Over the past few days, I've felt a bit hypocritical regarding "Carole-tennial(+3)", the Carole Lombard blogathon I've sponsored and hosted. Why? Because while we've received more than 20 entries so far (and hope to get several more), my own contributions have been limited to compiling what other people have written. Overseeing the blogathon is important in and of itself, but what good is hosting a party if you're not going to provide a gift for it?
Thankfully, Tally Haugen and her colossal box of Carole clippings have come to the rescue.
More than four years ago, "Carole & Co." did an entry about an "imaginary story" in the February 1939 issue of Movie Mirror that detailed Lombard's "marriage" to James Stewart, co-star of her latest movie, "Made For Each Other" (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/22767.html):
At the time, the concept -- and the cover -- was amusing, but that's all we had to work with. But whomever organized the box Tally acquired had cut out the story; now, more than 72 years later, Lombard and Stewart fans can immerse themselves in this weird alternate universe.
Before entering the story, from the (very) fertile imagination of Ida Zeitlin, the editor offers this caveat:
"Carole Lombard and Jimmy Stewart are not married. They are not engaged. They are not in love with each other. For all we know to the contrary, they've never gone so far as the corner drugstore together for an ice cream soda. This story is purely imaginary, written in a spirit of lightheartedness, with prejudice to none, with good will to all, for the entertainment of our readers and -- we hope -- of Miss Lombard and Mr. Stewart as well. So we draw our imaginary curtain."
Whew; some readers not quite in touch with reality might construe this tale as fact. Or imagine the lawsuit that could develop if Clark Gable, Lombard's soon husband-to-be, were accidentally bumped on the head, lost part of his memory, read this piece and proceeded to give Stewart a severe beating for robbing him of his girl...
Anyway, the story (featuring Carole's longtime buddy Fieldsie and her husband, director Walter Lang in supporting roles), is charming. Lombard -- whose speech style Zeitlin captures beautifully -- tells her ersatz hubby, "You know you're just as crazy as I am, Jimmy, only quieter about it."
The story apparently ends in a zoo, where animal lover Carole is certain a tiger is asking the couple to adopt it. (Perhaps it knows that Stewart is a Princeton grad, and thus would have an inherent fondness for tigers.) The tale possibly goes on to another page; it ends on a complete paragraph, so we don't know one way or the other.
I've never heard about any reaction to this "what if" from either Carole or James, but I'm guessing both were amused by the very concept. They had good acting chemistry, as "Made For Each Other" and several radio performances made clear, but good domestic chemistry is something else altogether.