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Picture Play online? That's all right, MOMA

carole lombard picture play july 1932 cover

Viewing fan magazines of Carole Lombard's era provides insight into both Carole's career and the movie industry of the time. Now, an extended run of a top publication of the period is available for viewing online. It's Picture Play, Street & Smith's contribution to the genre. The run of July 1929 to June 1931, as well as all of 1932 and '33, can now be seen -- including covers and ads in their original color. For this we can thank New York's Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), which stored copies in its library as part of its extensive film coverage.

Picture Play, founded in 1926, was never a serious challenger to more established rivals such as Photoplay, as it failed to post a consistent tone (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/195126.html). Nonetheless, it has some fascinating stories and photos, and now that we've uncovered this treasure, we'll excavate some of it in upcoming weeks, such as this still, taken by Paramount's Otto Dyar, from June 1931:

carole lombard picture play june 1931c
carole lombard picture play june 1931 closeup

We isolated and enlarged the caption to show one notable idiosyncrasy of Picture Play -- its refusal to refer to Lombard as "Carole." In mid-1931, when she had adopted the Carole moniker for good for less than a year, that opinion might have been understood, but the magazine kept calling her "Carol" through at least 1933 (in fact, there's no "e" on a Lombard Picture Play cover from August 1935!). By 1938, though, the magazine finally acquiesced and called her Carole. (And "there's no such cognomen as Carole"? Had they paid attention to Lombard's career up to 1928?)

Once you get past that, there's some splendid stuff here. For example, here's its first extended article on Lombard, from August 1929 (when she really was "Carol"), called "A Fire-alarm Siren":

carole lombard picture play aug 1929 a fire alarm siren 01a
carole lombard picture play aug 1929 a fire alarm siren 02a

Nice little anecdote about Lombard and Joseph P. Kennedy near the end, though there's also a major chronological error in that her automobile accident took place after she joined Mack Sennett. Moreover, it said she didn't do Cecil B. DeMille's "Dynamite" because Pathe called her back for work (actually, she was fired). Oh, and there's a large portrait of her as well:

carole lombard picture play aug 1929 a fire alarm siren 00b

Hope that gets you hungry for more Lombard Picture Play articles. To browse through the 1929-33 online output, visit http://archive.org/search.php?query=Picture%20Play%20AND%20collection%3Aamericana; the volumes are right at the top.
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