Above, an ad for "The Apartment," the 1960 best picture winner at the Academy Awards and one of Billy Wilder's best films (also about the last time Fred MacMurray played a role with some bite before retreating into Disney dad mode for the rest of his career). Why are we bringing this up? An explanation will come, but first, the prime reason for this entry...an image of Carole Lombard I'd never seen before coming across it at flickr.com. To make things more delicious, it's a group shot with some other stars:
Okay, there's the image. Now some more about it:
Who's with her? Thankfully, everyone here has been identified, and they're all actors. Most, if not all, are with Paramount, Carole's studio home at the time.
Top row, from left: Stuart Erwin, Eugene Pallette, Clive Brook, Kay Francis, Gary Cooper, Jack Oakie, "Skeets" Gallagher and William Boyd. Bottom row: Richard Arlen, Carole Lombard, Wynne Gibson, Rosetta Moreno, Norman Foster, Sylvia Sidney amd Lilyan Tashman. In front: Mitzi Green and Jackie Searle.
When was it taken? Don't have an exact date, but we do know Tashman died in 1934.
Where was it taken? Technically, we can answer that...in font of the Cornwall Apartments.
But where are the Cornwall Apartments? They are (or were) presumably in Los Angeles, probably in Hollywood, not far from the Paramount studios. But a Web check for Cornwall Apartments with Los Angeles, Hollywood or Paramount as a directorial guide revealed nothing. Obviously, the apartments could have been renamed, or the building razed.
Or it doesn't exist. It's conceivable that this is a Paramount set, and Lombard and the others simply converged for some sort of group shot. If that's the case, one would have to check every Paramount film during this period to see whether the "Cornwall Apartments" were used as a setting.
Who took it? We have no clue to the photographer's identity, but it's likely someone on the Paramount staff -- not necessarily a portrait photographer such as Otto Dyar, but someone on the studio publicity staff.
Why was it taken? Can't answer that one, either.
It's a charming picture, full of Paramount starpower. If only we knew more.