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carole lombard 05

Lombard vs. Loy: Let's get ready to rumble

Posted by vp19 on 2011.03.04 at 00:41
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

To call it a rout would be an understatement. In the second round of the silents/1930s actress tournament at the "All Good Things" blog, fourth-seeded Carole Lombard -- already up 54-8 after one day -- cruised to a 71-9 victory over fifth-seeded Marlene Dietrich. That means Carole moves on to the semifinals against arguably her most formidable foe to date.

We're referring to Myrna Loy, the ninth seed, who defeated an MGM stablemate for the second straight time. After a surprisingly easy first-round win over Jean Harlow, Loy posted a 60-13 upset over top-seeded Greta Garbo. The other semifinal features 10th-seeded Irene Dunne (who had no trouble in upsetting second seed Barbara Stanwyck, 59-38) against sixth seed Claudette Colbert (a 50-24 conqueror of third-seeded Norma Shearer).

If this were boxing -- a sport Lombard loved to watch -- the Lombard-Loy match would be a contrast in styles. Lombard, with her raucous, manic physical humor, could be the female comedic equivalent of Jack Dempsey. In contrast, the cool, more subtle Loy could be viewed as a Gene Tunney type. (If you're confused by the analogies, in the 1920s Dempsey was a no-holds-barred knockout artist; Tunney was considered a "scientific" boxer, a fighter with finesse rather than a heavy puncher.)

Dempsey and Tunney fought twice, with Gene wresting the heavyweight title from Jack in Philadelphia in 1926 and retaining his crown the following year in Chicago in the controversial "long count" fight. But that's ancient history, and perhaps Carole (who took boxing lessons in her youth from lightweight champion Benny Leonard) can win one for the brawlers. (Hey, remember "Nothing Sacred"?) And you can help.

You should know the drill by now: matches last two days, and you cast your vote by going to http://poohtiger-allgoodthings.blogspot.com/. Polls are expected to open at 6 a.m. (Eastern).

Oh, and while I've long expressed my admiration for Loy -- a talented actress and a fine person -- make no mistake whom I'm backing in this round. After all, this community isn't known as "Myrna & Co."

While we're at it, a reminder to go to the Kitty Packard Pictorial (http://kittypackard.wordpress.com/) for the continuation of the Jean Harlow Blogathon. To date, more than 30 sites have been "blogging for Baby," and the range of entries has been something to behold. One of them is from the splendidly nostalgic "Thrilling Days Of Yesteryear," which examines Harlow's work with Laurel & Hardy -- including the 1929 two-reeler "Double Whoopee," where a mishap involving bellhops Stan and Ollie, a taxi door and a dress caught when it closed enables us to see much more of Harlow's character than she intended. (Not that viewers minded.)

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