October 19th, 2013

carole lombard 06
  • vp19

'Movie And Radio Guide,' April 1940: 'Two Happy People,' part 1

carole lombard clark gable color 02b

It's "Carole Lombard Month," as it is just about every October, at the fine site http://dearmrgable.com/, and this month they have all sorts of charming anecdotes about Carole; it's worth checking out. The site also has an extensive article archive, and I noticed it has parts 2, 3 and 4 of a series on the Gables that Movie And Radio Guide published in May 1940 under the title "Two Happy People." However, part 1, which focuses on Lombard, isn't among them, and I doubt that's intentional (the archive has many Lombard-centric articles).

The good news is that I've found it...the article initially ran in Movie And Radio Guide, published by Annenberg (yep, the same company that brought us TV Guide in the 1950s) for the week of April 27 to May 3, 1940. This, and the rest of the series, was written by James Street, who wrote the short story that was adapted into the film "Nothing Sacred." As far as I know of, this is the first time part 1 of "Two Happy People" has surfaced into public view since its publication more than 73 years ago; I think you'll enjoy reading it, yet another wonderfully vivid profile of one of the film industry's most beloved personalities.

carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740ba
carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740ca
carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740da

It's rather hard to read the two pages of copy (the magazine is an oversized 11" x 14"), so we'll isolate the copy, then go to the jump at roughly the same scale:

carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740cb
carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740dc
carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740ea

Street elicited a number of fascinating things here, but two in particular stand out. First, Lombard finally gives the lowdown on the matter of how she got her name when she signed with Fox:

carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740db

The line "At first I dropped the 'e'" -- emphasis on the word "dropped" -- indicates she began her professional life as Carole Lombard, as has been proven in a number of newspaper items from 1925. The "Carrolle" was briefly used in her early work with Mack Sennett; however, this is the first reference I've seen to "Carrulle." Thankfully, as she said, she "got sane in time."

Later on, she has this to say:

carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740eb

The movie version of "Grapes" was released in mid-March 1940, so it's likely Lombard had seen it before being interviewed (Gable ordered a copy of the John Steinbeck book for her, as we saw at http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/382443.html). Carole also wasn't too keen over how "The Rains Came," with her friend Myrna Loy, was adapted for the screen; between the lines, was she decrying censorship from the Breen office?

Now that you've read part 1, take a look at the rest of the series.

Part 2 is at http://dearmrgable.com/?page_id=4248.
Part 3 is at http://dearmrgable.com/?page_id=3131.
Part 4 is at http://dearmrgable.com/?page_id=4368.

There's more to Carole in that April 27 issue. She's highlighted in the radio listings:

carole lombard movie and radio guide 042740fb

So we know she made back-to-back appearances on "Silver Theater," and unfortunately, neither survive. However, summaries of each episode, which aired on Chicago's CBS affiliate WBBM, ran in the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, and they are part of a log to "Silver Theater" episodes:

carole lombard silver theater log 1940

Jack Benny, in full "Buck Benny" mode, was on the cover of this issue:

movie and radio guide 042740a cover

Inside, the magazine ran results of a recent poll of the public's most popular performers in a number of categories:

movie and radio guide 042740aa
movie and radio guide 042740ba

(Note the presence of Don McNeill in the poll; his "Breakfast Club" was a Chicago radio institution, running for decades, eventually over the ABC network. It remained on the air, with dozens of affiliates, until the end of 1968, about the last survivor of old-time radio.)

Station program listings, as one might guess, were this magazine's bread and butter. Like its later TV counterpart, there were separate regional editions. How many call letters of stations below do you recognize? (This is, of course, assuming you still have some familiarity with the fading corpse called AM radio.)

movie and radio guide 042740ca

And the magazine didn't ignore movies, as this page dedicated to Joan Crawford and Fredric March's "Susan And God" makes clear:

movie and radio guide 042740da

We'll have more Lombard photos and stories from classic-era magazines in the near future.
  • Current Mood
    enthralled enthralled