March 25th, 2012

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Beating Loy makes Lombard seem 'sweet 16'

The news broke just after 10 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday, and Carole Lombard got the word right from the source.

"I beat Myrna, 187-166, you say? I win the 'Funny Ladies' division?...Yessss!...And next up for me is Crawford, starting really late Sunday or really early Monday? I'll be ready. Thanks for the news."

The top-seeded Lombard's victory over number-three Myrna Loy, part of the Silents/1930s bracket of the 2012 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tourney, was her second tense win in as many weeks (she'd previously edged Jean Arthur by two votes), and her exultation was evident once she put down the phone.

After the triumph, she spoke to reporters.

"I knew Myrna would give it everything she's got. She's got a lot of fans -- hey, that poll Ed Sullivan conducted named her 'queen of Hollywood,' after all -- and I'm simply glad I was able to outlast her."

"Are you excited facing Joan Crawford in the Silents/'30s semis, given your history with her?"

"Ah yes, history," Lombard said in a mock W.C. Fields sneer she immediately dropped. "For those of you who don't know, he's referring to what's called 'back in the day,' when Joanie and I used to spend our Friday nights in dance contests over at the Cocoanut Grove. All I can say is, you should've been there."

"She beat you in most of those dance contests, didn't she?" The woman who asked the question must have struck a nerve, as the usually upbeat Lombard gave her a cool stare.

"Joan won her share, I won mine, but let her just try to beat me on the tennis court."

A man who'd been handed a sheet of paper spoke up. "Carole, speaking of tennis, I understand one of the other good players in Hollywood, Ginger Rogers, has upset defending '30s champ Irene Dunne, 264-214, in the finals of the 'Singers/Dancers' division. Any comments, and do you feel bad you won't get a chance to avenge your loss to Irene last year?"

Carole smiled. "Pardon the cliche, but I'm now focusing on beating Crawford, just as Ginger's mind is probably on Greta Garbo in the other semifinal."

"What factors do you attribute your victories to?"

"I'm blessed with an awful lot of devoted fans, and I have a pretty good campaign director, too -- have you seen some of the banners he's designed on my behalf? -- though he's a bit off-the-wall at times. About 10 days ago, he showed me this toy and suggested we build a campaign around it with a slogan, 'Shake things up with Lombard!' I told him the idea was crazy, so he sent the toy to someone else in the campaign business. I forget its precise name, but it was red and had something to do with etchings."

Lombard stood up and excused herself. "I have an appointment with the broadcast media, so I've got to be going. Thanks for dropping by my headquarters."

With that, the press dispersed, although the paper from that reporter was later found on the floor, and it also listed the latest results from the other brackets, along with typical snide reporter remarks.

1940s -- "Funny Ladies/Girls Next Door": #2 Lucille Ball 97, #1 Rosalind Russell 91 -- on Roz's home turf
"Singers/Dancers": #1 Judy Garland 94, #2 Rita Hayworth 69 -- Judy wasn't letting Rita over her rainbow!

1950s -- "Funny Ladies/Girls Next Door": #5 Janet Leigh 83, #2 Marilyn Monroe 49 -- Monroe should've learned from Godfrey and put her in the shower!!
"Singers/Dancers": #2 Debbie Reynolds 71, #1 Doris Day 69 -- "Tammy" beats "Secret Love." Go fig.

1960s -- "Funny Ladies/Girls Next Door": #1 Natalie Wood 65, #2 Jane Fonda 59 -- I guess folks would rather have splendor in the grass than go barefoot in the park!
"Singers/Dancers": #3 Ann-Margret 70, #1 Julie Andrews 56 -- If only Julie had made a film with Elvis...

Loy dropped by to offer Carole congratulations, but Lombard had left. Asked for her reaction to the battle, Myrna said nothing, but...

We also have the other brackets' semifinal pairings:
1940s: Gene Tierney vs. Judy Garland; Bette Davis vs. Lucille Ball
1950s: Grace Kelly vs. Debbie Reynolds; Elizabeth Taylor vs. Janet Leigh
1960s: Jean Simmons vs. Ann-Margret; Catherine Deneuve vs. Natalie Wood

It promises to be fun, as we're down to the "sweet 16" and get closer to crowning a new champion.
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Party with Carole, Marlene, Lili and Errol

Many of you may understandably be tiring of our coverage of the 2012 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tourney (and Carole Lombard's participation in it), but we aren't ignoring other topics -- memorabilia, for instance. Here's a photo we've run before, but never at such outstanding size and clarity:

That's a shot from Lombard's famous June 1935 party on the Venice Pier, and she's flanked by Paramount cohort Marlene Dietrich, actress Lili Damita and her husband of about a month, Errol Flynn, a newcomer at Warners. This was the party where Dietrich bruised her legs on the rides after deciding not to wear her usual trousers (

Moreover, the photo is not only an original, but features a snipe on the back:

Note Damita's first name is spelled "Lily," even though she had made several films at Paramount (including Cary Grant's movie debut in 1932, "This Is The Night"). This was apparently used in some sort of publication, likely a magazine; as to which one, check those from the latter half of 1935, and if this is on page 20, you probably have the answer.

You can buy this photo straight up for $349.95, or place a bid beginning at $299.95. Bids end at 10:30 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you're interested, visit
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Back to the Grove: Carole vs. Joan has begun!

Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford are battling again -- but this time, their competition isn't taking place at the Cocoanut Grove in the mid-1920s, but in cyberspace today ( And they aren't dancing, but vying to reach the finals of the Silents/1930s bracket of the 2012 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tourney.

Lombard, winner of the "Funny Ladies" division, is facing Crawford, who won the "Tough Broads and Pre-Code Babes" division. The other semifinal pits "Singers/Dancers" winner Ginger Rogers against Greta Garbo, the last one standing in the "They Had Faces" division. Voting goes on through 7 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday.

Carole had some tough earlier outings against Jean Arthur and Myrna Loy, and she knows Crawford won't be an easy foe -- especially since Joan was one of the icons of the late 1920s. So that's why Lombard decided to take the flapper-era route in her latest banner, proving she had her own share of hotcha:

The 1950s and '60s matches are also already under way, while the '40s matches will start Monday morning.

1940s (
Gene Tierney vs. Judy Garland
Bette Davis vs. Lucille Ball

1950s (
Grace Kelly vs. Debbie Reynolds
Elizabeth Taylor vs. Janet Leigh

1960s (
Jean Simmons vs. Ann-Margret
Catherine Deneuve vs. Natalie Wood

We look forward to your vote for Lombard!

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