August 8th, 2019

carole lombard 04
  • vp19

'Lux' flux: The Smiths are bumped by a 'Stand-In'

This is how we expect to see David and Ann Smith (Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard) -- as a bickering couple really to rip into each other. (You'd be too, if you just discovered that a bizarre legal technicality has rendered their marriage null and void, enabling Ann to throw David out of the Manhattan apartment that was formerly theirs.)

So the following image, showing the Smiths in perfect romantic harmony for their 1941 RKO comedy, appears a bit of a surprise:

But if you think that's surprising, just wait until you read the back:

OK, it's a snipe. Enlarge and examine it, and things get really interesting:

So Carole and Robert are set to reprise their roles on radio, specifically the "Lux Radio Theatre," on April 7. But as many Lombard fans know, that's not what happened. The Smiths didn't hit the airwaves until June 9, and by that time, the Bob playing opposite Lombard wasn't Montgomery, but...

...Bob Hope, whose show now rivaled NBC cohort Jack Benny's as radio's top comedy.

The Hope version of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" was not simply a rehashed version of anything "Lux" had planned with Montgomery. Hope's writers reworked the script with "ad-libs" that Hope made sound like the real thing; there were even occasional breakings of the "fourth wall." And to Hope's credit, it works. (This would be his lone collaboration of any kind with Lombard, and also Carole's final appearance on network radio.)

So what did "Lux" air April 7? Something appropriately titled "Stand-In."

This romantic comedy Hollywood satire was released by United Artists in 1937, but as so often happened on "Lux," the leads were different on radio. The Joan B. here is Bennett, not Blondell, and Howard's role went to Warner Baxter.

When, and why, did "Stand-In" fill in for the Smiths? It's a question that demands further research.

As for the photo, it measures 8.75" x 7.5", has a few minor crease markings, and the "TV" reference on the back likely indicates a newspaper used this from the '50s on to illustrate the movie's appearance on television. It is, of course, an original.

You can buy the photo straight up for $24, or you can make an offer. Find out more at

You can hear the June 9 broadcast of Lombard and Hope at,_09/Jun/1941); remember, Alfred Hitchcock directed the movie version of this comedy. Interested in hearing "Stand-In"? Go to
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