I still don't know the story behind this racy pose of Carole Lombard, having breakfast in a bathtub for the 1941 comedy "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." There was no way on earth that pic (and two others) were going to be used in RKO publicity, and she knew it. Might it have been a favor to director and close friend Alfred Hitchcock, who reveled in playing mind games with his female stars? Until we have written proof of the matter, we'll likely never know.
We bring this up because we may -- I repeat, may -- have tracked down the first-ever Lombard topless shot. We'll show the other photo it's paired with, for 1936's Universal comedy "Love Before Breakfast":
I figured if any authentic Lombard nude photo was ever found, it would:
* Be "artistic," not explicit, which this one certainly is. It's comparable in tone to the famed Jean Harlow Griffith Park semi-nudes taken by Edwin Bower Hesser in 1929:
* Be from early in Carole's career, when such photography was encouraged in "art" magazines of the period. According to the seller, it's from 1927; Lombard turned 19 that October and was just returning to films.
So the pic meets the criteria for a Lombard nude. But is it? The seller provides this information:
If an honest-to-goodness Carole nude is out there, it's probably through the auspices of Celebrity Sleuth...but that doesn't authenticate this one.
Another reason for skepticism: The auction has a minimum open bid of $10.95, with the auction closing at 10:45 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Sunday. That's an awfully low minimum bid for an item people have sought for decades. Then again, I could be wrong.
Bid or learn more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/1936-Carole-Lombard-Love-Before-Breakfast-Linen-Publicity-Pose-w-1927-Nude/124082399374?hash=item1ce3e3288e:g:fM8AAOSw2ZleRWey. Whether it's the real deal of a topless Lombard...