Carole Lombard looks a bit perturbed here in this still -- according to a reader of this blog, it's from "The Princess Comes Across," her 1936 Paramount comedy-mystery -- and based upon someone's apparent action at eBay, somewhere in the afterlife she feels perturbed, too.
What would she be upset about? An autograph that turned out to be a fake (not shown here for that reason). I asked Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive, the unquestioned authority on Lombard signatures, and her response was: "In the words of the guard at the Wizard's compound: Not no way, not no how. Not even close. They did make a valiant attempt, but no cigar."
The autograph's style doesn't look authentic, and adding to the skepticism is a statement to the right of the signature, which supposedly came from "an old autograph book at an estate sale several years ago," reading, "1938 or 39? Met Carole on a flight to California from Indiana."
I'm pretty certain Lombard never visited Indiana in '38 or '39; it certainly would have been noted in the press at the time and documented in Wes D. Gehring's fine, Indiana-centered biography of the actress, "Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado." (She may have traveled through the state, and it's possible a flight may have made a stop there, but I'm sure that between the 1930 Fort Wayne visit and the '42 Indy bond rally, she never had Indiana as a destination.)
In short, this autograph simply isn't genuine, and apparently collectors are skeptical, too. The minimum bid for this item (signed in pencil) is an absurdly low $9.99, and no one has bitten. To be fair, the seller isn't entirely sure of its authenticity, either, making this comment: "Looks real, but I don't know. If you are an expert please let me know."
Oh, and Carole has one further comment of her own:
She was tempted to make a stronger gesture, but we dissuaded her.