December 31st, 2011

carole lombard 06
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For Harlow, everything's coming up Roses

As far as I know of, Carole Lombard never posed for a publicity still that expressly had a New Year's theme (the header we've been running this week doesn't count, since it was from an actual scene in "Made For Each Other"), so this is the best we can come up with, a shot with balloons in the background. More than a few of her peers did pose for such pix, even her friend Jean Harlow, seen during her brief "brownette" period:

We are concluding the calendar year portion of what has been a major celebration of Harlow's centenary (although, just as Lombard's centenary was honored through Oct. 6, 2009, Jean's should last through March 3 -- especially since the leap year will give her an extra day!). The magnificent book "Harlow In Hollywood" has won nearly universal raves, and is a must for anyone wanting to understand what Jean was about as an actress, as a symbol of her time and, above all, as a person. Several Harlow films were finally assembled into a box set, and as was the case with Carole in the month of her centenary, Jean was Turner Classic Movies' star of the month in March 2011. Oh, and we shouldn't forget the Jean Harlow Blogathon (for which I contributed a few entries)...

Another honor awaits Jean on Monday, one that certainly would thrill and delight her:

Harlow is standing next to her 1932 Packard Phaeton, one of her most cherished possessions. On Monday, it will be part of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena; it's the third time Harlow's car has participated, and it previously chauffeured former Harlow co-star James Stewart ("Wife Vs. Secretary") and Angela Lansbury (TCM's star of the month for January, BTW). This time it will carry Tournament of Roses President Richard W. Jackson and his wife; it's listed as 21st in the parade order, in case you're watching on TV or in person. Here's more information on the automobile:

And here's what it looks like today, with avid Harlow fan Sharon Moore Barnes in the driver's seat:

The Phaeton had been part of the "Harlow at 100" exhibit at the Hollywood Museum before it was taken out for its Pasadena duty. Here it is, next to a Cadillac Fleetwood limousine once owned by Marilyn Monroe. (Somewhere, Carole is saying with a smile, "So a fancy car was all I needed to be deemed a sex symbol!")

Harlow's car is being prepared for its Jan. 2 party...

...and here's a glimpse at the dashboard:

Something to keep an eye on while watching this Pasadena tradition.

Back to the New Year's theme -- pics on the topic featuring some of Carole's contemporaries and cohorts. First, here's Clara Bow:

Next, Mary Brian, who wound up as the female lead in one of James Cagney's best comedies, "Hard To Handle," after Lombard declined a loanout to Warners:

Finally, Marie Wilson, the shapely, funny Warners actress who worked with Lombard in "Fools For Scandal" and later gained fame for her daffy turn as "My Friend Irma" in both radio and movies:

Plus one more from Lombard, for good measure:

My thanks to everyone for their support of "Carole & Co." during 2011 -- we've grown to more than 300 members, with exciting things on the horizon -- and my best wishes to all of you for a 2012 you can celebrate. And speaking of "Celebrate," how about Three Dog Night's record of that name, a hit for them in the spring of 1970? Enjoy your own "celebrity ball," and please don't drink and drive.

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