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Carole, Gwen and a one-year wonder



This 1930 photo shows Carole Lombard with someone who would gain renown in costume design, although these days she's not as well remembered as Edith Head, Irene or Adrian -- Gwen Wakeling (1901-1982).

While Wakeling never designed for a Lombard film, she frequently worked with Cecil B. DeMille. Lombard may have crossed paths with her when Carole briefly was cast as the female lead in his 1929 movie "Dynamite." (They might already have known each other, as both were practitioners of the Baha'i faith.)

Wakeling was a mainstay at Twentieth Century-Fox, where she designed for stars such as Loretta Young, shown in one of her gowns from 1934's "Born To Be Bad":



Wakeling won an Academy Award in 1949 for her costuming on "Samson & Delilah," and some 16 years later designed one of TV's most iconic outfits -- Barbara Eden's genie costume on "I Dream of Jeannie":



Where is that Lombard-Wakeling image from? According to whomever posted it, the July 1930 issue of Talking Screen magazine, the topic of the rest of this entry as I play fan magazine detective.

I had never heard of the publication, and it wasn't listed in the Media History Digital Library group of fanmags, so it has no online presence. A Google general search proved futile, but moving to Google Images provided some answers...for example, the cover of said July 1930 issue, whose subject was Bebe Daniels:



Also in that issue were portraits of John Barrymore and Ann Harding, who that year starred in the first film version of "Holiday," eight years before Katharine Hepburn (who appeared in the Broadway play) led her own, better-remembered cinematic remake. (Oh, and note the Harding photo is from Pathe's William E. Thomas, best known today for his racy pics of Lombard in the late '20s.):



And there's an article on Greta Garbo finally going the talking route:



I wish I had a link to the Lombard-Wakeling story, as it apparently deals with women's non-acting roles in Hollywood (many of which would decline as talkies developed). Unfortunately, the above three images are the only three supplied from a 2011 Heritage Auction of that issue. This pic of Mary Nolan was published sometime during the magazine's run:



The online site Magazine Data File (http://www.philsp.com) provided additional info, but not very much. It lists Talking Screen as "A movie fan magazine specializing in Talkies which occasionally published some fiction." (Many fanmags of the era ran film-related fiction.) It was from Dell Publishing Co.; its editor was Ernest V. Heyn.

And its tenure: Eight issues, from January 1930 to October 1930.

Perhaps the shaky post-crash economy had something to do with its demise, although America couldn't descend into full-blown depression until the following year. It could be that the publication's very name worked against it: Silents rapidly faded from sight in 1930, as all but a few rural American theaters converted to sound. By year's end, talking pictures were the industry standard.

I'd love to learn more about this magazine, published at a transitional time in Hollywood history, and see if Lombard appeared elsewhere in its files. (As 1930 was a transitional year for Carole as well, I'm a bit skeptical.) In the meantime, here are Talking Screen's seven other covers, beginning with Norma Shearer in January:



Nancy Carroll, in March:



Mary Nolan, in May:



Corinne Griffith, in June:



Anita Page, in August:



Janet Gaynor, in September:



And in its October swan song, Nancy Carroll -- the mag's only two-time cover subject:



Let us hope to soon uncover more of Talking Screen...along with an explanation why it stopped talking.
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