vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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The speech she didn't give

When Carole Lombard appeared in Indianapolis to sell bonds on Jan. 15, 1942, she gave a speech. We're not sure who wrote it, but we know it wasn't written by the person she wanted.

In late January 1942, Hedda Hopper wrote in her Los Angeles Times column (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2010/01/a-kinder-simpler-time-dept-your-movie-columnist-29.html) that distinguished radio writer Norman Corwin said he had been wired by his agent who said a Hollywood personality wanted him to write a speech, but because he was overloaded with work, he turned it down. Only later, after Lombard's death, did he learn that request came from the actress.

Corwin was one of the all-time greats in radio, writing and creating several classic documentaries and programs that conveyed the American experience. Just a month before the rally -- on Dec. 15, 1941 -- Corwin wrote a program, "We Hold These Truths," commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, a program carried by virtually all networks. James Stewart, already in the military, was the narrator, and the program concluded with remarks from President Roosevelt. It had been scheduled for before the Pearl Harbor attack, but the ensuing events made the program all the more poignant, and one guessed Lombard listened to it (and might have participated had there been more female parts).

We have no idea how history might have changed had Corwin acceded to this request, but it does make for a fascinating "what-if." (Incidentally, Corwin, a broadcasting treasure, will turn 100 on May 3.) For more on Corwin (including an audio link to "We Hold These Truths"), go to http://www.digitaldeliftp.com/DigitalDeliToo/dd2jb-26-By-Corwin.html.

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