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'Made' to beat the heat in Cincinnati

carole lombard made for each other 34c

This role, with James Stewart in "Made For Each Other," would be as close as Carole Lombard ever came to experiencing motherhood. But her sudden, unfortunate passing would be sometime in the future for audiences in the first few months of 1939...and after Carole's marriage to Clark Gable in March, children indeed were seen as a likely part of Lombard's future.

Now an artifact from that spring is available via eBay -- an artifact from a place where spring often felt as hot as summer, especially in those pre-air conditioning days. It's the Avon Theater in Cincinnati, Ohio.

carole lombard made for each other program avon cincinnati 00a
carole lombard made for each other program avon cincinnati 01acarole lombard made for each other program avon cincinnati 02a

Jane Withers still is with us...wonder if that remains her favorite picture? And an apology to our Asian friends regarding the stereotypical Chinese dialogue used in the Torchy Blane ad.

The Avon was one of Cincinnati's "nabes," or neighborhood theaters...and when the neighborhood fell on hard times, so did the Avon. It closed in the late 1950s, became a church building for a while, and as of November 2009 was vacant:

cincinnati avon theater 00

This herald measures 8" x 9" unfolded, and the seller says it's in "nice condition for its age." The seller notes it's one of more than 100 recently acquired vintage heralds...and let's hope a few of them feature Lombard films.

The Avon herald has an opening bid of $9.99, and bidding is scheduled to close at 11:57 a.m. (Eastern) next Saturday. Interested...or curious? Then go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/1939-Movie-Herald-MADE-FOR-EACH-OTHER-CAROLE-LOMBARD-plus-KARLOFF-and-more-/121301282672?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c3e1eaf70.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering -- while it's possible anyone who went to the Avon to see "Made For Each Other" in May of '39 followed it up with a hearty serving of Cincinnati chili, it isn't all that likely. The beloved Cincinnati version of the dish, invented in 1922 at a hot dog stand that soon became known as the Empress, didn't really become a regional favorite until after World War II, when a former Empress employee founded Skyline Chili, now the largest of the chili parlor chains. In the '60s, Gold Star Chili came on the scene, and those three firms dominate chili sales in the Queen City. It's become as identifiable with Cincinnati as cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia or fish tacos to San Diego.

I'm a longtime fan of many forms of chili, and what makes Cincinnati's style so distinctive is that it has a thinner consistency and is prepared with an unusual blend of spices that includes cinnamon, chocolate or cocoa, allspice, and Worcestershire. Sounds offbeat to the neophyte, but the proof is in the tasting. If you don't see Skyline Chili in cans or in the freezer at your local supermarket, here's a recipe to make this Cincinnati favorite at home, from http://whatscookingamerica.net/:

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Yields:
6 to 8 servings
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 90 min

Ingredients:
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound extra-lean ground beef (hamburger)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa or 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 (16-ounce) package uncooked dried spaghetti pasta
Toppings (see below)

Preparation:
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion, ground beef, garlic, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, unsweetened cocoa or chocolate, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and transfer onto individual serving plates (small oval plates are traditional). Ladle Cincinnati chili mixture over the cooked spaghetti and serve with toppings of your choice. Oyster crackers are served in a separate container on the side.

Toppings:
Oyster crackers
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped onion
Kidney beans (16-ounce) can

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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Cincinnati chili lovers order their chili by number. Two-, three-, four- or five-way. Let your guest create their own final product.

Two-way chili: Chili served on spaghetti
Three-way chili: Additionally topped with shredded cheddar cheese
Four-way chili: Additionally topped with chopped onions
Five-way chili: Additionally topped with kidney beans
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Carole contributes to the heat (with the help of photographer Eugene Robert Richee) in our latest Lombard LiveJournal header, Paramount p1202-382.
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