February 3rd, 2008

carole lombard 07
  • vp19

Carol (no "e") in the fan mags, 1929

It's early 1929. Calvin Coolidge is still president, although fellow Republican Herbert Hoover will succeed him on March 4. The film industry is the midst of the sound revolution, which is rapidly building up some careers and destroying others. And 20-year-old Carol Lombard (she'd add the "e" to her first name the following year), who's more or less completed her tour of duty with Mack Sennett and is now with Pathe -- though she has yet to make an all-talking picture for the studio -- is beginning to get a publicity buildup in at least one fan magazine.

The publication is called Motion Picture, and in its March 1929 issue, Lombard is spotlighted in a one-page feature, "Comedy Relief":

This apparently was Lombard's first appearance in a fan magazine. (There was a story about her in an April 1925 edition of Motion Picture World, soon after her first Fox film, "Marriage In Transit," was released, but that magazine was more of a trade publication,)

In the May issue, Lombard was back, in a full-fledged story at about the time it appeared she would have the female lead in Cecil B. De Mille's new film, "Dynamite." The article was headlined, "A Teddy-Made Actress," with the subhead, "De Mille Has A Glass Bathtub And Carol Lombard Has Hopes."

As we all know, Carol's hopes were dashed when De Mille dismissed her from the production a few days after it started (but did she ever enter that glass bathtub?). Given the time lag between magazine production and actual release (something that can make Sunday supplements such as Parade and USA Weekend appear outdated), there's a good chance that Lombard was already fired from the film by the time Motion Picture hit the newsstands.

Nevertheless, Lombard continued to be featured in the magazine. In fact, she appeared on the cover at least twice, first in November 1934...

...and then in January 1938: