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carole lombard 02

Of Hitchcock and his cattle

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.24 at 07:30
Current mood: distresseddistressed

Carole Lombard was an admirer and close friend of director Alfred Hitchcock, so much so that when she married Clark Gable and they bought a home in Encino, she rented her Bel-Air residence to the British emigre. Did that mean she was immune from Hitch's notorious mind games with actors? Far from it, despite the joviality he and Carole display with Robert Montgomery on the set of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

For proof, note this Hedda Hopper snippet from her Los Angeles Times column 79 years ago yesterday, Sept. 23, 1940:

Hopper, a former actress, worked with Carole in the 1929 film "The Racketeer" and had a cameo in her "Nothing Sacred" eight years later. Some stills from that restaurant scene Hopper described:

The cat probably received better treatment than Lombard or Montgomery did. Then again, Hitch was renowned for comparing actors to cattle.

And while Hitchcock apparently didn't have the actors film the winter scene in shorts, he may have persuaded Lombard to pose for this almost certainly censored publicity still as a favor:

Yes, working as a Hitchcock actor was never easy. (Ask Tippi Hedren.) Lombard and Gene Raymond found out firsthand during this midway scene:

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'Mom' is turning seven, and Bob (hearts) who?

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.23 at 02:23
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Had Carole Lombard lived into the post-World War II era, might she have pursued a career in the new medium of television, as her RKO stablemate Lucille Ball did to spectacular success? Both "Fireball" author Robert Matzen and I believe so; each of us conjecture the path she might've taken in TV (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/727816.html).

Now that the Emmys have been awarded, a new TV season is about to begin, and my favorite TV genre is one that's received short shrift from Emmy in recent years -- the multi-camera sitcom. (Heck, the awards have ignored nearly all traditional network fare for some time now.) There's nothing like a well-written comedy filmed before an audience, an environment that spurs on many actors; I know firsthand from attending episodes of several series.

One of TV's most successful multi-cam creators is Chuck Lorre, whose hits include "Dharma & Greg," "Two And A Half Men" and the recently concluded "The Big Bang Theory." Two of his series elicit special interest from me this week.

Over the years, I've made no secret of my fondness for "Mom," the terrific sitcom about a mother and daughter in recovery and their support-group buddies. It enters its seventh season this Thursday (CBS, 9/8c), already assured of an eighth season in 2020-2021. (It's now the oldest of all CBS sitcoms.) For longtime fans who remember how "Mom" barely survived its freshman year, it's still a blessing.

This season, Kristen Johnston -- who herself is in recovery, something she has written about -- becomes a full-fledged cast member as Tammy, a former alcoholic trying to find herself after her release from prison. But don't worry, her character is funny (as is the rest of the cast, headed by Anna Faris as Christy and Allison Janney as her mother Bonnie).

With an elite corps of sitcom writers, "Mom" can be side-splittingly funny, but every now and then will throw you an emotional curve. Here's the cast at a table read, with writers and producers at the end of the long table:

Tonight, a new Lorre series premieres (CBS, 8:30/7:30c), "Bob (Hearts) Abishola." What? Well, Bob (Billy Gardell, the Mike of Lorre's "Mike & Molly") is a Detroit compression sock manufacturer who has a heart attack and is cared back to health by Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku), a Nigerian immigrant raising her young son in this new land. He's smitten by her no-nonsense attitude and pursues her.

It's a romantic comedy with both interracial and cross-cultural overtones. But at a television critics' convention this summer, Lorre said while the show isn't expressly political, it salutes American immigrants of all ethnicities. He wore an "IMAG" hat at the gathering, which he said stands for "immigrants make America great."

Lorre (second from left with co-creator Gina Yashere, Gardell and Olowofoyeku) said, "People come here and work their asses off. That's a story worth telling. ... We're all the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren of immigrants." (OK, some Native Americans might dispute that statement.) Yashere, who also has a supporting role on the show, is of Nigerian descent, but was born and raised in Great Britain, where she became a noted stand-up comic.

(A note to "Mom" fans: Matt L. Jones, who played Christy's ex Baxter on its first few seasons, has a supporting role in this series. Get in good with Lorre, and you'll get plenty of work.)

Will this premise with promise win viewers? We'll have to see. Lorre has lots of clout at CBS, though the absence of "The Big Bang Theory" may weaken his status at the network a bit. For now, I'll be watching.

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Glamour out of fashion

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.22 at 14:07
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

We often note how timeless Carole Lombard was, and that's accurate; in many ways, her sensibilities are remarkably modern. At the same time, we must admit that a Lombard born in the late 1980s or early '90s would probably have a mindset far removed from her actual self. Growing up with substantially different values, how could she not?

A 2019 Lombard almost certainly wouldn't smoke, for instance, especially if she exhibited the same active, athletic lifestyle as the actual original. And unlike what we see above, her fondness for animals probably would prevent her from wearing fur. California recently voted to ban the sale of new fur products (https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-11/fur-sale-ban-california-passes-legislature). Our imaginary contemporary Carole probably would favor the move.

What sort of fur is it? We learn from a snipe on the back side:

The animal who met its demise (which it probably wouldn't consider "glorious") was that industrious creature, the beaver. Can't read it? Here's a close-up for proof:

The photo looks to be from 1935, meaning if Lombard were of similar age today, she'd have been born in 1992 or 1993. It's from Hearst's International News Service and the King Features Syndicate.

This original 8" x 10 1/4" pic, from the Lester Glassner collection, is in very good/fine condition. It can be bought straight up for $59.95, or you can make an offer; go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIGINAL-FASHION-PHOTO-FUR-INTERNATIONAL-NEWS-VG-FN-1930s/264458020384?hash=item3d92ed2620:g:GWYAAOSww4lddQhT to find out more.

Would a 2019 version of Carole show any historical interest in such photos, or would she recoil at the thought of even collecting them? The mind reels at the possibilities.

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Carole & Coop: 'I Take' these pictures

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.21 at 07:58
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Two original Paramount publicity stills from the 1931 Carole Lombard-Gary Cooper feature "I Take This Woman" now are available via auction at eBay.

First, this shot of the ordinarily rough-hewn Coop breaking into Manhattan socialite Carole's dance with her partner:

It's trimmed to 7 3/4" x 9 3/4", and a tiny bit of the bottom right corner has been torn off. Bids begin at $61.99, with the auction set to close at 10:03 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. To bid or learn more, go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/Gary-Cooper-Carole-Lombard-I-Take-This-Woman-VINTAGE-PHOTO/362757756856?hash=item54760c17b8:g:6UgAAOSwzXtdgZBx.

$61.99 is also the opening price for this pic below. The seller included a watermark, so here it is in both a full version with it and a cropped one without:

Now on Gary's western turf, Carole's character Kay Dowling is probably thinking to herself, "Oh deer, what a welcoming gift." (This assumes characters can think in puns.)

It's untrimmed at 8" x 10". You have slightly more time to bid, as the auction doesn't close until 8:38 p.m. (Eastern) Friday. All the information is available at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-holds-a-deers-head-Gary-Cooper-I-Take-This-Woman-VINTAGE-Photo/372777919199?hash=item56cb4ba2df:g:plQAAOSwAzFdhXEG.

Nice stills, especially since until the film's rediscovery in the 1990s, we sadly believed these were all we had of this collaboration between two Hollywood legends (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/45444.html).

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Announcing a 'banner' blogathon

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.20 at 00:59
Current mood: excitedexcited

How many of you remember the "Carole-tennial +3!"? That's what I called my Carole Lombard blogathon in October 2011, the 103rd anniversary of her birth, back when I was in my mid-50s and a copy editor in Virginia.

Nearly eight years have passed since I hosted it; now I'm effectively in my mid-60s, live in Los Angeles and am crazy enough to believe I can make a living as a screenwriter. I've hosted other blogathons, and participated in Lombard-related ones, but haven't hosted another dedicated to Carole.

Until now, that is. (OK, just under four months from now.) That's because next January, I'll co-host...

Note I wrote co-host, because my Australian Facebook friend Crystal Kalyana Pacey came up with the idea and invited me to co-host. Of course I said yes. Crystal's an old hand at blogathons and has hosted several, including one set for November to honor Lauren Bacall:

We've decided to title it "The Carole Lombard Memorial Blogathon," since it will begin on Jan. 16, 2020 -- the 78th anniversary of Lombard's passing. However, this will be a joyous event. Since Carole & Co. began in June 2007, we have focused on how Lombard lived, not how she died.

As this was Crystal's baby, I first list her blog, "In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood" (https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/) before mine on the banners. Did I say banners? Yes, and plenty of them; when it comes to Carole, I can't stop. Below are 10 more banners -- horizontals, verticals, some in color, some in black and white, banners with Clark Gable and William Powell. Choose your favorite(s) to promote the event, and resize if necessary.

Crystal will set up the ground rules, which I'll copy in a later entry, but we've agreed on a one-duplicate policy, In other words, two people can write on a single topic or film, but no more. Fortunately, there are all sorts of Lombard-related topics to explore, so you shouldn't have difficulty coming up with something.

OK, here are those 10 other banners:

Start thinking of topics you'd like to write about,,.then write.

carole lombard 04

'Life' goes to a Lombard movie

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.19 at 07:53
Current mood: amusedamused

"Swing High, Swing Low," the third of four teamings of Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray, received a big push from Paramount. (And it paid off -- the film became the studio's biggest moneymaker for all of 1937.) Part of it included an ad in the new media sensation, Life magazine, which debuted the previous fall. The ad mimicked the magazine's style, and was noted in trade magazine publicity (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/663179.html):

Now the issue it appeared in, from Feb. 22, 1937, is available from eBay:

The magazine was full of the striking photojournalism Life already was famed for, including subjects such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, touring black concert singer Marian Anderson and the looming threat from Nazi Germany:

The popular feature "Life Goes To A Party" was at Dartmouth College's famed Winter Carnival, and domestic coverage included a shot of the nearly complete Golden Gate Bridge:

And there were other ads too, including for Studebaker and Chesterfield:

"--for the good things smoking can give you." Yes, this was more than two decades before the Surgeon General's report.

The issue is in "acceptable" condition. You can buy it outright for $7.99 or bid, beginning at $5.99. In that case, the auction would end at 10:20 p.m. (Eastern) Sept. 28. To buy or bid, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/LIFE-MAGAZINE-February-22-1937-HITLER-Barcelona-CAROLE-LOMBARD-Bayards-Bones/274015329738?epid=85156826&hash=item3fcc961dca:g:OFoAAOSwL9paWPo0.

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An 'elopement' announced in Chicago

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.18 at 21:44
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

I've never seen this photo of Carole Lombard and Clark Gable before, but it's from before March 30, 1939. That's because it was used in that morning's Chicago Daily Tribune as it announced their semi-surprise wedding:

Don't see it right away? It's in the upper right-hand corner of the front page:

I'm guessing the Gables' "honeymoon plans" were a ruse. (At least it didn't include Oatman.)

This complete, 42-page issue is said to be in excellent condition, as it was printed for institutional holdings.

You can purchase it for $42. It's at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Actor-CLARK-GABLE-Actress-Carole-Lombard-MARRIED-Weds-Marry-1939-Old-Newspaper/372534580018?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D60037%26meid%3Db905869aa81b4d2ea9d7a0c8945c391d%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D153645485023%26itm%3D372534580018%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851.

carole lombard 02

Fans before foes

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.17 at 08:51
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

Carole Lombard's last full day of life, Jan. 15, 1942, was spent exhorting residents of her native state of Indiana to back the war effort by buying bonds. It likely didn't come to her mind -- not that it would've mattered to her -- that she had many fans in the nations she was urging America to fight.

It was true in Germany, where U.S. studios, most run by Jews the Nazis despised, had run into censorship problems even before World War II broke out in September 1939. And it was also true in Japan, a small but thriving market for Hollywood, not long before the Pearl Harbor attack in December.

For proof, see this photo of Lombard...from a Japanese magazine:

The photo cites "They Knew What They Wanted," but I believe it to be an RKO publicity still, not a scene from the film released late in 1940. The magazine was titled Screen Pictorial, and here are its front and back covers:

Still not convinced it's from Japan in 1941? Take a look at this...

...not to mention these:

Note the James Stewart pic promotes the anti-Nazi film "The Mortal Storm."

The seller, from Japan, has several issues from this period for auction at eBay. Bids for this one begin at $22.99, with the auction closing at 9:27 p.m. (Eastern) Monday. Bid or learn more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/Deanna-Durbin-Helen-Parrish-Alice-Faye-Carole-Lombard-Norma-Shearer-Greta-Garbo/153645494641?hash=item23c5fc3171:g:Z2AAAOSw-AJdgDZX.

Yet another example of how tenuous relations between nations can be.

carole lombard 01

Lombard by Thomas, but hardly racy

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.16 at 08:34
Current mood: artisticartistic

Link "Carole Lombard" with "William E. Thomas," her primary Pathe photographer, and these are the images your mind conjures up: "artistic," sexy pictures of a girl at or about 20 -- commercial erotica for the late 1920s.

But Thomas photographed Lombard in all sorts of moods and settings, where any sexuality offered was somewhat sublime. This, for instance:

OK, we see a glimpse of stockinged leg, no big deal by 1929. But it shows Carole (reading fan mail, perhaps?) didn't need to expose plenty of skin to show off her beauty. And the back of the image verifies it's from Thomas:

Another from the George Smoots collection, it's an 8" x 10" glossy single-weight in excellent condition.

It's up for auction at eBay, with bids beginning at $29.95. The auction is scheduled to end at 10:16 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. Want to get in on the action? Go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Original-Vintage-1920s-THOMAS-Stamp-PATHE-PORTRAIT-Photo/143365872128?hash=item2161459a00:g:4ioAAOSwCdxdZKsb.

Maybe pictures like this from Thomas were why Lombard was getting so much fan mail:

carole lombard 07

Is there vision to open 'Virtue'?

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.15 at 09:15
Current mood: curiouscurious

Many deem "Virtue" Carole Lombard's best pre-Code film (while "Twentieth Century" was released shortly before the Production Code was strictly enforced in mid-1934, it really belongs in the screwball category). As a streetwalker trying to go straight, only to have her past catch up with her, Carole -- making her first of five films for Columbia -- infuses her character with a toughness rarely evident at her home base of Paramount. Pat O'Brien, as the cabbie who becomes her husband, provides fine support.

But fans of the film have long wondered about its beginning, where we hear a judge order Lombard's character out of New York for prostitution. Note the phrase "we hear" -- we don't see anything on screen aside from darkness. Was this intentional, or was the scene filmed and then (visually) cut out?

Proponents of the latter theory now have ammunition. A lobby card apparently showing the scene has surfaced:

The image, obviously hand-tinted, shows Carole's Mae in the center, directly above the pitcher of water at the judge's table. But was this actually filmed and then cut, or was it posed to create a lobby card? That's the question.

A slight correction: Methot didn't marry Bogart until 1938.

carole lombard 06

'Safety' in an unauthorized DVD

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.14 at 07:58
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Barely remembered today, 1930's "Safety In Numbers" turned out to be a pivotal picture for Carole Lombard. It was her first film at Paramount, as she played one of three Follies girls hired to chaperone young millionaire Charles "Buddy" Rogers around New York. (Lombard had worked with Rogers before, playing an unbilled bit part in the 1927 Mary Pickford vehicle "My Best Girl.")

Director Victor Schertzinger was so impressed by Carole's performance he suggested the studio sign her to a contract, which it did. A nice comeback for an actress dumped by Pathe the previous autumn, perhaps for looking too much like its recently signed blonde ingenue Constance Bennett (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/930067.html).

"Safety In Numbers" has never received an authorized DVD release, but in 2006 a firm named Loving The Classics released a version. I've never seen it, and thus can't comment on its quality, but a copy is now on sale at eBay.

Rogers sings a few songs, including "My Future Just Passed" (later a standard of sorts) and the curiously titled "I'd Like To Be A Bee In Your Boudoir." And as the photo at top confirms, you see many shots of Lombard and pals in lingerie.

According to the seller, it's used, but in very good condition "and plays through perfectly."

The DVD sells for $11.99. To purchase or learn more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/SAFETY-IN-NUMBERS-Carole-Lombard-music-DVD-Josephine-Dunn-1930-Kathryn-Crawford/401881504595?hash=item5d92011b53:g:M5MAAOSw6kBdebDY.

carole lombard 05

A little Lombard and a lot of 'Movie Humor'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.13 at 18:15
Current mood: flirtyflirty

Carole Lombard is pictured with castmate Mayo Methot in this Columbia publicity still from 1932's "Virtue" (to be honest, I don't recall this scene in the film). It ran in an issue of Film Fun, a rather racy magazine appealing to men who liked to see women in their underthings -- and let's face it, many men do. (They might have rather seen them with nothing on, but Playboy was two decades in the future.) Below, the cover of its October 1932 issue:

Just as Playboy inspired Penthouse, Oui and many imitators, so did other ladmags try to follow in the footsteps of Film Fun. One was called Movie Humor, and here's what its November 1934 cover looked like:

The film industry was several months into strict enforcement of the Production Code, meaning gals in scanties were no longer visible on the big screen. But that didn't mean you couldn't show off their figures in print.

And was Carole Lombard included? You can guess the answer:

There she is in a white swimsuit in the lower right corner, given a "quote." But that's not the only place you'll find Carole in this issue.

Two pics of Carole on the left, one relatively sedate still with Gary Cooper from "Now And Forever," the other in a dark swimsuit (alas, her face is obscured).

Some other pages from this issue:

(Why am I thinking of the Who's "Pictures Of Lily" as I type this entry?)

This overall is in good condition with some wear, according to the seller. Bidding begins at $10.95, with the auction scheduled to end a week from Sunday at 10:37 p.m. (Eastern). To bid or simply learn more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nov-1934-Movie-Humor-Hollywood-Girls-Gags-Carole-Lombard-Models-Sample-Copy/254356025530?hash=item3b38ccf0ba:g:d68AAOSwQVZdeEHR.

carole lombard 04

You've got (snail) mail! An epistle history of Hollywood

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.12 at 22:22
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Above is a letter Carole Lombard sent on Paramount stationery in February 1937 to a family in Maplewood, N.J., regretting that she could not accept their invitation to a daughter's birthday party because she was at work on her latest film, "Swing High, Swing Low." It's rather charming.

Now a new book explores an assortment of letters written by many filmland notables...

It's "Letters From Hollywood," edited by writer-director-producer Rocky Lang (son of esteemed producer Jennings Lang and my late Facebook friend, singer-actress Monica Lewis) and film historian Barbara Hall. It takes us back to a time when tweets were for birds and mail was sent via envelopes, not the ether.

Lombard isn't part of this edition; neither are the likes of Clark Gable and John Ford. (Maybe next time.) From the silent era through the 1970s, these examples of correspondence reflect on a more thoughtful era, something that went with the territory in those halcyon days.

The book, released Tuesday, features letters from Greta Garbo, David O. Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Jane Fonda, Errol Flynn, Marlon Brando and so many more.

You can order the book via amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/Letters-Hollywood-Private-American-Moviemaking/dp/1419738097. If you'd like to meet Lang and Hall, check out their schedule:

carole lombard 03

Right mag, wrong year, take two

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.11 at 09:25
Current mood: confusedconfused

In the case of this Carole Lombard fan magazine cover, it's deja vu all over again.

More than six years ago, that fanmag was promoted on eBay as being from Modern Screen of January 1931. We were skeptical, did some research and found the issue in question was from January 1932, not '31 and explained why (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/618642.html). Well, it's being sold as a '31 title once again.

Now, further proof it's from '32:

Had this been in the January 1931 issue, it would've been under "psychic predictions."

This January '32 issue, in very good condition, has an opening bid of $25 Canadian (currently $19.01 US). The auction ends at 12:34 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday.

Interested? Then visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Movie-Magazine-Modern-Screen-1-31-Carole-Lombard-cover/312761164611?hash=item48d204a343:g:jikAAOSw0dtddSyd.

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KNX turns 99

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.10 at 02:57
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Movies made Carole Lombard a legend, but it wasn't the only medium she made her mark in. Sometime in the 1920s, the Peters family -- Jane Alice (her birth name), brothers Frederic and Stuart, and mother Elizabeth Peters -- purchased their first radio set, and it may have resembled this mid-twenties model:

One of the stations Jane likely listened to was a station whose lineage continues today on its 99th anniversary of broadcasting -- KNX-AM (1070), one of America's oldest radio stations.

What was the first radio station? It's a question with no definitive answer, along the lines of "What was the first rock 'n' roll record?" The most common radio definition is that KDKA in Pittsburgh lays claim with announcing election results in November 1920. But nearly two months earlier, on Sept. 10, 1920, amateur station 6ADZ began broadcasting in Los Angeles, operated by Fred Christian, a former shipboard radio operator who owned an electric lighting supply store on West Third Street.

On Dec. 8, 1921, the Department of Commerce assigned 6ADZ the call letters KGC; it would be one of seven stations sharing a frequency. The following May, the department assigned Christian's firm a second station, KNX, then deleted KGC the following month.

KNX soon moved its operations to the California Theater at 810 South Main Street, where its 100-watt signal regularly broadcast the theater's orchestra

In the fall of 1924, the Los Angeles Evening Express newspaper purchased KNX, but the station changed owners in 1928, three years before William Randolph Hearst bought the Express. By the end of the '20s, the station was headquartered in Hollywood; its power had increased to 5,000 watts, and would reach the U.S. maximum of 50,000 watts by 1933.

So where does CBS come in? For KNX, in 1936...although when "Lux Radio Theater" uprooted from New York to call Hollywood home on June 1 of that year, its inaugural West Coast broadcast aired locally over KHJ, which had been the LA CBS affiliate since Columbia began in 1928. For proof, note that day's radio listings in the Los Angeles Times:

We have since learned that KNX and CBS joined forces Dec. 29, 1936.

A few months later, on April 14, 1937, KNX broadcast this bit of singing waiters from the Paris Inn downtown: https://pastdaily.com/2019/08/18/l-a-nightlife-1937-singing-waiters-and-everything-past-daily-archeology/

KNX's 50,000 watts were ideal for CBS, and on April 30, 1938, KNX became part of the network's new Columbia Square headquarters on Sunset Boulevard:

KNX would call the streamline structure home for more than two-thirds of a century (it still stands today), and Lombard appeared at least once at Columbia Square and several times over KNX and CBS.

The advent of television after World War II would signal the gradual decline of network radio as an entertainment force. KNX would adjust to changing tastes through personalities such as Bob Crane, later known as a TV sitcom star but beloved locally as a morning announcer on KNX.

Here's an hour-long segment of Crane's ninth anniversary program on May 30, 1964, with laughs from Jayne Mansfield, Andre Previn, Olivia de Havilland, Barbra Streisand, Jonathan Winters and others: https://pastdaily.com/2016/05/14/jayne-mansfiel-bob-crane-1964/.

By the late 1960s, all-news radio had become the fashion for many AM stations, and KNX adapted the format, which it still employs more than 50 years later. It's an especially valuable resource for drivers, with traffic reports every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day. You can listen via https://knx1070.radio.com/, and learn more about its heritage at a Facebook site operated by station alums, https://www.facebook.com/groups/144249005597676/.

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Carole Lombard, RKO (plenty of) style

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.09 at 20:05
Current mood: impressedimpressed

Carole Lombard's arrival at RKO in the spring of 1939, for the likes of "In Name Only" (a publicity still for which is shown above), coincided with her long-sought marriage to Clark Gable. That accomplishment infused Carole with confidence, and it showed in her fashion photographs.

Take this, for instance, RKO CL-47, taken by Alex Kahle in 1939:

Kahle's imagination shows here, as the fabric of Lombard's dress is duplicated in the background. The rear of the photo has identification:

Yet another photo from the noted George Smoots collection, this 8" x 10" is on glossy single-weight paper. It's said to be in excellent condition.

Bids on this item begin at $39.99, with the auction slated to end at 10:24 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To bid or learn more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-in-STYLISH-PORTRAIT-Original-Vintage-1939-KAHLE-Stamp-RKO-Photo/143365866054?hash=item2161458246:g:7D8AAOSwBCNdZF96.

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Carole, and Kay, en espanol

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.08 at 03:19
Current mood: calmcalm

In 1931, audiences saw Carole Lombard and Kay Francis in support of William Powell (whom Lombard married in late June) in his Paramount vehicle "Ladies' Man." They also saw the ladies in that September's issue of the Spanish-language fanmag Cinelandia, Kay on the cover...

...and Carole inside in a one-page spread:

Among the other notables inside are Loretta Young, Myrna Loy and Greta Garbo.

The issue is in very good condition, goes for $12, and can be bought at https://www.ebay.com/itm/KAY-FRANCIS-GRETA-GARBO-CAROL-LOMBARD-LORETTA-YOUNG-MYRNA-LOY-LILI-DAMITA/153635867923?hash=item23c5694d13:g:RZkAAOSwKxVchDex.

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Give 'Godfrey,' and others, a lift

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.07 at 18:18
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

In one of its many surveys, the site ranker.com asks readers to rank the best romantic comedies of the 1930s (https://www.ranker.com/list/best-30s-romantic-comedies/ranker-film). Carole Lombard fans can help her move up in the world.

Her 1936 classic "My Man Godfrey" is currently ranked second, trailing only "It Happened One Night." Third is the Cary Grant-Katharine Hepburn romp "Bringing Up Baby." followed by Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights," Tyrone Power and Loretta Young's "Second Honeymoon." Sixth? Another Lombard film, the Technicolor "Nothing Sacred."

Other Carole movies ranked as of this writing include "Twentieth Century" at 28th and "Hands Across The Table" at 35th.

Please vote.

carole lombard 05

Colleen and Keswick await Austin After Dark

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.06 at 14:11
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

Carole Lombard never wrote a screenplay, but if she had, she could've consulted with such heavyweights as Oscar-winner Robert Riskin, whom she dated for some time in the mid-1930s. Many writers at the time used Lombard as a sounding board, respecting her innate feel for what makes a good script.

Riskin left us on Sept. 20, 1955, barely a month after I arrived and more than 13 years after Lombard's death, so I can't consult with either. But discussing plot, character et al with others has helped me hone my first completed script into one I believe is ready for competition. I'll find out next weekend at the Austin After Dark Film Festival, an event celebrating films and screenplays designed for mature audiences. As its site explains, "Do you have a film that you are submitting to festivals, that contains content that may be more appropriate for a mature audience? Have you written a screenplay with a darker sense of humor, dramatic sequences, scary situations, evil villains, creepy concepts or dark futuristic science fiction? Our judges can't wait to watch your films and read your stories."

And I'm proud to say they read -- and liked -- mine, although it isn't all that creepy. The screenplay, as many of you know by now, takes a popular sci-fi theme and sends it in a rom-com direction...

Yep, it's the adventures of casino waitress Colleen Cossitt, whose life has recently soared to unprecedented heights (16 feet, 1 1/8 inches, folks!) and scientist/customer Keswick Fletcher, whose device created this large-scale star. (As you can see, Colleen has forgiven Keswick for landing her in this predicament.) Its latest logline: "A Vegas waitress tripled in size falls for the scientist who accidentally enlarged her, becomes a showroom headliner and rescues him when he's kidnapped by three mutual adversaries."

In short (I really shouldn't use that term when describing Colleen!), she's a good-natured, gentle giant, who tells a press conference, "I'm here to entertain people, not attack them." She's someone you root for; perhaps the judges liked Colleen's quips about someday losing her "giant virginity."

"Stand Tall!" has been duly awarded this honor:

Specifically, it's one of five candidates in the Best Comedy Screenplay:

If any of you live in or near the Austin area and would like to cheer me on in my absentia (I'll be back here in SoCal), you can do so. And I hope you do on behalf of the filmmakers and screenwriters participating in this event. It takes place at the Alamo Cinema Drafthouse Lakeline. Award winners will be announced from 8 to 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, with the first group of films shown from 9:30 to 12:30 a.m. and the second batch from 6 to 9:30 p.m. the following evening. Tickets are not required for the awards and filmmakers' mixer, but they are for the films. An all-access pass is available for $15; go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/austin-after-dark-film-festival-2019-tickets-69229574521?aff=Email to order.

For additional information on the festival -- including nine trailers from nominated films -- visit https://info.filmfestivalcircuit.com/blog/austin-after-dark-film-festival-2019. I like to think that somewhere, Carole is in my cheering section -- that is, unless she's busy writing one up there, where she has her choice of actors, not to mention special effects Marvel would envy:

carole lombard 04

Only her hairdresser knew for sure

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.05 at 08:48
Current mood: creativecreative

Every star actress treasures her hairdresser, and Carole Lombard was no exception. As proof. note this 11" x 14" autographed photo she signed to hers, someone named "Porter" -- specifically it reads, "To Porter Dear Loads of My Love Carole." (This Porter apparently did the hair of many other notables over the years, including Marilyn Monroe. Any info on him, Michelle Morgan?)

Taken from Porter's scrapbook, a small chip is missing from the upper left-hand corner. While the photo itself isn't authenticated, I've seen enough Lombard signatures to believe it's genuine. Moreover, the seller, "photosframesandmore," adds this: "ANY registered UACC [Universal Autograph Collectors Club] dealer who disputes authenticity we shall cheerfully refund." "Photosframesandmore" is not on UACC's list of sellers to be avoided for potentially fraudulent autographs (http://uacc.org/advisory.php).

Three bids, the highest at $205, have been made as of this writing. As the auction isn't slated to end until Wednesday afternoon, a four-figure sale isn't out of the question. Would you like to get in on the action, or simply are curious? Then visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-11x14-heavyweight-INCREDIBLE-signed-autographed-photograph/153631328078?hash=item23c524074e:g:ifwAAOSw5FRdcCnd.

After all, who can deny the power of beautiful hair? Certainly not Carole (https://vintagemakeupguide.com/2015/05/1930s-hair-and-make-up-tricks-of-the-stars/).

carole lombard 03

Academy Museum update

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.04 at 13:08
Current mood: excitedexcited

I'm currently having difficulties using my laptop to create Carole & Co. entries, so in the meantime, I'm going to plan B. And we'll begin by examining the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open in 2020.

The museum site, https://www.academymuseum.org/en/, provides a feel for what the place will be like. It's in the Los Angeles museum district on Wilshire Boulevard & Fairfax, in the old May Co. building, and is slated to open sometime in 2020.

The site is blocks from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and its iconic "Urban Light" sculpture.

To learn more, go to the website or email academymuseum@oscars.org. Yes, the museum is long delayed, but I have faith that once it opens, it will be worth the wait.

carole lombard 02

A romantic portrait for 'Fools'

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.03 at 17:59
Current mood: frustratedfrustrated

It's been a while since we've contemplated Carole Lombard's lone film for Warners, the 1938 comedy "Fools For Scandal." This vehicle essentially ran like a jalopy, made at a studio with no real feel for the specifics of screwball comedy and a lead character for whom one never developed any sympathy. There are some good supporting players -- Ralph Bellamy, Marie Wilson -- but they're not really given enough to work with.

The result? Carole entered 1938 perhaps the hottest actress in the industry, with not one but two hits in theaters -- Selznick's Technicolor "Nothing Sacred" and what would be her Paramount finale, "True Confession." By mid-year, she'd decided to go on hiatus from humor and focus on dramatic roles. Perhaps that would help land Lombard the Oscar she was denied for "My Man Godfrey."

But at least one good thing came out of "Fools For Scandal": This romantic shot of her and Belgian co-star Fernand Gravet:

The seller calls it a "stunner," and I'd have to agree. It's an 8" x 10" silver gelatin original in very good+ condition.

You can buy this for $44.99; to do so, or learn more, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/FOOLS-FOR-SCANDAL-ORIGINAL-PHOTO-CAROLE-LOMBARD-FERDINAND-GRAVET-STUNNER/401869757964?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160811114145%26meid%3D84918c55d25f4b10a325e2830b959da8%26pid%3D100667%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D401869757964%26itm%3D401869757964%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2045573&_trksid=p2045573.c100667.m2042. There may not be many good things whose origin is in "Fools For Scandal"...but this is one of them.

carole lombard 01

'Godfrey' turns 83

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.02 at 11:30
Current mood: happyhappy

Yesterday marked the 83rd anniversary of the release of one of Carole Lombard's most iconic films, "My Man Godfrey." Universal -- under new ownership -- pulled out all the stops for its world premiere, at the Pantages in Hollywood:

This ad ran in the Los Angeles Times of Sept. 1, 1936, although fine print indicates the premiere sold out days before...although the Pantages and a downtown theater would be showing it "at popular prices." Outlying areas would have to wait.

Over its 83 years, "Godfrey" has inspired plenty of affection as arguably the greatest screwball comedy ever made, and certainly the one with the most thoughtful message. It's no wonder its view of income inequality has resonated with the Occupy crowd.

Retromoviebuff.com examined the movie in 2016 (http://www.retromoviebuff.com/biography-hit-notes-man-godfrey-1936/), while Facebook friend and fashion maven Kimberly Truhler did a long entry on the film and its fashion (with plenty of pictures!) at http://www.glamamor.com/2012/03/cinema-style-file-art-deco-of-comedy-in.html. (Did you know that while Travis Banton designed Lombard's outfits, his assistant and later successor Edith Head did likewise for Carole's on-screen "sister," Gail Patrick?)

Another view of the film is at http://theretroset.com/my-man-godfrey-the-unforgotten-man/, which cites Godfrey's speech to the scavenger hunt set at the fancy (and fictional) Waldorf-Ritz. Powell is urbane as always (even in hobo costume), but through words, he figuratively gives the crowd the finger:

"My purpose in coming here tonight was twofold. First, I wanted to aid this young lady [Lombard's Irene Bullock]. Second, I was interested to see how a pack of empty-headed nitwits conducted themselves. My curiosity has been satisfied. I assure you, it will be a pleasure to return to a society of really important people."

That probably drew applause from Depression-era audiences; at many revival houses, it still does today. Happy anniversary to a film that never gets old.

carole lombard 07

Where there's Hope, there's Carole (Lombard Gable, that is).

Posted by vp19 on 2019.09.01 at 23:14
Current mood: cynicalcynical

In May 1941, Carole Lombard and Bob Hope made their first and only teaming of any kind when they co-starred in a Lux Radio Theater adaptation of Carole's recent film, "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." Hope's next movie, the service comedy "Caught In The Draft." was to be released in July.

But they "teamed up" in another manner. Look at this:

Is it from their Lux appearance? Probably not; this is part of a multi-page autograph book. A letter of authenticity proves it:

Now, the letter in close-up:

One supposedly unusual angle to this autograph is that Carole signed with her full wedded name -- "Carole Lombard Gable." The seller plays this up:

I have no issue with the authenticity of Lombard's signature, but some of the other claims are spurious -- we know Carole was Clark Gable's third wife, not his first. Such an elementary error brings to mind a William Powell biography of some years back which repeatedly claimed Carole was from Ohio. Lombard's signing with Clark's name is rare, but not super-rare; we've seen it a few times.

Thus, we're skeptical about the price the seller seeks...$5,949.15 (or $286 for 24 months. (You can make an offer.) Perhaps adding Hope to the equation adds a bit of value. Whatever, you can check it out at https://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Gable-Full-Name-Signed-Album-Page-JSA-COA-Rare-Clark-Bob-Hope/254347479389?_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20160811114145%26meid%3D55a6a3e6bcfc49489fba7ab16e01f897%26pid%3D100667%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D8%26sd%3D254347479389%26itm%3D254347479389%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2045573&_trksid=p2045573.c100667.m2042.

Hear the radio "Smith" via the Hitchcock Zone website (remember, Sir Alfred directed the movie with Lombard and Robert Montgomery). Go to http://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Mr._and_Mrs._Smith_(Lux_Radio_Theater,_09/Jun/1941)

carole lombard 06

Zukor, Zanuck, Mayer, Cohn...Trump?

Posted by vp19 on 2019.08.31 at 03:28
Current mood: weirdweird

My "holy trinity" of Golden Age actresses -- Carole Lombard, Myrna Loy and Barbara Stanwyck -- recently held court in Hollywood heaven. Here's the transcript:

Lombard: Myrna, Stany, I invited you here because I just came across something that has to be seen, er, read to be believed. It's from the latest issue -- September 2019, to be precise -- of Los Angeles magazine.

Stanwyck: Who's that caricatured on the cover, Carole?
Loy: I'm afraid to say it, but I think I know.
Lombard: Babs, it's your fellow Republican, one Donald J. Trump! And there's a story about him inside (https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/donald-trump-hollywood-hustle/).

Stanwyck: Carole, I may be a Republican, but certainly not that kind. I doubt that even Jane Russell, who's about as far right as it comes, would claim him.
Loy: But what's Trump doing in a magazine whose subject is Los Angeles?
Lombard: As the story explains, "You don't generally think of Donald Trump when you think of L.A." But he spent his share of time in Hollywood and then some, as he tried to add entertainment to his so-called brand.
Loy: Sorry for him LA's never had a local equivalent of the New York tabloids. Boy, did they ever play him up (sigh).
Stanwyck: And Hearst's Herald-Examiner -- yeah, I know it never was a tabloid -- passed a few months before I did.
Lombard: Funny your mention of ol' W.R. The Donald briefly had ambitions of being a mogul, not a quasi-mogul like Hearst and his Cosmopolitan production unit. In fact, Trump even mulled attending film school at SC.
Stanwyck: Lord knows, hasn't that school suffered enough lately?
Lombard: In an interview, he said, "I've always thought Louis B. Mayer led the ultimate life, that Flo Ziegfeld led the ultimate life, that men like Darryl Zanuck and Harry Cohn did some creative and wonderful things. The ultimate job for me would have been running MGM in the '30s and '40s -- pre-television."
(There's a pause of several seconds as they let that latest comment sink in, Then Loy starts laughing loudly, followed by Lombard and Stanwyck.)
Loy: Trump would've figured a way to make the MGM money machine, with all those films, all those theaters, go bankrupt.
Stanwyck: The other moguls in town would have eaten him for lunch.
Lombard: And could you imagine Zukor or Jack Warner dressing up like this, for the 2005 Emmys?

Loy: This interview is from--
Lombard: Playboy magazine in 1990. Clark tells me he only read it for the interviews. (softly) Yeah, right. Anyway, it was right after he announced plans to buy the land the Ambassador Hotel was on -- you know, where Joan Crawford and I competed in those dance contests -- and build a skyscraper 125 stories high.
Loy: With whose money?
Stanwyck: None of us lived to see reality-show TV dominate the industry.
Lombard: Thank God! According to the story, Donald tried to parlay such success into genuine Hollywood fame, and the entertainment industry laughed at him.
Loy: As if he ran one of those teacup studios where Carole and I occasionally moonlighted.
Stanwyck: He may have dreamed of being a mogul--
Lombard: But someone in the story said Trump didn't have that killer instinct that characterized Harry Cohn or even mild-mannered Adolph Zukor.
Loy: And then there's Trump the ladies' man.
Lombard: The story says he wanted to emulate Hugh Hefner and his lifestyle, but Hef possessed charm, tact and a courtesy towards women the Donald never had.
Loy: I know he was active in film preservation. Hefner, I mean, not Trump.
Stanwyck: The only films he'd care to preserve would be ones where he hogged the footage.

Loy: Trump is a poor man's Hearst, from his buildings' architecture to his taste in mistresses. Marion had class!
Lombard: Which reminds me...someone once asked Trump about "Citizen Kane." He said it was "really about accumulation, and at the end of the accumulation you see what happens, and it's not necessarily all positive, not positive."
Stanwyck: That's the lesson he got from "Kane"?
Lombard: Heck, Clark got more out of the movie, and he fell asleep through it.

A timeline of assorted Trump highlights (or lowlights?) in Los Angeles can be found at https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/trump-failure-timeline/.

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