September 5th, 2009

carole lombard 06
  • vp19

Meet 'Carol-of-the-curves'

Photos of the Pathe-era Carole (or, as she was known then, "Carol") Lombard tend on the whole to be a bit more risque than those she would make for Paramount and other studios. Perhaps it's because she was younger and hadn't really settled into any particular niche of stardom (due in part to her own naivete). Perhaps she decided to overly rely on her looks while she gained experience as an actress. Whatever, the late 1920s Lombard pics exude a substantial amount of sex appeal.

Much of that was due to William E. Thomas, Pathe's chief photographer, who took plenty of photos of her, including several that ranked among the most erotic she ever did. The following isn't all that risque, but it has a great deal of beauty:

Carol's a vision in feathers, isn't she? Also note that she's wearing the same headgear as in anoher Thomas portrait of her, one she autographed to a mysterious "Guy" (

What makes this 80-year-old picture all the more fascinating is that we also have the back of the photo, which features a caption:

The caption reads:

"An unusual camera study of Carol Lombard, former Mack Sennett beauty, whom Pathe is grooming for stellar honors. According to Edmund Goulding, the director who is credited with the discovery of Joan Crawford, Carol-of-the-curves is most promising star material. She has recently been seen in 'Show Folks' and 'Ned McCob's Daughter.'"

Judging from the titles of the films, the photo was likely issued in late 1928 or early '29, before Carol's first all-talking feature at Pathe, "High Voltage." It is also intriguing to see Lombard listed as "Carol-of-the-curves," as studio officials would soon suggest she take off some of the weight she had put on while working for Sennett. (She, of course, complied.) Nevertheless, it is surprising to see that label used in a Lombard publicity item.

The photo is currently being auctioned at eBay, and the asking price is considerable -- $279.95. But considering its rarity and reasonably good shape (very good/fine condition, on doubleweight glossy paper), the asking price is reasonable..It's surprising that as of this writing, no bids have been made. Bidding closes at 9:55 p.m. (Eastern) on Monday.

If you'd like to bid, or simply want to learn more, go to
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