Fans of one Carole Lombard co-star might have an identity crisis...one I can appreciate.
That picture, of course, shows Lombard with Robert Montgomery in a publicity still from the closing scene of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." It's being auctioned at eBay through just after midnight (Eastern) on Monday; bids open at $7.99, and as of this writing, no bids have been made.
The picture is attractive, but hardly rare. What makes it unusual is that the seller lists it as a "CAROLE LOMBARD Richard Montgomery MOVIE PHOTO." Ah, I thought, things do even out after all.
You see, I am a graduate of Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., shown below, first in the building that I attended, class of 1973 (though the picture is from 1968), then in the current building, opened in 2008 on roughly the same site:
The school was named for the first American general killed in the Revolutionary War, and for whom Montgomery County, Md. (a Washington, D.C. suburb) was named. Richard Montgomery is the county's oldest high school, with a long heritage of academic and athletic excellence; in recent years, it has gained renown for its International Baccalaureate program that attracts students from around the county, and it's a fixture on Newsweek's list of America's top 100 high schools.
It so happened that last year, the Richard Montgomery band was invited to play at the Washington Nationals' home opener (the team's manager at the time, Jim Riggleman, was an RM alumnus, class of 1970). All well and good. But on the TV broadcast, Nationals announcer Bob Carpenter referred to the band as being from "Robert Montgomery High School." Of course, I instantaneously caught the faux pas, but Bob's from Oklahoma and it was probably a slip of the tongue. Still, I thought at the time, one of these days someone will refer to Robert as "Richard," and it will all even out.
And now it has. (The seller didn't know any better, either; he or she hails from Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., which shares Long Island with, among other communities, Rockville Centre -- which has no connection whatsoever to the Rockville in Maryland.)
If you're a Richard, er, Robert Montgomery fan and want this photo, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Richard-Montgomery-MOVIE-PHOTO-/400266367466?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5d31bc11ea.
I'll leave you with this image of Richard Montgomery's 1973 commencement at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House, where I'm one of several hundred on the floor, just waiting for my diploma.