, but while there is a snipe on the back, it's so faded it makes reading it nearly impossible. The seller took two versions of it; perhaps you can decipher it better than I can:

The photo measures 7.25" x 9.75", and while it hasn't been graded looks to be in respectable condition for a pic more than 85 years old. The seller, "the*orchid*lady," is selling it for $124.99. Interested? Then visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/202595360733.

It was 83 years ago today that Lombard fired an early salvo in her romance with Clark Gable, sending him a Model T jalopy she had bought for $15 and "spiffed up" for a few hundred more. Car enthusiast Clark returned the favor by driving it to Carole when they went out that night.

And how about this Valentine's image from "Twentieth Century"?

carole lombard 03

Romancing the screen in '32 (the sequel)

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.13 at 16:40
Current mood: relaxedrelaxed

The Carole & Co. entry for Aug. 4, 2013 (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/622410.html) featured Lombard on the cover of the April 1932 issue of Screen Romances. Four inside page illustrations also ran:

The issue again is available on eBay; is it the same copy? Look at the cover (seen here at an angle) and judge for yourself. I don't believe so:

The good news for collectors of Lombardiana is that all the inside samples shown this time around are different. We have a table of contents...

...a two-page spread on "Tarzan, The Ape Man"...

...homes of film stars such as Joan Crawford, Marie Dressler, Robert Montgomery and Warner Baxter...

...and the back cover, an ad for Camel cigarettes:

The magazine is in good to very good condition, with the inside pages in slightly better shape.

This copy is selling for $200, although you can make an offer. Find out more information by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/1932-APRIL-SCREEN-ROMANCES-MOVIE-MAGAZINE-CAROLE-LOMBARD-COVER-M-356/362556851376?hash=item546a1284b0:g:D6sAAOSwOztcW4i0:sc:USPSPriorityFlatRateEnvelope!90044!US!-1:rk:4:pf:1&frcectupt=true.

carole lombard 02

Of June and moon and rom-coms...

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.12 at 11:38
Current mood: lovedloved

While romantic comedies have been part of Hollywood's cinematic diet since Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray starred in 1935's "Hands Across The Table" -- heck, the genre dates back to silent days -- to many current moviegoers, rom-coms (a newer term) began 30 years ago with "When Harry Met Sally," then sort of fizzled out early in this decade.

But thanks to the surprise success last year of "Crazy Rich Asians" and several Netflix releases (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/945570.html), the genre is making a comeback. To celebrate, an inaugural festival honoring romantic comedies has been scheduled:

It's set for the month of weddings, the traditional happy ending for many rom-coms:

As its website notes...

Rom Com Fest is a festival that celebrates womanhood, love, and life through film and experiences.

Does that seem a bit gender-specific, as if rom-coms are being conflated with the dreaded term "chick flicks"? I hope not, since men can be romantic too (have we forgotten that?). It goes on to say...

There is a film festival for everything, and now is a time for rom coms to get the recognition they deserve. We will screen empowered and uplifting stories, with a mix of classic + new films.

I'm glad that classic films will be included in this festival, with hopes at least one Lombard title will appear -- maybe "Hands Across The Table" or "My Man Godfrey," the latter arguably the greatest screwball of them all...

...or another gem from William Powell's apex year of 1936, the (literally) four-star newspaper comedy "Libeled Lady":

Also scheduled are romantic experiences (including desserts!) and a screenplay competition -- https://filmfreeway.com/RomComFest -- with the winning script selected for a table read. And yes, this screenwriter entered, with...

Learn more about the event at https://www.romcomfest.com/; buy badges for the festival (prices range from $55 to $150) at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rom-com-fest-tickets-55872069865.

Look forward to seeing you there. Perhaps Mr. & Mrs. Smith (the 1941 version) will drop by.

carole lombard 01

'Dressing' with Bing

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.11 at 19:30
Current mood: amusedamused

Carole Lombard, like many of Paramount's leading ladies of the mid-thirties, became a co-star for up-and-coming singer Bing Crosby. (About the only two not called upon for such chores were Marlene Dietrich and Claudette Colbert.) Lombard's vehicle was "We're Not Dressing," from early 1934, and two vintage stills from that film have resurfaced on eBay.

This shows the leads in a rather awkward romantic embrace. The asking price is $79.99, or you can make an offer. Get the details at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Bing-Crosby-Romantic-ORINGINAL-1934-Art-Deco-Glamour-Photo/392235923009?hash=item5b53153641:g:snkAAOSwZlZaIvl0:rk:39:pf:0.

The other looks a bit more natural to my eyes, but it's valued at a mere $49.99, again with the "make offer" option. Find out more about this one by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Bing-Crosby-Romantic-ORINGINAL-1934-Glamour-Photo-J1077/372596702503?hash=item56c07e7d27:g:hpEAAOSwHNxaIvmr:rk:37:pf:0.

carole lombard 07

Some 'Supernatural' happenings on Blu-ray

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.10 at 16:45
Current mood: scaredscared

Here's news to cheer, not chill, Carole Lombard fans: "Supernatural" (1933), her lone foray into the horror genre, will get a Blu-ray video release from Kino Lorber. (Many thanks to Dan Day Jr. of The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog -- he's a Chicago White Sox fan, hence its name -- for the information.)

Beyond that, we don't know very much, including:

* When will it be available?
* Will there be any extras, as was the case for last fall's Blu-ray releases of "My Man Godfrey" and "Made For Each Other"?

In 2014, Universal -- which holds the rights to many of Paramount's pre-1948 titles -- issued a barebones DVD-R of "Supernatural," one so limited it lacked an on-screen menu. When it came out that fall, Day reviewed it at https://dandayjr35.blogspot.com/2014/11/supernatural.html#comment-form.

"Supernatural" was arguably the least enjoyable filmmaking experience of Lombard's career; she was supposedly so upset over director Victor Halperin's guiding of the movie that the otherwise easygoing Carole once screamed on the set, "Who do I have to screw to get off this picture?"

It's Lombard's most atypical movie, but far from her worst. She gives a decent performance in a genre she probably feared being typecast in...especially since by early 1933, when this was made, Paramount had shown no feel at all for what made this starlet tick. As a result, she was spinning her wheels at the studio, descending their totem pole of talent. (The previous year, she had made two movies on loan-out for Columbia, whose coarse mogul Harry Cohn gave her better material.)

"Supernatural" is hokum to be sure, but while it never parodies the genre, it goes at a rapid pace, and the visual effects that cause Carole's character to be "possessed" by the spirit of an executed murderess succeed. Apparently, she even had fun with it away from the set.

We await more word on the Blu-ray version of "Supernatural," expect more than a few extras from a reputable outfit such as Kino Lorber, and hope many other heretofore unavailable Lombard titles soon make their way to the format.

carole lombard 06

'Her name was Carole, she was a showgirl...'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.09 at 19:08
Current mood: artisticartistic

I've never seen "The Girl From Nowhere," Carole Lombard's 1928 short for Mack Sennett, but the shot above is definitely from that movie, as her outfit is identical to what's on this poster:

Now, another visual artifact from the film has cropped up. While Lombard -- even at her maximum reported height of 5-foot-6 -- would be way too short to make it as a showgirl today, by 1928 standards she certainly could have pulled it off. Witness:

The pic, in full, looks like this:

Unfortunately, the back of the photo has nothing to certify its origin, other than having Lombard's name on the back:

It's an image of Carole I've never before seen in my 33 years of following Lombard, and that in itself enhances its value.

The seller guesses Lombard was under 20 when this was taken (probably true, as "The Girl From Nowhere" was released on Aug. 5, 1928, two months and a day before Carole stopped being a teenager). It's 8" x 10", single-weight and said to be in very fine/near mint condition. For a photo more than 90 years old, it's in spectacular shape.

Something so rare, well-maintained and stunning won't come cheaply. The asking price on this is $199.95, although you have the option of making an offer. All the information can be found at https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIGINAL-STUDIO-PHOTO-SHOWGIRL-FLAPPER-PRE-CODE-VF-NM-1920s/254116820150?hash=item3b2a8af4b6.

For now, simply be awestruck.

carole lombard 05

Carole avec les Quebecois

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.08 at 10:32
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

Translated from the French, it means "Carole with Quebecers," a reminder that Lombard was (and is) beloved by both Francophone and Anglophone Canadians.

For proof, here's a 2002 Quebec biography of her:

These six full pages of clippings are in excellent condition, and for their protection are placed in a plastic sleeve backed with cardboard.

With the fluctuating exchange rate between American and Canadian currency, this can currently be purchased for $2.64 US. If you learned French in school (and growing up in Syracuse, not very far from the Quebec border, I took several years of it), this might be right up your alley.

To purchase or find out more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-French-Biography-Clippings-Magazines-Coupure-de-Presse-6-pages/273692488937?hash=item3fb957f4e9:g:B9cAAOSweTlbyifJ:rk:7:pf:0.

carole lombard 04

Portuguese, if you please

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.07 at 11:11
Current mood: busybusy

It's early 1931, and Paramount is pushing Carole Lombard, whom it signed to a long-term contract the previous summer. Not only is she making seductive stills such as this one, p1202-98, but the studio is including her in an array of films -- "It Pays To Advertise," "Up Pops The Devil," "Man Of The World" and "Ladies' Man" -- that would show in theaters for the next few months.

But Carole's build-up wasn't limited to North America by any means. Overseas markets long adored attractive young blondes, so the 22-year-old Lombard was pushed into fan magazines in Europe. One was Cine, published in Portugal, where Carole was its cover subject in March 1931:

This vintage mag is on sale at eBay, and while the cover apparently is it for Lombard content, there's plenty to fascinate in this issue's 32 pages...although most of the next few may require at least a rudimentary knowledge of Portuguese (which I don't have):

Not the case for this next one, however, and attention Victoria Riskin: That's your mom, Fay Wray, on the right-hand page, opposite Richard Arlen:

Back to more copy:

Those last facing pages feature pics of Harold Lloyd and Cecil B. de Mille.

Oh, and of course there are advertisements, including this one, apparently for Ovaltine or its Portuguese equivalent:

The issue is complete and in good condition.

The seller (from Poland) is asking $59.95 for the issue. Think you're interested, or at least curious? Then visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Cover-1931-Lupe-VELEZ-Bebe-DANIELS-Fay-WRAY-Edwina-BOOTH-NOVARRO/132942921900?hash=item1ef40400ac

It's a souvenir from what would be a very active year for this new Paramount player.

carole lombard 03

Lombard-Laughton mixup #2, Anna and Allison's 'Mom'-shell and happy 88th, Mamie!

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.06 at 12:34
Current mood: happyhappy

Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton teamed for two films nearly seven years apart. One was "They Knew What They Wanted," made for RKO in 1940. But here's where confusion sets in.

This currently is available at eBay, and yesterday the seller advertised it:

There's just one problem: It's not from "They Knew What They Wanted," but their other collaboration, "White Woman." The photo is credited to Paramount, where the movie was made.

The confusion probably stems from the "1939" date listed. It turns out that in '39, this film was reissued, two years after Carole left Paramount. I wasn't aware of that until discovering it in 2012 (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/526602.html). The clothes both are wearing (Lombard played a waitress in the later film, Laughton an Italian immigrant winemaker) should also have been a giveaway, too.

So I alerted the seller, and it's now been fixed:

It's a vintage 8" x 10" in very good condition, available for $14.95. Learn more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Charles-Laughton-THEY-KNEW-WHAT-THEY-WANTED-Vint-Orig-Photo/372590488122?hash=item56c01faa3a:g:H50AAOSwsj5boEYc:rk:42:pf:0.

Yesterday, I and millions of other television fans received some happy news:

CBS announced it's renewing my favorite sitcom, "Mom," for not one, but two more seasons, through at least 2020-2021 (https://www.thewrap.com/mom-renewed-season-7-and-8-cbs-allison-janney-anna-faris/). That would be its eighth season, a long run for any series.

There had been a little doubt, as leads Anna Faris and Allison Janney's six-year contracts with the show were expiring and they wanted salary increases, which they presumably got. (Faris earlier expressed confidence on her podcast the series would be renewed.)

With "The Big Bang Theory" (another Chuck Lorre series) calling it quits this spring, "Mom" becomes the dean of CBS comedies. (It's never been a "Big Bang" breakout hit, but it's a steady performer with a very loyal audience.) It's also critically acclaimed for its funny yet heartfelt portrayal of a mother and daughter in recovery and the friends in their support group.

Congrats to Anna, Allison and everyone associated with "Mom"...and if you've never seen the show, it's easy to catch up. The Paramount Network, FXX as well as many local channels carry reruns from the first five seasons. The irony is that a new ep isn't airing this Thursday at 9/8c, as the network is running its "Celebrity Big Brother" reality series.

Finally, a very happy 88th birthday to a Facebook friend of mine:

Mamie Van Doren, in a portrait from the great George Hurrell.

Van Doren, born Joan Olander in South Dakota, has ties to Lombard beyond being a Hurrell photo subject. She saw Carole and Clark Gable arrive at the Sioux Falls airport in the fall of 1941 as the couple prepared for some pheasant hunting. Some 17 years later, the renamed Mamie had a supporting role in the Gable-Doris Day vehicle "Teacher's Pet."

Mamie remains a bright, funny woman. Here are more recent phots of her:

We should all age so gracefully.

carole lombard 02

Happy 100th, United Artists!

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.05 at 16:16
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

That's Carole Lombard in a late 1941 publicity pose, away from the set of what would be her final film, "To Be Or Not To Be." The dark comedy from Ernst Lubitsch enabled Lombard to complete the "circuit" of the era's eight major Hollywood studios -- and the last of these celebrates its centennial today.

Charles Chaplin signs the agreement founding United Artists Corporation on Feb. 5, 1919, alongside Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith. This quartet of Hollywood titans (western star William S. Hart was to have joined them, but declined; Griffith bowed out in 1924) decided to join forces in order for film actors and directors to directly control their output, rather than be at the whims of studio moguls. This philosophy made UA different from its industry rivals, but also gave it less of a distinct identity as well.

Here are the four founders, this time with Chaplin in his legendary "tramp" outfit:

By the mid-1920s, UA was off to a slow start, as output was relatively low. Veteran producer Joseph Schenck became president, in part because his wife, Norma Talmadge, was a top-tier star, as was her younger sister Constance. Here are the sisters (Norma at left, Constance at right) flanking newlyweds Natalie Talmadge and Buster Keaton when they married on May 31, 1927. (Keaton also signed to make films for the firm.)

In the 1930s, UA shifted its role from releasing movies to distributing them, with the former Pickford-Fairbanks lot on Formosa Avenue serving as its rental facility for independent producers such as Alexander Korda (producer of "To Be Or Not To Be") and Samuel Goldwyn.

With television fueling a decline in theater attendance, Chaplin and Pickford sold their shares in United Artists in the 1950s. The now-diversified company developed relationships with the likes of Billy Wilder (it distributed "The Apartment," the 1960 winner for Best Picture)...

...and followed that up in 1961 with the Oscar-winning smash "West Side Story."

The studio also thrived with the James Bond franchise and the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." In the '70s, UA took three straight Best Picture honors: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" (1975), "Rocky" (1976) and "Annie Hall" (1977).

That's when disaster struck. In 1980, the studio agreed to make "Heaven's Gate" from director Michael Cimino, which had numerous cost overruns and lost $44 million.

The following year, UA was bought by Kirk Kerkorian's MGM, whose product UA had distributed in the 1970s.

Ted Turner bought MGM/UA in 1985, soon decided to sell everything but its film library (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/438472.html), selling the rest back to Kerkorian in 1986. In recent decades, both MGM and UA have periodically resurfaced, but for the most part, both are dormant as active filmmaking entities.

For more on United Artists, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Artists.

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A vintage pic, but bigger and better

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.04 at 14:55
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

After an underwhelming Super Bowl, Carole Lombard returns with a new version of a portrait we've seen before -- Paramount p1202-1632. But my previous online pic of it was considerably smaller:

The number "1632" indicates it was from late in Lombard's seven-year run at the studio. This is confirmed by the back of the photo, which notes it's a publicity still for her final film there, "True Confessions" (sic):

No snipe, alas, and that certainly isn't Carole's signature, but I'd love to learn what's under it. Probably a Paramount notice of origin, but you never know.

Here's what we do know:

* It's original and vintage, in excellent condition, measuring 8" x 9.5".

* It's on glossy, single-weight stock.

* It's from the noted collection of George Smoots, who accumulated thousands of classic Hollywood studio pictures until his death in 1951. Decades later, many of them were donated to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Margaret Herrick Library.

Bids begin at $39.99, with the eBay auction closing at 11:53 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. You can find out more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Original-Vintage-1937-STYLISH-PORTRAIT-Photo/143091035946?hash=item2150e3ef2a.

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On Super Sunday (go Rams!), two for the 'Ladies'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.03 at 11:38
Current mood: coldcold

It's a rainy winter morning here in Los Angeles and were she here today, Carole Lombard certainly wouldn't have the top down. It's Super Bowl Sunday, the contemporary American corporate celebration of overkill, and for the first time in 35 years, LA has a dog in the fight -- the recently returned Rams. (The city's last Super Bowl rep was the 1983 Raiders, who dethroned defending champion Washington.) The Rams' first tenure in town began in 1946 and lasted nearly half a century before packing off for St. Louis, highlighted by an NFL title in 1951 and a Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh in January 1980.

That history lesson out of the way, here are two images of Lombard from the 1931 Paramount drama "Ladies' Man." First, one on sale from eBay:

This is a linen-backed, original keybook photo, in very fine condition measuring 7.75" x 10". An arty image of the 22-year-old Carole, the gown exposing much of her attractive back. (The back is blank.) It's from the noted Lester Glassner collection.

You can purchase it straight up for $149.95, or make an offer. Get more info at https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIGINAL-KEYBOOK-PHOTO-LADIES-MAN-LINEN-BACKED-DECO-VF-1931/254107287354?hash=item3b29f97f3a:g:F7UAAOSwJstayip5:rk:13:pf:0.

The other photo from the film isn't on sale, but is new to me:

Carole is sitting next to Kay Francis, who was William Powell's co-star. (Lombard had a supporting role; as you can see, she's not mentioned at the bottom of the pic.) The two became friends, which paid off for Kay eight years later when Carole -- now with the box-office clout -- insisted Francis be cast as the third lead in the RKO drama "In Name Only."

On this wet, comparatively chilly day in Los Angeles (although the rain has stopped as of this writing!), go Rams, as they seek the city's first major pro sports championship since the Kings (remember them, LA?) claimed their second Stanley Cup in 2014.

carole lombard 06

'See you in church': Mrs. Powell's Bible pops up on eBay

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.02 at 10:06
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Small-town librarian Carole Lombard is shown in church with gambling city slicker Clark Gable (whose character is romantically pursuing her) in this scene from their only film together, 1932's "No Man Of Her Own."

At the time this was made, Carole was linked to William Powell (though their marriage was deteriorating and they'd divorce the following August). But a rare, church-themed souvenir from their two-plus years as a couple has recently surfaced...

...a Bible featuring Lombard's own monogram (in the ultra-rare "Carole Lombard Powell"). Her husband retained the Bible following their divorce, and it was in the actor's estate.

Here are some more views of the item:

It's in black pebbled leather, measures 6.75" x 10" and is said to be in near fine condition, with some wear at the spine edges.

This Bible is selling for $5,000, or you can make an offer. Learn more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Personally-Owned-Monogrammed-Bible/202583304351?hash=item2f2ae7e89f:g:0XUAAOSwnGVcU76n:sc:USPSPriority!90044!US!-1.

A fascinating artifact from a couple who discovered they made better friends than lovers...then proved it for more than eight years.

carole lombard 05

From a former date's daughter, an 'incomparable' tribute

Posted by vp19 on 2019.02.01 at 14:36
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

It's "Carole & Co." tradition in recent years to open each entry with an image of Carole Lombard, and she's here in this one, albeit atop a bookcase. The man is someone she once dated, famed screenwriter Robert Riskin. What makes this pic remarkable is that it was taken at his home studio, Columbia, in 1936 -- most likely after she'd replaced him as her beau with Clark Gable. It's probably indicative of his high regard for her.

Now the daughter of Riskin and the respected actress he actually married has written a book about both her famed parents, one we've noted several times of late:

But Victoria Riskin also has a blog, where a recent entry paid tribute to Carole...and it was headlined "The Incomparable Carole Lombard" (https://www.victoriariskin.com/index.php/2019/02/01/the-incomparable-carole-lombard/?fbclid=IwAR0mtZPxDwgdkHLJ9GhdLL3EZsTSFySORu1WUNXY8UNo10qazgfF-LO3EZA):

I'm trying to imagine what it would be like writing about someone one of your parents might have married, but for some reason didn't; if they had, you likely wouldn't exist today (the Marty McFly effect). But thankfully Victoria doesn't dwell on such possibilities, but rather opens the entry citing Barbara Stanwyck's thoughts on Lombard, made while both stars were still alive: “…so alive, modern, frank, and natural that she stands out like a beacon on a lightship in this odd place called Hollywood.”

Victoria admits she wasn't aware of her father's relationship with Carole until beginning research for her book.

"She had just lost her great love and fiancé, popular singer Russ Columbo, in a shooting accident, and was overwhelmed with grief. I believe they started as friends, with my father’s humor and warmth providing an emotional sanctuary for Carole -– a safety net –- and his intelligence and wide-ranging interests stimulated an innately bright and curious woman. She gave him in turn spirit, life and romance, and soon they were spending all their time together."

They first crossed paths in 1932, when Paramount loaned out Lombard to Columbia to star in "Virtue," which Riskin adapted from a story. (This was Carole's first loan-out from Paramount; in late 1931, she declined to go to Warners for the James Cagney vehicle "Taxi!" and was chagrined when Loretta Young became Cagney's leading lady and the film became a hit. Ironically, the male lead in "Virtue" also was a cab driver, played by Cagney's longtime friend Pat O'Brien.)

After withstanding the advances of smart but coarse Columbia mogul Harry Cohn and winning his respect in the process, he agreed to several Lombard demands:

"Awed by her spunk, he gave her the part and everything she asked for. Mostly she wanted assurance that the writer would be on the set every day to polish her dialogue. He agreed. Enter Robert Riskin. No romance yet, but they were seen out on the town together as friends."

(Lombard was still married to William Powell, but while their friendship remained solid, the romance was fraying. They would divorce the following August.)

Their serious dating began in late 1934, and he squired Carole around town for much of 1935.

" From the end of 1934 through 1935 they went everywhere together –- the toniest nightclubs and restaurants, the racetrack, the best parties –- happy in each other’s company and happy, too, to stay home quietly just with each other. He shared his love of books with her and she soaked them up -– Faulkner, Thoreau, Shakespeare."

(Carole was an avid reader, and books helped her recuperate from the 1926 auto accident that sidelined her career for about a year.)

By late 1935, many in the industry expected Lombard and Riskin to tie the knot (earlier in the decade, he romanced Warners star Glenda Farrell). But that would not be the case.

"Why it ended is still not clear, but one element was that she wanted to get married and, for whatever reason, he didn’t."

They remained on good terms, and Victoria writes her father was pleased when she married Gable (born 118 years ago today), and he also mourned her death in 1942. (By this time, Robert Riskin had fallen for Fay Wray, but they wouldn't marry until 1944.)

I'd love to find out Wray's relationship with Carole. They probably were no more than acquaintances, but I'm certain they respected each other. Oh, and just a reminder that next month, a blogathon will pay tribute to both Robert and Fay, and I'm proud to be a participant:

carole lombard 04

How about supper at Sardi's?

Posted by vp19 on 2019.01.31 at 11:11
Current mood: depresseddepressed

Above is Carole Lombard in a fan-photographed still at Sardi's on Hollywood Boulevard, taken between Feb. 9, 1933, when the West Coast branch of the famed New York restaurant opened, and Nov. 1, 1936, when fire destroyed it. The eatery's design was pure streamline 1930s:

Initially, it was open 24 hours, and was a stunning vision at night:

Menus from Sardi's have recently surfaced online, and they're fascinating to look at. First, the cover, someone's souvenir from Dec. 15, 1933:

Now, a peek inside. Oh, and nearly all the prices are in cents. Got a time machine, anybody?

Note the sandwiches named for Thelma Todd and Marlene Dietrich; were they regulars? And on the back...

...highballs and cocktails for the post-Prohibition crowd, enabling patrons to channel their inner Nick and Nora.

Sardi's was at 6315 Hollywood Boulevard. What's there now? See it and weep:

The Deja Vu "gentlemen's club," itself a successor to the equally tacky Cave adult theater. As someone noted, "from classy to classless."

carole lombard 03

Fox is fading away; will Paramount follow?

Posted by vp19 on 2019.01.30 at 10:32
Current mood: nervousnervous

"To Be Or Not To Be" filled Carole Lombard with pride for numerous reasons. It finally enabled her to work with director Ernst Lubitsch (born 137 years ago yesterday). It attacked fascism and Nazism as World War II ravaged Europe. And as it was a United Artists production, it let her complete the circuit of Hollywood's eight major studios: First, Fox...






...and RKO:

Some lots were more successful for Lombard (Columbia, RKO) than others (MGM, Warners).

Today, RKO -- which died as a major studio more than 60 years ago -- exists in name only (to borrow a title from one of Carole's films there), and MGM is for all intents and purposes an independent production company.

As a filmmaking studio, Fox (now Twentieth Century-Fox) soon will cease to exist, as Disney is in the process of acquiring its cinematic assets. (Fox will retain its TV network, news channel and most of its sports holdings.) And in an increasingly corporatized Hollywood, there's talk the next legacy studio to go will be...

Paramount, where Carole spent seven sometimes confounding years, many where it never quite knew how to use her.

An industry titan as late as the '90s, a combination of an altered industry landscape and inept management has left Paramount vulnerable for takeover or absorption by one of its larger rivals -- the now all-powerful Disney, Warners, Universal or Sony/Columbia (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/business/media/paramount-pictures.html). This morning, Variety reported Paramount had laid off 20 employees in several departments (https://variety.com/2019/film/news/paramount-pictures-lays-off-20-legal-tv-business-affairs-1203123598/).

In recent years, Paramount has primarily focused on TV production; only 13 films were released in 2018, far fewer than its rivals. And unlike Disney (Marvel/Star Wars/Pixar), Warners (DC Comics) or Columbia (building new characters from the Spider-Man universe, separate from Disney's Marvel holdings), Paramount has little such product to rely on for brand power, aside from Michael Bay's Transformers. That's crucial today, as the moviegoing audience is comprised of families at one end of the spectrum and adolescent males on the other. Tina Fey recently disparaged movie opportunities for women compared to that in TV (https://www.thewrap.com/tina-fey-women-have-made-progress-in-tv-business-but-films-are-a-mess/).

But Paramount's been on the ropes before. Soon after it announced the Lombard vehicle "No One Man" in 1931, the Depression hit full force and it was among the Hollywood studios affected. Paramount might not have survived had it not been for the arrival of Mae West and her saucy vehicles. This time, however, the iconic studio on Melrose Avenue may need something far bigger than Mae's outsized personality.

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'Sacred' in Sweden

Posted by vp19 on 2019.01.29 at 08:19
Current mood: artisticartistic

It was 81 years ago Thursday that Carole Lombard fans on the European continent saw her in three-strip Technicolor for the first time if the Internet Movie Database is accurate. That's the day (Jan. 31, 1938) that "Nothing Sacred" premiered in Sweden, some 20 days after IMDb states the satiric romantic comedy opened in Great Britain.

And it just so happens that an original Swedish poster for the film has found its way to eBay:

Looks as if "Scandal" is part of the translated title, BTW. (Nice to know one 1938 Lombard film by that name was a success.) It's big (27" x 39"), in very good condition (rolled) and sells for $750 (or you can make an offer).

Interested? Find out more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/NOTHING-SACRED-WILLIAM-A-WELLMAN-CAROLE-LOMBARD-FREDRIC-MARCH-MOVIE-POSTER/273676707224?hash=item3fb8672598.

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