September 14th, 2011

carole lombard 03
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More online archive news from this 'Reporter'



Here's wonderful news for researchers of classic Hollywood (and Carole Lombard, shown in a scene from "Twentieth Century") regarding the Media History Digital Library at the Internet Archive -- it's added more items to its collection, which now totals 132. You can see the list in groups of 50 by going to http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=collection%3Amediahistory&sort=-publicdate.

What's new? New volumes of Film Daily and Photoplay, and the latter includes one from the first half of 1940. Here's Lombard on the cover of the January issue...



...with a full-length view of that Irene-designed dress inside:



But perhaps the most exciting news is that the trade daily the Hollywood Reporter is included for the first time. There's only one item of it so far, but it's from a crucial period in Carole's career -- the first half of 1934. The first item from the volume involving Lombard was from Jan. 8, though the folio mistakenly listed it as "1933." (Folios were to pressmen what checks are to the rest of us; it takes a few days into January before you firmly remember what year it is.) It reported she had been cast in "Twentieth Century":



The film came out that spring, and on April 13, the Reporter -- which prided itself on often critical reviews -- was effusive in its praise:



At about that time, the Motion Picture Theater Owners Association was holding its convention in town, and Columbia mogul Harry Cohn, already feeling good over the surprise success of "It Happened One Night," spread the word about his new smash:



There are other fascinating things in the Reporter. It kept an eye on fan magazines, noting how many inches of copy were going to each studio and describing that issue's product. For example, this piece from June 6 lists the June 1934 issue of Photoplay with Carole on the cover and the memorable headline, "Blondes Plus Curves Mean War" (a "battle" Lombard sat out):



Precisely one week later, its gossip column, "The Lowdown," printed a Lombard anecdote that somehow fell through the cracks of history, because I've never heard it before. It concerns Carole and operatic star Grace Moore, who apparently was a high-hat sort. Double-click to read all about it; I promise it will make you smile:



There's a treasure trove among the new stuff from the Media History Digital Library, and over the next few months, I'll be mining it.
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