Some background is in order: during the Golden Age of Hollywood, there was no such thing as paparazzi. Film stars, even the top ones (save for a few exceptions such as Greta Garbo), consequently had far more interaction with the public and would often be photographed by fans as they entered or exited public places such as restaurants, nightclubs or rail stations, not to mention the studios where they worked. It was part of the job of being a movie star, and if fans treated you with respect, you were obliged to do so in return. In fact, many fans would come back with the pictures they had developed -- remember, there was no instant photography at the time -- and get the stars to sign them.
That's what we have here with Carole Lombard:
Note the photo is only 2 1/2" by 3 1/2", so by our standards it's a bit grainy.
The marking on the back says the photo was taken on May 2, 1938 and autographed on May 5; according to my calendar, those days would have been a Monday and Thursday, respectively. I'm not entirely sure where this was taken; at first, I thought it might have been the Warners studio in Burbank, made while she was filming "Fools For Scandal" (that would explain the absence of a smile on her face), but that lackluster film had been released in mid-April. Nevertheless, she signed the photo three days later, even though she's hardly at her best here.
The fan who took this image also did likewise for other celebrities, and filled his or her book, as these two pages attest:
(Incidentally, can anyone here identify these stars' identities, or autographs? I honestly can't.)
The book isn't being auctioned, but the Lombard photo it once contained is. Bids begin at $74.95, and one bid had already been placed at the time I wrote this. The deadline for bidding is just after 9:30 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. Interested in this rare artifact? Then go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-38-signed-NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN-autographed_W0QQitemZ220326094432QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item220326094432&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C39%3A2%7C240%3A1318.
It makes you wonder whether similar images of Angelina Jolie (perhaps taken with a cellphone) will be auctioned on eBay, or its equivalent, come 2078...although it might be difficult for Angelina to autograph a cellphone.