December 6th, 2011

carole lombard 02
  • vp19

A true confession: For a while, I was stumped

At times, playing vintage photography sleuth can leave one as stumped as Philo Vance or Nick Charles at the midpoint of a movie. And, dare I say it, that just happened to me.

The photo in question is this, from Carole Lombard's final film for Paramount, "True Confession":



A nice image of Carole, one I'd never seen before...but who's that with her?

Here's the complete still photograph, with information at the bottom:



Actresses on the photo's cast listing include Una Merkel and Toby Wing, but both of them are blonde. A check of Frederick W. Ott's book "The Films Of Carole Lombard" didn't reveal any potential candidates, either.

Who could it be, I wondered, having absolutely no idea. Fortunately, it turned out the back of the photo had been placed online as well, and in one of the corners stood a tiny bit of information, nearly invisible in a sea of white space:



We at least had a name now, Eleanor Fisher, but I still had a "who" in my mind. A check of the Internet Movie Database revealed that Fisher played a reporter in "True Confession," and that was her only screen credit. Moreover, IMDb had absolutely no other information on her whatsoever -- no birth or death date (she may still be alive, for all we know, but it's not likely), no hometown, not anything.

We can conjecture all sorts of possibilities. Perhaps Fisher wasn't a professional actress, but merely someone Lombard, director Wesley Ruggles or screenwriter Claude Binyon knew, and she received this bit part on a lark (not likely, but you never know). Maybe she was a Paramount employee who had to fill in for this one scene when the actress who had been hired for the part couldn't make it for one reason or another. Or she might have left the acting business for reasons we'll never know. (If she had died or had a career-ending injury through an accident, that probably would have received enough attention to make her IMDb listing.) In other words, Eleanor Fisher is a mystery -- but at least she could always tell acquaintances she shared a movie scene with Carole Lombard. (Thanks to someone's contribution, she's now less of a mystery.)

You can buy this photo for $20; it will be on sale through Jan. 4. You can find out more by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Photo-Carole-Lombard-True-Confession-CGC-M-/330653491645?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item4cfc7be1bd.

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the death of one of the great voices of American popular music, Roy Orbison, at age 52. Comfortable with either ballads or uptempo material, Orbison began at the legendary Sun label in 1956, but aside from the minor hit "Ooby Dooby," failed to make much of an impact. A move to Monument Records in Nashville led to a more sophisticated style, mirroring the maturation of rock 'n' roll, and from 1960 to '64 Roy was one of the industry's most consistent hit-makers. He fell out of favor for a while, but in the final years of his life he was again appreciated, appearing in the memorable "A Black And White Night" concert with the likes of Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen and being part of the Traveling Wilburys supergroup with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame.

I had considered several songs of Roy's to use here, but in the light of creating this entry, only one seemed appropriate -- "She's A Mystery To Me," from his 1988 album "Mystery Girl." Written by Bono of U2, it's a perfect vehicle for Orbison's operatic voice. Enjoy this track, which I dedicate to Eleanor Fisher.

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  • jhndltn

Eleanor Fisher

Here is a picture of Eleanor Fisher who was an award winner, of sorts, for winning a contest as "Miss Typical America". Her reward was a role in "True Confessions" with Lombard. As far as I can tell , it was her one and only screen outing. Some beauty contest winners do indeed get film roles and not just a chance to dally on the director's casting couch, as some legends relate to us !


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