If you were a fan of the Superman group of comic books in the late fifties or sixties (an era now known in comics lore as the "Silver Age"), you no doubt recall the frequent "imaginary stories" that were regularly featured. These tales were out of "official" continuity, enabling the writers to come up with alternate premises for the characters, ranging from the intriguing to the silly. Many of them took Lois Lane's pining for Superman (and simultaneous disdain for Clark Kent) in weird directions, sometimes marrying her to the Man of Steel. (As many of us know, decades later the Superman and Lois characters actually did marry in the books.) You'll still see imaginary stories in DC Comics, but now they're called "Elseworlds" and, like the rest of the product, tend to be far more sophisticated in scope.
So, you ask, what does this have to do with Carole Lombard? (Superman's creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster gave his alter ego the name Clark Kent, a composite of two actors she worked with -- Clark Gable, of course, and the now largely-forgotten Kent Taylor, who had a supporting role in "White Woman" and an uncredited part in "Sinners In The Sun.") The idea of the "imaginary story" came to mind when we came across this cover, from Movie Mirror of February 1939:
There it is -- "If Carole Lombard Were Married To Jimmy Stewart, An Imaginary Love Story. Something New! Something Different!" Different, all right; consider that in early 1939 Lombard wasn't even married to Gable yet.
So why put Stewart and Lombard in this romantic alternate universe? To promote a movie, of course. "Made For Each Other" was scheduled to come out at this time, where Jimmy and Carole portray a young married couple, and so somebody at Movie Mirror must have thought, what if life imitated art? (I haven't read the story, so that's only conjecture; if any of you have read it, fill me in on what it's about.)
I'm guessing Gable, Lombard and Stewart all had a pretty good laugh over the "imaginary" affair. And for Stewart, it was the start of a year that vaulted him into the top tier of Hollywood stardom; in addition to this, he made "Destry Rides Again" with Marlene Dietrich, "It's A Wonderful World" with Claudette Colbert and "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" with Jean Arthur. Few actors have had more productive -- or, should we say, "super" -- years.