Take this one, for example -- a shot of Carole playing tennis from 1935. It's p1202-1178 (we think; that last digit might be a "3"). What is Paramount trying to promote? With just the photo, we can hazard a few guesses, but thankfully this has a snipe attached to the back:
And here's what it says:
"NOT A BALLET DANCER -- but one of Hollywood's best women tennis players is beautiful Carole Lombard, soon to appear in Paramount's 'Hands Across The Table.' This spirited action picture shows the blonde star during a heated moment of the game."
The image appears more posed than "heated" to me -- if Lombard were 26 years old today, I sense her tennis style would be a bit more aggressive -- but no matter. We learn this was used by the studio to promote "Hands Across The Table," something we might have surmised from the 1935 date, but this confirms things. (But the snipe is accurate; she's not a ballet dancer.)
Another example is a fairly familiar still from one of Carole's more notable films, "Nothing Sacred":
Most longtime Lombard collectors have probably seen that image, of Carole's Hazel Flagg alongside the fine character actor Charles Winninger. What more is there to learn about it? Here's what the snipe says:
"RHUMBA TIME -- Carole Lombard and Charles Winninger break into a rhumba at the conclusion of a gay whirl around New York, in which Fredric March led the way. The picture, 'Nothing Sacred,' co-starring Miss Lombard and March, and directed by William A. Wellman, has New York for its background and is made in technicolor."
Of course, "Rumba," without the "h," was the other Lombard film of 1935. (And were Lombard and Winninger to take "a gay whirl around New York" today, chances are the itinerary would be far different!) But this snipe, composed by Selznick International publicity whiz Russell Birdwell, does its job by promoting the film, its stars and director.
Both of these images are original photographs, and both can be yours through eBay, although the deadline on their sale is just after noon (Eastern) on Friday. The tennis photo is available for $35, at http://cgi.ebay.com/Orig-1935-Pub-Photo-CAROLE-LOMBARD-playing-tennis-/200559527790?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb247876e, while the "Nothing Sacred" image sells for $30 and is at http://cgi.ebay.com/Orig-Carole-LOMBARD-Charles-WINNINGER-NOTHING-SACRED-/200559525932?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb247802c.