vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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TCM salutes another blonde icon

I admit this isn't much of a photo, but when you have to picture Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow in the same image, you don't have much of a choice. This is from a 1935 radio magazine about the feud between Walter Winchell (at far left, with Harlow) and Jimmy Fidler (at right, with Lombard). At center is Russ Columbo, who died in 1934. It's the only known photo of Jean and Carole, and I've cropped it to these bizarre proportions because the lower part of the image has cartoons of Hatfield and McCoy types (for a feud, get it?)

Jean deserves better photographic treatment, so let's use this picture of her:

It's a publicity still from "The Public Enemy," which kicks off a string of eight Harlow films today on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S., two days after the channel dedicated a similar bloc to Lombard. Tuesday was the 112th anniversary of Carole's birth, but I don't believe Oct. 8 has any particular historical significance for Jean. So what? Harlow is always a welcome presence on TCM. Here's the schedule (all times Eastern)

* 6:15 a.m. -- "The Public Enemy" (1931).
* 8:15 a.m. -- "Red-Headed Woman" (1932).
* 9:45 a.m. -- "Dinner At Eight" (1933).
* 11:45 a.m. -- "Saratoga" (1937).
* 1:30 p.m. -- "Hold Your Man" (1933).
* 3:15 p.m. -- "Red Dust" (1932).
* 4:45 p.m. -- "Personal Property" (1937).
* 6:15 p.m. -- "Bombshell" (1933).

"Bombshell" (with Una Merkel, above) enabled Harlow to send up her image in a film industry satire, though Clara Bow may have been the screenplay's original target. The octet is a nice mix of drama and comedy, as you see Jean evolve and build confidence in herself as an actress. Close friend Clark Gable, whom Harlow was not romantically involved with (something you'd never guess from their steamy screen chemistry), helped -- and you'll see that in the bloc from "Saratoga" to "Red Dust" (below), albeit in reverse chronological order.

There's justifiably a considerable overlap between Harlow and Lombard fans. Both exuded sexuality with good cheer, but each had far more substance than their personas let on. Jean was every bit the feminist Carole was, and they developed a solid friendship -- built in part by their mutual dies to William Powell and Gable -- during the brief period they knew each other. In fact, nearly nine years ago I wrote an entry for the Jean Harlow Blogathon (it was her centenary) where I swapped the blondes' careers in a fascinating "what if" (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/387404.html).

I apologize for writing this on such short notice, but enjoy as much Harlow as you can today. She's earned it.


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