The story goes that when Carole Lombard, seeking a comeback in films following her automobile accident, was hired by Mack Sennett for his short comedies, he told her to gain a few pounds to give her a more rounded figure. (That such advice came during the 1920s, when the slender flapper look was in vogue, may explain why Sennett's two-reelers were in decline.) Nevertheless, she took his advice, began eating some bananas, and blossomed into the person publicists labeled "Carol of the curves." as shown above.
But when Lombard left Sennett for a contract at Pathe, that studio wanted a more sleek version of her. So with the help of "masseuse to the stars" Sylvia, Lombard evolved into the sleek figure she'd have for the rest of her life.
Largely true...but still simplistic. Carole's figure become more streamlined, but she didn't abandon her curves, not by a long shot. (Had she reverted to a flapper-style figure, she most likely would have been perceived as out of date in early thirties America.) Instead, she adapted, showing you could have a lithe figure without flattening your upper half.
For proof, check out this photo:
Carole is indeed showing a bit of cleavage, and a more substantial bustline than we've come to expect from her. This is Paramount p1202-551, indicating it was probably produced about 1933. Information on the back indicates that the photo was for general publicity purposes, and not expressly designed for any particular film:
Here's the entire back of the photo:
Oh, and as for visible proof of the p1202 number:
Intriguing that a photo of an American actress comes from the files of a Spanish-language publication, and is now being sold by someone from Australia. Almost makes you wanna go into that Disneyland anthem, "It's A Small World After All."
This photo is said to be 7.3" x 9.5" and in "fairly good" condition, "with all the borders trimmed, light yellowing throughout, including a number of pock marks and surface markings. Also some corner wear."
If you want it, note that you don't have much time -- bidding closes at just before 9 p.m. (Eastern) tonight. Also note you'll have competition; as of this writing, four bids have been made, with the top bid at $15.50.. If you are interested, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-1933-Vintage-PRECODE-Portrait-CLEAVAGE_W0QQitemZ300390021472QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item45f0a3f960.
Since we were speaking of cleavage, let's close with a tribute to the lady whose cleavage was figuratively (pardon the pun) of Brobdingnagian proportions, Fayne Mansfield. Here are some scenes of Jayne from one of the best films about rock'n'roll ever made, "The Girl Can't Help It" (1956). Director Frank Tashlin's gags as she struts down the street to the title song (done by Little Richard) are hilarious