Is Carole Lombard (or, as she was briefly known at the time, Carol Lombard) the only reason to watch the 1929 Pathe programmer "High Voltage," her first all-talkie? Not entirely, Co-star William Boyd is engaging, long before he became western star Hopalong Cassidy. And it's intriguing to watch Lombard's ill-fated pal Diane Ellis and ponder what might have been had an illness not killed her in December 1930.
But nearly nine decades after its release, Lombard remains the primary attraction. A vintage still photograph up for auction at eBay makes this obvious.
Pathe CL-56 almost certainly was the work of William E. Thomas, the Pathe photographer whose images of the 20-year-old star emphasize her sensuality far more than the pics of Carole taken for Mack Sennett months earlier. Thomas' pictures remain astonishing today:
Aside from a bit of cleavage, CL-56 is nowhere as provocative as the three above. But it's nonetheless stunning. The back contains a snipe in which the young Carole is described as "exotic"; many of us might wish to replace that "x" with an "r."
Let's repeat both sides of the photo, eliminating the border on the front and straightening out the snipe on the rear:
According to the seller, this is an 8" x 10" glossy single-weight in fine condition, adding, "There are some slight inconsistencies in the emulsion and general storage/handling wear." I agree with the seller's description: "An absolutely gorgeous early Hollywood glamour portrait that highlights Lombard's singular beauty."
This is a rarity -- I have never before seen this specific Pathe pose -- and it's drawn quite a bit of interest, deservedly so. As of this writing, 14 bids have been made, topping at $88. And since bidding doesn't end until 9:55 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Sunday, this should easily go to triple digits, perhaps a few hundred dollars.
Want to get involved? Then visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Stunning-Dramatic-Carole-Lombard-1929-High-Voltage-Glamour-Photograph-Vintage/232797691731?hash=item3633d2df53.