We've previously discussed Carole Lombard's work with noted photographer Edwin Bower Hesser; we've also noted her appearances on the cover of True Confessions magazine (the cover above is from August 1934). But did you know that Hesser took a portrait of Lombard for a True Confesions cover? I certainly didn't.
But it's true, and here it is:
And no, the story "I Was A Second Hand Wife" has nothing to do with Lombard.
Hesser almost certainly took a black-and-white portrait of Carole (color photography wouldn't be perfected until later in the decade), and the magazine's art staff took it from there. The blush is considerably, almost absurdly overdone; one can imagine that when Lombard saw the finished magazine cover, she said something like "They must've thought I was heading to the circus." (Perhaps her comments were a bit stronger.) Other than that, it's a lovely portrait.
The cover is from January 1932, but I initially had my doubts about whether that listing was accurate. The hair shading is a bit darker than we expect of Carole in that period. Perhaps the magazine's editors believed blonde hair didn't show up well on newsstands (or didn't sufficiently contrast with the light background). In addition, the price is listed at 25 cents, whereas that 1934 issue and later ones we've seen sold for a dime.
Well, to paraphrase Fred MacMurray from the later Lombard film "Hands Across The Table," there was this little thing called the Depression. True Confessions, begun by Fawcett Publications in 1922, had sold for a quarter since its inception. However, after the U.S. economy went into a tailspin in 1931, sales of magazines plummeted, and Fawcett cut the price to 10 cents that spring, where it remained until the 1940s, when it returned to a quarter. The magazine is still sold today, though you'll now need a lot of quarters to buy a copy and few movie stars appear on its covers.
While the January '32 magazine isn't currently being auctioned at eBay, if you like the image, you can purchase a print for $14.24 (a canvas print sells for $64.49). To learn more, go to http://www.imagekind.com/Showartwork.aspx?IMID=752f1e6e-541d-44eb-a2bb-e1c4024a9fb4.