vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Missing persons

Actually, this entry has nothing to do with the Los Angeles-based 1980s band of that name, whose videos were regularly played in the early years of MTV. (Incidentally, the band's original members were all acolytes of Frank Zappa.) But we are on the lookout for a pair of folks who have meant a lot to study of Carole Lombard and classic Hollywood -- and whom lately have vanished from the Internet.

First is G.D. Hamann, whose voluminous research of Los Angeles newspapers from the Golden Age of Hollywood has uncovered all sorts of wonderful items on the film industry, and its personalities, of that era. It's easy to fall back on the Los Angeles Times as a solitary resource, since it's readily available on microfilm (and the Times' splendid "Daily Mirror" blog is also a wonderful aid), but that would be comparable to relying solely on the New York Times to study Broadway history. In neither case would you get a reasonably complete snapshot of the period.

Hamann's compiled this information into an array of books; I've bought two of them, and you learn a lot. Some of the items may be studio-originated hyperbole, but that's up for you to decide.

Until recently, Hamann had a blog, "Old Movie Section," where much of this material was online. But go to the site now, http://gdhamann.blogspot.com/, and all you get is "the blog you are looking for is not found." Perhaps Hamann decided to take it down and limit the information to his books, rather than having some of this data available for free; if he did, that's obviously his prerogative. Whatever, I hope he's still combing through vintage newspapers, gathering material neglected for decades.

The other missing person has an even closer link to Carole Lombard:

That's the home page of http://carolelombard.org, an excellent source for Lombard information (the photo archive alone is magnificent) and sort of competitor -- a very worthy one, mind you -- to this site. However, note the date of the most recent entry: July 27. That means it's been eight weeks since it was last updated.

The site's owner, Carla Valderrama, is working on a Lombard biography, and I know she has visited Los Angeles several times to conduct research and do interviews (while there are only a handful of people left who acted on-screen with Carole, there are still some around who knew her). Such work has led to previous hiatuses at the site, but nothing quite this protracted. Obviously I wish her well in that endeavor, but I wish she would periodically check in at the site and update us; I also hope Hamann is doing well and can let us know he's still around.

To quote the band Missing Persons from one of its best-known recordings, what are words for?

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