To people's perceptions, this photo above, taken at the Atlanta premiere in December 1939, was as close as Carole Lombard came to "Gone With The Wind" -- accompanying husband Clark Gable to his cinematic triumph as Rhett Butler.
But that really wasn't the case.
Before you scurry to your DVDs of "GWTW" to look for Lombard, let me explain what I mean. No, Carole didn't get to play Scarlett O'Hara, although like virtually any A-list actress of the time, she wanted to. And she doesn't have a supporting or cameo anywhere in the film (not that such a thing has ever been rumored, mind you).
However, Lombard likely came by the Selznick set in Culver City a number of times, due to her close relationship (and ultimately, marriage) to Gable. She certainly was familiar with the lot, having made "Nothing Sacred" and "Made For Each Other" there, not to mention spending a week in 1938 in the Selznick publicity office (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/17287.html).
So when a wrap party was held, guess who showed up?
If Lombard had any jealousy towards Vivien Leigh for landing the coveted part, she didn't show it here. Rather, with that cinematic sense that probably would have eventually made her a producer of sorts had fate not intervened, she knew this was going to be the epic of epics, the era's definitive blockbuster. (Like Lombard, Leigh was noted for her occasionally salty language.)
I only came across this picture a few days ago, at a splendid LiveJournal site dedicated to Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier (http://community.livejournal.com/theoliviers/16498.html); incidentally, Olivier was in New York at the time this was taken, explaining his absence.
Gable and Lombard had a bit of history where wrap parties were concerned. Nearly seven years earlier, on the set of "No Man Of Her Own" -- the only film they made together, long before they were romantically linked -- Carole presented Clark with a parting gift (the film was made at Paramount, Lombard's home studio):
Inside the package was a ham.