September 17th, 2019

carole lombard 02
  • vp19

Fans before foes

Carole Lombard's last full day of life, Jan. 15, 1942, was spent exhorting residents of her native state of Indiana to back the war effort by buying bonds. It likely didn't come to her mind -- not that it would've mattered to her -- that she had many fans in the nations she was urging America to fight.

It was true in Germany, where U.S. studios, most run by Jews the Nazis despised, had run into censorship problems even before World War II broke out in September 1939. And it was also true in Japan, a small but thriving market for Hollywood, not long before the Pearl Harbor attack in December.

For proof, see this photo of Lombard...from a Japanese magazine:

The photo cites "They Knew What They Wanted," but I believe it to be an RKO publicity still, not a scene from the film released late in 1940. The magazine was titled Screen Pictorial, and here are its front and back covers:

Still not convinced it's from Japan in 1941? Take a look at this...

...not to mention these:

Note the James Stewart pic promotes the anti-Nazi film "The Mortal Storm."

The seller, from Japan, has several issues from this period for auction at eBay. Bids for this one begin at $22.99, with the auction closing at 9:27 p.m. (Eastern) Monday. Bid or learn more by visiting

Yet another example of how tenuous relations between nations can be.

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