Had Carole Lombard lived longer, it's a good bet she would have made more than one film with James Stewart. They teamed up for a few radio productions -- and ironically, while each appeared on a "Lux Radio Theater" adaptation of "Made For Each Other," neither was with each other -- and while "Made For Each Other," the movie, certainly has its flaws, they aren't because of Lombard, Stewart, or their mutual chemistry. Lombard genuinely liked Stewart...and vice versa.
Stewart is arguably the quintessential American actor; he could excel in virtually any genre, and while he usually played heroic characters, he invariably gave them complexity, making them all the more human. (It's ironic that about the only top actress of his time he never made a film with was Barbara Stanwyck, his equal in versatility.) While several actors, including Lombard, had traded part or all of their salary for back-end profits on a film, Stewart (joining forces with MCA's Lew Wasserman) popularized the practice for good with the 1950 western "Winchester 73."
And Stewart was as genuine off the movie set as he was on it. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, flying a number of combat missions and achieving the rank of colonel. (He remained in the Air Force Reserve after the war, retiring as a brigadier general.) He married, raised a family and became one of the movie colony's most respected citizens. Many of you may recall his visits to "The Tonight Show," including reading poetry he wrote about his dog. When Stewart died in July 1997 at age 89, he was mourned by not only film fans, but America.
Now, Stewart needs our help -- not the man himself, but the museum honoring him in his hometown of Indiana, Pa. (It's across the street from the hardware store his father owned.) As is the case for many museums these days, the struggling economy is hitting the Jimmy Stewart Museum hard. Charter bookings have declined, attendance is off and state funding has been cut.
It's been said the museum needs a miracle a la George Bailey in Stewart's most famous film, "It's A Wonderful Life," and through cash, you can be Clarence. Go to http://www.jimmy.org to learn more; the address is The Jimmy Stewart Museum, 835 Philadelphia St., Indiana, PA 15701.