With today being Halloween -- a holiday Carole Lombard is honoring above -- it seemed appropriate to run this, arguably one of the most offbeat entries that's ever appeared at "Carole & Co." I may have some skepticism about this story, but I'll leave the final judgment on its validity to each reader. If you don't believe it, don't mock its source but merely look upon it as a sort of supernatural Halloween tale. Fair enough?
The concept of past lives lends itself to easy Shirley MacLaine jokes (and to her credit, much of the time the wonderful Shirley can joke about it herself). If it really is the case, who knows who we used to be (although it sure seems that we used to be someone famous or notable a disproportionate amount of the time). Last year, we did an entry on actress Emma Roberts (Julia is her aunt), who said a psychic had told her she was Carole reincarnated (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/313663.html).
This is about a man named Matt Burns, who writes and directs films and videos and earlier this year wrote his first novel. According to him, metaphysical research has revealed he has lived 32 past lives, in various parts of the world and just about all of them lives of non-celebrity.
There is one exception, however.
Burns had a sense that one of his earlier lives had been in California, so through a practice called "dowsing," which involves a pendulum and some "yes" or "no" questions, he asked whether he had been in Hollywood and got "a very strong yes."
"Then I asked whether I was an actor. Yes. And whether I was in silent pictures. A weak 'yes'. And whether I was in 'talkies' (i.e. movies with sound and dialogue). A much stronger 'yes'. And whether I was famous. Yes.
"At this point, my mind raced with possibilities. I went through a few names like John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin and even Ed Wood. But I got 'no's' in response to all of them. Plus, I didn't really feel that I was any of these people, anyway (though it would have been cool if I was). I searched my mind for more names, but after a few seconds it hit me that maybe I wasn't even a male actor. It occurred to me that I may have been an actress. After all, it's not unusual for a male to have had a past life at some point as a female."
According to Burns, the dowsing indicated he had been an actress, had been famous and died young, but not via drugs, so Marilyn Monroe was out. So the next actress who came to mind was...
"Was I Carole Lombard in my past life?" I asked the pendulum.
Yes. A very strong YES.
I think all of us would have had a similar reaction.
While Burns works in the entertainment industry, he's hardly a classic movie buff. As he puts it,
"Now, I should just say right now that I hardly knew anything about Lombard until her name came up from the dowsing. I was never drawn to her in any way, nor was I fan of her work. And I never had seen one single movie that she was in. To tell you the truth, I wasn't even sure Lombard was an actress. I knew she was at least a socialite who was -- at one time -- married to Clark Gable. I knew she had died in a tragic plane crash as well. But I really didn't know anything other than that. I would have never (and I mean NEVER) suspected that I was Carole Lombard in my past life, not in a million friggin' years! So it was incredibly strange to have her name pop into my head. I mean, it's not like -- on a subconscious level -- I WANTED to be Lombard and this is why her name came up. I would have much rather preferred discovering I was Charlie Chaplin, or maybe Humphrey Bogart or any other MAN (yes, MAN!)"
Seeking confirmation -- or at least clarification -- Burns went to a medium, who told him, before he cited any Lombard connection, "When I look at you there's two people coming through very strongly: Howard Hughes and Jack Parsons [an aviator who was Hughes' assistant]." Of course, Hughes and Lombard apparently had a brief, passionate relationship in the late 1920s, and Carole may well have lost her virginity to him.
There's much more to the Burns story, including some rather unsavory things that may have happened during Lombard's life that she supposedly kept to herself. I really don't feel comfortable discussing them here, but if you want to see his whole story -- which includes audio clips of several of his psychic meetings -- go to http://www.mattburnsproductions.com/subpage94.html.
It was 73 years ago today -- Oct. 31, 1938 -- that Lombard made her second appearance on the CBS series "Lux Radio Theater." This time, instead of adapting an earlier triumph of hers ("My Man Godfrey"), Carole acted on someone else's turf...specifically, Bette Davis, playing the lead in an adaptation of Bette's 1937 film, "That Certain Woman." The cast also includes Basil Rathbone and Jeffrey Lynn, and it's fascinating to hear Lombard attempt a role she didn't do on screen. You can listen to it at http://www.mediafire.com/?y0ky1uzmmkn.
This week's header shows Lombard and George Raft in the first of their two dance movies, "Bolero" from early 1934.