vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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From honeymooning cruise to drifting apart

Relatively few Hollywood marriages have divorced with more friendship than Carole Lombard and William Powell. Perhaps both should have realized that they'd make better friends than lovers, but Carole was in her early twenties, eager to get married, while Bill loved Lombard's youthful spirit and zest for life, probably thinking some of that would rub off on him at the same time that his sophistication would rub off on her.

That wasn't the case, and the rise and fall of their two-year marriage is illustrated by these two photos now available from eBay.

We'll begin with a photo issued Aug. 6, 1931 of the couple returning to the mainland after their honeymoon in Hawaii:

The deeply tanned couple are aboard the cruiseliner "City Of Los Angeles." (Ironically, Carole's ill-fated war bond rally in 1942 would begin with an eastbound journey from L.A. to Chicago aboard a train of that name.) Lombard, stockings shining in the sun, looks pleased to be returning home (she was ill for much of the honeymoon), while Powell is proud to show off his new wife to reporters.

The future looked bright, but two summers later, things had changed; to borrow a line from an Everly Brothers song, so sad to watch good love go bad. In July 1933, Lombard announced she was heading to Nevada for six weeks to establish residency there and file for divorce. She was a few weeks into her domicile when this photo, featuring Carole and Bill in happier times, was issued on July 20:

Instead of the headline "HONEYMOONERS!" as in the earlier photo, this one asks the question, "ARE THEY DRIFTING APART?" The answer, of course, was "yes."

Both of these photos were from the Acme Photo syndicate, but this has the imprint of United Press International (which didn't have that name until United Press merged with Hearst's International News Service in 1958). The other one was also in the UPI files, as the seller is a former UPI employee who had been based at Tribune Tower in Chicago; one presumes he is from the South Side of town, because the seller is identified as "soxphotos" (the "Sox" in this instance being White, not Red).

The honeymoon photo is 8" x 6", with bids beginning at $9.99; bidding closes at 9:36 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. For more information, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/1937-Movie-Star-William-Powell-Bride-Carole-Lombard-Honey-Moon-Tan-Ship-Photo-/150822855294?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item231dbe227e.

As for the photo announcing their separation and likely divorce, it measures 7" x 9", has the same $9.99 initial bid, but here bids close at 10:28 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. You can find out more at http://www.ebay.com/itm/1933-Movie-Stars-William-Powell-Wife-Carole-Lombard-Drifting-Apart-News-Photo-/150821794575?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item231dadf30f.

But as we all know, there was a happy ending of sorts. They remained close friends with minimal rancor, among the reasons Powell insisted Lombard get the female lead in "My Man Godfrey" when Universal preferred the flighty Constance Bennett or Miriam Hopkins. And Carole took care of Bill when his health was struggling, such as in 1938 when they reprised their roles on an adaptation of "Godfrey" for "Lux Radio Theater":


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