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carole lombard 07

The 'Times' of Lombard's life, 1928

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.24 at 08:57
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Carole Lombard's Norma Nurmi character wound up losing this sprint in the 1928 Mack Sennett short "Run, Girl, Run" due to her vanity, but Lombard -- a school track star earlier in the decade -- vowed to be a winner in '28, her first full calendar year back as an actress since the automobile accident that sidelined her early in 1926. And we can chronicle her journey through the pages of the Los Angeles Times.

Of course, it helps to know which Lombard you're looking for. "Carole Lombard" -- the name she had used as a Fox starlet and for Sennett -- somehow is non-existent in the Times in '28. But "Carol Lombard" (seen above showing off her no-longer-teenage figure aboard future director Mitchell Leisen's yacht) comes up in the paper multiple times throughout the year...beginning on New Year's Day, in fact:

Her name is buried within the huge cinema society story "These Charming Parties!" but it's there, at a party given by Sennett, himself apparently not much of a social lion. (Among the guests was his one-time boss, D.W. Griffith.) According to the Times chronicler,

"A buffet supper interrupted the dancing, and a group of us gathered about the huge fireplace, including Dorothy Devore, Richard Rowland, Al Christie, Johnny Burke, Arthur Kane, Rob Wagner, Carol Lombard, Efe Asher, Mr. and Mrs. John Waldron, Vernon Rickard, Walter Wanger, Sam Katz, and half a dozen others."

We don't know what else Lombard did that night, but she presumably had a good time.

In March, she attended a pre-wedding function for a Mary Lohman at Carmen Pantages' residence, as we learned in the March 18 paper:

The Pantages house was at 590 North Vermont Avenue, and since I regularly ride the Vermont Avenue bus, I thought I'd do a then-and-now comparison. Here's what it looked like then...

...and the site today, just north of the 101, home to graduate study for West Coast University, an institution specializing in healthcare education:

In the spring of '28, Carole took time out to work at Pathe (which had a distribution agreement with Sennett) in a supporting role for "Power." Its producer, Ralph Block (among the first New York newspaper emigres to Hollywood), discussed the state of the industry in the July 1 Times, saying the '28 equivalent of "everyone's a critic":

A blurb in the Aug. 8 issue showed Carole's ascending status in the business:

And on Sept. 2, rotogravure readers got a look at the leggy "Show Folks" Lombard:

We learned from a story in the Sept. 13 Times that the day before, Lombard and a few others on the Pathe roster tried out the studio's new talking equipment, though the lead item was that Paramount was readying its first talkie, "Interference," which would provide a major, positive boost to the career of future Lombard husband William Powell:

Carole would appear with a parrot in a gag picture about the voice-test process on Dec. 16 (perhaps a rooster, Pathe's mascot, was unavailable):

The Oct. 28 Times has a long feature on "Ned McCobb's Daughter," where it says Lombard provides "excellent support" for lead Irene Rich. We'll unfortunately have to take their word for it, since the film is lost.

That Lombard swimsuit pic seen above is part of a Nov. 18 society story, with several interesting glimpses of an increasingly assertive young woman. Carole was among the earliest guests at a party at the apartment of Mitchell Leisen, and we note she tangoed with Argentinian-American actor Barry Norton (1905-1956), a renowned ballroom dancer.

We also learn this:

"Carol Lombard had been yachting the Sunday before, along with a party on Mitch Leisen's yacht, and she said she had become dreadfully sunburned, as she loved living in her bathing suit most of the day, and hopping from the deck into the water to swim. She had also learned the surf-board, and enjoyed it tremendously once she conquered it and stopped tumbling headlong into the waves.
"She has an exquisite form, and keeps it that way by exercise and diet."

Carole Lombard, surfer girl...once again, a woman ahead of her time. In an alternate universe, we can picture her as Gidget's mom, telling her daughter there's nothing new under the sun.

What was new for Lombard? A career break, one any actress would envy. She was about to follow a similar path to one of her idols, Gloria Swanson, a Sennett alumna who graduated to stardom via Cecil B. DeMille. That's what Times readers learned on Dec. 4:

December 1928 was a very heady month in Lombard's life, and on Dec. 23, the Times reported she and Pathe stablemate Jeanette Loff would celebrate the holiday season at Big Bear Lake:

Life appeared pretty good for Carole Lombard as she entered 1929; the sky seemed the limit. But the ensuing year would have its ups and downs, the first provided by DeMille.

carole lombard 06

The 'Times' of Lombard's life, 1927

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.23 at 10:53
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

In 2011, we ran a series of entries about Carole Lombard items that ran in the Los Angeles Times in 1925, before an automobile accident early next year sent the Fox starlet's career in an entirely different direction (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/394176.html; https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/394306.html; https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/394588.html). In fact, she's absent from the Times -- as Carole Lombard, Carol Lombard or Jane Peters -- for all of 1926.

But in 1927, the teen began her return to the public eye, thanks in part to Mack Sennett, and her name (and picture) re-emerges in the Times. (Unfortunately, this is the only Los Angeles daily from that era whose archives are at Newspapers.com; while the Times was the city's biggest paper, its biases in that period are well-known, and one wishes other LA dailies were available online, if only for a more complete perspective.) So let's review Lombard in the paper that year, although several of these items ran in part 3 of the 1925 series.

At top is a photo of Carole from noted glamour artist Edwin Bower Hesser that the Times ran in its Sept. 18 rotogravure section, unveiling her new blonde Sennett persona. In 2011, I commented that this made Lombard look like a Roaring Twenties Christina Aguilera, and that belief still stands. Stunning.

Her darker-haired self, and a painful incident from the past, re-emerged on Oct. 13, this time in the local news section:

While the story appeared one week after Lombard turned 19, she's listed at age 17, her age at the time of the accident. Two days later, it was reported both sides settled out of court, with the teen actress getting $3,000:

It's mentioned Carole now had a new career with Sennett. Here's a piece in the Times about it from July 17:

While Sennett's troupe had seen better days, those associated with the studio remained cogs in the screenland social scene, as these items attest. But note that on July 10, she's referred to as Jane Peters, whereas on Nov. 6 she's Carole Lombard:

Finally, a Christmas Carol (literally -- this ran on Dec. 25!), as Lombard and Sennett cohort Ruth Hiatt flank Billy Bevan's Santa Claus, again courtesy of Hesser:

Lombard's limited reappearance on the cinema scene augured well for 1928. Tomorrow, we'll see how the Times covered her that year.

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A screen star comes to Shreveport

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.22 at 15:17
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

Add one more city to the list of places graced by the presence of Carole Lombard.

It's Shreveport, La., in the north-central part of the state, some distance geographically -- and culturally -- from New Orleans. It's where Carole stopped for a spell on Feb. 1, 1935 while flying home to Los Angeles after spending several weeks in New York, Florida and Havana (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/152746.html).

We know about the stopover, since it was reported in the Shreveport Times on Feb. 2:

This tells us quite a bit we didn't know before:

* Upon returning to Hollywood, Carole was to make a second movie with Bing Crosby, "Sailor Beware." Paramount didn't make a film of that title until 1952, a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis vehicle, adapted from a 1933 Kenyon Nicholson play. (Would this have been the same source for the proposed Lombard film?)
* While Carole was enthused about air travel -- something the newspaper likely sadly noted less than seven years later -- she had not yet taken flying lessons.

* Lombard was set to promote her new film "Rumba" in Havana (something that would've made cultural sense), but didn't for undisclosed reasons. Might it have been the flu? We learn Carole likely caught it in New York. (For someone with such athletic ability, Lombard certainly was susceptible to ailments.)
* From the description of what she was wearing, I'm guessing Carole was photographed at the airport. It certainly doesn't look like a file shot.

A nice discovery. Now if we could uncover some Cuban publications from early '35...

And speaking of "Rumba," this vintage pic of Carole with George Raft, which we saw back in September 2012 (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/546637.html), has resurfaced. It's 8" x 10", in very good to excellent condition, and has an opening bid of $149.95; bids close at 9 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. Curious? Learn more by going to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-IN-EXOTIC-COSTUME-GEORGE-RAFT-IN-1935-RUMBA-GREAT-PHOTO/183285596896?hash=item2aacac42e0:g:X4MAAMXQmWdRGuAL.

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Train-ing exercise: 'Twentieth Century' and railroad cinematic classics

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.21 at 11:38
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Carole Lombard fans don't have to be told that her breakthrough film, "Twentieth Century," is one of the greatest movies set aboard a train. (She's shown with co-star John Barrymore, who showered her with praise following her performance.) But what are other classics of this transportation subgenre?

A writer from a fabled railroad town provides some titles you may wish to explore if you want to take a cinematic train trip from the comfort of your own home. The town is Galesburg, Ill., which this weekend holds its annual Railroad Days Festival (https://www.galesburgrailroaddays.com/). The writer is Bill Knight, a former newspaperman and journalism instructor.

Yesterday, Knight wrote about railroads in movies, and cited "Twentieth Century" among its top ten films. Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur adapted their 1932 Broadway play "On The Twentieth Century," which later was made into a stage musical with Madeline Kahn in the Lombard role of Broadway diva turned Hollywood star Lily Garland. (It was revived a few years ago with the great Kristin Chenoweth, below.)

Of the Lombard film, Knight calls it "a terrific 1930s screwball comedy."

His other selections, listed alphabetically:

* "The End Of The Line" (1988) -- Wilfred Brimley and Levon Helm hijack a locomotive engine when a railroad announces it's closing a depot.
* "The General" (1927) -- A silent classic from star-director Buster Keaton as a Southern locomotive engineer who seeks to regain a train stolen by Union soldiers.
* "Murder On The Orient Express" (1974) -- Remember last year's remake of the Agatha Christie story? Knight believes this version, with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot and Ingrid Bergman in an Oscar-winning performance, is far superior.
" "Runaway Train" (1986) -- Jon Voight and Eric Roberts are escaped convicts who board an Alaska-bound train on a brink of disaster. With Rebecca DeMornay.

* "Shanghai Express" (1932) -- My favorite Marlene Dietrich film. She's terrific, as are Anna May Wong, Clive Brooks and a pre-Charlie Chan Warner Oland.
* "Silver Streak" (1976) -- The same year the mediocre "Gable And Lombard" was released, Jill Clayburgh supported Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in this delightful action-comedy.
* "Strangers On A Train" (1951) -- After two men meet and agree to kill each other's rivals, things don't quite go as planned in this Alfred Hitchcock gem starring Farley Granger and Robert Walker.
* "Union Pacific" (1939) -- Cecil B. DeMille directed and Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck starred in this saga about building the transcontinental railroad.
* "Von Ryan's Express" (1965) -- Model train enthusiast Frank Sinatra, who presumably rode the rails plenty of times before telling people to "come fly with me," stars in this World War II action flick about an American colonel who helps his fellow Allied prisoners escape and commandeer a train to Switzerland and safety.

Knight's article is at http://www.galesburg.com/news/20180620/bill-knight-train-your-eyes-on-these-locomotion-pictures.

To close, one of the great railroad songs, perfect for the homecoming of so many soldiers from World War II -- Les Brown and his orchestra, with a young Doris Day on vocal..."Sentimental Journey":

carole lombard 03

Some 'Sennett girls'...including Carole

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.20 at 21:43
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

One reason Mack Sennett hired Carole Lombard in 1927, despite an automobile accident the year before that derailed a budding career at Fox, was that Lombard had a superb figure and looked great in a swimsuit. (She makes that evident above as has her nose powdered between takes of "The Swim Princess.") It wasn't the first time an actress has been hired for that reason, nor will it be the last (apologies to the #MeToo movement).

While Lombard was among the many proud Sennett alumni, only one session with the pair pictured together is known. (We use the term "session" because at least two slightly different photos of them is known to exist.) One of them just surfaced on eBay:

It's taken on a southern California beach, which begs the question: Why wasn't Carole in swimwear? (Perhaps her character wasn't in this scene.) Thankfully, we know who most of the rest are: From left, they're Kathryn Stanley, Leota Winters, Madeline Hurlock, unknown man, Lombard (then 19), Nancy Cornelius, Marie Pergain, Sennett and unknown man.

We also have the back of the photo:

Perhaps "Milton Aureau" is one of the unknown men pictured, or the owner of the photo at the time. (Might he have represented Sennett interests in New Orleans?) And if "Sennett Girls" was written on the pic then, could the owner have imagined what heights one of those "girls" would reach within the next decade?

This 8" x 10" vintage is in extreme mint condition. There's some light wear, but that's about it.

Bidding opens at $99.95, with the auction closing at 10:23 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. Interested? Learn more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-MACK-SENNETT-BATHING-BEAUTIES-original-movie-photo-1928/372342691481?hash=item56b15a9699:g:Tf8AAOSwCHBbKwwq.

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'Fools' for chemistry

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.19 at 22:22
Current mood: disappointeddisappointed

Was "Fools For Scandal" the biggest misfire of Carole Lombard's career? It certainly knocked her down a peg after her pair of late 1937 triumphs, "Nothing Sacred" and "True Confession." She and Warners simply weren't, to borrow the title of one of her later films, made for each other.

She'd had chances to work on the Burbank lot before, during the pre-Code era when the studio's tough, urbane style might have elicited a strong response from Carole. In 1932, on the advice of husband William Powell and agent Myron Selznick, Lombard rejected a loan-out from Paramount to star opposite James Cagney in "Taxi!" (Loretta Young, below, got the role.)

A year later, Carole declined a trip to be Cagney's female lead in the comedy "Hard To Handle." But at the start of 1938, Warners' pre-Code days, which included a breezy comedy style, were long in the past. Jack and his brothers now looked to go the prestige route with dramas, biopics and such, and the genre called screwball simply wasn't something at which they were adept.

This pic of Lombard with co-star Fernand Gravet proves the point; they appear as if they're posing for two entirely different movies.

This is an original 8" x 10", printed on single-weight paper stock and listed in "very fine" condition. The eBay seller is offering it for $39.99. If you're interested, learn more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-FERNAND-GRAVET-Original-Vintage-1938-Photo-FOOLS-FOR-SCANDAL/372337775145?hash=item56b10f9229:g:F6UAAOSwwylZyu46:sc:USPSFirstClass!90003!US!-1.

Oh, and as promised, the answers to yesterday's crossword puzzle from the March 1939 Modern Screen:

carole lombard 01

'Modern Screen,' March 1939: Of Clark and Carole's marital past

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.18 at 20:56
Current mood: energeticenergetic

As the public waited for its cinematic king and queen to tie the knot at the start of 1939, fan magazines fueled interest in Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. One of them was Modern Screen, which for its March issue ran a two-page photo spread about his two prior wives and her one former husband:

This issue came out not long before Valentine's Day, thus explaining the heart-shaped cover with a still-blonde Joan Bennett:

A Gable story was inside, but discussed his relationships with other male stars on the MGM lot, the price of fame, etc.

Did writer Faith Service actually talk with Gable in Culver City, or did she take some quotes from Metro publicists such as Clark's pal Otto Winkler? Either way, it's probably a fairly accurate piece. He and Robert Taylor, then arguably his main MGM "rival," were on good terms, as this pic (probably taken by Lombard) of Gable and Taylor flanking Bob's squeeze Barbara Stanwyck on the golf course makes evident:

Clark and Carole can be found in a gossip column, where we learn Lombard took a correspondence course from the University of Southern California in...agriculture? Not the academic offering one expects from an urban, private institution. A good prep for the Encino ranch, though.

Carole's present elsewhere in the issue, albeit in a rather puzzling way. That's as in crossword puzzle, where little Jane Alice Peters is pictured and several of the clues have Lombard ties:

Rewind your mind some 79 years and try your hand at this crossword. We'll give you a day to figure it out, then provide the answers in Tuesday's entry.

The issue also features several movie ads, most notably this for arguably the greatest western of them all, "Stagecoach":

Note in this ad, Claire Trevor gets top billing, ahead of John Wayne! He'd spent much of the decade in second-tier oaters, and this would be his breakthrough role.

This issue is available through eBay. It's complete and listed in "very good" condition. Bidding begins at $24.50, and the auction is set to close at 12:14 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you're interested or merely curious, find out more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/MODERN-SCREEN-March-1939-Joan-Bennett-Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard/302773888739?hash=item467ebae6e3:g:~akAAOSwpchbEsEl.

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DVD: Lombard plays 'Fast And Loose,' and put on Thelma's shorts

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.17 at 15:47
Current mood: happyhappy

Yesterday's entry alerted you to a new and improved Criterion DVD of the Carole Lombard classic "My Man Godfrey." As it turns out, it's not her only film now making waves on home video.

"Fast And Loose" (above, with Frank Morgan), the 1930 film Lombard shot at Paramount's Astoria studios in Queens, was recently issued on DVD-R via Universal Vault. (Universal holds rights to much of Paramount's pre-1948 library thanks to a deal in the mid-fifties.) It's among the first batch of vault releases for Universal since 2016.

That's Miriam Hopkins, later a Lombard rival for roles, on the cover of that publicity book; Carole here has a supporting part. Part of the script was written by Preston Sturges, a friend of Lombard's, although she never got around to working with him once he became a noted director. I think Carole would be amused to discover that here, she's billed above Hopkins and Morgan. (She's not in the artwork, either -- that's Hopkins and future cowboy star Charles Starrett.)

Someone at Nitrateville.com recently bought a copy and reports that its picture and sound quality both are excellent. You can purchase a copy for $10.49 at https://www.lovingtheclassics.com/by-title/f/fast-and-loose-1930.html, or for $19.98 at Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Loose-Carole-Lombard/dp/B07CVRWD79/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1529271773&sr=8-2&keywords=fast+and+loose+dvd).

But Lombard isn't the only ill-fated blonde comic beauty getting her propers on DVD. If you like your comedy in two-reel doses, have we got news for you.

Thelma Todd, the beloved star of Hal Roach shorts, is part of two upcoming DVD collections co-starring each of her two most notable femme partners.

While Thelma's first female teammate in comic crime was Zasu Pitts, their 17-film collection won't be available until October; Todd's 21 shorts with Patsy Kelly, made between 1933 and 1935, will be released a week from Tuesday (June 26).

The Todd-Kelly three-disc set includes three two-reelers made after Thelma's mysterious death where Roach teamed Patsy with Pert Kelton and Lyda Roberti. Both are fine comic actress, but neither of them is Todd.

Thelma's pre-Code sex appeal is apparent in this screenshot from "Babes In The Goods" in early 1934. But her comic talent was such that she didn't miss a beat once the Code was enforced and lingerie shots were deemed verboten.

Order the Todd-Kelly package from Amazon for $39.99. Go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D2SWHJD.

The Todd-Pitts set, whose extras include stills, a poster gallery and several commentaries, is to be released Oct. 9 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon for $39.95. Learn more at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DPFG4S6/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_U_9BvjBbPF2QE72.

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'Godfrey.' Criterion. Bigger and better.

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.16 at 08:09
Current mood: excitedexcited

Perhaps Carole Lombard's most iconic movie, "My Man Godfrey," is getting the DVD treatment from classic film specialist Criterion.

No, this is not a repeat of a Carole & Co. entry from summer 2001 (for one thing, the site wasn't born for another six years). And many of you probably own that edition (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/19370.html), whose cover echoes the 1936 film's streamline credits:

That release of arguably the greatest screwball comedy of them all -- and that includes you, "Bringing Up Baby" -- had plenty of features, including outtakes (there's nothing quite like a Lombard outtake), a trailer, the 1938 "Lux Radio Theater" adaptation and Depression-era newsreels illustrating the period. This version has not only retains those extras, but adds several more:

* A new high-definition digital restoration. (If you thought the 2001 "Godfrey" was a quantum leap from all those shoddy public domain prints, this promises to take things one step further.) In addition, the Blu-ray version has an uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

* Gary Giddins, a superlative critic of both jazz and film, contributes a piece about the movie.

* Critic Nick Pinkerton discusses the career of director Gregory La Cava, whose credits include the unorthodox "Gabriel Over The White House" (above, with Walter Huston and Karen Morley), the feminist Broadway drama "Stage Door" and many other films including "Big News," perhaps the best of Carole's three talkies for Pathe.

* An essay by classic film writer Farran Smith Nehme, aka "The Self-Styled Siren."

And while we're at it, we may as well show you the packaging for Criterion "Godfrey" 2.0:

I think the background is supposed to symbolize the shacks at the city dump where the film opens, but with all the lights in the houses, it more closely evokes 1950s suburbia. (Make Godfrey look more like David Niven than William Powell, and this could be an ideal cover for a release of the 1957 remake -- not that Criterion would issue a version of that pointless film.)

Have I whetted your excitement about this release? Well, before you start salivating like a Pavlovian canine, hold your horses -- this won't be available for another three months. This new, improved Criterion "Godfrey" will be issued Sept. 18...and don't fret if you're not into Blu-ray, as it'll also come out in a DVD edition. (The price: $31.96 for the former, $23.96 for the latter.)

To order, visit https://www.criterion.com/films/653-my-man-godfrey. Godfrey, Irene, bratty sister Cornelia and company eagerly await your visit to their upgraded abode.

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To this lovely Lombard pic: We've got your number

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.15 at 12:30
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

And it's RKO CL-90. (See it in the lower right-hand corner?)

This Carole Lombard photo was taken by Fred Hendrickson in summer 1939 at the Encino ranch Carole had bought (with her money) for herself and new husband Clark Gable. (He had plenty of money too, but used much of it as alimony for second wife Ria.) Lombard looks so happy here, doesn't she?

If there was one of those snipes on the back (with the infamous type RKO used for its photos), it was either pulled off or fell off. Instead, the reverse has a stamp showing it was property of the Newspaper Enterprise Association (N.E.A.):

And the stamp apparently indicates it wasn't used until May 1941.

It's an 8" x 10" described in good condition -- used, shows lots of wear, several to many flaws. Nevertheless, it's still a stunner nearly 80 years later. The photo is available for $139.95, and it can be yours. Learn more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/BEAUTIFUL-CAROLE-LOMBARD-ON-HER-RANCH-1939-PHOTO-BY-FRED-HENDRICKSON/323302782342?hash=item4b4658f586:g:ESkAAOxyzGlQ6prN.

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Lucy as Carole? A hitherto unknown 'Hollywood Story'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.14 at 20:18
Current mood: surprisedsurprised

We've noted many a time that Lucille Ball cited Carole Lombard as an influence, as this pic of Ball holding an actual cover of a fan magazine with Carole on the cover makes clear (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/828139.html). But did you know Lucy once portrayed Lombard?

Don't worry. I didn't, either.

The medium where it apparently occurred wasn't movies or TV, but radio -- which makes sense, since Ball was red-haired (OK, not naturally) and Lombard a blonde (well, most of the time). I discovered this by going through newspapers.com, and uncovering something from my hometown paper, the Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard, on Dec. 26, 1953:

It was part of the "Hollywood Story" series, and from the reference to "WSYR" we know (or should I say, I know) it aired on NBC. The WSYR transmitter, carrying 5,000 watts at 570 on the AM dial, was a few blocks south of the house my family moved to in 1955 (the building and the nearby towers):

I had no idea this program, much less the "Hollywood Story" series, ever existed. The (potentially) good news is that since it's from 1953, there's a good chance this was recorded and survives in some form. (Nearly all of NBC radio's "Dragnet," Jack Webb's classic police procedural were recorded between 1949 and 1957.)

If anyone here is an old-time radio expert or knows Lucie Arnaz, who's done a splendid job preserving her mother's legacy, please ask her about this. I would guess Lucy pays a loving tribute to Lombard, and many of us would like to hear it.

carole lombard 03

Oh thank heaven, this site's turned eleven

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.13 at 01:23
Current mood: lovedloved

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the founding of Carole & Co., with this the 3,519th entry -- close to one per day. (For many years, I indeed had more than one entry daily, but homelessness and other personal problems forced me to cut back. Since April, I've resumed my one-a-day habit.)

It's hard to describe precisely what this site means to me, but perhaps the above heart-shaped pic of a late 1920s Carole is appropriate. Love has been the dominant theme of this site from day one; in the mid-1980s, I fell in love with Lombard as an actress and, after reading much about her, even more so as a person. That her death preceded my birth by more than 13 1/2 years is unimportant; she continues to inspire actors, writers and others in the entertainment industry.

It should be noted that Lombard is far from the only Golden Age personality to be lionized long after death. Many of you feel that way about Myrna Loy, or Barbara Stanwyck, or Jean Harlow (yes, Darrell Rooney, I'm referring to you), or Joan Blondell, along with male stars such as William Powell, Clark Gable and many others. That's fine. There's plenty of adulation to go around.

Four decades ago, I had absolutely zero interest in moving to Los Angeles, not with the smog, the freeways, the laid-back lifestyle and such. I was instead a proud easterner, and thought I'd always stay that way.

The 1984 Summer Olympics softened my resistance to the city, and a few years later Lombard did the rest. In June 1989 I made my first visit to LA, as it was beginning its transition from 1960s car-dominated sprawl into a multi-faceted metropolis. Both downtown and Hollywood struggled a bit at the time, but one could see better days were on the horizon (indeed, downtown LA now has a population of 70,000, triple its size of 1999). I now eagerly sought to be a part of the city, though the upheavals of the 1990s -- both from man (rioting, the O.J. Simpson trial) and nature (the Northridge earthquake -- not to mention wanting to be near my aging mother, made me hold off for a while.

Finally in 2014, a few months after her passing, I made the move, perhaps guided by Carole's siren call. Save for a three-week stretch in Jacksonville, Fla., I've been here ever since, largely loving it despite some setbacks. LA's now my home.

When Carole & Co. turned 10 last June, I was still in a Skid Row shelter, with not much to my name. The following month, I was accepted into transitional housing in South LA, a quiet house where I continue to reside. Social Security benefits and a senior TAP card -- two advantages of turning 62 -- also have made life considerably easier, though I'd love to find sustained employment (it isn't easy at my age).

Screenwriting, my new hobby to complement film history research, perhaps may soon bear fruit. I've frequently written about "Stand Tall!" and its recent Best Character In A Screenplay award at the Die Laughing Film Festival (yesterday, I learned it's now a selection of the Page Turner Screenplay GENRE Competition), but I'm technically no longer a one-trick pony.

I've completed the first draft of my second screenplay, the thriller/romcom "Fugitive Sweetheart," some 106 pages. It needs lots of work, but so did "Stand Tall!" in its first incarnation. Over the next few months, I hope to hone "Fugitive Sweetheart" into a funny, marketable story with plenty of heart. (And unlike "Stand Tall!", special effects will be minimal.)

To Carole Lombard, I love you, and always will.

To readers of Carole & Co., I love you as well. (Over the past week, my more than 1,150 Facebook friends -- including quite a few in the entertainment industry -- no longer receive Networked Blogs; I'll look to post them on my own.)

Again, thanks.

carole lombard 02

Yet another 'Dressing' down

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.12 at 16:19
Current mood: chipperchipper

Nearly a week ago, we alerted you to two rare photos from "We're Not Dressing" showing Carole Lombard with Bing Crosby (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/911173.html). Another pic from that 1934 Paramount production has surfaced, as seen above.

It's a vintage 8" x 10", listed in "used" condition, with light surface wear and a slight tear in the upper right corner (although all of the image is intact).

One bid, for $7, has been made as of this writing. Bidding is set to close at 6:31 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you'd like to bid on this one, check out https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-WERE-NOT-DRESSING-1934-Bing-Crosby-Carole-Lombard-Original-Movie-Still/173358549746?hash=item285cf98af2:g:474AAOSwJ5RbHA6p.

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A farmer and his wife in the Valley

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.11 at 21:35
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

It's mid-1939, and for Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, life is good.

Why shouldn't it be? He's Hollywood's number-one box office attraction, with an Academy Award on his resume and the lead in an iconic film set for release in December. She's among the industry's best-loved personalities and a talented actress in her own right.

And in late March, they finally tied the knot in Arizona while the rest of Hollywood was diverted by the San Francisco premiere of "The Story Of Alexander Graham Bell."

The photo above is now available at eBay. It's vintage and issued by MGM -- we know of that because Gable is cited as a Metro-Goldwyn Mayer star right off the bat on the snipe:

Other info: It's 8" x 10", in very good condition, with a minor crease at the top right corner.

Bidding currently is at $15; with one bid having been placed. Bids close at 9:07 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To bid or learn more, go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-with-Clark-Gable-original-candid-portrait-photo-1939-MGM/382487366799?hash=item590e060c8f:g:dcsAAOSwwwRbHcs3.

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'Modern Screen,' August 1938: What's become of the good scout?

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.10 at 14:49
Current mood: pensivepensive

The 1938 Carole Lombard was a study in transition; trouble was, many of her fans were uncertain what she was transitioning to. The happy-go-lucky Lombard presented to her public had largely disappeared. If Carole were a cardplayer, it might be said she was playing things close to the vest.

So Modern Screen, a noted fan magazine of the day, tried scrutinizing this new version of Lombard in its August 1938 issue:

Before you read the article, what do you think was the primary reason Carole was a bit withdrawn as of mid-1938?

Yep. Clark Gable.

Author Katharine Hartley invites the reader to put themselves in Carole's shoes -- which Hartley noted were size 4 1/2 A -- and consider her situation. She was romantically involved with the industry's most popular actor, one on the verge of taking his most iconic role. Millions of women wished they were her solely for that reason, not because of Lombard's own considerable skill and success in Hollywood.

Sure, she'd been linked (and in one instance married to) other celebrities, but being with Gable was all these things amplified...especially since he currently was married, albeit in name only (to borrow a title of a Lombard film set for the following year).

Hartley noted Carole almost never talked about Gable, though it didn't stop them from doing things together. Moreover, she understood Ria Gable's circumstances, and didn't want to do anything to flaunt her good fortune at his current wife's expense. After all, one false move on this tightrope, and Lombard's reputation as one of Hollywood's best-liked stars could take a tumble.

But she was making an effort to woo Clark on his own turf through activities such as skeet shooting (and with Carole's natural athleticism, she became pretty good at it). Consequently, the social hostess Lombard of 1935 essentially disappeared, though moving from her famed Hollywood Boulevard house to give herself and Clark more privacy had a hand in it, too.

I'm not certain whether Hartley took this into account, but by mid-1938 it was apparent to many in the industry that the screwball craze Carole rode the wave on with "Twentieth Century," "My Man Godfrey" and "Nothing Sacred" had run its course, perhaps thanks in part to mediocre movies such as her own "Fools For Scandal." (Indeed, Lombard wouldn't return to comedy until early 1941.) Was her career at a crossroads?

Some things to ponder in the August '38 Modern Screen, which features swimsuit-clad Bette Davis on the cover:

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For Clark and Carole, a Coke and a smile

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.09 at 08:00
Current mood: curiouscurious

It's no secret that Carole Lombard enjoyed drinking Coca-Cola, back in the day when the soda came in the ubiquitous 6 1/2 ounce bottles with a greenish tint. (It always was fun to examine the bottom of the bottle when through to see the location of the Coke bottler that originally produced it.) Here's more proof of the Carole-Coke connection:

She may even have appeared in an ad for the soda, as an image may indicate (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/199573.html).

Now, another Coca-Cola and Carole pic has surfaced -- and this one's got Clark Gable in it, too. In fact, I discovered its existence through Rachel Cohen Ellis and her fine Gable Facebook site "Clark Gable: Original King of Hollywood." It was put up nearly three months ago, taken late in 1932, and shows Clark, Carole and others taking time out between takes of "No Man Of Her Own" at Paramount:

The pose leads me to believe it might've been used, or planned, for a Coca-Cola ad. See this pic with the cast of MGM's "Dinner At Eight" the following year:

And an ad in 1934 used "the Lubitsch touch" to sell soda:

Not that "No Man Of Her Own" -- hardly a prestige picture despite Gable's loanout from MGM -- had the projected box-office power of "Dinner At Eight" or "The Merry Widow." Moreover, as 1932 closed, Gable and Lombard weren't linked to each other (either in the public eye or in real life). So perhaps the above photo wasn't fodder for a future ad, but merely cast and crew taking a well-earned break. Whatever, it's a delightful discovery.

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Turning up that 'High Voltage'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.08 at 20:56
Current mood: impressedimpressed

Is Carole Lombard (or, as she was briefly known at the time, Carol Lombard) the only reason to watch the 1929 Pathe programmer "High Voltage," her first all-talkie? Not entirely, Co-star William Boyd is engaging, long before he became western star Hopalong Cassidy. And it's intriguing to watch Lombard's ill-fated pal Diane Ellis and ponder what might have been had an illness not killed her in December 1930.

But nearly nine decades after its release, Lombard remains the primary attraction. A vintage still photograph up for auction at eBay makes this obvious.

Pathe CL-56 almost certainly was the work of William E. Thomas, the Pathe photographer whose images of the 20-year-old star emphasize her sensuality far more than the pics of Carole taken for Mack Sennett months earlier. Thomas' pictures remain astonishing today:

Aside from a bit of cleavage, CL-56 is nowhere as provocative as the three above. But it's nonetheless stunning. The back contains a snipe in which the young Carole is described as "exotic"; many of us might wish to replace that "x" with an "r."

Let's repeat both sides of the photo, eliminating the border on the front and straightening out the snipe on the rear:

According to the seller, this is an 8" x 10" glossy single-weight in fine condition, adding, "There are some slight inconsistencies in the emulsion and general storage/handling wear." I agree with the seller's description: "An absolutely gorgeous early Hollywood glamour portrait that highlights Lombard's singular beauty."

This is a rarity -- I have never before seen this specific Pathe pose -- and it's drawn quite a bit of interest, deservedly so. As of this writing, 14 bids have been made, topping at $88. And since bidding doesn't end until 9:55 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Sunday, this should easily go to triple digits, perhaps a few hundred dollars.

Want to get involved? Then visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Stunning-Dramatic-Carole-Lombard-1929-High-Voltage-Glamour-Photograph-Vintage/232797691731?hash=item3633d2df53.

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For the Caps, the Cup

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.07 at 22:41
Current mood: jubilantjubilant

This picture of Carole Lombard with Gene Raymond, from "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," almost certainly was taken amidst a backdrop of fake snow at RKO. Actually, Carole did shoot a film in winter weather -- 1929's "High Voltage," her first all-talkie (see below, with that era's equivalent of Harvey Weinstein):

I wanted winter weather photos because the subject of tonight's entry is ice hockey. I have no idea whether Carole ever saw a hockey game in her life; some accounts of the automobile accident while a teenager that derailed her career as a Fox starlet say she was returning from a hockey game. But since we don't even have any specifics on when the crash occurred, no one really knows.

We do know, however, that there is a new Stanley Cup champion. And it's the...

They won the Cup tonight, rallying in the third period for a 4-3 triumph over the Vegas Golden Knights. Washington won the best-of-seven finals in five games.

Since I'm a former D.C.-area resident, this is nirvana...particularly for anyone familiar with the Capitals' tortured history, which started from day one. While the Knights reached unprecedented heights for a first-year team, the Caps' initial season of 1974-75 was the opposite. They went 8-67-5, and a miserable 1-39 on the road (that lone victory came in Oakland against the soon-to-be-defunct California Golden Seals). They lost 17 in a row at one point, and four of their defeats were by 10 or more goals (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2217902-debut-debacle-remembering-the-expansion-capitals-worst-ever-1974-75-season).

In the early '80s, the Capitals had yet to qualify for the playoffs, and the franchise's future appeared shaky. But a "Save the Caps" campaign for season tickets in 1982-83 (one of which I bought) rescued hockey in Washington, and they finally made the playoffs...which leads to part II of Caps agony.

Ten times in the history of Washington playoff hockey, the team has led by two games in a series and failed to advance. Four of those came against Pittsburgh, a frequent postseason nemesis (the Penguins had won seven straight series from the Caps). This was the 28th playoff appearance for Washington, a record number without a title in the NHL, NBA, NFL or major league baseball...until now.

Alex Ovechkin entered 2017-2018 as the game's top goal-scorer since entering the NHL in 2005, but without a title to show for it. In fact, the Caps hadn't gone past the second round in the Ovechkin era, and the 2017-2018 Capitals weren't expected to be as strong as recent teams.

When they lost the first two postseason games at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets, it appeared to be the same old song for the Caps. But they won four straight, then finally vanquished the Penguins in the second round. In the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington won the first two, lost the next three, then posted two Braden Holtby shutouts to advance to the finals for the first time since 1998, when the Caps were swept by Detroit.

Vegas won the opener at home, but the Caps captured game 2 there -- sparked by Holtby's late clutch save -- then won the next two at Capital One Arena before the clincher, where Ovechkin scored a goal. He would receive the Conn Smythe Trophy for his postseason heroics, as Washington went wild.

And why shouldn't they? D.C.'s pro sports history has little of this. The old Washington Senators had a "golden decade" from 1924 to 1933 (three American League pennants, one World Series); the Redskins captured three Super Bowls between 1982 and 1991. Forty years ago tonight, the Washington Bullets (now the Wizards) won their lone NBA title in Seattle against the Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder). Beyond that in the "big four" sports? Close to zilch.

Washington sports fans, who hadn't had a champion in more than a quarter-century, embraced the Caps...and D.C.'s other athletes did, too. That's the Washington Nationals' Max Scherzer -- arguably baseball's best pitcher -- and Ryan Zimmerman in full hockey gear cheering on the Caps in game 4 of the finals. Teammate Bryce Harper, a Las Vegas native who until this season never had a hometown team of his own, wore a Knights sweater and was criticized by some D.C. fans. But a pair of tweets Thursday night revealed his mixed emotions:

Will Bryce, Max and Ryan have a Pennsylvania Avenue parade of their own this fall? We shall see. Meanwhile, Washington is celebrating well into the night.

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'Dressing' twice with Bing

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.06 at 06:57
Current mood: happyhappy

"We're Not Dressing" was Carole Lombard's opportunity to cash in as a Bing Crosby co-star. While Mae West's saucy comedies get plenty of credit (and deservedly so) for helping Paramount get out of bankruptcy at the nadir of the Depression, Crosby's string of musicals also were consistent moneymakers for the studio.

Two original photos of Crosby with Carole -- neither of which I believe I've ever seen before -- are up for sale at eBay. Both are 8" x 10" silver gelatin vintage prints.

The above pic goes for $79; you can buy it now, or make an offer. Get the specifics at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Bing-Crosby-Romantic-ORINGINAL-1934-Art-Deco-Glamour-Photo/372322459569?hash=item56b025dfb1.

Here's the other one, showing Carole as haughty heiress Doris Worthington listening to sailor Bing play his ukulele:

Unlike the other, it has promotional information about the movie at bottom. Its sales info is similar, although the "buy it now" price is a mere $49. Find out more at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Bing-Crosby-Romantic-ORINGINAL-1934-Glamour-Photo-J1077/372322459602?hash=item56b025dfd2.

Finally, some additional memorabilia from the recent Die Laughing Film Festival I took part in. First of all, visual proof I indeed won an award for Best Character for my Colleen Cossitt in "Stand Tall!" (Heck, Colleen's even listed first, though she insists she did not use her 16-foot-1 1/8 stature to coerce the judges into giving her lead billing.) The screenplay awards are at top, followed by the movie awards:

I expect to soon receive a photo of me and my award...but in the meantime, the festival did release a group shot of its participants. See if you can find me:

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For a site linked to Lombard, a tragic milestone

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.05 at 00:38
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

Carole Lombard and Russ Columbo enjoy an evening out in 1934 at a place with plenty of history for both. Nearly a decade earlier, a teenaged Lombard regularly danced in contests there against the likes of Joan Crawford; a few years later, musician and singer Columbo performed there as part of Gus Arnheim's band.

It's the legendary Cocoanut Grove, then part of the famed Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Here's how it looked on a postcard in the mid-1930s:

Nothing against Lombard or the many other celebrities who visited this venue -- or the six Academy Awards ceremonies that took place there -- but 50 years ago today the Grove, and the Ambassador, had its most historic moment...a tragic one.

It was where Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (shown above campaigning in Garden Grove, Calif., on June 2) was assassinated just after midnight, where he was celebrating his triumph (below) in Tuesday's California presidential primary, telling the audience, "My thanks to all of you, and now it's on to Chicago [site of that August's Democratic national convention] and let's win there!"

Kennedy was exiting through the kitchen when three shots were fired at him. One entered behind his right ear, disposing bone fragments throughout his brain. Despite extensive neurosurgery, he died little more than a day later, early on June 6.

I sadly remember this event. I was a seventh-grader in Syracuse, N.Y., the state where Kennedy was a senator, although my candidate was the other insurgent to President Johnson, Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy. (Kennedy entered the race in mid-March, a few days after Johnson was nearly beaten by McCarthy; Johnson then announced on March 31 he would not seek re-election.)

Since the shooting and Kennedy's death both occurred in the middle of the night in the Eastern time zone, I woke up to two days of tragic news, two months after civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. It was part of a tumultuous -- and pivotal -- political year.

Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who entered the race in late April, won the party's nomination in riot-plagued Chicago, but he was plagued with the baggage of a raging war in Vietnam. With former Alabama Gov. George Wallace running on the American Independent Party slate and winning several southern states, Republican nominee Richard Nixon narrowly won election that November. It would spell the end of the "Great Society" Johnson implemented and Humphrey promised to follow.

The Ambassador and Cocoanut Grove (shown in 1975) had their own baggage. As Los Angeles was changing, a grande dame hotel and nightclub lost its appeal, especially in the wake of such a tragic event. Patronage declined and the hotel closed to guests in 1989 -- two years after Roy Orbison, backed by the likes of Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen, filmed his "Roy Orbison: A Black and White Night" special at the Grove.

There were many suggestions regarding the property, including a proposal from New York real estate mogul Donald Trump to build a 125-story tower -- the world's tallest -- on the site. (Make of that what you will.) Trump never got the chance, as the Los Angeles Unified School District won a legal battle.

As plans went on over what the district would do with the property, it became a popular site for films and TV. Movies shot there include "L.A. Story," "That Thing You Do," "Almost Famous" and "The Wedding Singer."

In 2005, demolition began on the hotel after a $4.9 million fund was established to preserve the district's historic school buildings. Alas, most of the Grove was torn down ("poor structural integrity" was cited as a reason), leaving only its east wall and the hotel entrance. (For more on the Grove, see https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/36991.html.)

Six schools, serving grades K-12 in various buildings, opened at the site in 2009 and 2010; they are known as the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. The main building has the same height and footprint of the Ambassador, with what's left of the Cocoanut Grove (shown, lower picture, in 2004) in front:

In front of the school, the senator is honored with Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park. Opened in 2010, the structure commemorates several of his quotes while providing space to eat lunch, play chess or relax.

I often ride the Wilshire Boulevard bus past this site. I think about its near-century of history (the Ambassador opened in 1921), and wonder whether it might still be around in its original form had it not been for an assassin's bullet.

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An award-winning actor suggests 'sainthood' for Carole

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.04 at 15:59
Current mood: touchedtouched

Carole Lombard may have left us more than 76 years ago, but her work on screen and her life off it have led more than a few to suggest she has an ethereal, otherworldly status. In his 1970 book "The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years," film historian David Shipman writes,

"...there's a strong case to be made for the divinity of Carole Lombard. One is certain that, at Olympian banquets, she's right up there next to Zeus. If she's not [invited], she's probably throwing things." (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/221176.html)

Now a respected actor whose resume include winning a Golden Globe and an Emmy has commented on Carole in that vein. He's Michael Moriarty, whom you may remember from the early years of the classic crime procedural "Law And Order":

Moriarty recently penned some praise of Lombard after seeing one of her movies...not the "usual suspects" such as "My Man Godfrey" or "To Be Or Not To Be," but a drama co-starring another actor best known for his comic work.

We are, of course, referring to "In Name Only" (1939) with Cary Grant. Moriarty writes,

"She gives, in my not-so-humble opinion, an Oscar-winning performance, the stunning depth and profound simplicity of which has rarely been equaled."

In contrast, he says Grant's performance "is painfully short of Lombard's startling reality!", adding he believes the Motion Picture Academy failed to nominate her "because of the film's unimpressive success at the box office."

Well, as you may have heard, 1939 was a pretty darn good year for movies. (Lombard's other film in '39, "Made For Each Other," made the year's top ten list at The New York Times.) Let's look at that year's nominees for Best Actress:

Vivien Leigh, "Gone With The Wind" (winner)
Bette Davis, "Dark Victory"
Irene Dunne, "Love Affair"
Greta Garbo, "Ninotchka"
Greer Garson, "Goodbye, Mr. Chips"

Pretty good company to be in. I can't see Lombard beating out Leigh and the "GWTW" juggernaut (though it didn't help Carole's husband, Clark Gable), and getting a nomination with that competition? It would've been tough, and RKO, where "In Name Only" was made, didn't have the Oscar bloc clout of an MGM. That probably was the reason Lombard didn't get the best actress award for Universal's "My Man Godfrey" three years earlier; it instead went to Luise Rainer for MGM's "The Great Ziegfeld."

Moriarty writes winning the Oscar "would have helped give Carole Lombard, proven comedienne, a huge pedestal as an equally dramatic actress," adding, "Carole Lombard's 'Truth' is a most breathtaking high point in the history of American Realism! I found her close-ups so realistic that they could have appeared in a documentary!"

He decries that Lombard was 24th on the American Film Institute's greatest actresses list (she was actually ranked 23rd) and adds:

"What she accomplishes with her role for 'In Name Only' is an acting lesson of such strength and simplicity that I'm still overwhelmed at merely recalling it. Had the profound greatness of her dramatic skills been recognized, she would now be ranked at the top of Hollywood's greatest stars, both male and female!"

As it was, while she gave worthy, well-received performances in "Vigil In The Night" and "They Knew What They Wanted," the public preferred the comedic Carole, who'd been absent from the big screen since the failure of 1938's "Fools For Scandal."

However, Moriarty's hosannas to Lombard provide another perspective in what might have been. Yes, she may have continued in comedy for a while -- remember, she was planning to make "They All Kissed The Bride" at the time of her death, and one-time Cocoanut Grove dance rival Joan Crawford took her place -- but Carole may have returned to drama, perhaps to try her hand at this new genre called film noir. And good friend Alfred Hitchcock, who directed Lombard in his atypical romantic comedy "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," might have coaxed her to star in a project along his turf.

Moriarty calls watching Lombard's turn "In Name Only" an "eye-opening encounter with a new heroine in my life." He also noted Carole raised more than $2 million (over $33 million in today's money) at a war bond rally the day before she died, as well as her beloved reputation in the industry.

He titled this entry, written a week ago, "St. Carole Lombard" (http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0518/lombard.html), and added,

"Carole Lombard dies in a plane crash at the horrifying age of 33?!?!
"A sort of, if the perfectionists in my readership will forgive me, perfect, female Christ!
"No wonder Clark Gable, shortly after that, chose to serve in World War II!"

Hyperbole? Perhaps. But Moriarty concludes his piece with this:

"I know she might hate me for kvelling over her like this but I know no other way of living with my feelings for her but by sharing them."

Welcome to the club of Lombard lovers, Michael.

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'Rumba," while you question its domain

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.03 at 16:03
Current mood: confusedconfused

"Rumba," from early 1935, is among those Carole Lombard titles that got lost in the shuffle. A dance film again pairing her with George Raft a year after their hit "Bolero," it was nowhere as critically received or as financially successful. (When the movie came out that February, Lombard was on vacation in Cuba, although apparently not to promote the movie.)

The film sort of ended an era for Lombard at Paramount, where from her start there in 1930 she was perceived as an all-purpose actress who could be cast in just about anything. Following "Rumba," noted director Ernst Lubitsch -- who better recognized Carole's skills than anyone else in power at the studio -- became head of production and generally gave her material more suited to her talent. (Her four remaining Paramount films also co-starred Fred MacMurray, a fine actor, but one who at this stage of his career complemented his leading ladies.)

"Rumba" is available on eBay, and the seller notes something I'm uncertain of, claiming that "Rumba" entered public domain on Jan. 1, 1971. The seller cites this "as per eBay's public domain policy":

I'm slightly skeptical. If "Rumba" has been in public domain since 1971 -- long before videocassettes, much less DVDs -- why didn't it join the array of Lombard titles that made the rounds of public domain for decades? (Think "My Man Godfrey," "Nothing Sacred," "Swing High, Swing Low" and "Made For Each Other.") Even obscurities such as Pathe's "The Racketeer" from 1929 received public domain releases. Surely, someone back in the '80s would have discovered this, especially with recognizable leads such as Lombard and Raft, and put out a bargain-priced VHS tape.

On the other hand, Universal owns much (but not all) of Paramount's pre-1948 material and has never issued either "Rumba" or "Bolero" on one of its Lombard DVD reissues (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/909644.html). Perhaps it doesn't own the rights, and unlike "Godfrey," which Universal reclaimed after Criterion's new print came out in 2001, decided the Lombard-Raft dance films weren't worth the bother.

Anyway, the seller admits "this is not a factory-direct DVD," but at least provides a detailed plot and cast in the entry (Gail Patrick has a supporting role, and two of the uncredited chorus girls are Ann Sheridan and Jane Wyman). The title is written on the envelope, not the high-quality DVD-r disc.

Ten copies are available as of this writing, for $9.89 each. If you'd like a copy or simply want to learn more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rumba-RARE-Classic-Musical-DVD-1935-George-Raft-Carole-Lombard/392057212820?hash=item5b486e4f94:g:JsQAAOSwhztbE37~.

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A lot of 'Allure' (and Lombard) to show you

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.02 at 00:34
Current mood: curiouscurious

Did Carole Lombard have plenty of sex appeal? That photo of her in a swimsuit, from the June 1932 issue of Modern Screen, supplies an obvious answer (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/817111.html). Half a decade later, Carole still possessed the power to make men melt.

Don't believe me? I'll give you visual proof; she's featured in Allure magazine. No, not the current Conde Nast beauty publication (below is its February 2018 cover with Dakota Johnson)...

...nope, this magazine titled Allure was published more than eight decades ago, and in fact we've written about it before (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/172877.html).

Then as now, we're reporting it in the context of an eBay auction (more on that later). However, unlike our 2009 entry, not only do we know more about the publication, but we have more examples to show you. Above is the cover of that inaugural issue, July 1937, and Lombard -- nearing the apex of her popularity -- is inside, having won an award from the magazine:

We ran that two-page display -- chock full of "leg art," the last time, in much smaller form. As you can tell, this is the 1937 equivalent of a "girlie" mag, dedicated to showing the female form in as much of its glory as postal inspectors would allow.

Here's more from that first issue, starting with the table of contents:

There's a display called "Sitdowners"; labor strikes were a big deal in '37, and the mag borrowed the term to show off some leggy ladies, followed by some more pages:

Even a drawing has a reference to a "sit-down strike":

The swimwear Lombard exhibited earlier in the issue has some more examples ("Sun-Kissed Peaches Of The Beaches"):

And look at lovely young Ida Lupino:

Carole's Paramount pal Dorothy Lamour, already famed for her sarong, was Allure's cover subject in August (Marlene Dietrich was that month's award-winner), while another issue made newsstands in September:

Reader Paul Duca commented in 2009, "Obviously it didn't last too long then...otherwise Moss Hart wouldn't have used Allure as the name of the fashion magazine that was the setting for the musical 'Lady In The Dark' (he wrote the libretto)."

And Paul was right. (BTW, Gertrude Lawrence starred in it on Broadway, while Ginger Rogers had the lady in a 1944 film version directed by Mitchell Leisen.) The three issues represented the complete run for this Allure.

This July issue, which the seller accurately describes as a "spicy pulp era girlie magazine," is in very good condition. It's complete with no cut or missing pages, an some scattered surface wear.

One bid, for $4.95, has been made as of this writing; the auction is set to close at 9:39 p.m. (Eastern) June 11 (a week from Monday). Like to get your hands on this Lombard rarity? Then visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Complete-July-1937-Vol-1-No-1-Allure-Magazine-Carole-Lombard-Pin-Up-Photos/292586508924?hash=item441f83d27c:g:CZ8AAOSwT4ZbEBkl#viTabs_0.

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For her 92nd, things you didn't know about Monroe

Posted by vp19 on 2018.06.01 at 16:01
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

Among the fun things about being a film historian is pondering what generational ships may have passed in the night. When Carole Lombard was a teen starlet at Fox in the mid-1920s -- or even before that, as a movie-mad youth in Los Angeles -- what silver-screen notables of the time might she have laid eyes on at a premiere, or some chance meeting on the street?

In her autobiography, Myrna Loy (a dancer for theater impresario Sid Grauman in the early '20s) recalls being discovered by Rudolph Valentino after he saw some photos of her; his wife then gave young Myrna a career boost. Lombard and the Latin star were at different studios while he was alive; indeed, I have no idea whether she was a fan of his, though I'm guessing the answer was yes.

I bring this up because today marks the 92nd anniversary of the birth of a true Hollywood icon, the actress who's become synonymous with glamour...

...Marilyn Monroe. (It remains difficult to believe that Monroe, Lombard and Jean Harlow -- three symbols of beauty, grace and sex appeal -- had a combined lifespan of less than 96 years.)

The lady born Norma Jean Mortensen on June 1, 1926 was a Los Angeles native, and while she lived much of her troubled youth in foster homes and an orphanage, she also had free time and loved movies. (Harlow reportedly was her favorite, but I'll bet she liked Lombard, too.) Did she ever see either one, or other stars of the day, at a premiere at Grauman's Chinese or Egyptian, or perhaps somewhere else along Hollywood Boulevard?

My Facebook friend Michelle Morgan, who's written several authoritative books on Monroe (most recently "The Girl," above) as well as the Lombard bio "Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star," recently wrote this piece about Marilyn for the UK magazine Female First: https://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/the-girl-michelle-morgan-1146061.html

And to my British friends -- Morgan will have another piece on Marilyn in Monday's Yours Retro magazine:

The more you read about Monroe and what type of person she really was, the more you admire and have empathy with her, despite the demons that plagued her. Had Harlow and Lombard lived into the '50s, both probably would've taken Marilyn under their wing as postwar Hollywood became an increasingly difficult place for women.

carole lombard 04

Carole collections: Finding multiple films

Posted by vp19 on 2018.05.31 at 17:32
Current mood: cynicalcynical

More than 12 years ago -- April 4, 2006 -- Universal released "Carole Lombard: The Glamour Collection," six of her films on two DVDs. I bought mine at a Best Buy that day. (Why do I remember the date? That night, the University of Maryland women's basketball team, a program I've followed since the 1970s, won its first NCAA title by defeating Duke in overtime.)

Since then, several other Lombard boxed sets have become available. If you're a newcomer to Carole and want to be immersed in her movies as rapidly as possible, these are good ways to do just that. As we bid adieu to May, today seemed a good time to review them...especially since all now are available via eBay.

First, the aforementioned "Glamour Collection." (Universal, which owns much though not all of Paramount's pre-1948 film catalog, also released similar sets for Marlene Dietrich and Mae West.) The movies are
* "Man Of The World," 1931 (shown above)
* "We're Not Dressing," 1934
* "Hands Across The Table," 1935
* "Love Before Breakfast," 1936
* "The Princess Comes Across," 1936
* "True Confession," 1937

All are Paramount productions except "Love Before Breakfast" (Universal). Aside from a trailer for "We're Not Dressing," this collection has no extras, although the sound quality and visuals for all are good.

Several eBay sellers offer "The Glamour Collection." One has it listed in "good" condition. It's available for $10.47, and you can learn more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-The-Glamour-Collection-DVD-2006-2-Disc-Set/273247101947?epid=51267049&hash=item3f9ecbe3fb:g:CUUAAMXQnYJQ9uf-.

"Carole Lombard: In The Thirties" compiles three of her lesser-known Columbia films:
* "No More Orchids," 1932
* "Brief Moment," 1933
* "Lady By Choice," 1934

"Orchids" (shown above) probably is my favorite of the three, although the comedic Lombard we know and love isn't really evident until "Lady By Choice," where Carole has superb chemistry with May Robson. Unlike "The Glamour Collection," extras abound here -- still and poster collections (Sony issued it via the TCM Vault).

This isn't particularly easy to find, although this seller has 10 copies available. Unfortunately, the sale price is $35.48. If you're curious, go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-In-the-Thirties-DVD-Collection-3-Disc/172946379286?epid=208178905&hash=item2844685216:g:prgAAOSwiBJZ86u1.

Two years ago, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment decided to repackage some of its Lombard titles into what it calls the "Universal Hollywood Icons Collection." The big difference from "The Glamour Collection"? It adds "My Man Godfrey," a bona fide classic (and her other Universal film), to the mix, along with "Breakfast" and two MacMurray movies.

Unlike "The Glamour Collection," the films are on one-sided discs, two on each. I've never seen this set, though I wrote about it last year (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/874207.html) and understand the version of "Godfrey" is updated, not a public domain print.

It's available for $12.84, and additional information is at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Universal-Hollywood-Icons-Coll-Carole-Lombard-DVD/202314807489?hash=item2f1ae6f8c1:g:CAQAAOSwWfda~DQd.

Finally, there's this set of four films from 2008:

Nice pic on the front. But what's on back gives one some troubling thoughts:

While none of the four are available on the other sets, all are in the public domain:
* "The Racketeer," 1929 (shown below)
* "Swing High, Swing Low," 1937 (not the other way around, as is listed)
* "Nothing Sacred," 1937
* "Made For Each Other," 1939

I've never seen this collection, but the one person who rated it at amazon.com gave it a middling two stars. Caveat emptor.

If you're determined to get it anyway, you can buy a copy for $13.97. Visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Silver-Screen-Legends-CAROLE-LOMBARD-DVD-2008-4-Disc-Set/273247194846?epid=203555857&hash=item3f9ecd4ede:g:ve0AAOSwcOVbDfwa for more.

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