February 18th, 2011

carole lombard 05
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It's time to go postal...

...but no one is in danger, although Carole Lombard certainly has some "weapons" at her disposal. We're going to examine a few images of her on postcards, including several I don't believe I've previously run at "Carole & Co."

We'll start with this one, which isn't new but hasn't run here in a few years. It's the first postcard of Lombard produced by Germany's famed Ross-Verlag publishing house (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/52279.html), and I'm guessing the photograph was taken late in her tenure at Pathe, although this card wasn't issued until 1930:



Now, a few cards issued during her stay at Paramount. First, one for those of you who just adore bare shoulders:



The next two are considerably more sedate, but do have their own charm:




This one lists Lombard as an RKO star:



Now one I can't figure out at all. The card shows Carole as part of "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer," which I could see if this photo was from "The Gay Bride." But it's clearly from "The Princess Comes Across," a Paramount feature issued some 18 months after "The Gay Bride," the lone movie she made for MGM. And, of course, the image of her with a cigarette on her lips may have signaled sophistication back then, but today at least looks ludicrous (in addition to being dangerous for your health). Here it is, anyway:



This postcard was issued to promote Selznick International's "Made For Each Other," and it's an image of Lombard as her character, Jane Mason, that relatively few have seen over the years:



One popular topic of movie star postcards was pictures of the actors' homes. This image, probably issued in 1937, shows Lombard in front of her Beverly Hills residence:



And lo and behold, someone actually used it as a postcard, mailing it to a daughter at the Georgia State College for Women (GSCW) in Milledgeville, Ga. (The institution became co-educational in 1967, and is now known as Georgia College.)



In the card, dated April 10, 1938, we learn that Dad went deep-sea fishing that day, without much success. But if you want to reel in this card -- which the seller admits shows signs of aging -- you can. It's on sale for $3.99 at eBay; to learn more, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CA-BEVERLY-HILLS-CAROLE-LOMBARD-MAILED-1938-M47520-/150489020120?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2309d836d8.
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carole lombard
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Busting out in beauty

While monitoring eBay for intriguing Carole Lombard memorabilia, it's often easy to spot the handiwork of particular sellers even from the thumbnails -- a particular description or style in the listing gives it away.

One of these sellers invariably uses terms such as "sexy," "leggy" or "busty" to describe a photo, although the third adjective almost never is accurate where Lombard is concerned. (Had Carole been born 20 years later and come to prominence in the 1950s, she might have had to market herself as an Audrey Hepburn-style gamin; she certainly wouldn't have been seen as a rival to the buxom likes of Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield.) This seller, perhaps hoping said terms will bring potential buyers to the site, also tends to use "sexy" in the most questionable of contexts (the bond rally?).

Okay, now that we've got that "rant" out of the way, a photo -- and an attractive and rare one -- even though it's headlined "CAROLE LOMBARD BUSTY DBLWT Original 8X10 Photo." ("DBLWT" is an abbreviation for "doubleweight," a common term for photo memorabilia.) Is she "busty" here? Decide for yourself:



I personally don't think there's much heft to her bosom here (one of the reasons Lombard rarely wore a bra), but that's not the point, pardon the pun. What matters here in Paramount p1202-810 (placing it sometime in 1934) is that we see Carole in an attractive gown, and we know the man in the photo is studio design maven Travis Banton. But who's the woman?

Fortunately, we have an answer, because this original doubleweight photo has a snipe on the back:



It reads:

CAROLE LOMBARD, Madame Frances Spingold, famous New York designer, and Travis Banton, Paramount stylist, declare that Carole's blue chiffon gown she wears in scenes of "Now And Forever" will create a new trend in evening gown creations. Banton is a former pupil of Madame Frances', having studied with her in New York ten years ago."

Did her blue chiffon gown (thanks for describing the color, Paramount publicists!) create a new trend? We'll let the fashion historians answer that. But it's a stunning photo, and it can be yours -- but you don't have much time. The photo, in very good condition, is being sold for $44.99, and the deadline for purchase is 9:43 p.m. (Eastern) tonight. Interested? Go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-BUSTY-DBLWT-Original-8X10-Photo-/400189404006?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d2d25b366 to learn more.
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