Carole Lombard loved horses nearly as much as she loved making movies, as this photo from the spring of 1939 makes evident. It was taken at Hollywood Park in Inglewood; we know that from the back:
Let's isolate and clarify the snipe so we can read it; since this is an RKO press release, the snipe was typed on the studio publicity department's rather unique typewriter:
More information: This happened during shooting for her film "In Name Only" (at the time when its working title was "Memory of Love"). The horse posing with Carole is Valley Lass, part of a stable owned by the movie's director, John Cromwell. (By now, Lombard herself could've been a Valley lass, if she and new husband Clark Gable had finally been able to move into the Encino ranch they had purchased.)
We know Clark and Carole regularly played the horses at the Santa Anita track in Arcadia, but it's entirely possible they visited Hollywood Park a few times, too. A few weeks ago, Hollywood Park, racetrack version, itself faded into history when the grandstand was razed. A massive development is set for the site, blending housing, retail, an amphitheater and, most important for Angelenos, a football stadium that likely will host a National Football League team when the project is completed. (Since St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is developing the property, his franchise is expected to return to southern California. The Los Angeles Rams played at the Coliseum after moving from Cleveland in 1946 and stayed there through 1979; the team then spent 15 years sharing Anaheim Stadium with baseball's Angels before moving east.) We'll see what happens with that -- one or both of two other franchises, the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, are eyeing a site in Carson, a few miles south of Inglewood, if one or both teams can't work out a deal for a new stadium in their respective markets.
But let's get back to this rare photograph, an 8" x 10" the seller says is in very good condition ("there are some minor creases at the top edge and the corners"). Bidding begins at $15, with the auction set to end at 11:06 p.m. (Eastern) next Wendesday. If you'd like to ride home a winner with this one or simply are curious, check out http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-with-race-horse-Valley-Lass-at-Hollywood-Park-candid-photo-1939-/231610499081?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item35ed0fc009.
If you're seeing our initial Lombard LiveJournal header for July, Paramount p1202-678, and are thinking to yourself, "Gee, that looks old-fashioned, even for the 1930s," well, you'd be right. Here's the snipe with the explanation for Travis Banton's period design: