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carole lombard 02

Teen bride in 'Transit'

Posted by vp19 on 2011.01.11 at 00:41
Current mood: impressedimpressed

In late 1928 or early 1929, Carol Lombard -- then about 20 -- posed in bridal wear for Pathe. Perhaps the studio had an eye on wedding sections in newspapers, and believed this picture could win some attention for their starlet.

But dressing up in such an outfit was nothing new for Lombard; she had done it several years earlier, when she was all of 16.


No, not in real life -- we're talking about the movies...specifically, her second film before the cameras, and her first as Carol Lombard (as we've stated beforehand, the "e" in her first name didn't arrive for good until 1930). It was a movie for Fox called "Marriage In Transit," and while it's lost (as are seemingly all of Carole's films prior to her 1926 automobile accident), an artifact from it is now being auctioned.

We're referring to this lobby card, which measures 11" x 14" (double-click on it, and you can see it at roughly its actual size):

As we noted, when this film was made in early 1925, Lombard was 16 years old and had yet to reach the halfway point of her brief life. So what is someone of her tender age doing playing a bride? Well, her character was likely a few years older, and since it was found younger women photographed well for the cameras, they were often cast as more mature types.

The look on Lombard's face conveys considerable seriousness, in her mind likely befitting someone preparing to walk down the aisle. (Also note the statue behind her, which appears to be anatomically correct.) It's possible one or both of the little bridesmaids in the picture are still with us, though they would be in their early 90s. As to where this was taken, it was probably the Fox lot.

This is from Heritage Auction Galleries, which lists the item under "comedy" (hey, that's what Lombard was known for, right?). Actually, accounts of the plot list it as a melodrama, a vehicle for Edmund Lowe; he plays dual characters, and Carol marries the good guy, a secret agent out to expose the bad guy she thought she was marrying. (The lobby card shown below, with Lombard's character marrying Lowe's, is not being auctioned.)

In the April 11, 1925 Motion Picture News, reviewer Lawrence Reid said Lombard "displays good poise and considerable charm." Truth be told, she was a bit in over her head, and Fox quickly relegated her to western programmers, where she could develop her skills in a less demanding environment.

The card being auctioned has some minor stains and wear from age (it's nearly 86 years old!), but is nonetheless attractive, in fine-plus condition. It's a rarity from the dawn of Lombard's career.

As of this writing, there are three bids on this lobby card, topping at $24. Bidding continues through 11 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. If you're interested in this item, visit http://movieposters.ha.com/common/view_item.php?Sale_No=511013&Lot_No=53278.

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