Just as Carole Lombard and Jean Harlow were good friends (though a photo of them together remains a holy grail), it can safely be said there's a large overlap between Lombard and Harlow fans. So it's with joy that I give good news for those who love "the Baby": She will be the subject of what should be a wonderful book scheduled to come out next March -- the month that marks the centennial of her birth.
I use the word "wonderful" with confidence -- alas, an adjective not always applicable to Harlow books -- because the track record of the authors lends trust to the endeavor. Mark A. Vieira, below left, is an expert on classic Hollywood, specifically the artistry of portrait photographers such as George Hurrell, and Darrell Rooney, below right, is a Harlow historian.
They made pitches to publishers for a book called "Jean Harlow: The Platinum Icon," and one publisher finally said yes -- but the product will be a bit different than what they proposed. Nevertheless, I sense this is more of a redirection than a compromise. Here's the info from Rooney, at the Facebook site "Fans of a Jean Harlow 'Centenary' Book for 2011":
"I am happy to announce that Mark Vieira and I are in the process of writing a slightly different book than the original one we pitched. This pictorial bio is called 'Jean Harlow's Hollywood: The Platinum Blonde in the Glamour Capital.' It will come out next March. It's going to be full of tons of behind-the-scenes photos so stay tuned for future updates. Thanks again everyone."
The concept sounds tantalizing -- lots of photos of Harlow, probably both at work and at play. While there likely will be many portraits of Jean as well, I like the emphasis on the more informal side of her (just as many prefer seeing informal shots of Lombard or Marilyn Monroe, to name two other blonde icons). Since Harlow and her heritage should be front and center among classic Hollywood fans next March (if Turner Classic Movies doesn't make her star of the month for March 2011, as it did for Carole's centennial in October 2008, someone should be held accountable), this book should sell quite well and be a welcome addition to anyone's coffee table. (Now I'm thinking about the "Seinfeld" episode where Kramer appeared on "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee" to promote his coffee table book about...coffee tables.)
In honor of Harlow, and the forthcoming book, how about getting you in the mood with some photos of Jean...from the "We Love Jean Harlow Fanclub" site on Facebook:
And finally, a pair of two-strip Technicolor frames from "Hell's Angels," as well as Harlow's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:
On behalf of just about every Lombard fan, congratulations to Vieira, Rooney and Harlow fans everywhere.