January 17th, 2008

carole lombard
  • vp19

Covering the tragedy

Below is a photo the Associated Press transmitted on Jan. 17, 1942, only hours after news of the Carole Lombard airplane crash, a sad reminder of happier times. It features Lombard, her mother, Elizabeth Peters, and her new son-in-law, Clark Gable. It was taken at Lombard's home on St. Cloud Road in Bel Air (the Encino house was not yet ready), just after the couple were married in the spring of 1939:

The marks on the front show how the newspaper using the photo cropped it. On the back is the notation "5 1/4," probably referring to the width in inches for the photo; there is also a caption for the photo as used in the newspaper so it could be filed in its library.

The New York Times ran the photo uncropped in its Jan. 18, 1942 issue. Note the subhead on the adjoining story saying a preview of "To Be Or Not To Be" -- which likely was to have been the film's first -- had been canceled.