Back in the day -- and we mean way back, some 70 years ago or more -- you could get a trading card of Carole Lombard, and many other stars, too. The price was minimal, although the cost (in health terms) often wasn't: these cards were usually premiums of cigarette and tobacco companies, such as the one above.
Well, next week everything old is new again. On Wednesday, Jan. 9, the Donruss trading card company will release its Americana set, generally focusing on entertainment figures (although some personalities from other fields will be included, too). One of the subsets is called "Hollywood Legends," and although a Donruss press release incorrectly announces "Screen Legends Get Their First Trading Cards" (well, it is true for some of the post-World War II stars), it's still a cause for celebration among collectors.
And the good news for Lombard fans is that she's included, #14 in the 40-card set.
While neither of Carole's husbands, William Powell or Clark Gable, is included on the roster, several people she acted with or knew are on the checklist -- Gloria Swanson, Bette Davis, Mae West, Jean Harlow, James Cagney, Mary Pickford, Ginger Rogers, Loretta Young, Dorothy Lamour, Marlene Dietrich, James Stewart and Bing Crosby.
In addition to basic cards, some limited-quantity "Hollywood Legends Materials" cards are being offered. Here's Donruss' description:
Hollywood Legends Materials: A swatch of personally-worn material from a Hollywood legend is the focus of this set, with each card serial numbered to 500 or less.
Hollywood Legends Materials Silver Screen: Parallel features a swatch of personally-worn material from a Hollywood legend, with each card carrying holographic silver foil and serial numbered to 100 or less.
Hollywood Legends Materials Golden Era: Parallel features a swatch of personally-worn material from a Hollywood legend, with each card carrying holographic gold foil and serial numbered to 50 or less.
Hollywood Legends Materials Super Stars: A jumbo swatch of personally-worn material is the centerpiece of this set, with each card serial #'d to 25 or less.
Here's what one of those super-premium Lombard "Super Stars" cards looks like, on both front and back:
I have no idea on the above material's tie to Lombard, whether she wore it in a film or simply personally. If anyone from Donruss sees this, please answer.
Non-sports cards have been popular for years, especially for hit movies and TV shows with young audiences. Now comes an attempt to win a new market. If you're a collector, it promises to be fun. And while the price may set you back a bit, at least these cards won't give you lung cancer.
For more on the series, visit http://americana.donruss.com/.