As Rod Serling might say, submitted for your approval...
Imagine an alternate universe where, by some bizarre societal-technical shakeup in the space-time continuum, Carole Lombard and her fellow actors and actresses of that era are not performing in feature films, but on television series. And to further complicate things, the shows they're appearing in are TV series we're aware of in our universe, only recast with those actors.
Your assignment: Put Lombard and her cohorts in a TV series, past or present. This takes a little imagination, to be sure...but this is also sort of fun.
I got this idea from a thread on the Internet Movie Database message board for classic films: http://us.imdb.com/board/bd0000010/flat/86219979
I came up with casting Lombard in...
for a couple of reasons. One, "I Dream Of Jeannie" was a fun show; many years before, its creator, the prolific Sidney Sheldon, had written "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer," starring Cary Grant, Shirley Temple and Myrna Loy. (In addition, Barbara Eden doesn't get enough credit for being a terrific comedic actress.) Two, I think Carole would get a kick out of playing somebody with magic powers. Three, who wouldn't mind seeing Lombard in a genie outfit? (And yes, we'll supply Carole with a brunette wig so she can also play the mischievous Jeannie II.)
The rest of the cast? How about Randolph Scott as Major Nelson, Ralph Bellamy as Major Healey and Edward Everett Horton as Dr. Bellows. (And for those of you saying Major Nelson couldn't be an astronaut in the 1930s, remember that it's possible in this weird alternate universe.)
If your tastes run towards a different kind of magic, let's make Carole a witch instead of a genie, and no, we're not referring to the 2005 Nicole Kidman movie...
especially since it's possible that as a child, Elizabeth Montgomery met Carole while her father Robert was working with Lombard on "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." Carole would make a charmingly demure Samantha.
As for the other principal cast members in a Lombard "Bewitched," since Darrin has always been portrayed by someone named Dick (first York, then Sargent), how about...Dick Powell? (True, he never actually acted with Lombard, but he was a contemporary.) For Samantha's mother Endora, we'll cast Alison Skipworth, who played the mother of Lombard's character in "The Princess Comes Across." For Larry Tate, head of the ad agency where Darrin works, that old reliable character actor, Walter Connolly. And ZaSu Pitts can play befuddled neighbor Mrs. Kravitz.
(Oh, while we're talking about TV witches, I recently read that former "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" star Melissa Joan Hart is now 31 and expecting her second child. Darn, I feel old.)
Perhaps you'd like to star Carole as another character -- anyone from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show's" Mary Richards to "I Love Lucy's" Lucy Ricardo. (Since Lucille Ball always claimed Carole came to her in a dream telling her to go for a television career, it's only fair.) And it doesn't have to be a sitcom, either. Got a good dramatic series where you think Lombard would fit in? Maybe you'd want to put her in something more recent. Whatever, let us know -- and remember to give us the other principal players, too. Let your imagination run wild.