March 1st, 2019

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Lombard as best dressed, and stellar screenwriting feedback

"I can't imagine a duller fate than being the best-dressed woman in reality. When I want to do something, I don't pause to contemplate whether I'm exquisitely gowned. I want to live, not pose!"

That's among Carole Lombard's best-known quotes... but one nevertheless guesses she secretly felt honored in December 1936, when a group of the film industry's best-known designers named her Hollywood's best-dressed actress. And we have proof of that honor, if not necessarily her reaction to it.

In the lower left-hand corner of this page from the New York Daily News, you can see a headline about the award. It's difficult to read, but not to worry; David Noh, in his Facebook site Hollywood Costume Design, reprinted it in full from the Associated Press...and here it is.

Noh opened the entry with "In the 1930s, there was actually an award for the best-dressed actress - off the screen...can you imagine the s---storm today if one of these were held?

"The list is interesting for the omission of Adrian and Howard Greer as a designer voter."


Carole Lombard Voted Best Dressed Actress -- On and Off the Screen

Associated Press Writer

HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 12 -- On and off the screen, blonde Carole Lombard was the best-dressed motion picture actress of 1936, a tabulation of the votes from 10 studio style designers showed today.

She received seven votes out of the possible 10.

Each designer submitted a list of the 10 women he considered the 'best-dressed." The final total, however, brought 13 rather than 10. They were:

Carole Lombard, 7; Kay Francis, 6; Marlene Dietrich, 6: Norma Shearer, 6; Claudette Colbert, 5; Constance Bennett, 5: Dolores Del Rio, 5; Joan Crawford, 5; Verree Teasdale, 3; Gloria Swanson, 3; Madeleine Carroll, 3; Myrna Loy, 3; Joan Bennett, 3.

A total of 42 names was returned by the stylists. The only non-actress named was Rita Kaufman Lowe, wife of Edmund Lowe. She is a designer, herself, but she did not vote in the poll.

Claudette Colbert, who finished in fifth place in the poll just taken, was the winner in 1935.

Miss Lombard was fourth in last year's voting.

The designers' lists were unsigned.

None made any comment on the reasons for their 10 choices.

Among the surprises of the voting was the fact that Gladys Swarthout failed to qualify for this year's "13 best." She formerly was known as the best-dressed opera singer, and was on last year's list of 10 in the movie colony. She received two votes. Others whose names appeared on two lists were Olivia De Haviland, Virginia Bruce, Irene Dunne, Loretta Young, Hedda Hopper, Rosalind Russell, Merle Oberon and Ann Sothern. Greta Garbo received one vote.

The name of Mary Rogers, daughter of the late Will Rogers, appeared on the lists for the first time.

The designers were asked to base their judgments by consideration of the clothes worn in private life as well as on the screen. the clothes worn in private life as well as on the screen. The ability of the players to wear clothes and the correctness for different occasions were other points of judgment.

Those who voted were Ernest Dryden (Selznick International); Helen Taylor (Wanger pictures); Orry-Kellv (Warner Bros.); Jon Harkrider (Universal); Robert Kalloch (Columbia); Travis Banton (Paramount); Gwen Wakeling (Twentieth Century-Fox); Royer (Independent); Omar Kiam (United Artists); and Edward Stevenson (R.K.O.-Radio).


There are some '30s fashion heavyweights on that list -- Francis, Dietrich, Shearer, Colbert, Bennett, Del Rio and Crawford all got at least five votes. An impressive triumph for Carole, shown below with Paramount's Travis Banton:

Banton designed her outfits for Universal's "My Man Godfrey," including this legendary gown:

I received some good news today regarding my romantic comedy script "Stand Tall!", and wanted to share it with you:

I submitted a two-page written pitch for review to a producer (who shall remain anonymous, but he's helped produce several notable comedy features) through the Roadmap Writers program. It's designed to help inexperienced screenwriters hone their pitching skills when it comes time to do the real thing.

Five criteria are used, grading at excellent-good-average-fair-poor. I received "excellent" grades for "hit major plot points" and "kept it succinct," and "good" for "logline," "presentation" and "writer's unique style." He said "what worked" about "Stand Tall!" was:

* Very unique story rarely heard, adds an adult and more serious tone to stories like "The Nutty Professor" or "Honey I Blew Up The Kid" without losing the fun.
* Strong protagonist that you sympathize for and goes through an arc where she becomes a more serious, strong person by the end.
* Diverse and interesting cast of characters going from large to small that come together to help each other out and result in a happy ending.

He also suggested three things that would be improved, and I can implement this constructive criticism with minimal difficulty to make "Stand Tall!" stronger and more marketable. We'll see where this takes gentle giant Colleen Cossitt, scientist/love interest Keswick Fletcher and their friends (as well as a few foes).
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