It's frequently been noted that one result of Carole Lombard's marriage to Clark Gable was accommodating her husband's love of hunting and fishing. It wasn't as considerable a change as some make it out to be -- from her childhood, she had loved the outdoors life and was naturally athletic -- but Carole now took up these activities with extra zeal.
We've seen images of this side of Lombard, but here are a few more that have been relatively unseen over the years. The seller says they came "from a file of studio documents belonging to RKO publicist Linn Unkefer"; we don't know who took them, or why (the seller humorously states, "They were probably intended for a lame movie magazine piece titled 'Hollywood’s Favorite Gal Pal Lands a Fish as Easily as She Did Clark Gable' or some such other rot").
Whatever, here they are, filled with Carole's special charm:
These images are believed to be from 1941. Who took them, and where, isn't certain, though we do know the Rogue River in Oregon was a longtime favorite Gable fishing destination and that he and Lombard went there. (We don't see Clark in these photos, but they would have been the concern of MGM, not RKO.) Several of these images have red photo pencil markings, meaning they may have been used in RKO publicity, but they really don't detract much.
Here's what this package contains in full:
* 3-shot 35mm negative + proof strip
* 2 8" x 10" negatives: standing in creek with fishing pole, putting on shoe (the first two photos in this listing)
* 2 4" x 5" negatives of the same two images
* 2 4" x 5" matte finish photos or proofs of these two images with various markings, stamped “14638” and “14636” on the back, lightly ripped along edges
* 2 of the same in 8" x 10" versions, marked up, not stamped on back, lightly rippled along edges
* 5" x 7" glossy photo of the star standing, pole in hand, adjusting her shoe; marked in red “#2 5 x 7”; RKO stamp on back; light imprint from a paper clip on upper edge; short minor crease
* 5" x 7" glossy photo of Lombard in knee-deep water holding a line of fish; two people in background, marked in red “#3”; RKO stamp on the back; a few marks/imprints/dings in upper corner. There is no negative for this photo.
All in all, quite a lot to reel in.
Four bids have already been made for this, topping to date at $26.99; for something of this magnitude, this would be considered a bargain by most classic Hollywood collectors. Bidding will conclude at 10:13 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. If you'd like to cast your lure for this, simply go to http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Vintage-RKO-photos-Negatives-c-1941-/270619618317?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0.
We'll finish this fishing expedition with a classic clip from Lombard's first husband, William Powell, in the 1936 gem "Libeled Lady." Powell's character, Bill Chandler, is passing himself off as an expert angler to get in good with heiress Myrna Loy and wealthy father Walter Connolly. But when he actually goes on a fishing trip with them, well, as they say, hilarity ensues. (If you think you've seen this somewhere before, it's actually somewhere after; Howard Hawks appropriated this for a scene with Rock Hudson in the 1964 comedy "Man's Favorite Sport?", although Hudson is no Powell.)