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Dyar and Richee look at Lombard through the lens



Before you watch Carole Lombard on Turner Classic Movies in the restored version of "Nothing Sacred" at 8 p.m. (Eastern) tonight, followed by "To Be Or Not To Be," we have some images of Carole from earlier in her career, taken by two of the era's top photographers. (Above is Lombard with Cecil Beaton, another ace photographer, in 1931.)

There are 14 photos, all from original 8" x 10" negatives on nitrate film. About half of them are new to "Carole & Co." They are from a Profiles In History auction from last December in which some of these negatives went unsold (winning bids for the others were in four-digit dollar sums).

The two picture-takers we're referring to both worked at Paramount, Carole's home studio, so she was a frequent subject. They captured her glamour in all sorts of ways, and these images are stunning.

We'll begin with Otto Dyar, specifically from his first session with Lombard in 1930, made to promote her initial film for the studio, "Safety In Numbers." This is p1202-15, which was not sold:



Next up from Dyar is p1202-145, a "Carole & Co." premiere that also went unsold:



To promote "Sinners In The Sun," Dyar took this, p1202-196. We've seen Carole in this outfit before, but not in this pose (it sold for $2,250):



Another premiere for this site is Dyar's p1202-299, with Lombard on a step wrapped in a fur-lined gown. Despite its beauty, it went unsold:



Here's p1202-325, made by Dyar to help publicize "The Eagle And The Hawk." Lombard is in full profile, unlike p1202-324, where she's wearing the same outfit but faces the camera at a 45-degree angle. (The negative was an auction positive, selling for $2,250.) It's new for "Carole & Co.":



Another newcomer from Dyar for us is p1202-354, also made at the time of "The Eagle And The Hawk." (There is a wholly different p1202-354 circulating, and this could be the rarer pose of that number.) This sold for a whopping $3,000:



The remaining eight images are from Paramount staff photographer Eugene Robert Richee. We'll begin with one he took for "The Eagle And The Hawk," p1202-346, and it sold for three grand as well:



Richee's p1202-382 shows Lombard looking languid, cigarette in hand. It went for a mere $2,000, perhaps proof that smoking stunts your (financial resale) growth:



Then again, p1202-480 -- new to this site -- sold for the same amount. Carole wore the same outfit for p1202-479 in a partial rightward profile, looking up; here, she glances directly at us, resting her hand behind her head:



Next up are three Richee photos from the same session, publicity for her late 1933 film "White Woman"; in fact, they are numbered in consecutive order. The first, p1202-549, is a newcomer here. A stunning shot, one wonders if the hint of Carole cleavage boosted its auction value to $4,000 (it certainly isn't the look on her face, as it appears she's spotted a hornets' nest in the rafters):



P1202-550, a somewhat common image among Lombard collectors, went unsold:



However, p1202-551 had a better fate, selling for four grand as well. Carole may not have had much of a chest, but she certainly knew how to present it:



The auctioneer listed Richee's p1202-607 as promotion for "Twentieth Century," which doesn't make sense because that was a Columbia picture. The background suggests this was also from a "White Woman" publicity session. This slinky shot of Carole's sleek figure went for a cool $3,250:



To close, Richee and p1202-878, a promotion pose for "Now And Forever" (though in the film, I don't think Shirley Temple caught a glimpse of Lombard quite like this). We see Carole's shapely shoulder, with a fabric curtain preventing us from seeing more of her. (Whenever I see this picture, I think back to when David Letterman, in his NBC days, once had Teri Garr shower on his show.) The sight of that Lombard shoulder was enough to sell this negative for $1,000:

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