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carole lombard 01

Learn more about 1920s film...daily

Posted by vp19 on 2011.05.23 at 03:39
Current mood: pleasedpleased


Researching film history in general is fascinating for me; when such history involves Carole Lombard, it holds added importance. And towards that end, here's some welcome news involving a site I've mentioned before, the Media History Digital Library (http://www.archive.org/details/mediahistory). The library, whose items include Photoplay from 1925 through 1930, has just added another publication from that era -- the files of Film Daily from 1922 through 1929.



Unlike Photoplay, which was a fan magazine, Film Daily was a trade publication, printed every day but Saturday. (The Sunday issues were traditionally larger and usually featured color in advertising.) It was basically meant for industry executives and theater owners, but there were updates on actors, directors and other personnel as well as brief film reviews on Sundays -- not only for feature films, but many short subjects as well.

It's remarkable to peruse the archives and get an idea of what the film industry was like, especially during 1928 -- when Hollywood began to realize that unlike several previous attempts to make pictures talk, this time sound was not a novelty -- and 1929, when the business was in tumult trying to retool itself for "talkies."

Unlike microfilm, these scans are in full color, and some of the special advertising sections promoting individual studios are dazzling. Check out the June 18, 1929 section on Fox talkies (http://www.archive.org/stream/filmdaily4748newy#page/n1431/mode/2up), and the introduction of Radio Pictures on July 15 (http://www.archive.org/stream/filmdaily4950newy#page/106/mode/2up).

Another advantage of the Media History Digital Library is that these files are searchable. According to David Pierce, the man behind the site (and someone to whom all film researchers owe thanks), here's how it works:

You can start here (http://www.archive.org/details/mediahistory) and choose a volume -- such as this one (http://www.archive.org/details/filmdaily4950newy).

On the left, under "view the book" you can download the PDF and use the built in search function to do text searches. (If you own a copy of Acrobat (not the free reader), you can search across multiplevolumes at the same time.

Or you can open the volume using the "read online" option and there is a search box in the upper right corner.


I used the latter, and discovered that the first reference to Lombard in Film Daily came not in 1925, when she appeared in a few films for Fox, but on Feb. 20, 1927, in the following blurb:

Cameramen's Frolic March 12
The Junior Cameramen's Club is to hold its first annual dance and entertainment at the Hollywood Masonic Temple March 12. Hank Mann will be master of ceremonies assisted by Sammy Blum, Arthur Lake, Sammy Cohen, Nick Stuart, Carol Lombard, George Blandford and Barbara Luddy.


Lombard, trying to make her way back into the industry following her 1926 auto accident, may have hooked up with the Junior Cameramen while trying to learn the tricks of the trade (that's strictly conjecture on my part). The only other name I recognize from that list is Lake, who years later would play Dagwood in the "Blondie" series of films.

Carole's networking must have paid off, because the following ran in the June 24, 1927 issue:

Sennett Plans More Bathing Beauties
Hollywood -- Mack Sennett will feature 12 girls in a series of the "Bathing Beauties" type, which Eddie Cline will direct. Sennett already has chosen Carol Lombard, Anita Barnes, Katherine Stanley, Leota Winter and Marie Tergain for the series.


Two items below the Sennett blurb was an announcement that Greta Nissen had been hired to play opposite John Barrymore in "Tempest." That was the film Lombard had tested for just before her auto accident. But that was in the past, and Carole readied for her new status as a Sennett girl. Here she is in 1928's "Run, Girl, Run," watching diminutive Daphne Pollard kiss her beau:



This week's header features Carole in triplicate. Enjoy.

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