I'm sure many of us wish we owned a time machine that could transport us to Hollywood during the 1930s, enabling us to actually meet Carole Lombard and other screen personalities of the period. Alas, such a machine hasn't yet been invented. However, a blog has recently been created that enables us to do the next best thing -- experience the era vicariously.
It's called "Hollywood Heyday," created by a man from New York named Gregory. He's culled contemporary movie-related information from various sources -- some industry items, some star gossip -- and put it onto a blog. Specifically, he's looking back to 1932, a year in which American commercial film was trying to cope with worldwide economic collapse (gee, that sounds eerily familiar), and doing it chronologically; at present, he's in mid-January, just after the time Los Angeles received a freak snowfall (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/67549.html).
From the blog, we learn that Lombard and her husband, William Powell, had just seen their share of snow at the Yosemite valley, where they had spent Christmas and New Year's.
Headed home, they stopped in Merced and were interviewed on Jan. 8: "Both expressed delight with the winter beauty of the park, and said they would probably return before the end of the snow season."
From the site, we learn a few other things about the Carole Lombard of January 1932. First, she has become a contract bridge player, just as millions of card-playing Americans did during the early 1930s. Second, we learn that Carole's home studio is going to make a push to promote her:
"So much has been said about Paramount’s failure to recognize the value of Carole Lombard’s beauty and ability that apparently the little matter is going to be attended to pronto. Carole is now away on a trip with her husband, William Powell. When she returns she will be co-featured with Phillips Holmes in 'The Beachcombers.' Carole Lombard bears a resemblance to Constance Bennett, only she is less gold than la Bennett. And come what may, Bennett at this moment is second to no star in popularity."
"The Beachcombers" was indeed made, renamed "Sinners In The Sun," but Phillips Holmes wasn't Lombard's leading man -- it was Chester Morris. It didn't quite elevate Carole to Constance's stature; that was still two years in the future, and would largely be the work of a studio other than Paramount.
The site has some other fascinating items, too. For example, we learned that '20s actress Pola Negri met physicist Albert Einstein and his wife while they were visiting California.
“Have you ever met Hitler, the German fascist leader?” Miss Negri disclosed she had asked.
“No, but I have seen his photographs,” the German physicist replied, with a wink, “and they are sufficient.”
Of course, little more than a year later, Hitler would take power, forcing Einstein and others to flee Germany.
"Hollywood Heyday" is a spot worth bookmarking. Check it out at http://hollywoodheyday.blogspot.com/