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carole lombard 06

Carole's on the cover. Isn't that Swede?

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.18 at 08:18
Current mood: artisticartistic


In the fall of 1934, Carole Lombard's "Twentieth Century" -- a well-received film just about everywhere, if not quite the popular and cultural success of its Columbia screwball stablemate, "It Happened One Night" -- was doing good business far beyond American shores. One of those places was Sweden, where the magazine Scenen put an unrelated, though enticing, photo of Carole on its cover for its Sept. 21 issue:



Inside is a black-and-white Swedish-language ad (similar to this one) for the film, which there was titled "Primadonna."



The magazine measures 12" x 9", has 34 pages and is in very good condition. It's on auction at eBay, with bids beginning at $7.99. The auction is set to close at 7:44 p.m. (Eastern) Friday.

If you're interested, or merely curious, go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-CAROLE-LOMBARD-Scenen-Swedish-Mag-1934-Beautiful-Star/323401360844?hash=item4b4c3925cc:g:2cAAAOSw20Jbd13p.

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Attack of the supersized Lombard (posters, that is)

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.17 at 15:45
Current mood: weirdweird


I had a little fun with Carole Lombard -- well, perhaps that should be big fun -- in 2013, when she was competing in the Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tourney. She had lost in the finals the previous two years, and I was determined that for Carole, the third time would indeed be the charm.

And thanks to a promotional campaign whose posters included this one, where Photoshop trickery magnified her to about 200 feet high, it was.

The larger-than-life Lombard is back, albeit at a far more manageable scale. In fact, while Carole's still big, she's probably small enough to fit into one of your rooms.



Last Friday's entry dealt with the 1933 horror flick "Supernatural," which could be bought in sizes ranging from 16" x 24" to 24" x 36" (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/927969.html),

Compared to today's offering, those are pikers. This version (from a different seller, I believe) measures a whopping 3 1/2' x 6 1/2 to 7'. Again, that's feet, not inches. Imagine that face, at that scale, staring at you. Overwhelming. As the seller notes, in addition to a custom frame for it,

"Be sure as well to have a very large wall in your home, office, warehouse, restaurant, bar or wherever you are putting it as the size is very, very large..."

Only one of these is available, and the price is somewhat large-scale -- $288.88 in Canadian dollars, which currently translates into $219.76 in U.S. currency. If you can fit a mega-Lombard into your life or are merely curious, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/SUPERNATURAL-1933-Carole-Lombard-POSTER-Very-Large-3-1-2-x-6-1-2-7-Feet-Long/163206454709?var=&hash=item25ffdcddb5.

Big Carole's a bit more manageable in our next poster, since she has a partner. It's George Raft, and this poster is from the 1934 pre-Code dance flick "Bolero."



This poster also is one-of-a-kind, measuring a mere 3 1/2' x 5'. The seller comments: "Makes an amazing impact when you see it in this very large format indeed on your wall." I would tend to agree.

It goes for $188.88 Canadian (US $143.69). Want to investigate this large vision of Lombard? Then go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/BOLERO-1934-Carole-Lombard-DANCING-Raft-POSTER-Very-Large-3-1-2-x-5-Feet-Long/382543984424?hash=item591165f728%3Am%3AmUcNYdQkgKhQnXDE1G_KS5g&var=651297789120.

The last of the king-sized Caroles isn't a movie poster at all, but an enlarged fan magazine cover...specifically, Motion Picture from November 1931:



This apparently comes in a variety of sizes, from a mammoth 3 1/2' x 4' to a miniscule 12" x 18". The Canadian price is $32.88; its U.S. equivalent is $25.01. How'd like to have that great big smile gracing one of your rooms? You can. Simply check out https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-1931-Motion-Picture-POSTER-Not-Magazine-10-SIZES-18-To-4-FEET/382543985975?hash=item591165fd37%3Am%3Ambt65YNhJCvfFg3EAUy33hw&var=651297796480.

All of these are impressive, so while the real-life Lombard probably wasn't very tall (her stature was listed as everything from 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-6, with most accounts placing her on the shorter end of the spectrum), she certainly cast a large shadow over Hollywood...and perhaps one reason Colleen Cossitt, the heroine of the romantic comedy screenplay I'm seeking to sell (https://filmfreeway.com/projects/476988), is a lady to be looked up to.


carole lombard 04

A 'novel' approach to movie programs

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.16 at 09:39
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished



Although only one Carole Lombard film separates them chronologically ("Fools For Scandal"), one normally doesn't link "True Confession" with "Made For Each Other." The former was Carole's final film for Paramount, a raucous comedy; the latter, her first purely dramatic work in several years.

But they have something in common -- both were converted into novelizations...in Danish. They're being offered as one item on eBay.

The seller provides samples of what's inside each one. First, "True Confession":





Then, "Made For Each Other":





The "True Confession" program has 42 pages, measures 5 1/2" x 8" and is in fine condition. Its "Made For Each Other" counterpart has 12 pages, measures 5" x 7" and is in excellent condition despite having holes for inclusion in a binder.

The two are being offered in combo for $42, which the seller lists as 30 percent off. (You can also make an offer.) If you're interested or simply want to learn more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/TRUE-CONFESSION-MADE-FOR-EACH-OTHER-CAROLE-LOMBARD-DANISH-NOVEL-PROGRAM/121391205342?hash=item1c437acbde:g:El0AAOSwVupTl~ku:sc:USPSFirstClass!90003!US!-1.

carole lombard 03

Fall fashion for '35

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.15 at 21:36
Current mood: creativecreative


A previously unseen Carole Lombard p1202 portrait is always something to behold, and so it is with this one, Paramount p1202-1273. Even better, we have the snipe on the back, which explains it all. Witness:



If you can't read the wording, it says:

"THIS KNIFE-PLEATED BLACK CREPE -- is smartly worn for daytime by Carole Lombard, Paramount star in 'Hands Across The Table.' Over this new Molyneux frock Carole wears a sumptuous cape of cross fox which dissolves into a point in back. Her hat is a saucy cap of black velvet into which she pins a huge star sapphire brooch which adds a startling highlight. Her gloves, bag and shoes are black antelope."

Aside from the fox and antelope, which I doubt a 2018 version of Lombard would wear, it still looks stylish.

From the date above the snipe, it appears this was received by the Newspaper Enterprise Association on Nov. 19, 1935.

This is being sold for $74.95 straight up, or you can make an offer. There's slight wear and minor creasing in this 8" x 10"...but on the other hand, it's a relatively rare Lombard p1202.

Want to go for it, or find out more? Then go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-gorgeous-vintage-sexy-leggy-1935-Paramount-glamour-pinup-photo/223104625486?hash=item33f2126b4e:g:DxEAAOSwNN9bdLRz:sc:USPSFirstClass!90044!US!-1.

carole lombard 02

Carole, doing it '(Film) Weekly'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.14 at 21:59
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic


Carole Lombard's good looks and sparkling personality made her a favorite of magazines -- not just Hollywood fanmags, but publications far beyond American shores. One of these was the British magazine Film Weekly; above is its cover from Aug. 5, 1932.

This and two other Film Weekly issues with Carole covers are available via eBay. The others are from Nov. 30, 1934...



...and Feb. 13, 1937, which she shared with William Powell:



Alas, Film Weekly isn't part of the Media History Digital Library, though its 1928 to 1939 issues apparently can be accessed through a pay site called the Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive, part of ProQuest. And since the seller won't go into detail about what's in each issue, I can't provide additional information. Sorry.

However, I do have much of two inside pages from the '32 issue (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/587222.html). One is of Jean Harlow, the other a news roundup that includes word of a Boris Karloff "Hunchback Of Notre Dame" talkie remake that never came to fruition:




The '32 and '34 issues can be bought straight up for $75, while the one from '37 goes for $85. A "best offer" option is available for all three.

For the 1932 issue, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/FILM-WEEKLY-AUG-5-1932-YOUNG-CAROLE-LOMBARD-COVER-RARE-FOREIGN-MAGAZINE/123310208991?hash=item1cb5dc77df%3Ag%3ALh4AAOSw2kxbcoS6%3Asc%3AUSPSPriorityFlatRateEnvelope%2190044%21US%21-1&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.

The 1934 issue is at https://www.ebay.com/itm/FILM-WEEKLY-NOV-30-1934-SEXY-CAROLE-LOMBARD-COVER-RARE-FOREIGN-MAGAZINE/123310205079?hash=item1cb5dc6897%3Ag%3A3mQAAOSw~RRbcoQf%3Asc%3AUSPSPriorityFlatRateEnvelope%2190044%21US%21-1&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc

And more on the Lombard-Powell issue from '37 can be found at https://www.ebay.com/itm/FILM-WEEKLY-2-13-1937-CAROLE-LOMBARD-WILLIAM-POWELL-COVER-FOREIGN-MAGAZINE/123310202996?hash=item1cb5dc6074%3Ag%3Au7UAAOSws8hbcoM~%3Asc%3AUSPSPriorityFlatRateEnvelope%2190044%21US%21-1&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.


carole lombard 01

With a horse, cow and Bull

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.13 at 22:22
Current mood: curiouscurious


In the latter half of the 1930s, Carole Lombard's image became decidedly more rustic. It may have been tied into her romance with Clark Gable, an emigre from small-town Ohio who discovered the hunting and fishing life MGM publicists suggested he pursue worked for him.

Anyway, Lombard rented a ranch in the San Fernando Valley in 1937, and found farm life was a good complement. Long an animal lover, Carole now cultivated critters far beyond dogs and cats. Some photos now available via eBay make that evident.

Here are two pics of Lombard with her beloved Palomino gelding Pico. First, Paramount p1202-1563, taken by Don English in '37:



It also has a snipe on the back...



...which we'll show in an enlarged version:



Next, p1202-1600, where Pico and Carole relax:



Its snipe, first in full length and then enlarged:




From the writing, I had guessed this pic ran in the August 1941 issue of the Spanish-language fanmag Cine-Mundial...but a check of it in the files of the Media History Digital Library yielded nothing.

p1202-1563 is 8" x 10" and seemingly in good shape aside from some minor creasing. As of this writing, one bid has been made, for $4.99; the auction closes at 8 p.m. (Eastern) Friday. Bid or find out more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-8X10-PHOTOGRAPH-HORSE-RANCH-FARM-PARAMOUNT-DON-ENGLISH/192614004064?hash=item2cd8b07560&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.

As for p1202-1600, it's slightly smaller (5" x 7 1/2") and is on thicker paper. Bidding also ends for this at 8 p.m. (Eastern) Friday, with bids opening at $4.99. Curious? Then go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-5X7-1-2-RANCH-HORSE-FARM-CANDID-PHOTOGRAPH-NEWSPRINT/192613993533?hash=item2cd8b04c3d&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.

Now what about that cow? Let's go from equine to bovine, with Carole the "cow" girl:



Now, the snipe, first at full size and the second focusing on it in Spanish:




It's 8" x 10" and in reasonably good shape. One bid has been made for $4.99, with the auction again ending at 8 (ET) on Friday. Additional information can be found at https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-1937-farm-cow-SQUIB-NEWSPRINT-PARAMOUNT-candid-8x10/192613938169?hash=item2cd8af73f9&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.

This next pic has no animals, but it's taken at a ranch (Leo Carrillo's):



With Lombard are Irene Hervey, Allan Jones and agent Phil Berg. It's from 1938, a party for cast and crew of MGM's "Too Hot To Handle" (starring Gable and Myrna Loy).



No one has yet bid on this as I write, and bids open at $4.99 before the auction closes at 8 (ET) Friday. You can place a bid or get more info at https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-1938-SQUIB-NEWSPRINT-8x10-RANCH-ROUND-UP-CANDID-FARM/183353670343?hash=item2ab0bafac7&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.

Finally, the Bull -- but it's not an animal. Rather, it's noted MGM photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull, who did some sessions with Lombard when she made "The Gay Bride" in Culver City in 1934:



Bull's stamp is on the back:



It's 8" x 10", on thicker paper. One bid has been made, for $4.99, and the auction closes at the same time as the others.

Get all the details at https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-8x10-CANDID-GLAMOUR-PHOTOGRAPH-CLARENCE-SINCLAIR-BULL/183353703687?hash=item2ab0bb7d07&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.

carole lombard 07

Cinematic Sundays: 'The Arizona Kid'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.12 at 12:19
Current mood: pensivepensive


Among Carole Lombard movies, "The Arizona Kid" occupies a unique status. It's her last film for Fox, where her film career had effectively begun half a decade earlier before it was halted following an auto accident; it's her final western; and it marks the last time she portrayed a "heavy," or antagonist, role. Coming at a transitional time in Lombard's career, it's fascinating to examine in our series of "Cinematic Sundays."



As 1930 began, Carole was adrift, having been dismissed by Pathe a month before in a studio shakeup after lead roles in three talkie features. That was enough for Fox to pick her up for one film...and perhaps more, with luck. That film was "The Arizona Kid," a sequel of sorts to 1929's "In Old Arizona," where Warner Baxter won an Academy Award for his portrayal of The Cisco Kid.

So for Lombard, it was off to do some location shooting -- not in Arizona, but to Rockville, Utah (1930 population, 251), in the southwest part of the state (very close to Arizona), near Zion National Park.



The first newspaper report of Lombard and the film was in the Northwest Indiana Times on March 13. As you can tell from reading, conditions weren't easy:



An actor in the production gave an eyewitness account that made the Los Angeles Times on March 19:



Sorry, Carole, no Cocoanut Grove at this "Ambassador."

The March 30 San Bernardino Sun discussed Baxter's "romantic" quandary:



Lombard as the "other woman" -- Gail Patrick before Gail Patrick, if you catch my drift.

"The Arizona Kid" had a release date of April 27. The first ad I found for the film was in the April 30 Altoona Mirror, though it wouldn't premier until May 3:



Here's coverage from the Hartford Courant on May 4...



...and an ad on May 5:



Other ads came from the May 8 St. Louis Star and Times...



...and that day's Kokomo (Ind.) Tribune:



The first notable review came in the May 10 Pittsburgh Press. Writer Karl Krug was not very complimentary towards either the film or Lombard, whom he called "out of place."



Two days later in the crosstown Post-Gazette, Harold W. Cohen was a bit more complimentary, although he said "The Arizona Kid" was in severe need of a story:



The film then hit New York, playing at the fabled Roxy Theater and advertised in the May 15 Daily News.



Across the East River, it played at the Fox in downtown Brooklyn, with an ad in that day's Brooklyn Eagle:



On the 17th, Eagle critic Martin Dickstein approved of both the film and Lombard:



The May 31 Los Angeles Times had all sorts of interesting stuff on the film. First, an ad...



...a review from Edwin Schallert (father of future character actor William Schallert)...



...and finally, this weird disclaimer:



This "Arizona Kid," a silent starring Art Acord, was released in April 1929 and was completely unrelated to the Fox film. A 2006 review in the Internet Movie Database indicates this movie apparently still exists.

That L.A. Times page also has information on Lombard's next film, and first for Paramount, "Safety In Numbers"...which we'll profile next week.

carole lombard 06

Tarantino makes Paramount pinch-hit for Columbia

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.11 at 21:09
Current mood: productiveproductive



Carole Lombard probably enjoyed plenty of things about her several loan-outs to Columbia Pictures from her home base of Paramount (such as for 1932's "Virtue," above). For one thing, Columbia and Harry Cohn generally gave Lombard better material than she got at Paramount, where she was interchangeable with many other stablemates.

And for another, it was an easy commute. Paramount was on Melrose Avenue, near the corner of Gower. Go north on Gower, up to Sunset, and there was Columbia.




Much has changed in ensuing years. In 1972, Columbia abandoned the Sunset & Gower lot and moved operations to Burbank with Warners. More than a decade later, Sony bought Columbia and shifted it to the old MGM lot in Culver City. So Cohn's beloved studio shared a lot with Jack Warner, then took over Louis B. Mayer's facility. Got that?

The old Columbia lot still is used for independent production -- but it's now known as Sunset Gower Studios and looks far different than it did half a century ago, when it was employed for both movies and TV series. That's a problem facing filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, whose intent for his latest film "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood," set in 1969, is for as much period verisimilitude as possible.

A few weeks back, Tarantino temporarily transformed parts of Hollywood Boulevard and the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard into their '69 selves to shoot scenes for the movie (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/923531.html).



Now, he's taking his penchant for detail to replicate Columbia circa 1969 by using Paramount, at least the Melrose and Gower portion of it. (That part of the lot for a time was RKO, where Lombard made films in 1939 and 1940.) So drivers going through that part of town must've been startled when they saw filmic billboards from nearly 50 years ago, such as "Oliver!" and "Pendulum"...



..."The Wrecking Crew" and "Mackenna's Gold" (featuring Facebook friend Julie Newmar)...



...and "Funny Girl":



("The Wrecking Crew" was the last of Dean Martin's Matt Helm films, and third-billed was Sharon Tate, whose murder in August 1969 is a peripheral part of Tarantino's movies.)

Note the 2018 ads on the bus seating at the bottom of the first photo. One senses Tarantino will crop them from the finished product, since he reproduced 1969-style ads at the bus stops on Hollywood Boulevard when filming there. The Paramount logo at the bottom of the middle photo won't make the cut, either.

Great "advertising" for the film, and lots of fascinating fun for those of us obsessed with Hollywood history.

carole lombard 05

'Supernatural' at several sizes

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.10 at 12:30
Current mood: weirdweird


"Supernatural" is one of several Carole Lombard movies that's genre hokum (that could also be said of "White Woman," made later in 1933). The silly horror story deals with the transfer of the soul of an executed murderess (Vivienne Osborne) into the body of a socialite (Lombard). Carole's competent in this movie, but it clearly was never one of her favorites.

However, one of the posters made by Paramount is rather striking -- and a Las Vegas firm has reproduced it.



A close-up of Carole's face reveals the exquisite detail artists put into this:



Here's how it might look on a wall were it to be framed:



It's being offered in three sizes -- 16" x 24" for $11.95, 20" x 30" for $16.95 and 24" x 36" for $20.95. All are on heavyweight enhanced matte art paper.

For the 16" x 24" poster, go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/Supernatural-1930s-Vintage-Movie-Poster-Starring-Carole-Lombard-16x24/232582507319?hash=item3626ff6b37:g:YpAAAOSwxalbVh6r.

Buy the 20" x 30" poster at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Supernatural-1933-VIntage-Style-Movie-Poster-20x30/232582506450?hash=item3626ff67d2:g:YpAAAOSwxalbVh6r.

And the 24" x 36" version is at https://www.ebay.com/itm/1933-Vintage-Style-Movie-Poster-Supernatural-Carole-Lombard-24x36/232582507992?hash=item3626ff6dd8:g:YpAAAOSwxalbVh6r.

A fascinating artifact of an atypical Lombard film.


carole lombard 04

Some odds and ends from '29, part 2

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.09 at 23:41
Current mood: curiouscurious


The Carole Lombard of 1929 was a fascinating character, making her debut in talkie picture stardom in three films from the Pathe studio. The year had highs and lows, and today we'll examine some of them from newspapers in the second half of '29 after looking at the first half last week (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/924973.html).

We'll begin with this shot from the July 3 Fort Lauderdale News. It's Carole (this ran with the "e," which rarely happened while she worked at Pathe) with Diane Ellis (not sure why her name was misspelled here, but it was also like that in another account). They're more or less here to decorate this story about an invalid war veteran's struggles on the beach.



This pic of Carol (as she was more commonly known then) in beachwear, was in the July 7 Atlanta Constitution:



Lombard's automobile accident earlier in the decade was noted in the July 20 Oakland Tribune:



Lombard showed off a wedding gown in the July 22 Salisbury (Md.) Daily Times:



Next up, the July 23 Chambersburg (Pa.) Public Opinion, with Carole's portrait promoting her latest film, "Big News":



Another Pennsylvania paper, the Mount Carmel Daily News, showed Carole in a pictorial on sporty fashion. She's second from right, between Dorothy Sebastian and Raquel Torres:



On to August, specifically the Detroit Free Press on the 11th, on choosing colors -- we learn that Lombard loves navy blue:



This blurb in the Aug. 13 Albany (Ore.) Democrat-Herald promoted the final night of the synchronized "Show Folks." We know Lombard attended Fairfax High, not Los Angeles High School, and did she have three years' dramatic training? Color me skeptical.



The Aug. 14 Lancaster Eagle-Gazette in Ohio used Carole (at left) to profile bridal wear:



I was a little confused when I read this item from the Sept. 12 McAllen (Texas) Daily Press. Wasn't this something from the folk boom of 1963? Well, it turns out that's a "hootenanny." This, called a "hootnanny," is something Lombard leaned on to protect her tight evening gown while making "The Racketeer," and it's said to be "a plush lined board resembling a surf board in appearance." Surfboard -- wasn't that another popular term from '63? Now I'm really confused.



Carole and "Big News" were part of a photo-spread of coming attractions in the Sept. 15 Chicago Tribune...



...while in Los Angeles that day, she was part of the Times' latest story on how actors were coping with sound:




Lombard, "the golden haired beauty," gets her tresses in the Sept. 17 Council Grove (Kans.) Republican:



In the Sept. 27 St. Petersburg Times, Carole is among several female stars who like to occasionally wear male attire:



A leggy Lombard, on a pedestal, adorned the Oct. 27 Louisville Courier-Journal:



Lombard in trousers was shown in the Nov. 4 Pottsville (Pa.) Republican:



The Nov. 7 Angola Record in upstate New York features Carole ("one of Hollywood's blondest blondes") on a trunk:



That day, the Capital Times in Madison, Wisc., noted an upcoming honor for Carole -- a likely selection as a WAMPAS "Baby Star." (The last surviving such star, Mary Carlisle, left us Aug. 1.) There was just one problem: Citing the recent stock market crash, the governing body declined to issue the awards that year. So technically, this never happened. (Also note she's listed here as "Carole.")




A big boost for Lombard, right? Not quite. A few weeks later, on Dec. 5, this ran in the New York Daily News:



It was that kind of year for Carole. (Remember, when 1929 began, she expected to be the female lead in Cecil B. DeMille's "Dynamite," only to be dismissed shortly into filming.) As you can tell, Lombard and fellow blonde Ellis weren't the only casualties of Pathe's housecleaning.

More on this ran in the Dec. 15 Detroit Free Press:




We're left to wonder how much influence Constance Bennett had in Lombard's axing at Pathe (according to conjecture, quite a lot, though it's never been proven).

Finally, this. As film distribution was a far more haphazard practice than it is today, several Lombard movies made the rounds of theaters -- even those more than a year old. And that includes this, a likely-lost title that's among Carole's most obscure movies. Ladies and gentlemen, from the Nov. 14 Orlando Evening Star...



..."The Divine Sinner."

So what's it about? That day's Orlando Sentinel fills us in:



And thus ends our look at Lombard, circa 1929.


carole lombard 03

Making Oscar popular?

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.08 at 17:17
Current mood: discontentdiscontent


Another day in Hollywood heaven, and we check in on Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, as Carole peruses her laptop. There's a look of dismay on her face.

_________________________________________

Carole: They must be joking!
Clark: Who is "they," and what's the joking?
Carole: The "they" is a little thing called the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where both of us would still be members if we weren't--
Clark:(jovially) And where I won an award, unlike you.
Carole: At least I was nominated, which is more than poor Myrna or Marilyn can say. It's what the Academy is doing that riles me.
Clark: Thought you liked that museum they're building at Wilshire and Fairfax.



Carole: I do -- it's gonna be great. But they're doing something with their awards ceremony, the Oscars, that well, kinda perturbs me.
Clark: Explain.
Carole: They announced today they're doing some things to counter declining ratings for the Oscars telecast, which they want to limit to three hours. First, awards in some of the less-celebrated categories will be given during commercial breaks. I bet screenwriting will get short shrift, just like when the moguls ran the studios. I emailed Robert Riskin, whom you'll recall I used to date...



Clark: Yeah, I know.
Carole: By the way, he and Fay say hi.



Carole: Anyway, his response was one of those words you always reprimand me for.
(Gable laughs.)
Carole: Come 2020, the Oscars will be moved up two weeks -- that year, they'll take place on Feb. 9.
Clark: The year you were nominated, it was in early April.
Carole: Yep. Now here's the coup de grace: To spike up ratings, the Academy will institute a new category, something it's tentatively calling "outstanding achievement in popular film."
Clark: What? You mean to say my "It Happened One Night" or "Gone With The Wind" weren't popular?



Carole: Of course they were. But these days, the movie business is all about blockbusters, franchises, superhero movies, sequels. You thought Louis B. Mayer and Harry Cohn were bad? They're angels of a sort compared to these soulless Ivy League MBAs who run the studios today. And the biggest culprit? Disney.
Clark: (smiles) Remember when we went to the premiere of "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs" at the Carthay Circle?
Carole: What an achievement that was! But while we were happy to see the Disney company survive in the '70s and '80s after Walt joined us here, it's since become the corporate antithesis of nearly everything he stood for. Remember that saying, "follow the money"? Well, Disney owns Marvel's film branch, and Pixar...and the ABC television network, which will carry the Oscars for the next decade.



Clark: A-ha! Go on.
Carole: Now, they haven't established the criteria yet for this new category, but since Disney makes more of these blockbusters than anybody -- Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, et cetera -- many believe ABC and Disney kinda, well, pressured the Academy to institute this. Take a look at this from Variety.
(She shows Gable the following article, https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/abc-oscar-changes-ratings-popular-film-1202899515/.)




Clark: I know how studio politics work. Hey, Metro eased me out in '54.
Carole: Little Mickey Mouse is now the 800-pound -- make that 800-ton -- gorilla. Ask the folks at Fox, whose film studio will soon effectively be in the past tense once Disney takes it over. (Sighs.) Oh, and there's another factor behind all this.
Clark: And that is...
Carole: A Marvel movie from February, "Black Panther" -- a huge hit, the first superhero film with a predominantly black cast, and that's great. Got fine reviews, too. But some wondered whether it could be nominated for Best Picture against all those little arthouse dramas the Academy loves. Putting it in this category could result in a backlash from some elements. (https://www.thewrap.com/academy-adds-popular-film-award-vows-shorten-oscars/)
Clark: Well, that's their problem.
Carole: Oh, and according to the Academy, the two categories will not be mutually exclusive, so "Black Panther" or another film could conceivably win both.
(https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/academy-creates-more-problems-it-solves-popular-oscar-1133389)
Clark: So I sense you're not all that enamored with the move.
Carole: I'd have done some other things. At the first Academy Awards back in 1929 -- and no, I wasn't there, although Anita Page was -- an award was given for Best Director, Comedy Picture. That soon ended, but I'd love to see an Oscar given to the best comedy feature. To borrow the catchphrase of Rodney Dangerfield, comedy gets no respect.
Clark: Enjoyed his stand-up act last week. And remember, we've got tickets for George Carlin tomorrow night, though those seven words of his will be bleeped.
Carole: You can't work blue up here.


__________________________________________

More reaction from the film community can be found at https://variety.com/2018/film/news/twitter-reacts-new-oscars-popular-film-category-academy-1202899436/

carole lombard 02

To the power of 'Puffblicity'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.07 at 14:41
Current mood: enthralledenthralled


One of Carole Lombard's gifts was an instinct on how to effectively promote herself, as she proved in July 1938 when she spent a week handling publicity for Selznick International Studios (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/17287.html). Not only was it a good experience seeing "how the other half lives," but handling publicity was, for her, good publicity -- setting her apart from her Hollywood contemporaries.

Since the cinematic star system (and Hollywood itself) began nearly 110 years ago, actors have recognized what publicity can achieve. One of them was an actress who now may be as remembered for her self-promotional efforts, along with an awe-inspiring figure, as for her acting...



...Jayne Mansfield.

Had it not been for a fatal auto accident in June 1967, Mansfield might still be with us; she would only be 85. Part of an army of buxom actresses -- most of them blonde -- who studios used in the waning days of the classic Hollywood system, Jayne played "dumb," but really wasn't.

While reports of Mansfield's phenomenal IQ may have been overrated, she was college-educated, could speak several languages and played several instruments. And those who knew her said she was a genuinely good mother. (One of her children is noted TV actress Mariska Hargitay.)

In a new book, Facebook friend and author April VeVea examines Jayne's use of publicity during her rise in the 1950s. It's titled "Publicity," the first in a projected Mansfield trilogy.



According to VeVea, the title derives from a term Walter Winchell -- someone Lombard had known in the 1930s, see below -- employed to note Jayne's self-promotion.



Mansfield's breakthrough year was 1956. While her primary goal was movie stardom, she had landed a role in the Broadway comedy "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" (she would reprise her part in the 1957 movie version) and signed a film contract with 20th Century-Fox. One of her New York publicists, Eliot Stark, later wrote a long piece on Jayne's instincts for publicity. It included these comments.

* As part of her publicity agreement, she arranged for cash payments and merchandise from retailers whose products she endorsed or appeared in:

"The merchandising tie-ins and publicity involved everything from dance schools to frankfurters to TV sets. Photo coverage was arranged for Jayne at restaurants, hotels and resorts. She was photographed with household appliances, food, clothes of every description, jewelry, sporting goods, automobiles, business machines."

He added Mansfield went so far as to drive through a snowstorm to New Jersey to preside over the opening of a new bowling center. "Jayne's outstanding characteristic was her inability to say no to anything which would provide promotion or merchandise for her," Stark added, noting she subsequently made such deals on her own for free trips to a beauty parlor.

Here's a sample of 1956 Jayne, appearing at an aviation show in Oklahoma City as illustrated in the New York Daily News Sept. 3:



Remember, in the mid-fifties nearly any sort of positive publicity was accepted, no matter how tacky it might seem today. VeVea notes Mansfield used an assortment of tie-ins to help furnish her fabled "Pink Palace" residence (since razed).




Some have suggested that Mansfield's incessant drive for publicity might have been more successful in the '20s and '30s -- at least where personality is concerned. Jayne and Carole may have been stylistic opposites, but certainly many stars during Lombard's formative film years were known for outlandish lifestyles -- Gloria Swanson, Theda Bara and Mae Murray to name a few.

Physically, Mansfield's buxom build had few equivalents between the wars; perhaps the closest was Marie Wilson, who never quite became a top-tier film star but later achieved significant success on radio and TV.



Whatever you may think of her talent, Mansfield is an engaging personality, and "Puffblicity," profiling her several years of Hollywood stardom, makes for a fun read. VeVea knows her blondes, as she runs the charming https://www.classicblondes.com website.

You can order the book in softcover form (it features more than 100 photos, many of them rare) at at https://www.amazon.com/Puffblicity-Appreciation-Jayne-Mansfield-Pictures/dp/1978294352 or an instant PDF version at http://www.blurb.com/b/8607277-puffblicity.

We'll close with the title song from my favorite Mansfield film, still one of the best rock 'n' roll movies ever made, as Jayne displays her ample charms through some fine Frank Tashlin sight gags (alas, this version ends a few seconds too early):


carole lombard 01

A museum with lots of laughs from Lucy's hometown

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.06 at 17:17
Current mood: amusedamused


Lucille Ball -- born 107 years ago today -- was a good friend of Carole Lombard while both were at RKO in 1939 and 1940. (Ball honored her with this reference on an episode of "Here's Lucy.") I sense they would be thrilled that Lucy's hometown of Jamestown, N.Y., is paying tribute to what bolstered the careers of both...comedy.



It's the National Comedy Center, which opened Aug. 1 in the southwest New York State town. As the introduction describes it,

"The National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York, is the first state-of-the-art museum dedicated to telling the vital story of comedy in America. As a nonprofit cultural institution, the museum celebrates comedy's great minds and unique voices, from Charlie Chaplin to Dave Chappelle. Exclusive collections and world-class exhibits give comedy fans an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the time-honed creative processes that have elevated entertainment to an art."

There are more than 50 interactive exhibits, on topics ranging from vaudeville to satire; one can even engage in faux pie fights a la Mack Sennett and Hal Roach! Many celebrities attended the grand opening weekend, among them Dan Ackroyd of the original "Saturday Night Live" cast, who donated his motorcycle to the exhibit last Friday:



Several years before Ball's passing in 1989, officials from Chautauqua County (where Jamestown is located) approached her about building a Lucille Ball Comedy Center in town. She suggested its scope be expanded to cover all facets of the comic art...which this site does. (And some years earlier, Jamestown celebrated Lucy and her longtime real-life/TV husband Desi Arnaz with the Lucy-Desi Museum.)

Such facets include aspects of comedy far removed from Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Items from the careers of legends George Carlin, Shelley Berman and Rose Marie have donated to the center's archives. And last week, a panel on "Comedy and the First Amendment" featured Kitty Bruce, daughter of Lenny Bruce. Artifacts range from Harpo Marx's trenchcoat to Jerry Seinfeld's puffy shirt ("But I don't wanna be a pirate!").

Here's the Carlin exhibit (and yes, that sign in the upper left-hand corner includes one of his seven infamous words):



The center is at 203 W. 2nd St., and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.



For tickets and additional information, phone 716-484-0800 or visit https://comedycenter.org/. Lucy and I both hope Carole's comic legacy is somewhere honored here.


carole lombard 07

Cinematic Sundays: 'The Racketeer'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.05 at 11:26
Current mood: indifferentindifferent


"The Racketeer," the third and last of Carole Lombard's talkie features for Pathe (though, as is studio custom, she's listed as Carol), was released in early November 1929 -- by which time she may no longer have been on Pathe's roster. (Legend has it, although it's never been fully confirmed, that newcomer Constance Bennett insisted the studio ditch any potential blonde ingenue rivals, so goodbye Lombard and school pal Diane Ellis.) Above with Lombard are star Robert Armstrong and supporting player Jeanette Loff.

This is also the third in our new series of Carole Lombard "Cinematic Sundays," where we examine the production through contemporary newspaper accounts.



Among the earliest reports of the project came in the July 18 Dayton Herald:



More about it ran in the last paragraph of Louella Parsons' column in the July 22 Indianapolis Star:



Another tidbit was in the July 31 Brooklyn Eagle (it's in the first column with the "Under Way" subhead):



A month later -- Aug. 31 -- this item about a supporting player appeared in the Mansfield (Ohio) News-Journal:



It's now September, and we learn from the Sept. 2 Brooklyn Eagle that production on "The Racketeer" has been completed:



On that same day, the Noblesville (Ind.) Ledger ran this illustration of Loff:



This information on the rather shady company in supporting player Al Hill's past, likely a Pathe press release, appeared in the Sept. 22 Pittsburgh Press:





We now primarily think of Hedda Hopper as a Hollywood columnist and Parsons' chief Golden Age gossip rival, but before moving into journalism Hopper was an accomplished character actress, as this item from the Oct. 6 Tampa Bay Times makes clear:



Lombard appeared twice in an Atlanta Constitution pictorial for the film on Nov. 10:



"The Racketeer" was ready to premiere at the Majestic in Hartford, Conn., and the Courant ran an ad and an item on Nov. 21:




Rothstein was a New York-based racketeer and the first of the "corporate" mobsters; he is said to have had a hand in the fixing of the 1919 World Series that devastated the Chicago White Sox franchise for decades. He was murdered during a poker game in November 1928. Perhaps some elements of Armstrong's character -- although not his ethnicity -- were based on Rothstein.

If you lived in Galveston, Texas in late November 1929, you had lots of Lombard to look forward to. On the 24th, that city's Daily News noted that both "The Racketeer" and her previous collaboration with Armstrong, "Big News," were to play in town:




Come Dec. 19, the Pottsville (Pa.) Republican and Herald promoted the movie:



After Christmas, "The Racketeer" invaded the Majestic of Sheboygan, Wisc., where it was publicized in the Press on Dec. 30:




While I could find no reviews of the film from notable newspapers (in other words, reviews that didn't appear planted by Pathe or theater owners), here's how a preview of "The Racketeer" was covered by the Motion Picture News on Nov. 2:



Next week: Lombard, adrift, comes "home" to Fox, and westerns, in "The Arizona Kid."

carole lombard 06

A large-scale 'Lost' poster, now found

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.04 at 14:46
Current mood: curiouscurious


This is Paramount p1202-374a, Carole Lombard from 1932. Pretty sultry, eh?

Now imagine it blown up to poster size. Well, the good news is you don't have to imagine, because this enlarged image actually exists.



This, measuring an eye-popping 24" x 36", was created in 1987 to promote a volume of classic film portraits (from 1916 to 1932) titled "Lost Hollywood." The Lombard image and the 79 others reprinted in the book were created using something called the gravure process, a sheet-fed procedure said to create detailed velvety black and white images, complementing the era's exquisite photography.

For the book's author, Jack Woody, this was personal; he's the grandson of early talkie star Helen Twelvetrees. (The book was published by Twelvetrees Press.)



While "Lost Hollywood" is out of print, though available from several sellers, our focus is on that poster -- which can be yours. Either buy it for $35 straight up, or make an offer. Find out more about this rarity at https://www.ebay.com/itm/LOST-HOLLYWOOD-POSTER-w-actress-CAROLE-LOMBARD-36in-X-24in-Vintage-Glamour/123290040070?hash=item1cb4a8b706%3Ag%3ARqoAAOSwpdpVY3fU&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.


carole lombard 05

When Photoplay celebrated eight months of Flagg day

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.03 at 12:07
Current mood: artisticartistic


Carole Lombard posed for many artists' illustrations during her brief life, but I'm guessing the drawing above held special significance for her. Not merely because of its rendering -- attractive, subtle, understated -- but because it was done by the man who drew this:



The "I Want You" Uncle Sam recruiting poster from 1917 is among the most iconic illustrations in history, so much a part of American culture that it would be parodied for generations. It, and other works, made its creator a household name...



...James Montgomery Flagg, shown in a portrait from 1915, when he was already well-known..

Flagg and Norman Rockwell of Saturday Evening Post fame were probably the two best-known U.S. illustrators in the first half of the 20th century. But while Rockwell's specialty was purebred Americana, such as this famed "Freedom From Want"...



...Flagg was a bit more worldly and diverse, especially concerning women. More on that later.

Born in 1877, Flagg's work ran in magazines as early as the start of the 1890s. It spanned advertising, magazine covers, books and cartoons on various topics. He created this ad for Cream of Wheat in 1908, with the company's symbol, black cook Rastus, in the background:



Here are three of his other World War I posters, first for the Navy...



...another to promote "victory gardens"...



...and one warning citizens about complacency:



The growth of movies and its associated culture gave Flagg more opportunities, witness this portrait of '20s flapper star Colleen Moore. (A miniature version of this can be seen in Moore's famed elaborate dollhouse.)



In mid-1936, Photoplay commissioned Flagg to draw a series of charcoal portraits of the day's leading female film stars. He was no stranger to the magazine, having drawn for them as far back as 1923, when he illustrated this piece of fiction:



The series began with Claudette Colbert in July 1936.



Bette Davis followed in August.



Katharine Hepburn was September's subject.



(Oh, the last word in that Gable headline is "Plight.")

On the cover in October was Norma Shearer (sorry it's obscured by a mailing sticker).



Carole graced the cover that November:



Shirley Temple closed out the year.



Ginger Rogers began the portraiture for 1937 in January.



Joan Crawford closed the series in February.



Jean Harlow wasn't part of the series, but Flagg did a fine rendering of her:



Flagg did portraits of male stars, too, such as W.C. Fields...



...Mickey Rooney...



...Errol Flynn as Gen. Custer...



...and Victor Mature in 1951, nine years before Flagg's death:



And Flagg drew 20-year-old Jane Russell in September 1941:



So one can understand the enthusiasm Lombard, Russell and other notables had about being drawn by Flagg. His work symbolized America.


carole lombard 04

'Show Folks,' mais oui

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.02 at 22:20
Current mood: curiouscurious


"Show Folks," an early Pathe part-talkie backstager from 1928, has Carole Lombard in an atypical unsympathetic role as a gold-digging dancer. Released that October (the month she turned 20), it's more a curiosity than anything else.

But an intriguing piece of Lombard memorabilia related to the film has cropped up. Just as a "photo novel" was made of her 1940 drama "They Knew What They Wanted" was made (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/471061.html), so was one made for "Show Folks."

And one more thing: Both were made in French.



The literal English translation is "Forward for the revue," but you get the idea.

According to the seller, 16 of its 90 pages are comprised of stills from the film. Here are two of those pages, and you can see Lombard in the pic in the upper left-hand corner:



The publication reportedly measures 9" x 6".

It's on sale for $24.99 under eBay's "buy it now" program. If you're interested, or merely curious, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/SHOW-FOLKS-EDDIE-QUILLAN-LINA-BASQUETTE-CAROL-LOMBARD-1931-FRENCH-PHOTOPLAY/352421379350?hash=item520df37d16%3Ag%3AEwUAAOSwH2VaGW~A&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.

Also, find yourself a translator.


carole lombard 03

RIP, Mary Carlisle

Posted by vp19 on 2018.08.01 at 20:57
Current mood: sadsad


Not many people remain who knew Carole Lombard. This morning, we lost one of the few who did. Mary Carlisle, an actress at Paramount during the 1930s and a friend of Carole's and other 1930s legends, passed away at 2:20 (Pacific) at age 104.



Carlisle indeed was a "favorite of the fans," as reflected by that Clarence Sinclair Bull portrait from the November 1934 Picture Play. She had a fine career in her own right, appearing as the leading lady to Bing Crosby in three of his '30s vehicles -- "College Humor" (1933), "Double Or Nothing" (above, 1937) and "Doctor Rhythm" (1938).

"College Humor" was indicative of a frequent type the 5-foot-1 blonde played -- a likable campus co-ed in titles such as "The Sweetheart Of Sigma Chi," "Hold 'Em Navy" and "Touchdown, Army." But she also had small roles in the likes of "Madame Satan" (1930) and 1932 best picture winner "Grand Hotel."

Carlisle, the last surviving WAMPAS Baby Star (1932), was born Gwendolyn Witter in Boston on Feb. 3, 1914. She accompanied her widowed mother to Los Angeles in the 1920s, and began appearing in films after attending high school.

While Carlisle never worked with Lombard, she knew her quite well at Paramount and in later years always spoke well of her, according to Facebook friend Darrell Rooney, who regularly visited her at the Motion Picture Television Fund retirement home. Here are Darrell, Mary and mutual friend Bronwen Barry:



And here's Mary, in between Glenda Farrell and Jean Harlow, all in flower-print dresses:



Mary also was a George Hurrell portrait subject:



She made her last film in 1943, soon after marrying James Blakeley at 20th Century-Fox, then retired to manage an Elizabeth Arden salon in Beverly Hills. Their marriage lasted until his passing at age 96 in 2007. Surviving is a son, James Blakeley III, and two grandchildren.

Were I to have a lifespan as long as Mary's -- highly unlikely, given actuarial tables -- I'd check out of this mortal coil in mid-February 2060. From what Darrell has said, she was in good shape right until the end, and while I never met her, from his vivid notes about her, I feel as if I have.

From fans of classic Hollywood, Godspeed, Mary.


carole lombard 02

Know the (pre-)Code today on TCM

Posted by vp19 on 2018.07.31 at 00:38
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic


"Virtue," Carole Lombard's first film for Columbia in 1932, probably is the closest she came to a movie that fits the classical definition of "pre-Code." She portrays Mae, a woman of suspect morals who disregards New York City officials and stays in town after her conviction for prostitution.

However, she does not return to whoring, but instead falls for a cabdriver (Pat O'Brien) and marries him...though he isn't aware of her past. When he finds out, the couple has some rocky moments before they reunite.

"Virtue" is a good little film, with one of Carole's best early performances. But she still hadn't quite found herself as an actress, so it rarely gets mentioned among the great movies of pre-Code. Some that do will be shown today by Turner Classic Movies in the U.S., in its final day of "regular" programming before its annual August treat, "Summer Under The Stars" (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/924079.html). Chances are by the time most of you see this, the channel's programming will have begun -- it will run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET).

Without further ado, the schedule (all times Eastern):

* 6 a.m. -- "Downstairs" (1932): John Gilbert (who came up with the story) stars as a sleazy chauffeur who becomes intimately involved with matters in the upscale household where he works. A fine cast includes Paul Lukas, Virginia Bruce, Olga Baclanova and Hedda Hopper.



* 7:30 a.m. -- "Loose Ankles" 1930): Can Loretta Young (who turned 17 during production of this comedy) remain scandal-free and inherit a fortune? She'll try, while advertising for a gigolo (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). Forget Prohibition -- there's plenty of drinking in this farce. (The cast includes another person from Lombard's past, Daphne Pollard.)
* 8:45 a.m. -- "She Had To Say Yes" (1933): Loretta again, now all of 20, as a stenographer who helps her struggling company by dating clients, including Lyle Talbot. Racy, if inconsistent, fun. Busby Berkeley was a co-director.
* 10 a.m. -- "Faithless" (1932): The Depression is all over this drama, as Tallulah Bankhead is suddenly impoverished. Robert Montgomery co-stars in this MGM programmer.
* 11:30 a.m. -- "Hell's Highway" (1932): Richard Dix stars in this RKO film, sort of a poor man's "I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang." Tom Brown plays his younger brother, who joins his prison camp.



12:45 p.m. -- "Safe In Hell" (1931): A tough gem from director William Wellman, starring Dorothy Mackaill (above) as a New Orleans prostitute on the lam for an apparent murder; she winds up on a tropical island where she can't be extradited, but must consort with a motley crew. Also in the cast are Donald Cook, Nina Mae McKinney and Charles Middleton.



* 2 p.m. -- "Jewel Robbery" (1932): William Powell, the most debonair jewel thief you'll ever meet, wins the heart of a countess (Kay Francis) in this outrageous spin on Lubitsch elegance, courtesy of director William Dieterle. Powell dispatches his foes with marijuana cigarettes!



* 3:15 p.m. -- "Three On A Match" (1932): Bette Davis, Joan Blondell and Ann Dvorak play childhood friends who reunite, with all sorts of consequences. This drama's superb supporting cast includes Warren William, Lyle Talbot, Glenda Farrell and Humphrey Bogart.



* 4:30 p.m. -- "Footlight Parade" (1933): The programming concludes with two films starring James Cagney and Joan Blondell. This Busby Berkeley-choreographed musical features "By A Waterfall" and many Warners cast favorites, including Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Frank McHugh.



* 6:30 p.m. -- "Blonde Crazy" (1931): The second Cagney-Blondell teaming is quintessential pre-Code fun, as con man/bellhop Cagney and chambermaid Blondell fleece hotel guests...and we're with them each step of the way.

It's a day of classic movies well worth watching.

carole lombard 01

Some odds and ends from '29, part 1

Posted by vp19 on 2018.07.30 at 02:16
Current mood: exhaustedexhausted


The Carole (oops, Carol) Lombard of 1929 was an actress in transition, although in Hollywood's rapid rush from silents to talkies that was true for nearly all of the industry. Add that Lombard turned 21 that October and was enjoying her first sustained taste of life as a leading lady, and you can understand the volatility she was going through.

In doing research via Newspapers.com for our first two entries for "Cinematic Sundays" -- the Pathe features "High Voltage" and "Big News" -- I've come across some photos of her that either are new to me or contain information I was heretofore unaware of. So, let's check out a few.

The Jan. 4 Orlando Sentinel wrote many in the industry were predicting big things for Lombard...



A daily I once worked for, the Courier-News of central New Jersey, showed Carole in one of two illustrations for the silent "Power" on Jan. 12:



The Jan. 17 Los Angeles Times used her (in a rare straight-at-the-camera image) to promote another Pathe silent, the now-lost "Ned McCobb's Daughter":



I'm a bit skeptical of this story about Lombard and Cecil B. DeMille from the Jan. 29 Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger-Inquirer, but you be the judge:



Two days later, the Angola (N.Y.) Record ran one of those Lombard pics that won her the nickname "Carol of the curves":



On Feb. 24, Lombard was part of a fashion pictorial in the L.A. Times:



Also in the Times that day, Carole joined other Pathe starlets in escorting a Broadway visitor around the studio:



The March 7 Benton Harbor (Mich.) News-Palladium ran a pic that's new to me about the previous year's "Show Folks":



Over in Detroit three days later, the Free Press ran this Lombard anecdote I'd never heard before:



Carole made the pictorial page of the March 29 Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press:



Lombard and the Pathe rooster mascot both made the March 30 Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger:



The Circleville (Ohio) Herald ran a syndicated profile of Lombard on April 15 as another successful Sennett graduate:



The Amarillo (Texas) Globe-Times ran this long interview with Lombard -- from Dan Thomas of the Newspaper Enterprise Association -- on May 31. What makes it interesting is that she is referred to as "Carole." Was this of her own choosing? Did Thomas remember her when she was at Fox? We have no idea why this avoided Pathe's "conventional" spelling of her first name.



This summer story ran in the Palm Beach Post on June 14:



A week later, on the 21st, came this item in the Uniontown (Pa.) Evening Standard:



More beachwear was displayed on June 28 in the Clarksville (Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle:



So much stuff, and we're only halfway through the year! We'll do part 2 (July to December) next week.


carole lombard 07

Cinematic Sundays: 'Big News'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.07.29 at 09:57
Current mood: pleasedpleased


"Big News," where Carole Lombard portrayed a newspaper reporter, is the second of her movies profiled in our new weekly feature, "Cinematic Sundays."



The film was Lombard's second all-talkie for Pathe. (As in all her work for the studio, she was listed as "Carol.") She plays reporter Margaret Banks, whose hard-drinking husband Steve works for a rival paper. While working on a story about underworld drug dealers, he is fired by his editor -- who then is found murdered. Steve, who Margaret threatens to divorce -- is implicated in the killing, and could face the death penalty.



An adaptation of a play called "For Two Cents" (then a frequent newspaper selling price; some dailies these days have a newsstand selling price of two dollars), Lombard was announced as part of the project, initially to be called "Bad News," in the April 12 Los Angeles Times...



...as well as in the May 22 Hartford Courant:



By June 9, with the title now officially "Big News," it was reported in the Louisville Courier-Journal:



The tabloid New York Daily News, whose two million daily circulation made it the nation's largest-selling newspaper a decade after its founding, publicized the production on June 29:



(Last week, the News laid off much of its staff -- including a few I knew from my days in newspapers back east -- in yet another corporate media downsizing.)

One of the film's supporting players was Helen "Cupid" Ainsworth, who provided some comic relief as an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist. Like Lombard's pal Madalynne Field, Ainsworth was known for her considerable weight, which was noted in the July 19 Harrisburg Evening News:



Ainsworth (1901-1961) later became an agent whose clients at one time or another included Guy Madison, Marilyn Monroe, Rhonda Fleming, Carol Channing and Howard Keel.

While the Internet Movie Database gives a Sept. 7 release date for "Big News," it's reported showing at the St. Louis Theater in the Aug. 24 St. Louis Star & Times...though the illustrated lists Lombard's co-star as Richard Armstrong (oopsie):



In Los Angeles, "Big News" premiered at the Hillstreet Theater Aug. 31, and was publicized in the Times the preceding day:




Back east, the film opened that weekend at the Majestic in Hartford, and the Courant made Lombard's legs a selling point on Sept. 1:



But "Big News" wasn't limited to big cities. The Sept. 6 Mauch Chunk (Pa.) Times-News advertised the film would be shown in nearby Lehighton:



An ad in the Sept. 14 Sheboygan (Wis.) Press says the movie "scoops the all-talkies":



By Oct. 9, it had reached New York, where the Daily News deigned to review it, and gave it three stars:



It notes director Gregory La Cava's ties to newspapers (he had been an illustrator for the Hearst chain).

Lombard, whom the News deemed a "mighty pretty sob-sister," is called a "radiant blonde beauty" -- but also an "ultra-modern young wife" by the Mason City Globe-Gazette on Oct. 17:



Next week: Lombard's final film for Pathe, "The Racketeer," again with Armstrong.

carole lombard 06

Getting in some 'Sun'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.07.28 at 09:17
Current mood: artisticartistic


As its title suggests, "Sinners In The Sun" provided Carole Lombard the opportunity to show off her form in a swimsuit. But her character, a model, has a fashion angle as well. A still from the 1932 film I'd never seen until yesterday makes it evident.



Lombard is in a dress factory, where she's being pursued by Walter Byron while work goes on in the background. We know it's from "Sinners In The Sun" because the title is handwritten on the back.



The single-weight, linen-backed photo measures 7.75" x 9.875" and is in fine/very fine condition. According to the seller, it has a very small crease in one corner and some very light silvering -- minor issues for a pic that's 86 years old.

Bidding on this vintage original opens at $49.95, with the auction closing at 8:33 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Sunday (Aug. 5). Interested in bidding? Go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIGINAL-KEYNOTE-PHOTO-SINNERS-IN-THE-SUN-LINEN-PRE-CODE-1932/263839651616?hash=item3d6e119720&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc.


carole lombard 05

Again, an (autographed) Pathe featured player

Posted by vp19 on 2018.07.27 at 10:47
Current mood: creativecreative


Have I ever ran this Carole Lombard image before? I'm not certain I have, though it's apparently been part of my cloud collection since at least January. It's from her Pathe period (1929), most likely taken by William E. Thomas, listing her as one of the studio's "featured players."

What's especially interesting nearly nine decades later is that it's one of the few instances extant where Lombard signed (albeit in mass-produced form) as "Carol," minus the "e," reflecting Pathe's preference for her first name. Anyway, that image isn't up for auction...but this one, probably from the same session, is -- and again has that unorthodox autograph:



Here it is without the border, in slightly larger form:



It measures 7.5" x 9.5", is on matte, double-weight paper stock...and is a vintage original. It's in fine condition, with pinholes in the margins and soft corners.

One bid, for $4.95, already has been placed as of this writing, but since the auction isn't set to end until 9:26 p.m. (Eastern) Aug. 5 (a week from Sunday), expect the final price to skyrocket. Triple digits? Possibly. It's a rare vintage Lombard -- why wouldn't it?

If you want in on the action, go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pathe-Player-Carole-Lombard-1920s-Vintage-Art-Deco-Jazz-Age-Glamour-Photograph/232845460635?hash=item3636abc49b%3Ag%3AG~oAAOSwVxpbS6qN&_sop=10&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40&rt=nc and try your luck.

carole lombard 04

Here comes summer -- 'Summer Under The Stars,' that is

Posted by vp19 on 2018.07.26 at 12:10
Current mood: happyhappy


OK, so it's been a few years since Carole Lombard was part of Turner Classic Movies' unofficial high holy days, "Summer Under The Stars." (She last appeared in 2014; the image above promoted her appearance in 2010.) No matter -- this year's lineup is the usual TCM blend of favorites and first-timers from all sorts of classic genres.



This year's stars for the 17th SUTS:

1. Frank Sinatra
2. Myrna Loy
3. Lionel Atwill
4. Clint Eastwood
5. Katharine Hepburn
6. Audrey Totter
7. Harold Lloyd
8. Jeanette MacDonald
9. Walter Matthau
10. Dorothy Malone
11. Gary Cooper
12. Doris Day
13. George Brent
14. Lupe Velez
15. Peter Finch
16. Miriam Hopkins
17. Barbara Streisand
18. Clark Gable
19. Judy Garland
20. Stewart Granger
21. Anita Louise
22. Dana Andrews
23. Virginia Mayo
24. Peter Lorre
25. Carroll Baker
26. Anthony Quinn
27. Agnes Moorehead
28. Lew Ayres
29. Lauren Bacall
30. Marcello Mastroianni
31. Joan Crawford

View the entire schedule at http://summer.tcm.com/?utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral.

I'm pleased Myrna is being honored on the 113th anniversary of her birth (and that the schedule includes six of her films with William Powell and another three with Clark Gable). Speaking of Clark, half of the 12 movies on his day are the postwar Gable, while the oldest of the other six is "It Happened One Night" (and no, that 1939 epic of his isn't part of the card).



Aug. 7 is a "can't miss" day for film buffs, as silent comedic genius Harold Lloyd is honored. While his best-known film, "Safety Last!", airs at 8 p.m (EDT), what follows, "Girl Shy" (1924), is to my mind even better -- a witty story that culminates in an incredible multi-modal chase scene through Los Angeles, as Harold rushes to keep the girl he loves from marrying a bigamist. Part of it includes a Pacific Electric streetcar (above) that's thrilling nearly a century later; learn more about this scene at https://silentlocations.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/how-harold-lloyd-filmed-the-girl-shy-trolley-stunts/.

I wish Jeanette MacDonald's day had more films from her time with Ernst Lubitsch (the lone entrant is "The Merry Widow") and fewer operettas with Nelson Eddy. At least Lubitsch's "Trouble In Paradise" will run on the Miriam Hopkins day.



Two of the days were determined by fan polling at TCM Backlot. Gary Cooper beat out Paul Newman on the 11th (although the oldest film scheduled is 1935's "The Lives Of A Bengal Lancer"), while in a battle of Anitas on the 21st, Ms. Louise topped Ms. Page. (Hope the latter will be scheduled in next year's SUTS.)

It's also good to see some often-overlooked actors, especially character types such as Lionel Atwill, George Brent and Agnes Moorehead. This will also be a platform for the delightful Lupe Velez, a favorite throughout the '30s.

It promises to be a fun August, giving you something to follow in case your favorite baseball team is fading out of the pennant race.

carole lombard 03

Star-crossed: Clark and Carole on defacing the Donald

Posted by vp19 on 2018.07.25 at 15:00
Current mood: weirdweird


For Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, it's just another day in Hollywood heaven, where the commissary suspiciously resembles the old Vine Street Brown Derby, and where we find them enjoying lunch. (Whether or not you choose to consider the following "fake news" is up to you.)
_________________________________________

(Carole pulls out a smartphone as Clark looks on.)
Carole: Just got this model -- an 11G. Apple and Samsung, eat your heart out!
(She turns it on, looks at the screen and begins to laugh.)
Clark: What's going on?
Carole: It's something I suppose I really shouldn't laugh about, but...well...
(She shows Clark the image on the phone. He looks at it and is confused.)



Clark: So? What's funny about that?
Carole: You're right -- vandalism in itself is never funny -- but it's from the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Clark: Yep. They began enshrining people the year I left.
Carole: Well, I received this from our mutual friend Myrna.



Carole: It pictures the Donald Trump star on the Walk of Fame -- or, should I say, what's left of it. In the middle of the night, someone came over to it, took a pick ax out of a guitar case, and went at it. And you know how ol' Democrat Myrna feels about the Trumpster. Probably saw enough of him during her final years in New York.
Clark: Explains the smiley emoji at the bottom of her tweet. You know what this means for her -- and maybe for you, too?
Carole: Yeah, Pappy, a day in purgatory, though I might escape punishment since I'm not an accomplice. But hey, you know I'm no Trump fan either -- and it has next to nothing to do with his politics. It's another "p" word.



Clark: You mean, those tapes?
(Lombard begins laughing loudly, a la Greta Garbo in the restaurant scene of "Ninotchka." Other patrons and a waiter give her stern looks, but Ernst Lubitsch at a nearby table gives Carole a sly smile.)



Carole: Nooooo, not that -- I was referring to personality! Trump's an egotistical boor, the very type of person I can't stand. All he cares about is his name, his brand. He wishes he was William Randolph Hearst -- who wanted to be president -- or Charles Foster Kane, one of the two. He's not either, in his dreams!
Clark: Certainly not Hearst, as we know from our trips to San Simeon.



Carole: Compare that to Trump Tower! Hearst was a bit eccentric, but nice, at least to us. And the Donald's not Kane either, though you wouldn't know since you fell asleep during the showing of the film Orson gave us! None of Trump's three wives can hold a candle to his mistress, Marion Davies.
Clark: What a terrific woman.



Carole: Indeed -- so unassuming, so generous. Could you imagine her wearing a jacket saying she didn't care? Had it not been for Marion's aid in 1937 when W.R.'s empire was tottering, his corporation of cable channels and magazines wouldn't exist today. She loved that man, though she couldn't marry him. What his sons did to Marion after he died was simply wrong.
Clark: Just as wrong as defacing a star on the Walk of Fame.
Carole: Yeah, tell me about it. A few years ago, I thought my star was going to be caught in the crossfire when Bill Cosby -- his star's adjacent to mine -- was involved in all that sexual harassment crap for which he was recently convicted.
Clark: They could simply remove his star for such behavior.
(Lombard shakes her head.)
Carole: It's never been done. Do you remember a guy on LA TV named Spade Cooley? Led a western swing band.
Clark: Vaguely.



Carole: Spade was a big star -- heck, Frank Sinatra appeared on his local show in the early '50s, when his career was struggling.
Clark: OK, a confession. After his show left the air, I assisted Spade in a plan of his in the late '50s to build a water-skiing resort with a man-made lake. Never came to pass.



Carole: In April of '61, Spade was arrested, then later convicted of first-degree murder for killing his second wife. I'm not sure if his star had already been installed by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, but no matter -- it's still there today. As loathsome as Cosby and Trump may be, neither has killed anyone.



_________________________________________

Learn more about the Walk of Fame stars with ties to Carole at https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/704645.html.



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