Carole Lombard's exciting, albeit tragically abbreviated, life began as Jane Alice Peters Oct. 6, 1908 in the house shown above on 704 Rockhill Street in Fort Wayne, Ind. Now, her hometown is to celebrate Carole's accomplishments -- both professional and personal -- the day before the 106th anniversary of her birth.
The Fort Wayne History Center will hold a free presentation on Lombard at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 at the center at 302 East Berry Street, a building that at one time was its city hall. Specifically, the event will be at the Shields Room, the former council chambers:
The event is entitled "Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3," with Robert Matzen, author of the well-received book. But don't let that title dismay you; this is a celebration of Lombard's life, not her death, just as Matzen's book examines the entirety of her 33-plus years on this planet as much as the tragedy that ended it.
Matzen will do a lecture and presentation, followed by a Q & A. He'll also have two guests who contributed mightily to the success of his book -- my good friend Carole Sampeck of The Carole Lombard Archive, and Marina Gray, another Lombard expert.
But as the old commercial spiel goes, wait -- there's more! Before and after the presentation, tours of the Lombard birthplace will be given. If you've never visited this beautiful Victorian house that was the catalyst for one of entertainment's most beloved and remarkable personalities, you're in for a treat.
There's also more good news from Matzen: Not only is "Fireball" selling well, but he's accumulating even more information about Carole that probably will make its way into a softcover second edition of the book next spring.
"The people who raise their hands for questions test my knowledge and challenge my assertions. They bring new information to the table, like the woman who tipped me off to a significant and forgotten incident in Indianapolis, or the woman in Las Vegas who possessed deeply buried information about Carole Lombard’s faith. This is all new information worthy of the revised trade paperback second edition of 'Fireball' due out next spring.
“The first printing is nearing sellout and demand is still strong. A second printing of 'Fireball' is in order, so why not add in some more facts where possible? I owe it to the 22 souls aboard Flight 3, people I bonded with on the mountain and people who haven’t left me since. I could feel them about me that first night in Santa Monica, and they’ve been nearby many times since. I’ll be curious to see if I feel anything special when I’m standing in the room in which Carole Lombard was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’ll be a special weekend and I invite you to join me there."
Please join Robert, Carole, Marina and other Lombard fans in Fort Wayne Sunday, Oct. 5. It promises to be an incredibly special day.