November 23rd, 2011

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  • vp19

In 'Hollywood,' naturally past a 'dangerous age'

I don't know when the first genuine color photograph of Carole Lombard was taken, but this is almost certainly the first genuine color photograph magazine cover of her; it's from Hollywood magazine of November 1935, hitting the newsstands at just about the time "Hands Across The Table," her first top-tier Paramount vehicle, was beginning to hit theaters.

But there's more to this mag from a Carole perspective than a cover in "natural color." Inside, there's a story on her headlined "Carole Lombard Discusses -- A Woman's Dangerous Age," illustrated with two luscious Lombard shots in swimsuits, one dark, one light:

However, Carole's not talking about the dangers of tanning (ultraviolet rays and all that); no, from what I can read of it, this refers to a stage of a woman's life when she's at her most vulnerable. Since she says it's the early to mid-twenties, she has passed it (Lombard turned 27 that Oct. 6, though I can't tell whether this story shaves a year off her age, as publicity of the time often did).

"It isn't just Hollywood which matured me so quickly," she explained. "It's having worked for my living ever since I was fifteen."

Looks like yet another sample of Lombard's feminist philosophy that so often was found in fan magazines of the time ( And in an interesting sidelight, look who's profiled on the page facing her:

A feature on Clark Gable, several months before the two would begin to be linked romantically.

This issue has a few other items of note. Jean Harlow's mother has an "as told to" story in which she explains their relationship from her point of view. (From what we know now, this must be taken with a grain of salt. Heck, go to the grocer's and get an economy-sized box of salt; you'll need it for this story.)

The table of contents lists "Memories Of Will Rogers" (who had died in a plane crash that August), as well as stories on Mae West and Mary Astor, opposite an ad for "Broadway Melody Of 1936" ("You have waited 7 years for this!" Well then, where are Anita Page and Bessie Love?):

This issue is being auctioned at eBay, with bidding beginning at $35 (none have been made as of this writing) and bids closing at 11:13 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. The seller describes it as "Very displayable. Very nice cond. Vibrant coloring. A little bit of edge/corner wear. Some edge ghosting. The image of Lombard is wonderful." (We knew that.)

To bid or simply learn more, go to And to the winner in the bidding -- please fill us in on the Lombard story.

I wish everyone here a happy Thanksgiving, and that your holiday travels be safe and secure.
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Among the things for which I am totally thankful...

...are the lively communications among members of this community! I have learned so much from so many of you -- you have made me smile, laugh, cry, name it.

Vince, I am especially thankful for your dear friendship, and your devotion to Missy Carole. You're the most incredible researcher it has been my pleasure to encounter.

Bless you all, and I hope that your day of Thanksgiving is as special and meaningful as you wish it to be.


Carole S.
The Carole Lombard Archive

There's still time to explore a fascinating exhibit in Los Angeles!

This is one which has been mentioned here before, I believe, but I wholeheartedly encourage any of you who might be in the Los Angeles area in the next few weeks to check out the Jean Harlow At 100 exhibition at the former Max Factor building.  Darrell Rooney and Mark Viera have compiled a marvelous, in-depth book about The Baby, and her Hollywood.  It is in the works for our gracious host to interview Darrell soon about both the book and the exhibit, and it is hoped that the interview will prove as fascinating as the exhibit.

You'll be transported back to the 1920s and 1930s, and down the peculiar rabbit hole that was Harlean Harlow Carpenter McGrew Bern Rosson's much-too-brief life journey.  Starting before the beginning, you will see the actual Carpenter family Bible which notes the marriage of Mont Clair Carpenter to Miss Jean Harlow:

You'll see Harlow's personally owned items, including a favorite handbag, makeup, charm bracelet, white fur cape (displayed with a replica gown), and other goodies from her private life:

Interesting sidelight about the white fur cape:  The year after The Baby's death, Jean Bello (her mother) got herself all dolled up to look like her late daughter to attend the premiere of "Marie Antoinette" -- including wearing her daughter's favorite evening wrap.  This photo gives me the creeps, for some reason.

You'll even get to see her gorgeous Packard convertible:

And one of the more curious items, the original mural which was commissioned by Paul Bern as a gift for his bride (it depicts Harlow and many of the couple's friends, associates, and one enemy among the characters!)  Absolutely fascinating:

The exhibit runs through December, and the rest of the museum is fascinating in its own right -- we enjoyed seeing all the wonderful goodies, the make-up rooms, Marilyn Monroe's lingerie and bustier, lots of original costumes...even Mae West's credit cards! 

I loved this place -- could have spent days on end and never seen it all.


Carole S.