It's August 1939, and Carole Lombard -- married to Clark Gable since late March -- is enjoying farm life on the ranch the couple owns in Encino, part of the San Fernando Valley. Today's entry concerns the Valley, but a drastically different version of it in the distant future, after their ranch had been transformed into homes in a subdivision called "Clark Gable Estates," and most of the area surrounding it had turned into suburbia, yet still within Los Angeles city limits.
This entry's subject is a beloved cult film from the '80s which partly takes place in the Valley...an area which by then had become a sort of comic relief, thanks in part to a hit by Frank Zappa and his daughter Moon Unit (fer sure, fer sure). The movie is 1984's "Night Of The Comet," issued several days ago in a deluxe Blu-ray/DVD version:
So what's the Lombard connection, you say? See the character at right? She's a cheerleader from the Valley who, along with her older sister, appear to be the only survivors after a comet passes by Earth:
She's portrayed by Kelli Maroney ("Fast Times At Ridgemont High"), who says in an interview that's among the set's extras that before shooting began, director Thom Eberhardt asked her to watch "My Man Godfrey" to watch the interaction between Carole's character and that of her older sister, played by Gail Patrick. (Catherine Mary Stewart, who portrayed the big sis, was also asked to watch it.)
In other words, imagine Irene Bullock as a Valley girl in a post-apocalyptic world. Now that's a concept.
Despite the subject matter and a subplot involving zombies, "Night Of The Comet" is good-hearted, low-budget fun; its many fans have sought a first-class videodisc release for some time. Looks like it's worth checking out. Incidentally, here's what Maroney looks like today -- she continues working, and last year appeared in the TV movie "Gila!":
Learn more about the film at http://www.popmatters.com/review/176380-night-of-the-comet-blu-raydvd-collectors-edition/.