Carole Lombard so easily epitomized glamour that her informal, sporty side is often overlooked. But several photos that have recently emerged show it -- beautifully.
It's known that Lombard and husband Clark Gable went pheasant hunting in South Dakota in October 1941, and a few pictures from that trip have made the rounds of biographies and other places over the years. But four more photos of the hunting Gables have now been made public:
These were taken on a farm near Roslyn, S.D. (in the northeastern corner of the state, about 35 miles northwest of Watertown) by the daughter of Albert Sorenson, presumably one of the Gables' hosts. Clark and Carole appear comfortable in their pursuit of waterfowl, just like any other couple (only with a lot more money than other couples, thanks to their ability to play other people for fun and profit).
All four are snapshot size for the time, roughly 3 1/2" x 4 1/2". Three bids have already been made on the photos, with the high bid at $16.48 as of this writing; bidding closes at 5:35 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. If you're interested in this artifact of the casual Clark and Carole, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Real-South-Dakota-Photo-Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-/320590663738?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa4b1503a.
Some three Octobers earlier, Lombard had just turned 30, and perhaps she was trying to recapture her tomboyish youth. What other reason would she have to pose for a picture like this?
It's a wonderfully informal image, and here's the caption:
"UP A TREE -- Carole Lombard, who, with James Stewart, is starred in David O. Selznick's production 'Made For Each Other.' Screenplay is by Jo Swerling from a novel by Rose Frankon, and is romantic drama of woman who wanted both career and husband."
It certainly has nothing to do with the movie -- Carole's character isn't shown climbing a tree -- but that may be the point. When newspaper readers saw this photo, they likely wondered why she was doing it ("it's that goofy Lombard again") and it was good publicity for the film. More of the publicity genius of Russell Birdwell.
This is an original 8" x 10" photo from Selznick International Pictures and deemed in very good condition. (I'm also told it's from the collection of "a man who adored Lombard," with "many wonderful photos, vintage magazines and clippings" to become available.) It will be auctioned through 7:03 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday; bidding begins at $34.99, although as of this writing no bids have been made. If you'd like to change that, or are simply curious, visit http://cgi.ebay.com/Original-CAROLE-LOMBARD-Photo-MADE-EACH-OTHER-/200519775707?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eafe8f5db.