May 15th, 2019

carole lombard 03
  • vp19

Contract-ing Carole for '39

For Carole Lombard, 1939 meant much more than marrying Clark Gable. Her film career, in flux after the critical and popular drubbing "Fools For Scandal" received in the spring of 1938, now took off in a different, dramatic direction. Proof of that can be found in two contracts she signed with a new studio, RKO.

First, here's one from June 6:

Amendments to a typical contract of the time for her upcoming drama "Vigil In The Night" (which she'd agreed to in April), sent to agent Myron Selznick's office...and now with Lombard's signature. Given a star of her stature, however, there were some special, specific conditions.

The contract, two 8.5" x 11" pages, had been marketed for $2,600, but now it's whittled down to $2,080 (or $100 for 24 months)...or you can make an offer. Learn more at

Nearly two months later. on Aug. 4, conditions had changed. A midsummer illness had sidelined Lombard, forcing a delay in production on "Vigil." This altered contract was but one page long, and note how Carole signed it:

This is also 20% off, but its discount price is $1,920. (Did omitting her last name knock it down $160?) If you're interested in this item, visit

Yes, a lot was going on for Lombard in 1939, some of which may have annoyed her.

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