February 13th, 2012

carole lombard 01
  • vp19

Carl says goodbye



The performances by Carole Lombard and William Powell in "My Man Godfrey" would thrill anyone who owned the property, so one can understand why Carl Laemmle, Universal's longtime mogul, would crow about it.



For years, Laemmle had written (or was credited with writing) a column -- called, appropriately, "Watch This Column" -- in the Saturday Evening Post. Most of the time it was used to promote upcoming Universal product, but sometimes Laemmle touched on other topics. After visiting Germany in 1923, where runaway inflation was causing havoc on the population, he pleaded for aid for German refugees, and many responded to his call for help. Here's how his column promoted "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in 1927, as reprinted in the film's press book:



Throughout the silent era and into the years of sound, Universal was at a competitive disadvantage with rivals such as MGM, Paramount and RKO in that it owned few, if any, theaters, and thus often found it hard at times to market its product. Add that the studio was best known for horror films, then not a genre with wide-ranging popularity, and it was apparent that Laemmle would eventually have to sell Universal, which he had guided since before the star system began in 1910.

So in 1936, Laemmle sold the studio. And in his final Post column, dated April 25, he discussed a film that wouldn't be seen in theaters until September:



His official goodbye to filmdom can be found at the bottom. (Laemmle died in 1939.)

This original item, clipped from the Post, is now available through eBay. You'll get the entire page, measuring 13 1/2" x 10 1/2", and the seller says it's in excellent condition.

You can buy the page for $20; find out more at http://www.ebay.com/itm/1936-Carl-Laemmles-Last-Review-My-Man-Godfrey-William-Powell-Carole-Lombard-/160736404344?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item256ca2e378.

And did the public share Laemmle's enthusiasm for the film? This two-page ad from Film Daily of Sept. 9, 1936 should supply the answer:



This week's LiveJournal header celebrates(?) Valentine's Day with those two lovebirds, the Smiths (aka Lombard and Robert Montgomery).
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