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Lombard's Pathe pix, part 4...plus an interview

We've been running quite a few items of late on the early Carole Lombard, largely because her career at that time is largely foreign to most of us, underreported through the decades.

We're going to continue the series of Pathe publicity photos with two more from this era. To start with, here's a fairly early -- and sultry -- photo of Lombard, CL-18, probably taken during 1928:



We'll follow it up with CL-74, which I'm guessing is from late 1928 or early '29. Note that Lombard is wearing an outfit that includes Pathe's well-known rooster logo:



Neither of these portraits are currently being auctioned; I simply thought you should see them.

But that's not all we have in this entry. Thanks to G.D. Hamann's research, here's one of the earliest interviews of Lombard I've ever found, written by Edward Stodel of the Los Angeles Evening Herald (a Hearst newspaper) on May 25, 1929, while Lombard was working on the film that would later be titled "Big News":



I think it's a pretty vivid portrait of the young Lombard. Enjoy.

CAROL IS JESTER OF STUDIO. ‘BE THYSELF' IS HER SLOGAN

By Edward Stodel


"Carol Lombard is answering the challenge of the "Gabbing celluloid" armed with a good sense of humor and an ability to be herself.

"Of course, her long experience before the speechless cameras will be put to good stead, but Carol is relying upon her aforementioned attributes to develop a clicking talkies personality for her.

"After having spirited her away from the newspaper city room set of For Two Cents, at Pathe Studio the other afternoon, while she was trading smart sayings with the thespic reporters, I can vouch for her sense of humor.

" 'And me what's a lady,' she flung back at them as we retired to the seclusion of a portable dressing room for a chat. 'That's my patented comeback around the studio,' she obligingly explained.

"Carol is the official feminine jester at Pathe. No matter how hard she has been working or serious a scene may be, she'll be there in between shots with a laugh for the crowd or to join in some general fun.

"I asked her if she ever relaxed while on the set.

" 'I'm funny that way,' she replied. 'I keep my energy at speed point all during the day. When I get home I slow down. I can never rest on the set during waits, and I don't believe in isolating myself to get into the mood of a character. Why, early one morning last week a bunch of us got up in the raters of this stage and had a real water fight.

" 'A few minutes later we enacted a tense sequence of a picture. I've watched a very successful actress waiting on a set to begin a scene. She was smoking a cigaret and sat slumped up in a chair with anything but a look of concentration on her face.

" 'She was given two warnings to prepare for her entrance before the camera. Her mood didn't change a particle. Yet on the signal to shoot she changed like a chameleon, stepped into the scene and assumed a remarkably contrasting personality to her own.' "

GETS COLD SHOCK

"This blonde young lady with her very big blue eyes got quite a frigid shock in the making of High Voltage, in which she is featured at the Hillstreet tomorrow. Her part in this picture is mainly to appear half frozen during most of the reelage. It didn't call for any extra effort from Carol to be natural in doing that. The company journeyed up to Lake Tahoe in the dead of last winter to take the picture.

" 'It was the coldest proposition I ever met,' she exclaimed. 'Four below zero and I had to wade through the snowbanks in French heels.'

"Carol Lombard's voice is said to be well suited for the talkie 'mike.' It is well modulated and has considerable depth to it. She attributes the culture of it to her mother, who, even when Carol was a child, insisted upon her cultivating a rich quality to her voice. As cultured as it is, she never allows it to become artificial.

"'I have discovered,' she told me, 'from sitting in the recording box while a former legitimate actor was speaking a role, that the well-known stagey manner of delivering lines is taboo.' "

DRIVES EXPERT CRAZY

" 'In this film that we are doing now, a former footlights player tried to make a dramatic masterpiece out of slapping fellow journalists on the back and bidding them the time of day. It nearly drove the sound expert crazy keeping him in control.

" 'I've taken every small speaking bit I could get my hands on around here until I was ready for something big. I have found that keeping yourself in evidence brings home the old bacon. A ‘cheerio' into the offices every day keeps you freshly stamped in the higher-up's mind. It's easy to forget one over night, and little Carol is not going to be forgotten if she can help it.' "


I think it safe to say that she has not been forgotten.

Two days later, Stodel reviewed "High Voltage":



"Human energy supercharged to white heat and tempered by the chill blasts of a Sierra Nevada blizzard, supplies the current for William Boyd's first talking production, 'High Voltage,' at the Hillstreet.

"The story is a unique one in that practically all the action takes place in a mountain church where a party of bus passengers and their driver take refuge from a snowstorm. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this picture is the five distinct characters and their reaction to their serious predicament."

AS FAIR PRISONER

"Carole Lombard is the attractive prisoner who is being taken east to complete a sentence. Owen Moore plays the detective, her captor. Diane Ellis enacts the innocent girl who is headed for Chicago and the altar. Phillips Smalley plays a flabby financier and Billy Bevan is the dumb but good natured bus driver whose blundering causes the trouble.

"The travelers find Boyd ahead of them in the place of refuge and as he has the only edibles, he assumes dictatorship over the situation.

"While there is little more to the story than this contrast of personalities with their nervous systems at high voltage, excellent dialogue in a number of sequences aids things materially.

Boyd's voice is natural and blends well with his character, Miss Lombard's has considerable warmth to it and she manipulates her tones with intelligence. Moore also gives a good vocal display as the hard-boiled detective. Bevan displays a satisfactory flair for comedy."

STAGE BILL GOOD

"The stage bill is topnotch. There is Long Tack Sam, who is the most entertaining of oriental performers. His company is a show in itself. The Pavley-Oukrainsky group presents an interesting dance novelty.

"Charles Derickson has a fine singing voice. Billy Glason has a load of laughs in his patter and Kelley and Jackson dispense some pleasing wit in their sketch."
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