August 31st, 2009

carole lombard 01
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One place Lombard doesn't want 'love'...

...why, the tennis court, of course! (Unless it's her opponent who's being "loved.")

We ran those photos above for two reasons: First, I'm pretty certain they've never run here before, and second, it's a reminder that the U.S. Open, the season's last "major," starts today in Queens, N.Y., and will last through Sept. 13.

Of course, back in Carole's time it was played over at Forest Hills, whereas now it's being played at the USTA complex in Flushing Meadows. (One of the stadiums is named for Louis Armstrong, who as far as I know of never touched a tennis racket in his life, but lived not far away in Corona. Personally, I think it would make more sense if CitiField, the Mets' new home, was named for Armstrong instead, as he was an avid baseball fan.)

Anyway, Lombard loved tennis...and was pretty good at it, too. As we've noted before, she sponsored the career of Alice Marble, who won Forest Hills four times and Wimbledon once ( It's too bad that Carole, Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn and some other of the film colony's top players didn't arrange a tournament or some exhibitions to determine Hollywood's best player (and raise money for charity as well).

All of the photos are from a 1935 fan magazine (not sure which one), which features this caption:

"Carole apparently finds something very funny in this game. Maybe her opponent fell down. The game isn't all one big laugh, however. Carole is all set for some fast and strenuous playing, too. Tennis is Miss Lombard's favorite outdoor sport, and you can see her here relaxing with a swift game after a day's work in her 'Hands Across The Table.'"

Whether you'll be watching the Open in person or following on TV or online, enjoy the tournament.
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