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‘Modern Screen,’ October 1940: Just how does she do it?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.20 at 20:10
Current mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

carole lombard modern screen october 1940ba

And by “do it,” we’re referring to Carole Lombard’s acting prowess, something that in 1940 often was ignored while the press instead focused on her status as Mrs. Clark Gable number three. But see that word “Success,” roughly belt-high to her while she poses for a promotional still from “They Knew What They Wanted”? That’s the angle, in acting terms,Modern Screen decided to explore in its October issue. (The first four words of the headline are “The Secret Of Lombard’s.”)

And we’re glad they did, because it provides a rarely seen insight into what made Carole the actress tick, from several people who knew Lombard well. (Some of this is indistinguishable from Carole the off-screen personality, but there are some subtle differences, too.) Save for an anecdote near the end, Lombard herself isn’t quoted here, which is just as well; her ability to act wasn’t something she could readily explain (just as many of baseball’s greatest hitters aren’t always able to analyze what makes them succeed).

So here’s a story that explains the whys and wherefores of Carole Lombard, actress. Enjoy these comments from some of Carole’s closest associates.

carole lombard modern screen october 1940aa
carole lombard modern screen october 1940ca
carole lombard modern screen october 1940dacarole lombard modern screen october 1940ea

Directors Garson Kanin, Mitchell Leisen and George Stevens; cinematographer Harry Stradling; and still photographer Fred Nendrickson are among those in the story who vouch for Lombard’s acting talent. Good piece, isn’t it?

Carole was found elsewhere in the issue, such as in this Lux soap ad:

carole lombard modern screen october 1940fa

And on the homefront, some Gable and Lombard anecdotes:

carole lombard modern screen october 1940ga
carole lombard modern screen october 1940ha

Joan Crawford never made a film titled “Broadway Serenade”; could any Crawford fan know what film the magazine is referring to?

This issue’s cover subject was future Crawford rival Bette Davis…

modern screen october 1940a cover

…while one of the highlights inside is a delightful profile of one of the few non-stars in the industry known by most casual fans, that most independent and misquoted of moguls, the one and only Samuel Goldwyn:

carole lombard modern screen october 1940a
modern screen october 1940ba
modern screen october 1940camodern screen october 1940da
modern screen october 1940ea

And wouldn’t you know it — the first film ad in that issue was for Goldwyn’s latest film, “The Westerner”:

modern screen october 1940fa

There also were ads for MGM’s “Strike Up The Band”…

modern screen october 1940ga

…Columbia’s “The Howards Of Virginia,” which many deem among the least of Cary Grant’s starring vehicles…

modern screen october 1940ha

…Warners’ “Tugboat Annie Sails Again,” an attempt to revive the franchise six years after Marie Dressler’s passing (look at the lead characters’ names; I’m guessing a young Jay Ward probably saw this film)…

modern screen october 1940ia

…Twentieth Century-Fox’s “Brigham Young,” where Darryl F. Zanuck tried to shoehorn the story of the Mormon leader into a routine western adventure tale, soft-pedaling polygamy and such (it also was marketed with the title “Brigham Young — Frontiersman”)…

modern screen october 1940ja

…and Universal’s latest from its meal ticket, Deanna Durbin:

modern screen october 1940ka

This 90-page magazine, listed in “very good” condition (the seller describes it as “Cover in very good condition with some wear, crease lines at the bottom edge, edge wear, crease near spine, inside pages are in very good to excellent condition with some with some having a tiny bent at the top edge”) can be yours for $37.97. Interested? Then check outhttp://www.ebay.com/itm/BETTE-DAVIS-1940-Carole-Lombard-WILLIAM-HOLDEN-Ronald-Colman-JUDY-GARLAND-Bing/121460895423?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D26215%26meid%3D8c10dd744c9a425e8cadc7b757ab5abc%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D10926%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D121460895423 to buy or for more information.

Posted October 20, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

An old setting, a new angle   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.19 at 06:39
Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard p1202-862

Over the years, this Carole Lombard image — Paramount p1202-862, from mid-1934 — has become fairly common among collectors (understandably so, given Carole’s vivacious pose). And perhaps you’ve seen other shots from that session, such as the more contemplative p1202-857:

carole lombard p1202-857a

But here’s a portrait taken in that curved chair, in front of blinds, which I’ve never seen before…and I’m guessing it’ll be new to you, too. Unlike the other pics, this is horizontal:

carole lombard p1202-851b

It’s p1202-851, and if you can’t make out the number from that image, here it is in close-up:

carole lombard p1202-851 corner large

The seller labels it “elegant and oversized” (11″ x 14″). It’s not original, but was struck from the original negative on glossy paper, in near-mint condition.

Bids begin at $25 for this Lombard rarity, with the auction closing at 4:05 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. To bid or learn more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/ELEGANT-OVERSIZE-PHOTO-OF-CAROLE-LOMBARD-/281471783950?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item418906940e.

Posted October 19, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Some reviews to ‘Digest,’ 1936   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.18 at 22:55
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard p1202-1106b front

Above is Paramount p1202-1106, the first Carole Lombard portrait copyrighted 1936, a pivotal year for her for reasons beyond the start of her romance with Clark Gable. Professionally, in ’36 Lombard arrived for good as a top-tier star; there was no turning back.

It just so happens that one of the publications brought online by the Media History Digital Library (http://mediahistoryproject.org/) is something called the Motion Picture Review Digest. Its name defines its purpose, as it encapsulates reviews of recent films from a variety of sources, newspapers and magazines, both general purpose and trade sheets.

The library has uploaded copies from 1936 to 1939, and we’ll take a look at them year by year, beginning with reviews the Digest printed during 1936 and listed in its quarterly editions. Rather than list them issue by issue, we’ll examine them by movie (as film reviews often were shown in two different quarterlies), chronologically by date of release. Before we do that, here’s a sample of how the Digest lists reviews:

carole lombard motion picture review digest 00a

With that in mind, let’s begin with “Hands Across The Table,” released in October 1935 (and presumably receiving many reviews in the December 1935 quarterly) but the topic of some reviews in early 1936:

carole lombard hands across the table 06d

“Hands Across The Table”:

carole lombard motion picture review digest march 1936 hands across the table 00a
carole lombard motion picture review digest march 1936 hands across the table 01a

carole lombard love before breakfast 12c

“Love Before Breakfast”:

carole lombard motion picture review digest march 1936 love before breakfast 00a
carole lombard motion picture review digest march 1936 love before breakfast 01a
carole lombard motion picture review digest june 1936 love before breakfast 00a

carole lombard the princess comes across 34a eugene robert richee

“The Princess Comes Across”:

carole lombard motion picture review digest june 1936 the princess comes across 00a
carole lombard motion picture review digest june 1936 the princess comes across 01a
carole lombard motion picture review digest september 1936 the princess comes across 00a
carole lombard motion picture review digest september 1936 the princess comes across 01a

carole lombard my man godfrey 048a

“My Man Godfrey”:

carole lombard motion picture review digest september 1936 my man godfrey 00a
carole lombard motion picture review digest september 1936 my man godfrey 01a
carole lombard motion picture review digest december 1936 my man godfrey 00a
carole lombard motion picture review digest december 1936 my man godfrey 01a

Some fascinating contemporary thoughts, particularly about “Godfrey” — it certainly was well-received, yet it hadn’t yet warranted a description as “classic.” But unlike Godfrey’s portfolio in 1929, its stock would rise in ensuing years.

Posted October 19, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Carole, Clark and a cup   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.17 at 22:11
Current mood: productiveproductive

carole lombard clark gable 137a

The year 1939 was winding down, and Carole Lombard — nearing the nine-month anniversary of her marriage to Clark Gable — decided to present him with a special gift for Christmas. The result? This loving cup:

carole lombard clark gable 1939 loving cup 00b
carole lombard clark gable 1939 loving cup 01a

Oh, and just so Clark wouldn’t forget who it came from:

carole lombard clark gable 1939 loving cup 02b

The silver cup (including a octagonal base added later on) measures about 10″ x 11″; it’s in very good condition. It’s valued between $400 and $600, and is among three Lombard-related items available at Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 65. Other items include a 1940-41 RKO yearbook, with a portrait of Carole promoting “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”:

carole lombard 1940-41 rko book 01b

Of course, the big selling point to this book…

carole lombard 1940-41 rko book 00a

…is the presence of one Orson Welles and his “John Citizen, U.S.A.” (we all know Welles kept the “Citizen,” but added all sorts of other controversies)…

carole lombard 1940-41 rko book 02a

…though animation buffs might like seeing this:

carole lombard 1940-41 rko book 03a

Finally, MGM publicist William R. Ferguson had a large collection of “Gone With The Wind” photographs, two of which showed Carole at the Atlanta premiere:

carole lombard clark gable gwtw atlanta premiere 00a
carole lombard clark gable gwtw atlanta premiere 01a

For more on the Lombard items, as well as links to participating in the auction, visit http://www.liveauctioneers.com/search?q=carole+lombard&hasimage=true&by_date=2014-10-18T04%3A40%3A21.985Z.

Posted October 18, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A pair of ‘True Confession(s)’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.16 at 21:25
Current mood: energeticenergetic

carole lombard true confession 55b

Two more goodies related to “True Confession,” Carole Lombard’s final film for Paramount, have popped up on eBay. First of all, here’s Carole with co-star Fred MacMurray on the shores of Lake Arrowhead; while I’ve seen several other shots of them from this scene, this particular pose is new to me:

carole lombard true confession 60c front

Moreover, it’s an original photo — examine the back for proof, and its approval from the Advertising Advisory Council (aka Joseph Breen):

carole lombard true confession 60b back

It’s an 8″ x 10″ double-weight, and the seller deems it in “very good” condition; “there are some minor creases at the corners.” As of this writing, one bid has been made, for $9.99, and bidding is scheduled to end at 9:36 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. If you’d like to get in on the action, or simply are curious, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Fred-MacMurray-at-the-beach-orig-DW-photo-1937-True-Confession/231361281224?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D26215%26meid%3Dab442cfe30274b7190efa91fe3d4a1d7%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D10926%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D371164840683.

The other photo isn’t from the film, but is part of its promotional package. It features “farmerette” Carole with one of her ranch’s roosters:

carole lombard true confession 61b front

We know she had a rooster on the grounds of her home named Edmund, but thanks to the snipe on the back of this one, we now learn the name of another one of Lombard’s poultry menagerie:

carole lombard true confession 61a back

He’s “King Tut,” who probably strutted around royally on the ranch.

The photo is a 10.25″ x 13″ single-weight, and here’s more information from the seller:

“In very good condition with a very light angled crease across the entire width of the photograph which stars approximately 1.5 in. beneath the top left corner and extends downward into the image area diagonally going through the area between Miss Lombard’s right ear and eye, through a portion of the mouth, extending through her right wrist and ending at the right border. There is also a 3 in. long vertical crease on the top right corner which starts within the image area and extends downward to the right to end in the right border. There is a 1 in. diagonal crease on the bottom right corner and a small area of wear in the top border to the right of center.”

It was taken by William Walling Jr., a frequent Lombard photographer late in her Paramount tenure.

The opening bid for this relative rarity is $250, with the auction ending at 7:17 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. To bid or learn more, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/TRUE-CONFESSION-1937-Carole-Lombard-Oversized-Photo-by-WILLIAM-WALLING-JR/371164840683?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D26215%26meid%3D2a758b5cb4ab4788b6a7411116e0911c%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D10926%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D231361281224.

Posted October 16, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Modern Screen,’ October 1934: She won’t put on an act   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.15 at 14:20
Current mood: amusedamused

carole lombard p1202-843b

The portrait above may look somewhat artsy, but it was Carole Lombard’s very lack of pretense (not in posing for photos, but in how she lived her life) that made her so popular during her lifetime — and perhaps more fondly remembered today than so many of her equally talented contemporaries. And lest you think we’re dealing in after-the-fact conjecture, kindly examine this piece Dorotny Manners wrote in the October 1934 issue of Modern Screen:

carole lombard modern screen october 1934aa
carole lombard modern screen october 1934ba
carole lombard modern screen october 1934ca
carole lombard modern screen october 1934da

The comment, “Unlike Jean Harlow, her name has been on the front pages of the newspapers only during two periods of her life, her marriage and subsequent divorce from William Powell,” makes it evident this went to press just before the bizarre death of Russ Columbo that Sept. 2. In fact, there’s a full-page pic of Columbo elsewhere in the issue:

carole lombard modern screen october 1934gb

Manners notes other segments of the fanmag press tried to sensationalize Lombard, even though her conduct on and off screen belied such beliefs. Carole was herself amused to read she “had a vocabulary like a longshoreman,” and while she admitted “I have a habit of being abruptly outspoken and not mincing my words,” she added, “never in my life have I said anything for the purpose of embarrassing anyone, or for any ‘effect’ of being the most shocking woman in Hollywood.”

Later, while discussing misconceptions about her relationship with Paramount, Lombard talks about the business of pictures, citing how perceptions of both Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable changed following the unexpected success of “It Happened One Night.” (This interview occurred nearly a year and a half before Carole and Clark became romantically linked.)

Lombard ends the interview by saying, “I’m sorry if I’ve spoiled the Hollywood attempts to make an eccentric, or a sensationalist out of me by explaining all my problems in such a simple fashion. But fooling myself, or other people, has never been a talent of mine.”

Manners then concludes the piece with, “How can you help but like her for it?” Indeed.

Lombard’s latest film, “Now And Forever,” received a B grade from Modern Screen:

carole lombard modern screen october 1934ea

In the “Good News” gossip section was this tidbit about an up-and-coming actress and her uncanny resemblance to Carole:

carole lombard modern screen october 1934fa

Here are some pics of Ann from about this time…whaddya think?

ann sothern 01a
ann sothern 1934ab
ann sothern 1934ba

Perhaps the Lombard-like photo in question was from George Hurrell; it ran in the June 1934 issue of Shadoplay:

ann sothern george hurrell shadoplay june 1934b

Modern Screen ran a story on makeup, and listed the daytime and nighttime preferences of 23 actresses of the day, Lombard among them:

carole lombard modern screen october 1934ha
carole lombard modern screen october 1934ia
carole lombard modern screen october 1934ja

Here’s what was shown for Carole:

carole lombard modern screen october 1934jb

The issue had Janet Gaynor on the cover:

janet gaynor modern screen october 1934a

One of the articles was advice from four fortyish actresses on how to please the man in a mature woman’s life:

modern screen october 1934aa
modern screen october 1934ba
modern screen october 1934ca
modern screen october 1934da

Several films were advertised including MGM’s “The Barretts Of Wimpole Street”…

modern screen october 1934ia

…Paramount’s “Belle Of The Nineties,” with tiny Mae West casting a gigantic shadow…

modern screen october 1934ja

…Leslie Howard and Kay Francis in “British Agent” from Warners…

modern screen october 1934ka

…and the long-forgotten musical “Gift Of Gab” from Universal:

modern screen october 1934ha

You can buy this issue, listed in very good condition, for $30. For more information, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/JANET-GAYNOR-Carole-Lombard-LESLIE-HOWARD-Ginger-Rogers-BARBARA-STANWYCK-Colbert-/121460896253?pt=Magazines&hash=item1c47a231fd.

Posted October 15, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The Fort Wayne Lombard lovefest, vol. 2   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.14 at 20:14
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard as child 01
carole lombard 100808 fort wayne journal-gazette closeup

That “little daughter” noted in the Oct. 8, 1908 Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, whom the Peters named Jane Alice, would go on to world renown as Carole Lombard. She would be one of the leading lights in a then-largely unknown area of southern California called Hollywood, in the infant industry of motion pictures.

Yesterday’s entry dealt with “Fireball” author Robert Matzen’s visit to the Indiana city this past Oct. 5, the day before the 116th anniversary of Lombard’s birth. Today, we have some more photos relating to the event, specifically shots of Jane Alice’s birthplace at the Victorian mansion on 704 Rockhill Street. Four of them are interiors, enabling those who have never been to the birth home (previously a bed-and-breakfast) to get a sense of the place, which has been meticulously cared for by Rick and Cora Brandt.

First of all, the master bedroom, where we presume Jane Alice Peters entered the world that Tuesday evening:

carole lombard house master bedroom 00
carole lombard house master bedroom 01

And here’s the room that was hers until she, her mother and two older brothers left for California in the fall of 1914:

carole lombard house jane alice peters bedroom 00
carole lombard house jane alice peters room 02

Now, two exterior shots; Matzen says they are “of the original scroll work on the front of the house and a shot of the rear. Unfortunately, both the front and back porches were enclosed after the Peters ownership.”

carole lombard house exterior 00
carole lombard house exterior 01

Finally, two other houses in the neighborhood with ties to the Peters family. First, the Knight building on Spy Run Avenue, where Elizabeth Knight married Frederick Peters in 1902. Today, Matzen says it is “home to Shepherd’s House, a shelter for homeless veterans of the U.S. military.”

carole lombard fort wayne knight mansion shepherd's house

Second, the Peters mansion on West Wayne Street; according to Matzen, “An elderly woman once approached the owner with a memory of seeing baby Jane Alice Peters in this house.”

carole lombard fort wayne peters mansion

A beautiful neighborhood, where the house on 704 Rockhill had this plaque added to it on Jan. 1, 1938 — another master promotional stroke by famed publicist Russell Birdwell:

carole lombard house plaque 00b

Posted October 14, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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