More than a decade later, with the doll now up for resale at eBay, we can re-evaluate it. But first, let's see just what we're talking about:
First of all, the hair is far too light -- nearly Harlowesque on its platinumness -- to evoke Lombard, except perhaps during 1931 and 1932 (and that really isn't the most famous chapter of Carole's career by a long shot). Here's another view of the doll:
Now for a closeup of the doll's face (or should we be like a gangster talking to his moll and call it a "dollface"?):
Even if the hair was completely evocative of Carole, it wouldn't overcome this blandly generic face that has little to do with Lombard. What's the problem? Well, check the certificate of authenticity that accompanies the doll, and you'll get your answer:
The good news: The outfit is from "The Edith Head Collection"; Head was a designer whose Paramount career began while Carole was still under contract to the studio. The bad news: This outfit was designed not for Lombard herself, but for "Carole in 'Gable and Lombard'"...
...in other words, Jill Clayburgh as Carole, not Lombard herself, in an outfit Head designed for the film. (Above is Jill, ostensibly in the dress the doll is supposed to replicate, with James Brolin as Clark Gable.)
Edith Head had been dead for a decade and a half when this doll came out; approval came from her estate. (Some of the proceeds went to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, designed to assist the destitute in the industry.) Licensing came fom Universal, which produced "Gable And Lombard," the 1976 disaster designed as a salute to Clark and Carole but torpedoed by lackluster acting and a dreadful script.
Don't hold this against the doll (#298), which stands 17 inches high and is in sparkling condition -- or against the seller, either. Bidding begins at $19.99, with no bids made as of this writing. Bidding closes just after 8:25 a.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday. If you're a doll collector and wish to learn more, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/BEAUTIFULL-CAROLE-LOMBARD-DOLL-NIB_W0QQitemZ120504123506QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0e9b0072.
As for Universal, if it truly wishes to honor Lombard with a doll, how about one modeled after one of her greatest triumphs -- and filmed right there at Universal City, to boot? We are, of course, referring to...
...the glittering gown she wore in the opening segment of "My Man Godfrey."