As frequently stated here, Carole Lombard made a number of appearances on network radio programs (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/3807.html and http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/4082.html). Among the most tantalizing is her last known network radio appearance, on June 9, 1941, an adaptation of her latest film, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," on "Lux Radio Theater."
What makes this so unusual is that her co-star is someone you normally don't associate with Lombard, although they probably knew each other prior to this collaboration. It's Bob Hope, who had climbed to film (and radio) stardom in the late 1930s. The year before this, Hope had made his first "Road" picture with Bing Crosby.
That's Hope in the late 1930s, along with a 1938 ad for his NBC radio show sponsored by Pepsodent. ("Lux" was a CBS program.)
Hope works well with Lombard, although the adaptation of the movie is specially designed for him, giving him room to get a few Hope-style quips in without disrupting the story too much. It's more a Hope vehicle with Carole as special guest than a reworking of her film...but if that bothered her, she certainly hides it well.
To promote the appearance, the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, which handled Lux products, sent a publicity photo that was borrowed from RKO, where the film had been made:
On the back is the snipe, furnished by the ad agency. I can't make out every word, but here's what it says to the best of my knowledge:
"LOMBARD ON LUX
Rehearsal _________ aplenty are expected by Cecil B. DeMille as he prepares 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' with Carole Lombard, shown, and Bob Hope for Lux Radio Theatre presentation on Monday, June 9. Both of the stars are noted for their ready supply of practical jokes. The full-hour _______ will be heard over the Columbia network starting at __:00 P.M. (______)."
Because some of the numbers and letters at the end aren't entirely legible, I'm not sure whether this was sent to a specific market where a particular station was a CBS affiliate. But I'm certain many newspapers used the photo to promote the program.
And now, this photo can be yours. It's 8" x 10", and in okay shape save for a little creasing at the top and bottom. One bid, for $9.99, has been made as of this writing; the item will be available until 10:55 a.m. (Eastern) on Friday. If you'd like this in your collection, then go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-RKO-PHOTO-STILL-40-MR-MRS-SMITH-LUX-R-/290454840169?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43a0752369.
It's a nice artifact of what would be her farewell to network radio (unless something else is subsequently uncovered), and it makes one wonder what else she and Hope might have done if fate had gone a bit differently. (I believe I've seen a photo of the two together at the broadcast, but I've never come across it outside of a book.)