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'Silver Screen,' August 1937: Clark and Carole, cowboy and cowgirl



Four years ago, Media History Digital Library added the 1930 to 1940 run of Silver Screen to its array of uploaded classic fan magazines, and I promised I'd mine it for Carole Lombard research. As you may know, real life got in the way. (It also didn't help that I erroneously labeled an Oct. 14, 2015 entry with the photo above as from the January 1937 Screen Book. It's now corrected, at https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/826076.html.)

Anyway, many of us have seen images of Lombard and Clark Gable in western wear at William Randolph Hearst's birthday party at Hearst Castle in April 1937:





(That last pic shows Gable and Hearst columnist Walter Winchell swapping professions.)

But did you know there's another pic of Gable and Lombard gettin' ready for the rodeo? It ran in the August '37 Silver Screen:



From seeing that picture, you want to zap yourself back 81 years, walk into the offices of MGM and say these words to Louis B. Mayer: "Clark and Carole in the oater to end all oaters."

Keep in mind that at this time, John Ford's "Stagecoach" had yet to be made, John Wayne was stuck in low-budget westerns and such movies were considered the domain of hayseeds on weeknights and children on Saturday afternoons. Imagine a stylish, romantic Clark and Carole western with humor and sophistication. It might have sent the genre in a substantially different direction, not to mention the careers of Gable and Lombard. (Hey, who needs "Gone With the Wind" when you can have an earlier, upscale, more sensual version of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans -- minus the singing, of course?)

OK, I'm reining in my imagination after letting it briefly run amok. Here's the context the picture was printed in:




Note the magazine says Marion Davies gives a party, but doesn't say for who or where. (Many fans probably knew; while the Hearst-Davies relationship wasn't trumpeted in the press -- Hearst or otherwise -- most certainly were aware.)

More from that issue, which featured the radiant Joan Blondell on the cover:



There's a Lombard ad for Lux, already renowned for its hit "Lux Radio Theater" (although Carole wouldn't debut on the program until May 1938):



She's shown in a two-page spread, "The Searchlights of Good Fortune," which notes how some actors achieve stardom away from their home studio (but understandably steers clear of studio politics and styles):




Lombard's comments on Hollywood fame can be found near the end of this piece, with the rather generic title of "They Enjoy It":






Carole's also peripherally mentioned in the lengthy piece "Volcanic Hollywood," which has absolutely nothing to do with the "big island" of Hawaii:







And not only is Blondell on the cover, but the Warners workhorse is featured in an Elizabeth Wilson "Projections" profile, too:







There are the usual ads for upcoming movies in this issue, but one that really stands out for me is for Paramount's "Easy Living," where Jean Arthur, in her Mary Smith character, describes what it was like to have a $75,000 sable coat land on your head. ("Seinfeld" fans will note a similar gag was used in an one of its episodes.)




And speaking of "Jean," another by that name -- one Arthur had worked with in a 1929 Clara Bow movie -- was curiously absent from this issue. We're speaking of Jean Harlow, of course, whose illness and death in early June must have sent Silver Screen editors into a last-minute makeover. I'm not certain when this issue went to press, but I'm guessing the editors simply decided to delete any mention of her from it. (Does Harlow maven Darrell Rooney know?)
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