vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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The 'what of what'?

Based upon various "blooper" reels, we know that Carole Lombard's language could at times be painted in shades of blue. One thus wishes to have been the proverbial fly on the wall when Carole first examined a copy of the May 1933 issue of Shadoplay, the short-lived younger sibling of Photoplay.

That's because on that issue's inside pages, it ran this story on Lombard:

In case you can't make out the headline, or simply don't want to double-click the image to enlarge it, it reads, "Carole Lombard, our new SHEBA OF SHIVERS!"

Say what?

Okay, the story is meant to promote Lombard's latest film, "Supernatural," a tale of the occult, spiritualism and dead people possessing bodies of the living. It's actually not a bad little film, and Carole has some fine moments in it.

And as far as she was concerned, it was a genre she never wanted to touch again.

Lombard had a painful time making this movie. It was bad enough she felt out of her element making what she deemed to be a programmer, but an earthquake occurred during its filming in March, and it may well have led to one of the most famous anecdotes about Carole (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/6116.html). Now to be perceived as a scare star by a fan magazine -- in fact, the subhead says, "Karloff and Atwill, it's your turn now to quake," telling Boris and Lionel that Lombard "is after your laurels" -- must have brought some unwelcome shivers down her spine.

One senses Carole would have preferred to go back to being known as "the orchid lady" if that were the only alternative to "Sheba of Shivers." And just imagine the things she probably wanted to do to the person who conjured up that headline.

Fortunately for her, she had already made her unease with horror known to Paramount, and while the studio still really didn't know how to properly use her for another two years, she at least avoided that genre.

There are some other fascinating things about this issue of Shadoplay. The cover subject, for example:

It's of a lady named Tala Birell, to which you're probably giving the same response I did: Who? Well, Miss Birell, a 5-foot-6 blonde born in Romania but actually of German descent (her mother was an Austrian baroness, her father a Serbian businessman), had become a stage star in Europe in the late 1920s, so she was brought to America with hopes of becoming another Garbo or Dietrich. Like most other European emigres (e.g., Sigrid Gurie), she never reached those heights, but she appeared in a few films of note -- "The Captain Hates The Sea," John Gilbert's final movie; and "Bringing Up Baby," in which she has a small part. After the war, she went to Germany to both look after her ailing mother and to assist entertainment operations for the U.S. Army. She died in Germany in February 1958 at age 50.

Some better-known stars also join Lombard on inside pages:

On the right side of the first photo is a portrait of Sylvia Sidney, while the second photo, a feature on attractive faces, shows those of Jean Harlow, Frances Dee, Mary Carlisle and Una Merkel.

Seems like an interesting issue, and if you want it, you can buy it on eBay for $19.99. It will be up until 10:07 p.m. (Eastern) tonight if no one buys it first; the seller refers to it as "Acceptable: A book with obvious wear. May have some damage to the cover but integrity still intact. The binding may be slightly damaged but integrity is still intact. Possible writing in margins, possible underlining and highlighting of text, but no missing pages or anything that would compromise the legibility or understanding of the text."

You can learn more about it at http://cgi.ebay.com/HOLLYWOOD-33-TALA-BIRELL-CAROLE-LOMBARD-HARLOW-HEPBURN-/360296084136?pt=Magazines&hash=item53e351f2a8.

Sorry, but I just can't help but smile at the term "Sheba of Shivers." And somewhere, Lombard is laughing about it, too...now.

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