For a number of reasons, notably the absence of a surviving 35mm print (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/11870.html), "Swing High, Swing Low" ranks as Carole Lombard's most forgotten hit movie. It was indeed a success, ranking as Paramount's top moneymaker for all of 1937.
Coming off her triumph -- both with critics and at the box office -- in "My Man Godfrey" over at Universal, Carole was, shall we say, "hot." (Being romantically linked with Clark Gable didn't hurt, either.) So as 1936 ended and '37 began, Paramount pulled all the stops to promote her upcoming picture. Here's proof:
At first glance, this seems like overkill on Paramount's part; five pictures of Lombard and co-star Fred MacMurray on an oversized swing? Then it dawns on you -- this is supposed to be a sequence (think of what we ran recently from the Los Angeles Times in 1938, showing Constance Bennett "disappearing" through special effects in "Topper Takes A Trip").
Incidentally, where is Fred in the last shot? Did he lose his balance? Did Carole push him off? (One guesses that in her youth, she was not to be messed with on the playground.) Note that she prepared for the occasion by wearing a long dress, probably dismaying both the man assigned to the photo shoot and any male onlookers.
Did any newspapers run the photos in sequence? There might be a few film-related libraries (The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center and the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to name but two) whose scrapbooks could supply the answer.
Those five pics are part of a batch of 13 publicity stills from the film now being auctioned at eBay. Rather than run all of the remaining eight, we'll show some of the more interesting or rarer ones. We;ll start with this one, which sort of evokes the scene Jean Harlow went through in "Libeled Lady" a few months earlier. Cosmetology was complicated in those days!
Next, Lombard and MacMurray dine:
Finally, Carole sings (this is the one film where she wasn't dubbed) at a swank Manhattan party, where Fred's character (the appropriately named Skid Johnson) feels a bit out of place:
Since there are so many photos listed here, I'll refrain from my usual practice of giving you a direct link to each one. Instead, I'll direct you to the seller at http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/jasaco17_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ#. All of these photos begin bidding at $14.99 (none have received bids as of yet), and bidding closes just after 8:30 p.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday, so you don't have much time to get in the swing.