July 2nd, 2008

carole lombard 03
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A glimpse of (actual Lombard) stocking

A little more than two weeks ago, we had an entry regarding a pair of stockings being auctioned, listed as "Carole Lombard stockings" with a vintage photo of Carole on the box (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/112028.html). It should be noted the seller never made any claim that Lombard had owned or worn the stockings, especially since research shows they were made, at the earliest, in the mid-1960s.

Well, that begs the question, particularly after Lombard joined the Celebrity Legs Hall of Fame: Do any of her actual stockings, such as the one above from a publicity still made to promote "Twentieth Century" in 1934, exist after all these years? We know from Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive that at least part of one still does:

"I have a fragment of one of Carole's actual silk stockings...The most astounding thing about this fragment is where it was found and recovered: a certain mountain peak in Nevada. It was absolutely NOT being worn at the time of the accident; it apparently was among her packed wardrobe. Ownership was determined by elimination: e.g., there were four women on the flight. Two of them were in a financial situation to have routinely worn silk stockings at the time. The stocking was of a relatively small size, and Bess was quite a bit heavier than her daughter. The stocking remnant was found underneath a larger piece of debris which had protected it from most of the elements since 1942. It was quite damaged, of course, but recognizable as being hosiery."

I had wondered if that stocking could have been one of those worn in the picture below, but since at least two people have subsequently told me it's likely from a much earlier time, specifically a 1935 train trip, I suppose it isn't:

As for a full-length actual stocking...I believe I once read in one of David Niven's autobiographies that Lombard had given him one of her stockings. (Niven was a supporting player in the 1938 "Lux Radio Theater" adaptation of "My Man Godfrey"; 19 years later, he would play Godfrey in a remake of the film, with June Allyson in the Lombard role.) Unfortunately, I can't seem to track down the book, or even remember which autobiography it was in (he wrote two). If someone can confirm the stocking story -- or is aware of any other actual Lombard hose still extant -- by all means, let us know.
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