Carole Lombard's career as an actress arguably reached its apex in the closing months of 1937, when two of her films hit screens at roughly the same time -- the Technicolor "True Confession" for Selznick International, and "True Confession" for her home studio of Paramount. Add a romance with Clark Gable that kept her in the public eye, and Carole was arguably the hottest star in the business as well as one of the most liked.
Lombard maintained her popularity through cooperation with entertainment columnists. One of them was already well-known, but his "second act," in what was an infant medium in 1937, would make him a legend. We are, of course, referring to Ed Sullivan.
In late 1937, Sullivan (shown with Clark Gable and Myrna Loy) was an entertainment writer for the New York Daily News. While his primary beat was Broadway, he'd head out west once or twice each year to report on the film scene. (He also occasionally wrote for fan magazines.)
Carole and Ed first met when she came east in January 1935; before this, he deemed her "beautiful but dumb," an opinion turned 180 degrees when he interviewed her (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/918197.html). Now Sullivan was on her turf, and she agreed to a Q & A that ran on Nov. 30:
(Double-click to view it at full scale.)
This presumably wasn't entirely verbatim, but Sullivan does a splendid job capturing Carole's personality; you can visualize her talking just like this. Some highlights:
* She admits she'd love to play Scarlett O'Hara opposite Gable's Rhett Butler, although she likely never was a serious candidate.
* The duck-hunting phone call, from Gable, was priceless.
* A funny story about Mervyn LeRoy appearing at the 1915 San Francisco Exposition as a Chaplin impersonator. He was directing Lombard in what then was known as "Food For Scandal."
* Carole admits to being 29, and did not shave a year off her age as studio publicity had done for years.
* Lombard confirmed something we've noted for years -- she began her professional career as "Carole" before Pathe briefly eliminated the "e." Other stories, she said, were "hooey."
* She closes the interview with "You're damn right," as close as Ed could come to capturing her inventive invective.
Simply a terrific interview. Thanks, Ed.
It's also a wonderful example of Lombard's good relations with the press. During 1938, Carole became a semi-rival of Sullivan when she twice pinch-hit for his biggest foe, Walter Winchell of the New York Daily Mirror (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/377843.html, https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/377939.html).