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A lady with drive: Of Lombard and her license



In the 1928 Mack Sennett short "The Campus Vamp," coed Carole Lombard, still a teenager when this was made, is shown driving a car. It wasn't anything new for her, if information from her California driver's license replacement form is to be believed.

Take a look:




Lombard was applying for a new license, as her last one -- issued in 1929 -- had been stolen.

We learn some intriguing things about her from this form:

* She lists her address as "5451 Marathon," on the Paramount Pictures lot. Why didn't she list it at St. Cloud Road in Beverly Hills, where she resided? Not sure.

* She applied as "Carole Lombard," not Jane Alice Peters, as she'd officially changed her name late in 1936.

* She lists her height as 5-foot-5 1/2, near the top of the long-disputed Lombard height range (Carole's been said to be everything from 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-6), lists her weight as 112 pounds and describes her eyesight and hearing as "excellent."

* She didn't fib on her birthdate, listing it as Oct. 6, 1908 (not 1909 as some publicists had wanted people to believe).

* She writes she has been driving for "15 years" -- which would mean she'd been able to drive a car at age 13, and theoretically could've driven herself to Virgil Junior High School, then at Virgil and 3rd Street. (The school, now Virgi Middle School, now is on Vermont Avenue.) Not sure what limitations, if any, were then placed on juvenile drivers in California.

* She lists both her parents on the rear side of the form, even though her father Frederick had died two years earlier.

* She took tests (and passed both) in Hollywood on March 25, 1937, enabling her license to be successfully renewed. (Whether it was at the DMV or another site is unknown.)



Lombard was quoted as seeing driving as strictly a way to get from point A to point B; unlike second husband Clark Gable, she had relatively little interest in owning a fancy automobile.

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