Author Archive

Entries, July 2014   Leave a comment

The ‘Stars’ come out tomorrow!

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.31 at 19:12
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Turner Classic Movies begins its always-welcome Summer Under The Stars promotion tomorrow, and above are two of this year’s honorees — William Powell on the 9th, and ex-wife Carole Lombard on the 10th.

Quite a few other Carole contemporaries will have SUTS days. They include David Niven (Aug. 2 — he had a supporting role in the 1938 Lux Radio Theater adaptation of “My Man Godfrey”), Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Muni and James Stewart (Aug. 4-7), Cary Grant (Aug. 13), Claudette Colbert (Aug. 18), Lee Tracy (Aug. 21), Dick Powell (Aug. 25) and Betty Grable (Aug. 30).

If you go to http://summer.tcm.com/, it now has pages for all 31 stars to be honored, including a career overview, biography, films to be shown on his or her day and even a social space for fans.

As usual, it promises to be fun…especially with Lombard being part of SUTS for the third time (she previously was honored in 2006 and 2011). Hope your system carries TCM, and if it doesn’t, make friends with someone who has it.


carole lombard 03

It’s time for…yet another year of Vin (hooray!)

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.30 at 09:25
Current mood: happyhappy

(We make one of our occasional visits to Hollywood heaven, where last night Carole Lombard was sitting in front of her big-screen TV — and up there, “big” means nine feet high and 20 feet wide — when Clark Gable enters the room and sits next to her.)

Clark: Whatcha got on?
Carole: The Dodger game. Between-innings break.
Clark (surprised): Say, isn’t that an ad for…
Carole: Yep, Forest Lawn — as if our mortal selves needed more neighbors. But at least it’s done tastefully. It is rather amusing to think they sponsor ballgames.
Clark: The ultimate growth industry. (The game returns to the screen.) Hmmm, 4-4 vs. the Braves, bottom of the seventh.
Carole: But you haven’t heard the big news!
Clark: Well, I see that Yasiel Puig is trying for the cycle. That’s pretty big.
Carole (nodding): He’s singled, doubled, tripled; now he needs a home run…but no, that’s not the news I was talking about. (Puig doesn’t hit a home run, but beats out an infield grounder to third for a single.)
Clark: So, what is it?
(Carole reaches for the magic remote, presses a button and “BREAKING NEWS” pops up.)
Clark: So, did they finally resolve that dispute over coverage of their new cable channel? Of course, up here we get everything.
Carole: Just watch, Pa.

http://m.mlb.com/video/v34916389/breaking-news-vin-scully-to-return

Carole: As she said, it’s not just breaking news, it’s fantastic news! Vin Scully is going to do Dodger games for his 66th season.
Clark: Longer than either you or I walked the earth. (Pauses.) I recall when they moved out to LA and played at the Coliseum, people carried their transistor radios to the games and Vin won them over.
Carole: He’s still damn good. Hey, let’s get back to the ballgame.

Clark: I see Puig just scored on that groundout to make it 5-4. Now here’s Matt Kemp.
Carole: He homered earlier — in fact, soon after the Scully announcement was made.
Clark: And it looks as if he may do it again! Way back…
Carole: Center field — 7-4! Woo-hoo! (Smiles.) You know who’s gonna be happy about this? My old campaign manager from when I won the 2013 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tourney (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/592300.html). One, he just moved to Los Angeles, and the cable system in his new apartment carries the Dodger games — Vin can’t even get them at his home! Two, he’s a Washington Nationals fan, and if LA’s bullpen holds on, the Nats will keep their half-game lead in the NL East.
______________________________________________

They indeed held on — added an insurance run in the eighth, in fact — and won 8-4. Your humble administrator here, and yes, I am thrilled Scully is coming back for 2015. When my parents and older sister lived in Brooklyn in the early ’50s, they heard his work as he was just starting out in the industry. Now, I’ll have a chance to do likewise…and he remains a joy to listen to. Vin unites generations, and I think it safe to say that no announcer is more beloved by his audience.

More can be found at http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/broadcaster-vin-scully-to-return-to-dodgers-booth-for-66th-season?ymd=20140729&content_id=86971774&vkey=news_mlb. Oh, and that microphone given away last night (sponsored by Farmer John, whose Dodger Dogs and other meat products Vin has endorsed for decades) features six of Scully’s signature calls, including his trademark “It’s time for Dodger baseball.” Didn’t get one? I’m sure many will be available at eBay.


carole lombard 02

Hollywood’s neglected towering beauty

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.29 at 12:08
Current mood: depresseddepressed

Hollywood — both in the literal and figurative sense — was in Carole Lombard’s soul. Most of her films were made at studios which then called Hollywood home (Paramount, Columbia and RKO), she was one of the few stars who actually lived on Hollywood Boulevard (the above photo was taken in that house), and she spent plenty of time at hotspots such as the Hollywood Roosevelt’s Cinegrill, the Vine Street Brown Derby or the short-lived West Coast version of Sardi’s.

So chances are that Carole saw this building countless times while traveling through Hollywood; heck, she may have set foot in the building a time or two:

It’s the First National Bank building at the northeast corner of Hollywood and Highland, taken in 1928, about the time of its opening. In Lombard’s day, it would have been impossible to miss, standing 190 feet from the ground floor to the tip of its tower. Only City Hall, built several miles away in downtown the previous year, was taller.

The First National tower was equally impressive at night:

It dominated the Hollywood skyline:

In her excellent blog “The Daily Mirror,” Mary Mallory notes the building was designed as a reflection of Hollywood’s booming economic self-confidence in the late 1920s (http://ladailymirror.com/2014/07/28/mary-mallory-hollywood-heights-first-national-building-banks-on-hollywoods-future/). Financial, medical and entertainment offices filled it to 80 percent capacity by mid-1929…but then the bottom fell out. First National became prey to a series of takeovers, most recently by Bank of America.

As for the building? As newer office space popped up around Hollywood, the old tower lost favor. For the past few years, Mallory wrote, it’s stood “empty and forlorn at Hollywood and Highland, left unkempt and dirty…” All the action is on the other side of Highland, namely the new, glitzy retail of the Hollywood & Highland complex — similar to classic Hollywood being cast aside in favor of blockbusters with colossal opening-weekend box office hauls:

Even a nearby Metrorail station apparently can’t come to the aid of this stately dowager.

As Mallory so eloquently concluded, “May someone recognize the jewel of this building and restore and reopen it to its previous splendor, celebrating another revival of business Hollywood.” Let’s keep our fingers crossed that’s just what happens.


carole lombard 01

Sliding at the party

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.28 at 21:48
Current mood: artisticartistic

Carole Lombard’s party at the Venice pier amusement park in June 1935 (she’s shown with Frances Drake and Josephine Hutchinson) has become the stuff of legend. It received substantial coverage from the press of the time, such as this report in Florida’s St. Petersburg Evening Independent...

…not to mention plenty of photos. And in the past few days, the identity of a participant in one of the night’s most famous pictures has come under dispute. Here’s the pic in question:

It’s Marlene Dietrich and Claudette Colbert, right? Well, in a comment to http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/346936.html received Saturday, someone disagrees. The person, who has other pics of the sliding scene, says, “That is Edith Piaf the singer, not Colbert pictured.”

Er, I don’t think so.

Note Dietrich and Colbert were mentioned riding the slide in the Associated Press report above. Moreover, Piaf was born in Paris on Dec. 19, 1915 and didn’t vault to fame in her native France until sometime in 1935. According to biographers, she never toured the U.S. until after World War II.

So that’s Colbert with Dietrich — and here’s Claudette with Carole in another party pic:

That photo, an 8″ x 10″ original in very good to excellent condition, is up for auction at eBay. Bidding begins at $10 and is set to conclude at 5:48 p.m. (Eastern) Monday. If you’d like to own this, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-CLAUDETTE-COLBERT-8X10-STILL-/331273901423?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d2176956f.


carole lombard 07

Soon, we’ll be ‘Under The Stars’

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.27 at 16:54
Current mood: pensivepensive

OK, so many of you can’t read the copy above unless you’re fluent in Spanish, but forget the words and focus on Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray and John Barrymore, the three stars of “True Confession.” Two weeks from today, Turner Classic Movies will air that 1937 comedy for the first time as part of its Aug. 10 celebration of Carole on its month-long jubilee of classic Hollywood legends, “Summer Under The Stars.”

That’s a caricature of David Niven, the Aug. 2 honoree. And the Long Island newspaper Newsday (where my Facebook friend and former journalistic colleague Valerie Kellogg writes about real estate, including all those classic mansions) did a short feature on SUTS the other day (http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/movies/turner-classic-movies-features-mgm-stars-1.8873517). It begins Friday — and don’t forget TCM’s 24-hour memorial tribute to James Garner on Monday.

With luck, I’ll be able to catch some of it from my new apartment, as I’m scheduled to have cable, phone and Internet service installed tomorrow. That will mean I’ll finally be able to use my desktop computer for the first time since mid-June…what a relief. Keep your fingers crossed.

I also note that today’s entry marks the 2,750th since Carole & Co. began on June 13, 2007 (most have been written by me). We hope for more milestones in the future.


carole lombard 06

Homeward bound…to my new home

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.26 at 03:33
Current mood: excitedexcited

This photo of Jane Alice Peters (the future Carole Lombard) and her mother and brothers was taken in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1911; three years later, the four of them would be headed to Los Angeles. Today, I am finally doing likewise.

The moving vans have picked up what I am transporting from Charlottesville, Va., the apartment has been cleared out, and by day’s end I’ll have returned to my new apartment after being away for two weeks, preparing for a rather hectic upcoming week, as I gradually settle into a new routine. On Monday, cable, phone and Internet service will be installed, I’ll secure a storage space a few blocks away, and some furniture is expected to be delivered from the Glendale Galleria.

But it will be worth it.

Just as it did the Peters family a century ago, so has Los Angeles seduced me. She dazzles you with her beauty, surprises you with her substance, and gradually you come to realize just how special she is…and how completely she’s got you under her spell. It’s a city poised for a dynamic future, but also aware of its colorful past — and I intend to fully explore part of that past, even more so than I have for the past seven-plus years.

Soon I’ll be living fully on Pacific time, becoming acclimated to ballgames back east that start at 4 p.m., or discovering what happened at the closing bell on Wall Street at 1 p.m. (KNX, the Los Angeles all-news station, does a full hour financial report from 1 to 2 p.m. each weekday, something its eastern brethren can’t duplicate because they’re in the midst of the afternoon rush hour.)

Yes, homeward bound.


carole lombard 05

A silent comparison in Britain: Chaplin vs. Lloyd

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.25 at 20:15
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

It’s July 1925, and 16-year-old Carole Lombard is a Fox contract player, fresh off being Edmund Lowe’s leading lady in “Marriage In Transit.” (It’s unclear whether it can be called a success; the film is lost, and years later Lombard disparaged her performance.) Regardless, Carole was of relative insignificance in the industry that summer, certainly compared to two titans of comedy…

…Charlie Chaplin (whom Lombard unsuccessfully sought to become his leading lady in “The Gold Rush”) and Harold Lloyd (whom Carole probably met at one time or another, but beyond that I have no idea how often their paths crossed).

We bring this up because Britain’s Guardian newspaper just issued an article from its archives, written 89 years ago today, which compared their styles and approaches to comedy and film (which the Brits then called “kinema”). It’s fascinating to see at least one contemporary account on Charlie and Harold. (Oh, and if you’re wondering about Buster Keaton, the other member of silent comedy’s holy trinity, he’s mentioned too, if only in passing.)

This piece came in the wake of Lloyd’s latest release, “College Days” (the British title for “The Freshman”). The writer commends Harold for knowing his limitations, and not seeking to overproduce himself. It’s interesting to see Lloyd criticized for being too sentimental, a charge frequently levied against Chaplin in later decades. Perhaps Charlie, the first true superstar of silent comedy, was beyond reproach in those days; remember, he came to the forefront well before Keaton or Lloyd.

From 1925 Britain, let’s fast-forward to 2014 Los Angeles. A video camera was placed atop a drone early one morning and made its way through downtown…but it didn’t examine those huge modern bank towers. Instead, it focused on what’s called “the downtown core” — most of them buildings Lombard would have recognized. One is the iconic Eastern Columbia building, where my Facebook friend Monica Lewis, an MGM starlet in 1950, stood in front of its huge clock for a publicity picture, one that must have made her feel like Lloyd in “Safety Last!”:


carole lombard 04

You better ‘Run, Girl, Run’ for this Sennett collection

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.24 at 19:31
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Carole Lombard had made movies before coming to work for Mack Sennett in the fall of 1927, but it was Sennett who ignited the comedy spark in Carole that finally caused a figurative fire in Hollywood several years later.

While only a handful of Lombard’s short films for Sennett, such as “Run, Girl, Run,” above, have gained wide exposure (while not always being in the best of shape), that also can be said for the output of many of the talented people who worked for him at one time or another. But shortly, that may be changing.

More than 100 of Sennett’s seminal shorts — his “greatest hits,” if you will — have been fully restored and digitally remastered, using original sources such as 35 mm nitrate, archival negatives and even the lone surviving film print. Fifty of those are to be released next month in a three-disc set, “The Mack Sennett Collection, Vol. 1.”

“Run, Girl, Run” is the lone Lombard film in the set, but there were so many other stars who learned the ropes at Sennett. Some of the titles still are fondly remembered by silent comedy buffs today…”Fatty And Mabel Adrift,” “Teddy At The Throttle,” “A Rainy Knight,” “Hoboken To Hollywood.” (There even are two Sennett sound shorts included, one of which is “The Fatal Glass Of Beer” with W.C. Fields.)

The films’ total time is 405 minutes (that’s 6 3/4 hours), and there are plenty of bonus features, including a 16-page booklet and memorabilia galleries.

Have I whetted your appetite? (No doubt a few of you are responding like Pavlovian dogs — just don’t salivate over the keyboard.) You want to know where you can get this…we’ll, I’ll tell you. The Sennett collection will have a list price of $59.95 — but you can pre-order it for $49.95 through Flicker Alley by going to http://flickeralley.com/catalog/item/the-mack-sennett-collection-vol-1/hardgood. It’s expected to ship on or before Aug. 12.

And for those of you who remain unconvinced, check out this intro to the collection (and view it in HD): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=842897542388629&set=vb.100000051745397&type=2&theater.

Great news for those of us who love Sennett, and let’s hope this and Vol. 2 lead to a long-awaited complete, restored set of Carole’s Sennett performances — a nice gift to get for a future Christmas:


carole lombard 03

Always good to please your agent

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.23 at 18:19
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

Carole Lombard was sufficiently savvy as a businesswoman to know the benefits of being on good terms with your agent. Unlike Lombard, I’ve never had need for one, but perhaps now that I’m on the verge of completing my move to Los Angeles (the mover took my stuff today, I’ll dispose of leftover items from my old apartment tomorrow and Friday, and I’m slated to fly back Saturday) that may change.

As a published author of several books, Michelle Morgan has worked with agents for some time…and her latest contact with one could spell good news for Lombard fans. From her Facebook page:

“Good news for Carole Lombard fans…My agent really liked my book proposal! He recommended a few changes which I worked on this morning, now it is on its way back to him. Next stop…Prospective publishers! Hold a good thought!”

You can be sure we will, Michelle. You’ve worked on this endeavor for several years, with more starts and stops than Wilshire Boulevard at rush hour. Chances now are very good that this finally will reach fruition, and your book will join the array of volumes devoted to our favorite star. Congratulations for clearing yet another hurdle.


carole lombard 02

Could Woody’s latest have used Carole’s ‘Magic’?

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.22 at 17:48
Current mood: disappointeddisappointed

There’s Carole Lombard with John Barrymore, both under the watchful eye of director Howard Hawks in “Twentieth Century.” We bring this up because Lombard and Barrymore were cited in a review of the latest film from a director who perhaps admires classic Hollywood style more than any of his contemporaries…

…Woody Allen.

“Magic In The Moonlight,” another in his recent series of Europe-set films, opens in some markets this weekend, and while “Midnight In Paris” was the equivalent of hitting a triple with two runners aboard, most critics rate “Magic” a weak infield single, relatively minor Allen fare. In fact, here’s what Todd McCarthy of the Hollywood Reporter had to say about it (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/magic-moonlight-film-review-719438):

“Set in an F. Scott Fitzgerald-esque Cote d’Azur populated by rich Brits and Yanks, this story of an impetuous maestro’s plan to cut off an alluring arriviste at the knees could have been filmed in 1935 by George Cukor, Frank Borzage or Gregory La Cava, starred John Barrymore and Carole Lombard and probably would have been the better for it. It certainly would have more comfortably fit the Depression-era zeitgeist, as well as the public’s ready acceptance of fluffy, patently absurd comic premises.”

An interesting premise to ponder, that — had “Twentieth Century” been anywhere near the monster hit that its Columbia stablemate “It Happened One Night” turned out to be, the public might have demanded a Barrymore-Lombard re-teaming. (Then again, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert didn’t reunite on screen until 1940.)

What studio might have agreed to a ’35 ‘Magic in The Moonlight”? Columbia, where Harry Cohn invariably gave Carole better treatment than she received at her home studio of Paramount (though once Ernst Lubitsch became head of production, that probably would have changed)? RKO, which always seemed to like such properties?

We’ll never know. But Allen’s “Moonlight,” while relatively ephemeral by the standards of his past films, does have some things going for it.

Emma Stone, probably delighted to show she can be more than Spider-Man eye candy (though she’ll never get anywhere near the paychecks she receives for those blockbusters), makes a game effort, according to McCarthy, and comes off better than Colin Firth, who’s uncomfortable in his character’s bitterness.

For all we know, while filming this, Allen himself may have wished he could have conjured up Carole and “the Great Profile” as the leads. Alas, that’s a magic trick beyond the reach of even big-budget CGI special effects.


carole lombard 01

James Garner: An actor who made it look so easy

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.21 at 20:52
Current mood: gratefulgrateful

Last month, we did an entry about someone asking San Francisco Chronicle film critic Mick LaSalle if Carole Lombard would be a star today, or if Tom Hanks could have done likewise in the 1920s (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/699835.html). LaSalle answered yes to the former (“…we know that Carole Lombard would succeed in any era because she doessucceed — show her in a movie from 75 years ago, and everyone still falls in love with her”) and is unsure on the latter (“As for Tom Hanks, it’s hard to imagine this phenomenon in reverse”).

I can see where LaSalle is coming from (though the “language” of silent film makes it difficult to transpose current-day stars to the ’20s), but it’s been said there’s an exception to every rule…and we lost one of those exceptions Saturday night. His name: James Garner.

Garner, who died at 86, was an actor you could imagine succeeding in any era from the 1930s on. His style of light comedy evoked William Powell or Cary Grant, although his type was more western than either, sort of along the lines of Gary Cooper. (One key difference from Cooper was that Garner rarely portrayed the traditional hero; his characters invariably had a bit of rogue in them.)

Garner rose to fame via the gently satiric ’50s western “Maverick” and had another iconic TV series, “The Rockford Files” in the ’70s. But his film career was considerable, as he showed off his skill in both comedy and drama. The Village Voice named five “sleeper” films of his (http://www.villagevoice.com/2014-07-16/film/james-garner-movies/).

Two of them will air next Monday as Turner Classic Movies presents a 24-hour James Garner tribute (http://www.tcm.com/this-month/movie-news.html?id=1018763&name=Schedule-Change-for-James-Garner-Tribute-on-Monday-July-28): “Marlowe” and Garner’s personal favorite, the brilliant anti-war film “The Americanization Of Emily” with Julie Andrews.

Watch Garner’s remarkably effortless (and professional) acting, then envision him as a leading man for Lombard, Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck or other ’30s icons. It’s not that difficult to imagine.


carole lombard 07

Put on your (silent) shorts, Junior

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.20 at 07:06
Current mood: giddygiddy

Silent two-reelers for Mack Sennett such as 1928’s “The Campus Vamp” helped hone Carole Lombard’s comedic knowhow, though it would take half a dozen years to fully exploit such skills. At 8 tonight (Eastern), you’ll be able to witness work from some of the masters of silent comedy, as part of…

Silent comedy has been a part of “Essentials Jr.” since the summer series debuted a few years ago, but this year, rather than run one comedian’s feature, TCM has decided to run several shorts from the biggest names in the trade.

Things begin with “Coney Island” (1917), starring Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and a young, pre-“Stone Face” Buster Keaton. They were good friends, and many of the things that would make Keaton such a superb comedian and filmmaker were learned as a protege of Arbuckle (who now is finally being appreciated for his talent).

“The Immigrant” (1917) is deservedly one of Charlie Chaplin’s best-known shorts, filled with humor and heart. A meticulous filmmaker (he filmed nearly 90,000 feet of film for this), his scenes with Edna Purviance on both a tramp steamer and in a cafe are sublime.

“Never Weaken” (1921) was Lloyd’s last short subject, and it points the path for some of his later “thrill” comedies such as “Safety Last!” and “Girl Shy.” The concept of a man planning to kill himself after thinking his true love’s heart belongs to another may seem in poor taste to 2014 sensibilities, but Lloyd makes it work — and also makes it funny.

We conclude with a team not always associated with silent comedy, but Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were geniuses at the game long before audiences heard them speak (completely in tune with their personas). “Two Tars” (1928) casts them as sailors on leave; they pick up two girls, prepare to have a fun afternoon…then comedic chaos results. Several specially-constructed “breakaway” cars are torn apart, adding to the fun.

Not enough silent comedy for you? Chaplin’s 1925 masterpiece “The Gold Rush” (the film which a teenage Lombard unsuccessfully sought to become his leading lady) airs at 10 p.m., followed by even more comedic shorts. See today’s schedule at http://www.tcm.com/schedule/; learn more about the “Essentials Jr.” list at http://www.tcm.com/essentials-jr/article.html?id=982806.


carole lombard 06

Remembering the man who turned Carole into a paper doll

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.19 at 22:22
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

Above is a fairly common publicity still of Carole Lombard from her breakthrough film, “Twentieth Century”…but I’m guessing at least a few of you first became aware of Carole in leopard skin through the cover of this book:

We mention this because the man behind that book and scores — no, make that hundreds -- of other publications devoted to paper dolls has passed away. Tom Tierney, 85, died July 12. He warranted a fairly lengthy obit in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/19/arts/tom-tierney-who-made-paper-dolls-an-art-form-dies-at-85.html?smid=fb-share&_r=1).

Tierney, a former New York fashion illustrator, had created paper doll books for the past four decades, beginning with “Thirty From The ’30s” in 1974:

Here’s a newspaper article about the book from January 1975:

That book had four outfits for Lombard, including the aforementioned “Twentieth Century” design later reused in the “Glamorous Movie Stars Of The Thirties Paper Dolls” shown above:

What made Tierney’s work so popular wasn’t just his artistry, but his research — and sheer breadth of topics. Rather than restrict himself to Hollywood glamour, he made paper dolls of historical figures, from presidents (and first ladies) to royals and even Pope John Paul II. The Times obit described his books as “meticulously drawn and colored, and annotated with historical information”; in other words, not only could you have fun with paper dolls, but you could learn something about costume history as well.

It was a niche interest, to be sure, but a very profitable one for Tierney, as he nearly single-handedly revived an industry that had been dormant for decades, especially after the advent of Barbie.

He will be missed.


carole lombard 05

Cheers to a lead-in ‘Under The Stars’

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.18 at 01:51
Current mood: amusedamused

Turner Classic Movies has released its promo for this year’s “Summer Under The Stars,” its annual August extravaganza, and Carole Lombard (the Aug. 10 honoree) is shown in a snippet from “Nothing Sacred.” You can view the promo at http://summer.tcm.com/; the entire schedule can be seen in PDF form at http://693938498.r.cdn77.net/schedule.pdf.

(That PDF features caricatures of all the honorees…Carole’s shows her putting up her dukes in the “Nothing Sacred” fight scene.)

The promo also includes Aug. 9 honoree (and SUTS newcomer) William Powell blowing smoke rings in “The Thin Man” as only Powell (or Nick Charles) can:

Some more things to know about Carole’s day:

* “True Confession,” to air at 10 p.m. (Eastern), is indeed a TCM premiere;

* While “Fools For Scandal,” which airs at 3 a.m., is the final true Lombard film of the night, it will be followed at 4:30 by “The Golden Age Of Comedy,” a 1958 compilation which shows part of Carole’s silent Sennett short “Run, Girl, Run”;

* Every SUTS artist this year is getting a hashtag for the Twitterverse, and Carole’s is #LombardTCM.

Finally, I want to note that my Facebook friend Francine York will be among the more than 75 celebrities appearing at the “Hollywood Show” today through Sunday at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel (http://hollywoodshow.com/main.php); other notables expected to be on hand include Shirley Jones, Barbara Eden, Sybil Danning and more. Alas, I’m back in Virginia clearing out my old apartment and won’t be able to attend, but if you do go, tell Francine I said hello.

A few weeks ago, Marilyn Slater of the “Looking For Mabel” blog took some photos of Francine while she was attending the Diane McBain book signing at Larry Edmunds bookstore (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/705489.html). Here’s another shot of her — and look who’s also in the picture. Yep, it’s moi...and for once, I actually photographed well! I credit Francine, whose presence forced me to “raise my game,” so to speak.

05_Francine_and_Vincent


carole lombard 04

Will the Fox guard the TCM henhouse?

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.17 at 20:31
Current mood: anxiousanxious

This still of Carole Lombard with Warner Baxter from “The Arizona Kid” in 1930 is more or less the last time Lombard was associated with the Fox studio. But thanks to the machinations of the telecommunications industry, that soon may change.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned conglomerate now known as 21st Century-Fox (apologies to Darryl F. Zanuck, but you’ve got to change with the times) made a hostile bid for TimeWarner earlier this week. (That name isn’t entirely accurate now, as earlier this year the firm jettisoned its magazine division, including Time.) The bid was spurned, but that doesn’t mean Murdoch — who has a knack for getting what he wants — can’t sweeten the deal to woo stockholders. Many analysts label Fox buying TimeWarner a “when,” not an “if.”

Much of the conjecture regarding the deal concerns CNN (which Murdoch probably would peddle for antitrust reasons) or Fox coveting MLB and NBA rights now property of TBS and TNT. Of course, as classic Hollywood buffs, we take a slightly different angle; our focus is on another TimeWarner property…

…Turner Classic Movies, which turned 20 this past April. Under Fox ownership, might it change by the time it turns 25 in 2019 — and if so, by how much?

It’s easy to crack simplistic jokes about Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz being replaced by the classic movie equivalent of leggy, vapid Fox News blondes. (Gretchen Carlson just attacked the 17-year-old “Seinfeld” Festivus episode for undermining Christianity.) But seriously, what might Fox do with TCM?

Will McKinley, at his fine site “Cinematically Insane,” examined this the other day (http://willmckinley.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/how-a-foxtime-warner-merger-might-impact-classic-film-fans/). His thoughts are well worth checking out. And here are some thoughts of my own:

* Don’t let what happened with Fox Movie Channel, which not long ago abandoned its all-classic, commercial-free format, lead you to believe TCM will suffer the same ignominious fate. FMC was little-watched as few systems carried it, and had a small film library (how many times could one watch “No Highway In The Sky”?) from a single studio. In contrast, TCM has a far bigger library or contractual agreements with studios (including Fox in recent years), is carried by the vast majority of cable and satellite systems, and in short has positioned itself as a “brand.” Such cachet should lead Murdoch to treat TCM along the lines of the Wall Street Journal, not the New York Post.

* Where home video is concerned, McKinley points out that the Warner Archive has done a far better job — both commercially and aesthetically — than Fox’s equivalent (Fox Cinema Archives), and Warners probably would take command in any merger of the two.

Yes, classic film fans have every right to be wary, but as McKinley writes, “at first glance, it appears to me that this merger would only likely increase access to, and availability of, classic films and TV shows.”

And speaking of TCM, not long ago I saw one of these tour buses along Hollywood Boulevard — nearly three months after the TCM Classic Film Festival, when the tours were offered on a short-lived basis. Now, the TCM Movie Locations Tour has been brought back, complementing the TCM Classic Film Tour offered in New York.

Not just a “Hollywood” tour, the three-hour excursion takes riders all over film-related locations across Los Angeles, dating back to silent times. To learn more or to make reservations, go to http://www.starlinetours.com/los-angeles-tour-9.asp?origin=TCM.

The furniture has arrived!

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.08 at 20:14
Current mood: excitedexcited

I like to think that somewhere, Carole Lombard is smiling because I’ve finally moved into my Los Angeles apartment; the furniture arrived today. It’s been nearly three weeks since the bed, computer desk and chair, TV, nightstand and other items were packed back in Virginia, and I had to wait my turn as other matters were attended to during this transcontinental move. It’s been worth it — tonight I finally get to sleep in my own bed.

If only I could say my view of the Los Angeles skyline was as spectacular as that photo. But I’m on the fourth floor (albeit the top one) of my 1920s apartment, and I face neither the downtown skyscrapers or the mountains above what locals call “the basin.” No complaints, however — the view faces southwest, so I don’t have to worry about direct sunlight (always good for a writer). And there is sort of a Lombard vibe to the area; I’m not all that far from 138 North Wilton Place, where Carole lived with her family for much of the 1920s, or Virgil Junior High School, one-time home of student Jane Alice Peters.

Were Lombard to magically rematerialize in this part of LA today, she’d see many buildings and storefronts still around from her time, but they’d be complemented by modern stucco low-rise apartments and the ubiquitous two-story mini-malls. The people would be different, too — not large strains of Midwest emigres like the Peters family, but a diverse ethnic blend of Koreans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, blacks and other groups. I’ve been told the neighborhood is a fairly quiet one…probably not all that different from the 1920s, though residents now use the Red and Purple subway lines, not the Red and Yellow streetcars.

My new apartment is comfy, but the building has its quirks — chiefly an elevator that’s been here from day one (more than 85 years). The metal exterior door opens with a handle, but thankfully won’t open if it isn’t on your floor. But you have to make certain it’s completely shut, or it won’t operate. And when you’re on the fourth floor and someone who just left the first floor didn’t close it all the way, well, you’re stuck until someone else boards.

The move isn’t complete. I can’t use my desktop computer or TV yet, because they won’t be installed until later this month. And later this week, I’ll return east to clear out what’s left of my old digs. But by the time July ends, I’ll be an Angeleno for good…just like Lombard was.


carole lombard 01

Last rites for the rom-com?

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.07 at 17:00
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

It’s been nearly 78 years since “My Man Godfrey,” with Carole Lombard and William Powell heading a superlative cast, hit theaters en route to nearly universal acclaim (well, it was a Universal production). It certainly ranks among the peaks of the romantic comedy, a genre whose roots in Hollywood date to the late 1910s. (A reminder that silent comedy is far more than slapstick.)

But is that genre threatened? That’s been argued often is recent years, and the latest to claim it is Andrew Romano of the Daily Beast (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/07/the-romantic-comedy-is-dead.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_afternoon&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_afternoon&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet). His piece, “The Romantic Comedy Is Dead,” doesn’t celebrate the genre’s apparent demise, but examines how the genre came to be on life support. He cites several reasons:

* Money: Hollywood’s search for blockbusters with international appeal — comic-book adaptations or action flicks with the customary explosions and apocalyptic soundtracks — have more or less killed the mid-budget movie, the neighborhood for most comedies not destined for the art-house circuit.

* Boys: The industry increasingly focuses on the male audience, especially those ages 18-24, as women’s options are relegated to TV. Rom-coms are derided as “chick flicks” by the multiplex crowd, and are accepted only if they’re sufficiently coarse.

* Viable actresses look elsewhere: The likes of Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey are more comfortable in television, while those whose forte is films find the going better in blockbusters — think Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games” (where at least she’s the lead character) or Emma Stone (relegated to love interest in comic-book movies).


* Branding: An array of lackluster rom-coms over the past dozen years has diminished the appeal of the genre; Romano calls Matthew McConaughey the prime culprit, but poor writing and a lack of feel for the genre are equally to blame.

I still hold out hope for the genre, but it will require truly charming acting, sophisticated (but not pretentious) writing and someone with a sense of unconventional wisdom to make it work. Remember, about 30 years ago the sitcom genre was in similar doldrums — then came “Cheers” and “The Cosby Show,” followed by “Seinfeld” and “Frasier.” So hold out hope that the genre which made Carole a cinema immortal will do likewise for a star of today.


carole lombard 07

To ‘Power’ a public(?) domain ‘From Hell To Heaven’

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.06 at 21:01
Current mood: pensivepensive

Two Carole Lombard films which never have received an official DVD release are being sold in that format. One is…

…”From Hell To Heaven,” the 1933 Paramount programmer. The other is a Pathe silent from 1928…

…”Power,” which incidentally was Joan Bennett’s film debut.

The seller behind both items says these movies are in the public domain. I’m almost entirely certain of that regarding “Power,” but not so sure about “From Hell To Heaven.” Unless the rights to this film has lapsed (as was the case for a later Lombard Paramount vehicle, “Swing High, Swing Low”), it probably is property of Universal, which now holds the rights to several hundred Paramount sound titles made before 1948.

That Universal hasn’t done much with these holdings regarding video or other release (yes, there was the April 2006 release of the “Glamour Collection” for Carole, Marlene Dietrich and Mae West, but next to nothing beyond that, at least for Lombard) is irrelevant; if it belongs to Universal, “From Hell To Heaven” is a bootleg. That no cease-and-desist order apparently has come from Universal’s legal office means either

* it actually is in the public domain, or equally likely

* Universal holds the rights, but either has no plans for a video release or doesn’t have it in marketable condition yet. (We hope it’s the latter.)

“Power,” which the seller admits is in “acceptable” condition, is on sale for $19.99 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/POWER-1928-DVD-WILLIAM-BOYD-CAROLE-LOMBARD-JOAN-BENNETT-/251580568650?pt=US_DVD_HD_DVD_Blu_ray&hash=item3a935ed44a. As for “From Hell To Heaven,” it’s deemed in “good” condition, is available for $15.99, and is athttp://www.ebay.com/itm/FROM-HELL-TO-HEAVEN-1933-CAROLE-LOMBARD-JACK-OAKIE-/261525257620?pt=US_DVD_HD_DVD_Blu_ray&hash=item3ce41ebd94.


carole lombard 06

When it’s nice to be negative

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.05 at 08:07
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

Yesterday, I moved into my Los Angeles apartment (well, sort of…the furniture was supposed to arrive, but never did). Since I couldn’t do very much, I walked around the floor and discovered that behind the building, someone was keeping a rooster which I heard crowing, but never saw. Of course, Carole Lombard had a rooster, too — good old Edmund — and they’re pictured here in Paramount p1202-1440.

Now, you can buy the original 8″ 10″ negative of this portrait for $149.99; to learn more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Portrait-Original-NEGATIVE-176H-/191237024481?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c869d6ae1.

Three other shots are available:

* A headshot of a smiling Carole (http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Portrait-Original-NEGATIVE-175H-/380943748197?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58b2044c65)

* A leggy Lombard poolside portrait, complete with sombrero (http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Portrait-Original-NEGATIVE-177H-/351111277647?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bfdcec4f)

* The star modeling a long gown with a plaid jacket (http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-Portrait-Original-NEGATIVE-174H-/380943748228?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58b2044c84)

All also are being sold straight up for $149.99.

Oh, and one more thing: Rest assured I won’t be awakened every morning by a poultry alarm clock — I couldn’t hear the rooster from my apartment room. Good news once that furniture finally arrives. 

 

carole lombard 05

A happy 4th of July from Carole…and classic Hollywood

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.04 at 06:20
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

As we did last July 4th (when we opened with another flag-flying photo of Carole Lombard at the Indiana state capital), let’s celebrate Independence Day, classic Hollywood style. Here are several patriotic pics from stars of the era.

Last year, we ran a shot promoting July 4 showing Thelma Todd in, of all places, the snow (on location in the Sierra Nevadas, perhaps?). This year’s image of Thelma is a bit more conventional — as she’s shown as Betsy Ross:

Madge Evans also is shown in a Revolutionary War motif:

Here’s Leila Hyams looking patriotic, and even holding two 48-star versions of Old Glory:

A year ago, we pictured a 1920s Joan Crawford atop firecrackers. This time, we imagine that era’s Joan as Lady Liberty, though she looks as if she can’t be sure she’d imagine it herself:

And this time, it’s her old MGM rival Anita Page who gets the firecracker treatment:

A happy — and above all, safe — July 4th to all.


carole lombard 04

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.03 at 21:57
Current mood: confusedconfused

What do Carole Lombard and Jimmy Durante (shown alongside Jack Oakie with a mustache) have in common? Both appeared in Old Gold cigarette ads in the 1930s, and are among a group of such ads up for auction at eBay.

The Lombard ad offered is horizontal rather than vertical, but has the same copy. Other stars featured include Bing Crosby, Adrienne Ames, Wallace Beery, Bert Wheeler (of Wheeler & Woolsey fame) and Virginia Bruce. Bidding opens at $9.99, and the auction closes at 10:25 p.m. (Eastern) Monday.

To bid or learn more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Jimmy-Durante-a-LOT-of-Old-Gold-Cigarette-ads-from-the-1930s-/380940430622?pt=US_Cigarettes&hash=item58b1d1ad1e.


carole lombard 03

Come September, TCM goes pre-Code crazy

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.02 at 22:22
Current mood: bouncybouncy

Until roughly 80 years ago this week, it was fairly easy to see Carole Lombard in such a state of undress, as she is here in this scene from “No Man Of Her Own.” After that, if you sought a glimpse of the Lombard legs, you needed to hope she’d be appearing in a swimsuit…or were lucky enough to work on the set and see her in between scenes.

The strict enforcement of the industry’s Production Code — implemented after threats of boycott from church groups, notably Catholics — spelled the end to nearly half a decade of freewheeling, honest moviemaking. And in September, Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. will honor this period in a big way.

In recent months, TCM has run something it calls the “Friday Night Spotlight,” a monthly prime-time gallery of films based around a single theme — everything from food to Australia to pirates. Well, come September, TCM will take this concept and amplify it…to the tune of four 24-hour blocks of pre-Code cinema, 66 films in all.

“Virtue” is the only one of Carole’s movies to make the cut, as her 1932 film about a streetwalker going straight to please her cabbie husband is slated for 7:45 a.m. (Eastern) Sept. 5. But many of the other 65 are must-sees, featuring many favorites of the pre-Code era — James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Warren William, Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, Edward G. Robinson, Norma Shearer and Mae West.

See the entire schedule at http://immortalephemera.com/52529/tcm-pre-code-september/. And rest assured you won’t see this:


carole lombard 02

Two musical ways to make a ‘True Confession’

Posted by vp19 on 2014.07.01 at 22:51
Current mood: exhaustedexhausted

From right to left, Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray and Una Merkel were having a riotous time in “True Confession,” which turned out to be Lombard’s last film at Paramount. It was a musical time, too, even though none of the three sang or performed in the movie.

As was the case for many studios at the time (late 1937, in this case), Paramount drew additional revenue from the sale of sheet music; a title song, for instance. Two examples of such — one from each side of the Atlantic — now are available at eBay.

Let’s start with the version issued in Great Britain:

There’s a music store stamp on it, and the seller lists it in “good+” condition. Bids begin at $35, and bidding is set to end at 8:15 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To get in on the action, go tohttp://www.ebay.com/itm/MOVIE-TRUE-CONFESSION-BEAUTIFUL-ALT-PIC-CAROLE-LOMBARD-1937-UK-Sheet-Music/111395788204?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D8023313154551838408%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D251576690973.

The other one, issued in America, looks something like this, along the lines of a cover of True Confessions magazine:

Actually, the version being offered is wrapped in cellophane. It’s said to be in very good condition, but one senses the seller isn’t well versed in film history. Witness:

* It’s listed as being from “Adolph Zucker’s 1937 movie ‘True Confession.'” (Gee, I never realized the same family that gave us “Airplane!” and “Police Squad!” handled Lombard movies, too.)

* The seller isn’t certain whether that’s John Barrymore or MacMurray in the inset with Carole. Anyone familiar with Barrymore’s condition in 1937 knows that isn’t him.

Regardless, you can buy this straight up for $5.99; visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/JOHN-BARRYMORE-CAROLE-LOMBARD-FRED-MACMURRAY-True-Confession-MOVIE-SHEET-MUSIC/251576690973?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D8023486216596416178%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D111395788204.

Posted August 27, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Entries, June 19-June 30   Leave a comment

A Cecil B. centennial

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.30 at 23:10
Current mood: happyhappy

At the bottom of this photo of Carole Lombard from the May 1929 issue of Motion Picture magazine is a reference to Cecil B. De Mille; at the time this was printed, the 20-year-old starlet had been hired by De Mille as the female lead in his latest movie, “Dynamite.” By the time this hit newsstands, the famed director had fired the relatively inexperienced actress after but a few days of production.

If Carole held a grudge, she never let on, and when she made her first appearance on “Lux Radio Theater” (a series De Mille hosted) in 1938, there was no rancor.

De Mille was among the pioneering directors in the industry — perhaps the pioneering director — and his first notable achievement will be honored tomorrow in Hollywood.


A century ago, De Mille and his business partner Jesse Lasky created the first American feature film, “The Squaw Man.” Movies had been shot in southern California for several years, but none of this length. There was plenty of space for exterior shots in this western, but for interior scenes, De Mille and Lasky found a barn at Selma and Vine streets. That barn has since been restored and moved to 2100 North Highland Avenue, several blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard, and now is home to the Hollywood Heritage Museum.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 1, the museum and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will co-host a centennial celebration. Here’s more about it:

It should be plenty of fun.

As I write this, my alma mater, the University of Maryland, is embarking on life in a new conference — the Big Ten — as it’s past midnight in the eastern time zone and is now July 1. The move from the Atlantic Coast Conference not only will help the university in sports (the Big Ten is the oldest and wealthiest of athletic conferences), but in academics through the conference’s research consortium for interlibrary loans, student travel and the like. Below are the Big Ten mascots and cheerleaders (Testudo, Maryland’s terrapin mascot, is second from left), jumping for joy in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, a few miles from the College Park campus:

What makes this particularly sweet for me is that I was among the first, if not the first, to propose such a move…and I did it way back on Feb. 1, 2010, when it not only was out-of-the-box thinking, but the box was nowhere in sight. I’m a former sports editor of the campus student paper, the Diamondback, and here’s what I wrote some 53 months ago:http://www.diamondbackonline.com/opinion/editorials/article_af2a5589-43a5-5f08-a6a9-287ad68c4d43.html. The move was announced in November 2012, and I’m delighted to see it come to fruition.


carole lombard 07

A double dose of Lombard laughs in Seattle this summer

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.29 at 21:46
Current mood: amusedamused


Two Carole Lombard comedy favorites, both teaming her with Fred MacMurray, are among a six-pack of fun films to be shown this summer at the Seattle Art Museum under the title “For Laughing Out Loud.”

“Hands Across The Table” will be shown July 10, with “True Confession” set for July 24. Other films in the series include “Theodora Goes Wild” July 17, “His Girl Friday” July 30 (note that’s on a Wednesday, whereas the other movies are on Thursdays), “Too Many Husbands” on Aug. 7 and “Born Yesterday” Aug. 14. All films will run at 7:30 p.m., and there aren’t very many better ways of sharing a summer evening than by watching a sophisticated comedy from classic Hollywood.

The entire package is available for $42 for museum members, $45 for adult non-members. A limited number of $8 day-of-event tickets may be available at 7:25 p.m. for $8, cash or check only.

The Seattle Art Museum is at 1300 First Avenue. For tickets, visit https://tickets.seattleartmuseum.org/public/auto_choose_ga.asp?area=31, or for more information, phone 206-654-3100.


carole lombard 06

The MGM Blogathon: ‘The Gay Bride’ (1934), plus Carole the Metro guest

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.28 at 09:39
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

For someone who starred in all of one film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Carole Lombard (shown in a portrait for said film) had quite a bit to do with the magic factory in Culver City. But before we explore that part of the topic, let’s examine that one film as part of this weekend’s MGM Blogathon from Silver Scenes (http://silverscenesblog.blogspot.com/):


The film was called “The Gay Bride,” and one wonders what a movie made today bearing that title might entail. (A story of human rights? A comedy about undercover lesbianism?) Whatever, the title didn’t have the same meaning in 1934 that it would have today; in fact, the project originally didn’t bear that title at all.

The film, adapted from a Charles Francis Coe short story in the Saturday Evening Post, initially was to be called “Repeal,” after the end of Prohibition in late 1933:

But as 1934 rolled on into its second half and the end of the pre-Code era, such a title lost a lot of its fizz, and so MGM instead focused on the lead character — a woman who marries mobster after mobster, collecting their insurance after each is rubbed out. The copy for a herald describes it as “Mary, Mary…mercenary! Her coat of arms was a chisel and a wedding ring.”

By 1934, Lombard (who earlier in her career had been loath to loanouts, going so far as to reject a project at Warners that became the James Cagney-Loretta Young hit “Taxi!”) enjoyed temporarily leaving her home base of Paramount — especially since Columbia not only gave her better material, but knew how to use her better than Paramount did. If Columbia, which but a few years earlier was barely a step up from Poverty Row, had such power, imagine what MGM could do? And might it even lead to mighty Metro buying her contract from struggling Paramount?

There were just two things Carole didn’t notice as she began the project with director Jack Conway and leading man Chester Morris (who’d held similar honors in the 1932 Paramount vehicle “Sinners In The Sun”). First, MGM really wasn’t welcoming Lombard as a potential new star in its stable; Jean Harlow gave it sufficient blonde star power, and despite her success in “Twentieth Century” earlier in the year, Carole still wasn’t primarily identified with comedy, much less the sophisticated kind.

Second, MGM was slumming a bit with “The Gay Bride,” the sort of tough comedy Warners could have done in its sleep in pre-Code days. (It’s easy to imagine Joan Blondell or Glenda Farrell in the Lombard role, probably in a grittier milieu.) Yes, Metro’s high production values were on display, but that was true for all its features.

So as production continued, Lombard (shown with Zasu Pitts) likely came to learn, if she hadn’t already, that she was working on a programmer and little more. In addition to Pitts, the reliable Nat Pendleton provided comedic support, but at times Carole probably felt as uncomfortable as her character was in this still:

Nevertheless, the New York Times review of Dec. 19, 1934 was for the most part approving (http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9A01E4D61E3CE23ABC4152DFB467838F629EDE). Despite that, “The Gay Bride” did middling business, and one doubts MGM brass gave it much of a push since its lead wasn’t one of its stars. (However, according to Film Daily in early 1935, Loew’s State in New Orleans handed out “Chiseler’s Club Cards” to patrons in honor of Carole’s gold-digging character.)

Lombard later would call “The Gay Bride” her worst film, although time has been kinder to its reputation; for the most part, it’s easier to watch than her 1938 Warners misfire, “Fools For Scandal.”

Carole never made another movie for Metro…yet she hardly was a stranger on the studio lot. The reason was obvious — her attachment to Clark Gable, the top leading man at MGM, if not the industry. Whether it be keeping him company on the set during an uncharacteristically cool June night…

…sharing a laugh at a post-premiere party…

…or attending the studio picnic given by Louis B. Mayer…

…Lombard, with Gable, was a frequent visitor to MGM. (It also helped that first husband William Powell, a friend of Clark’s, was an MGM star as well.)

So why didn’t Metro sign Carole — who’d shown her box-office prowess in the second half of the ’30s — to a contract? One guesses Mayer was reluctant to add the girlfriend (and subsequent wife) of MGM’s biggest star to its roster…especially in the midst of making “Gone With The Wind” (a David O. Selznick production distributed by Metro). As a team, Gable and Lombard might have too much clout for his liking.

But it didn’t keep Carole from dropping by the lot…

And when Lombard met her ultimate fate in January 1942, MGM saluted her with a memorial ad in the trade press.


carole lombard 05

Actresses in support of each other

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.27 at 17:23
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

That’s Carole Lombard with Frances Drake and Josephine Hutchinson at the famous party Carole gave at the Venice pier in June 1935 (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/621812.html). Lombard was on friendly terms with most of her fellow actresses, going so far as to help boost their careers with studio management. It really wasn’t anything unusual for the business — that practice was true in many cases, even for those who ostensibly competed for the same parts. (A far cry from the rivalries and catfights popularly associated with actresses.)

Consider Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell at early ’30s Warners, who looked similar and had comparable skills; however, that never led to rivalry, as they instead became close friends and regularly teamed in pictures. Joan even wrote about it for a fan magazine:

This topic leads in to a fun time I had last night at Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard. The guest was Diane McBain, who had some success as a Warners contract player (in both films and on TV) in the early ’60s, then later had a part in an Elvis Presley movie (“Spinout,” and yes, Presley kissed her) and a guest part on “Batman,” among many other roles.

She’s written about her Hollywood experiences — which included working in films with Richard Burton, Claudette Colbert, Robert Stack and Joan Crawford — in a new book, “Famous Enough: A Hollywood Memoir.” (It’s such a new release that I couldn’t find a Google image for it.) After a brief compilation of film and TV clips, McBain gladly answered questions from the audience.

As was the case with Blondell three decades earlier, Warners gave McBain plenty of work, making her a semi-regular on its TV series “Surfside 6,” starring Troy Donahue, when she wasn’t making films. One of those episodes featured an up-and-coming starlet named Francine York, portraying a Eurasian. (This was when Francine had dark hair; she’s currently a blonde.) York and McBain became friends on the set, and last night, she came to Larry Edmunds to provide support (and purchase a copy, as did I).

Francine, a Facebook friend of mine who also appeared in an Elvis movie (“Tickle Me”) and guested on “Batman,” graciously gave permission to run this image of her and McBain from her FB page — and yes, you will see the book’s cover. (Francine also is working on a book about her entertainment experiences.)

10269342_578573248930137_5767085712140798445_o

York wasn’t the only actress of note on hand; so was Tippi Hedren of “The Birds” and “Marnie” fame. She and Francine posed for this picture:

10511639_578576968929765_4512214866318580784_o

I gave Francine and Diane business cards for Carole & Co. (both are admirers of Lombard), but somehow neglected to do likewise with Tippi, though she and Carole both have something in common — they were Hitchcock blondes of a sort. (To be fair, their experiences with Hitch were, shall we say, considerably different.)

All in all, it was a delightful experience with three wonderful actresses and friends through the years — one of those things that’s only available in Hollywood, yet another reason I’m glad I made this move — and although another Facebook friend of mine wasn’t there, she also made an impression.

At the bottom of the podium in front of where I was seating was a copy of a book from former radio vocalist and MGM contract player Monica Lewis, “Hollywood Through My Eyes.” So I bought it, and am looking to enjoying these recollections from Diane and Monica in upcoming days. (And Francine, once your book is out, I promise to buy it, too.)


carole lombard 04

An update from Michelle

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.26 at 15:33
Current mood: pleasedpleased

The other day, we wrote that it appears renowned British author Michelle Morgan’s on-again, off-again book project on Carole Lombard is back on again. Since then, Michelle has messaged me and provided some information on the book’s probable parameters:

“Well, the Carole Lombard book (provisionally titled ‘Carole Lombard: Twentieth Century Star’) will be a full biography of her life and career. I will start with before she was born (I have lots of information to share about her father’s accident for instance) and then her whole life will be covered, up to her death and beyond.

“I have acquired many newspaper and magazine interviews; business papers; contracts; letters and much more. All of this will be used for my research, and will go towards writing what I hope will be a very worthwhile look at her life. I’m not sure what format it will be yet. That will be up to the publisher.

“My Thelma Todd book is a biography with a photo section in the middle, and the Carole book may be the same way, but that will be up to the publisher ultimately. I hope to bring you good news soon regards a publisher. I don’t have anything firm yet to share, but I promise you will know as soon as I have official news.

“Thanks again for everything!!!”

Thanks really belong to you, Michelle, for your perseverance regarding this book. If, as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait, I have no doubt the finished project will be great…and that applies for both the Todd and Lombard books, given your track record. If you need any additional assistance, please let me know.

The Lombard LiveJournal header is Paramount p1202-452, featuring a smile so infectious I felt obliged to use it on my Carole & Co. business cards.


carole lombard 03

The movie star…an endangered species?

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.25 at 07:25
Current mood: worriedworried

Even by themselves, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable radiated star power. Put them together, as shown here at the 1936 premiere of “Romeo & Juliet,” and you had a celebrity supernova.

But the days of Gable and Lombard have long passed — and a century after Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin became the first legitimate, sustaining cinema stars, so might the very concept of movie stardom, too. At least that’s the argument presented in a recent piece by one of the entertainment community’s best-known writers.

In the June 10 issue of Variety, Peter Bart says franchises and brands drive the film industry these days, not stars (http://variety.com/2014/voices/news/movies-stars-are-an-endangered-species-as-actors-struggle-to-stay-relevant-1201217741/). Its very title, “Movie Stars Have Become an Endangered Species,” says it all, as if the very nature of film stardom is about to go the way of the quagga or passenger pigeon.

Bart encapsulates it in his lead: “Summer blockbusters make studios happy, but they make stars nervous. That’s because a lizard is the real star of ‘Godzilla,’ not an actor. And in franchises like ‘Captain America,’ ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘X-Men,’ the superhero is the brand, while the casts seem interchangeable.”

That’s true. No actor playing a superhero today will become as identified with the role as Sean Connery (or even Roger Moore) was as James Bond, much less William Powell as Nick Charles.

And note I used the word actor, not actress — not only are few if any films about superheroines made in Hollywood (the teenage male audience that jams the multiplexes for such movies find girls “icky,” particularly powerful ones), but relatively few actresses command any clout at the box office. When they do, such success tends to be fleeting. That’s why so many of them have found refuge in television.

The result? Just as the gap between haves and have-nots is increasing, so is the cinema landscape. The summer blockbusters and the heavily marketed ilk are beginning to branch out into other parts of the year, leaving little room for “arthouse” and prestige films for awards season (but they’ll always be around, if only for corporate prestige). Medium-budget movies, what used to be Hollywood’s bread and butter, are becoming extinct, too.

Still, we can look on the bright side. Let’s see a brand get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as was the case of Kate Winslet:

Oh, wait:


carole lombard 02

Finding the stars of her famous friends

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.24 at 21:21
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished


Earlier this year, we noted Carole Lombard’s star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6930 Hollywood Boulevard, in front of a Baja Fresh restaurant. But where are the stars for those who played key roles in her life as leading men, directors, supporting players, friends…even husbands?

Fortunately, a new issue of the Official Hollywood Walk of Fame brochure has just been issued, so we’ll provide some answers. (Many of these people have multiple stars; I’m listing only one for each.)

First, husbands (both of whom also were Carole leading men):

* William Powell — 1636 Vine St.
* Clark Gable — 1608 Vine St.

Other leading men of note, in semi-chronological order:

* Edmund Lowe –6363 Hollywood Blvd.
* Buck Jones — 6834 Hollywood Blvd.
* Warner Baxter — 6284 Hollywood Blvd.
* Charles “Buddy” Rogers — 6135 Hollywood Blvd.
* Frank Morgan — 6700 Hollywood Blvd.
* Gary Cooper — 6243 Hollywood Blvd.
* Paul Lukas — 6821 Hollywood Blvd.
* Pat O’Brien — 1531 Vine St.
* Jack Oakie — 6752 Hollywood Blvd.
* Randolph Scott — 6243 Hollywood Blvd.
* Fredric March — 1620 Vine St.
* George Raft — 1500 Vine St.
* Bing Crosby — 6751 Hollywood Blvd.
* John Barrymore — 6667 Hollywood Blvd.
* Fred MacMurray — 6421 Hollywood Blvd.
* James Stewart — 1708 Vine St.
* Cary Grant — 1610 Vine St.
* Brian Aherne — 1752 Vine St.
* Charles Laughton — 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
* Robert Montgomery — 6440 Hollywood Blvd.
* Jack Benny — 1505 Vine St.
* Robert Stack — 7001 Hollywood Blvd.

Creative people (directors, writers, etc.) or moguls who figured in Lombard’s life:

* Allan Dwan — 6263 Hollywood Blvd.
* Mack Sennett — 6710 Hollywood Blvd.
* Adolph Zukor — 1617 Vine St.
* Preston Sturges — 1601 Vine St.
* Wesley Ruggles — 6424 Hollywood Blvd.
* Howard Hawks — 1708 Vine St.
* Mitchell Leisen — 6241 Hollywood Blvd.
* Gregory La Cava — 6906 Hollywood Blvd.
* William Wellman — 6125 Hollywood Blvd.
* John Cromwell — 6555 Hollywood Blvd.
* George Stevens — 1709 Vine St.
* Orson Welles — 1600 Vine St.
* Alfred Hitchcock — 7013 Hollywood Blvd.
* Ernst Lubitsch — 7042 Hollywood Blvd.

Finally, some of Carole’s female cohorts as actresses, friends, etc.:

* Mary Pickford — 6280 Hollywood Blvd.
* Marion Davies — 6326 Hollywood Blvd.
* Miriam Hopkins — 1716 Vine St.
* Claudette Colbert — 6812 Hollywood Blvd.
* Kay Francis — 6766 Hollywood Blvd.
* Marlene Dietrich — 6400 Hollywood Blvd.
* Ethel Merman — 7044 Hollywood Blvd.
* Marie Prevost — 6201 Hollywood Blvd.
* Jean Harlow — 6910 Hollywood Blvd.
* Ginger Rogers — 6772 Hollywood Blvd.
* Dorothy Lamour — 6332 Hollywood Blvd.
* Una Merkel — 6262 Hollywood Blvd.
* Myrna Loy — 6685 Hollywood Blvd.
* Barbara Stanwyck — 1751 Vine St.
* Marie Wilson — 6601 Hollywood Blvd.
* Lucille Ball –6436 Hollywood Blvd.
* Anne Shirley — 7018 Hollywood Blvd.

A happy star search the next time you’re in Hollywood!


carole lombard 01

Close to ‘booking’ good news from Michelle

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.23 at 22:12
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Carole Lombard — with and without Clark Gable — has been the subject of several books over the years. Now, another book about her, one long awaited from one of the top entertainment authors in the business, could soon be in production.

Here’s what Michelle Morgan wrote on her Facebook page today:

“Looking towards future book projects, I have just sent the proposal for my Carole Lombard book to my agent…Now on with the writing for Thelma!”

As in Thelma Todd, the vivacious actress best known for her comedies whose death at age 30 in December 1935 remains one of filmland’s biggest unsolved mysteries. Once that book is out of the way, Morgan will get to the Lombard book, one she’s already done much research for (and probably will do much more).

I’m not quite sure what form this book will take; it may be a straight bio or a tome that primarily relies on photographs with complementary copy. (She was working a Lombard book a few years ago, but a decision to change publishers put the project on the backburner for a while. Last December, she said she’d written about 20,000 words on the Lombard book.) One thing I am certain, however, is that the finished project will be one worth reading, such is her track record.



Morgan’s Monroe book examines the ’50s icon in a much more human perspective than many biographers do, with plenty of background on what shaped her. I have faith she’ll do likewise with Lombard, assuming her proposal gets the green light — and know the wait will be worth it. Which will be “big news” for Carole fans everywhere.


carole lombard 07

Of a vineyard and a Greenfield

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.22 at 20:50
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

For a second straight day, the subject of this entry is the 1940 Carole Lombard drama “They Knew What They Wanted” (she’s shown with William Gargan above in an image from that film, set in California wine country). This time, we’re examining a collectible on sale at eBay.

It’s a herald from the fall of 1940 issued by the Garden Theater in Greenfield, Mass.:


Greenfield is in the northern part of west-central Massachusetts, not far from Springfield, and is the Franklin County seat. Built in 1929, the Garden was refurbished (and multiplexed) in the mid-’80s. It remains open with six theaters and a combined capacity of more than 1,800 seats.

The herald measures 4″ x 8 1/2″, and can be bought straight up for $16.50, or you can make an offer. Learn more by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/7309-Franklin-Auto-Greenfield-MA-1940-movie-card-Dick-Powell-Carole-Lombard/281363546381?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D22946%26meid%3D7812471330835049838%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D9894%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D281363546381.


carole lombard 06

Films ‘They Knew What They Wanted,’ but can’t get on DVD

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.21 at 18:22
Current mood: frustratedfrustrated

It’s no secret that Carole Lombard’s 1940 drama “They Knew What They Wanted,” teaming her with Charles Laughton for the second time, has never been made available on an authorized DVD in America, probably a result of rights issues with the Sidney Howard estate (Howard wrote the play, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1925).

But misery loves company, and it’s hardly the only movie that’s in DVD limbo. New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick recently wrote about it (http://nypost.com/2014/06/18/64-clips-of-movies-you-cant-find-on-dvd/), including brief clips of the MIA movies.

Some of the other classic-era titles that are absent from DVD — many featuring actors or directors Carole worked with — include:

* “The Crowd” (1928), King Vidor’s pioneering slice-of-life tale.

* “The Greene Murder Case” (1929), one of three early turns for William Powell as Philo Vance.

* “Once In A Lifetime” (1932), an adaptation of the Kaufman and Hart comedic play about screenwriters during Hollywood’s chaotic transition to sound.

* “Letty Lynton” (1932), which hasn’t been seen by virtually anybody since MGM withdrew it from circulation in 1935, much to the dismay of Joan Crawford fans.

* “Call Her Savage” (1932), one of Clara Bow’s final features for Fox.

* “Man’s Castle” (1933), a Loretta Young-Spencer Tracy Depression-era gem directed by Frank Borzage.

* “The Story Of Temple Drake” (1933), a steamy pre-Code adaptation of William Faulkner’s “Sanctuary,” starring Miriam Hopkins.

* “The Moon’a Our Home” (1936), starring former married couple Margaret Sullavan and Henry Fonda…which Lombard and James Stewart took the lead role for a 1940 “Lux Radio Theater” adaptation.

* “Boy Meets Girl” (1938), another comedic tale of screenwriters, starring James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, with supporting turns from Marie Wilson and Ronald Reagan.

* “The Sea Wolf” (1941), a Jack London tale starring Edward G. Robinson and John Garfield.

* “To Each His Own” (1946), for which Olivia de Havilland won a Best Actress Academy Award, directed by Mitchell Leisen. (Other films of his that are DVD MIA include “I Wanted Wings” and “Lady In The Dark.”)

* “Beau James” (1957), an atypical Bob Hope role as 1920s New York mayor Jimmy Walker.

* “Raintree County” (1957), a Civil War romantic epic starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, which apparently needs considerable restorqtion.

* And… “Dynamite” (1929), a Cecil B. De Mille film where Lombard had the female lead for a few days before being fired.

Carole shows off a ruffled dress in our latest Lombard LiveJournal header, p1202-435.


carole lombard 05

My first day as an Angeleno

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.20 at 15:57
Current mood: busybusy

Earlier today, I became a resident of Los Angeles, though unlike Carole Lombard, I have no plans to raise poultry. I signed a lease for the apartment I had paid for a few weeks earlier — though for now, I’m staying at a hotel a few blocks away since my furniture won’t arrive for another few days.

It will give me time to take care of some of the odds and ends that accompany a move…getting a California residency card (in lieu of a driver’s license, since I’ve been unable to drive the past few years), getting a Los Angeles library card, registering to vote, etc. It will result in a considerable change in lifestyle — but I’m looking forward to it.

I first celebrated signing the lease by walking a few blocks to get a hamburger from the Original Tommy’s at Beverly and Rampart:

This site, open 24 hours a day, has been serving up burgers (most of them topped with chili) since 1946. It’s sort of the LA equivalent of Pat’s and Geno’s cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia or Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington. In May, when I first looked at the nearby apartment, I had a burger — but ordered it plain because I was wearing a shirt and tie and had a few more apartments to see. I promised them that if I landed the apartment, I would return for a full-fledged Tommy’s burger; today, I lived up to that promise.

The second part of the celebration will come tonight, when I’ll head to Anaheim to watch the Angels face my friend Carole Sampeck’s beloved Texas Rangers. Tonight’s giveaway is a cowboy hat with the Angels logo…and no, it has nothing to do with the other team that plays in Arlington, Texas.

Gene Autry, who has five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was the first owner of the American League Angels. Autry, longtime owner of KMPC radio, had lost radio rights for the National League Dodgers to KFI after the 1960 season, but the AL had announced it would expand for 1961…and Autry attended the owners’ meeting merely hoping to get a broadcast contract. He wound up with the team.

The Angels won a few division titles under Autry’s reign and he was a favorite of players, but they were always snakebit in the postseason. Gene died in October 1998, four years before the Angels finally reached the promised land and won the World Series. (Autry also founded a museum dedicated to the history of the American West that has won plaudits for its thorough approach.)


carole lombard 04

And so the move begins

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.19 at 01:47
Current mood: giddygiddy

Before this day is over, I will complete my first step in becoming a resident of the city Carole Lombard called home for more than 27 years. First by train, then by plane (two flights, to be precise), I will leave Virginia for Los Angeles. By the next time I return east to clear out my old apartment, I will have settled in a new one in the City of the Angels.

To say I’m thrilled would be a massive understatement. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but now the time is right to uproot my East Coast heritage and begin living on Pacific time.


Day or night, Los Angeles casts its seductive spell. Yes, there’s plenty to see for classic film buffs — and I plan to use the myriad of resources — but I also know LA is far more than this. It’s a multi-faceted city, America’s economic link to the new wealth that is the Pacific Rim, and its hard-working citizens belie the “Tinseltown” stereotype.

I’m also arriving less than a week after the Kings won their second Stanley Cup in three years…and just after another fine LA athlete sort of extended his own greeting. Ace Dodger lefthander Clayton Kershaw fired his first no-hitter in beating Colorado 8-0, striking out a career-high 15 without allowing a walk (one batter reached base on a throwing error). Vin Scully has called numerous no-hitters (and a few perfect games) during his 65 years in the broadcast booth, but missed Josh Beckett’s no-no in Philadelphia last month (at 85, Scully rarely goes on the road aside from games at San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix), but he was behind the mike for this one. For some reason, I can’t embed this, but go tohttp://www.dodgers.com and you should be able to find Scully’s highlights, as well as the final out and subsequent celebration at Dodger Stadium.

This evokes memories of what may be Scully’s best-remembered regular-season call, Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against Chicago in the midst of a pennant race in September 1965. The game wasn’t televised in LA, but Scully’s radio play-by-play is justifiably legendary. You can hear the ninth inning in a variety of audio formats athttps://archive.org/details/VinScullyCallsThe9thInningOfSandyKoufaxsPerfectGame.

Posted August 27, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Giving an endorsement…and getting one, too   1 comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.18 at 08:50
Current mood: happyhappy

carole lombard publicity 00b

Perhaps more than any other actress of her time, Carole Lombard understood not only the value, but the workings of the publicity process — going so far as to spend a week handling PR for Selznick International Pictures in July 1938. (She’s shown with the studio’s renowned publicity maven, Russell Birdwell.)

I like to think some of that rubbed off on me, because I recently made one of the more renowned entertainment columnists aware of this site. Even better, I helped publicize another site, too. And it can all be credited to…Billy Wilder, or should we say his film “Sunset Boulevard”:

billy wilder 01c
gloria swanson sunset boulevard 00a

The 1950 movie was screened May 31 at the historic Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles, and the special guest was Nancy Olson, who played the screenwriter’s girlfriend. She was interviewed by Alison Martino, a Facebook friend who administers the superb site Vintage Los Angeles.

The event was duly noted by Liz Smith, a familiar byline to New York newspaper readers for decades who now works for a site called New York Social Diary:

carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 02a
carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 03

I was pleased to see that (wish I could have been there)…but Alison’s not the only one in her family with a fun Facebook site. Her mother, Judi, a former American Airlines flight attendant (that’s how she met Al, the pop singer-actor who became her husband) runs a site called Stewardesses of the 1960s and ’70s, where the high-flying sisterhood of the golden age of air travel recall those halcyon days. So I emailed Liz, also adding that I had a site of my own (the one you’re reading).

This was the result — first, the site I publicized:

carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 01a

Next, my own:

carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 00a

Very good…Judi and I are both publicity winners. Alas, I’m a bit uneasy to note that Liz ran the items one after another, as I probably wouldn’t juxtapose news about a site dedicated to stewardesses with one on a celebrity who was the victim of an aviation accident. (It’s why I never give out Carole & Co. business cards while on a flight.)

Oh, and speaking of flight, I’ll be doing that tomorrow as I begin the first stage of my move to Los Angeles. Today, the van arrives to take some essential items — bed, desk, chair, computer, TV — out to the Coast, though it will take a few days for it to reach my new apartment. I’ll arrive in LA Thursday night, stay a few days in a hotel, then begin moving in, returning back east near the end of the month to clear out the old place. And yes, I am thrilled.

Here is Alison’s complete interview with Nancy Olson — it runs some 22 minutes and is delightful:

Posted June 18, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘To Be’ twice as ‘Essential’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.17 at 07:57
Current mood: pleasedpleased

carole lombard to be or not to be 32b front

Carole Lombard’s final film, “To Be Or Not To Be,” will air at 8 p.m. (Eastern) June 28 in Turner Classic Movies’ “Essentials” series. While this Ernst Lubitsch classic of dark comedy certainly deserves such an honor, what makes this all the more intriguing is that come Aug. 10, it will again pop up on TCM as part of the “Essentials”…

tcm essentials jr 00
tcm essentials jr. 2014 bill hader 00

…”Essentials Jr.”, that is, hosted by former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Bill Hader. (Note he’s wearing glasses this year.) While the two “Essentials” series have aired identical movies before, this is the first time I can recall the same film airing on both in the same season.

The June showing kicks off a three-film tribute to Jack Benny, who may be best known for his radio genius but had some success in movies as well. (“The Big Broadcast Of 1937″ and “College Holiday” will follow.) The August airing will be part of 24 hours of Carole on TCM’s “Summer Under The Stars.”

I’m looking forward to not only the film, but how it is introduced — first by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore on “The Essentials,” then by Hader (a classic Hollywood buff) on “Essentials Jr.,” a series designed to introduce the younger generation to films of a bygone era.

tcm essentials 2014 robert osborne drew barrymore 00a

Osborne and Barrymore will introduce another Lombard film Oct. 4 (two days before the 106th anniversary of Carole’s birth), when “Twentieth Century” (featuring a virtuoso comedic performance from Drew’s grandfather John Barrymore, one Lombard matches stride-for-stride) is featured.

carole lombard twentieth century 059d

One hopes Drew might have some hitherto untold family stories about the making of the movie (then again, John died some 34 years before she was born). No matter, her perspective — both as a Barrymore and someone who’s probably a fan of Lombard’s — should be fascinating.

Posted June 17, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A trio of Carole clippings   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.16 at 21:31
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard clipping 00a

No, I have no idea why Carole Lombard is leaning atop a portrait of a rabbit (though what she has on indicates it might have something with “They Knew What They Wanted,” as her waitress character Amy wears a blouse with such stripes in the film). But it’s a clipping, one of three (probably all taken in the early 1940s) on sale at eBay for $5.49. You can claim it at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Original-Clipping-Magazine-Photo-8×10-1pg-P7542/380930346552?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D7671463299168134934%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D380930346538.

Next, Carole stands next to her signature:

carole lombard clipping 01a

Can’t see it? We’ll isolate it for you:

carole lombard clipping 01b

Find it at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Original-Clipping-Magazine-Photo-8×10-1pg-P7543/380930346598?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D7671596007181768589%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D380930346552.

Finally, a clipping with two images:

carole lombard clipping 02a

It’s at http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-Original-Clipping-Magazine-Photo-8×10-1pg-P7544/380930346538?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D7671622629330714364%26pid%3D1.

Posted June 16, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Screen’-ing two more fanmag uploads   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.15 at 12:56
Current mood: excitedexcited

carole lombard modern screen january 1932b covercarole lombard silver screen may 1932ca

To those of you who like to immerse yourself in the 1930s Hollywood inhabited by Carole Lombard and other legends (or at least the Hollywood the studios wanted readers to believe existed), a double dose of good news. The Media History Digital Library has added extensive runs of both Modern Screen and Silver Screenmagazines, only a few months after doing likewise with Screenland. (Lombard is shown above on the January 1932 Modern Screen and the May 1932 Silver Screen, her first cover appearance for each magazine.)

The online library features Modern Screen goes from November 1930 all the way to 1960 (though a few early issues are missing), while Silver Screen also begins in November 1930 and lasts through October 1940. Their addition now means the library has sustained or close to complete runs of eight screen fanmags, in addition to a 1931-1937 run of Movie Classic. You can find them at http://mediahistoryproject.org/fanmagazines/.

In ensuing months, I’ll extensively mine this motherlode of fanmagdom, seeking to separate the fool’s gold (aka studio puffery) from the real thing. (At times they co-exist.) For now, however, let’s look at Lombard’s first extnnsive appearance in each magazine. We’ll begin with the February 1931 Silver Screen, and a handsome pic of her taken late in 1930:

carole lombard silver screen february 1931c

Carole was mentioned several times (without an illustration) in an article elsewhere in that issue on a familiar conceit — stars’ figures, something Photoplay also did about that time (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/595236.html). This story also compared stars to Venus, the mythical ideal of physical beauty:

carole lombard silver screen february 1931da
carole lombard silver screen february 1931ea
carole lombard silver screen february 1931fa

None of the stars’ measurements are fully provided, so alas we don’t have yet another candidate in the long-running debate regarding Lombard’s height. (As for the star whose figure most resembled Venus, Joan Crawford was the winner by default, although if Constance Bennett — whom some wags tagged “the human clothes-hanger” — had added a dozen or so pounds to her 98-pound frame, she might have claimed the honor.)

Move six months ahead to Lombard’s first appearance of note in Modern Screen, a portrait where she certainly evokes Venus or any other Grecian goddess at a time when it appeared she was going to be among the stars in “The Greeks Had A Word For It.” (Illness forced Carole to bow out of the production, and the film would be renamed “The Greeks Had A Word For Them.”)

carole lombard modern screen august 1931aa

Also in the August 1931 was a story on the preview to her film “Up Pops The Devil,” and look who’s on hand to provide support…husband-to-be William Powell. (This photo was taken before their marriage in late June.)

carole lombard modern screen august 1931ca

The preview was held at the Alexander Theater in Glendale; its name was later shortened to Alex, and it’s used today for performing arts events, including the Loretta Young tribute held this past January (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/667409.html). Here’s what a Hollywood preview looks like, as well as a response mailed to Paramount from someone who saw the film (and has nice things to say about Carole):

carole lombard modern screen august 1931ba
carole lombard modern screen august 1931bb

Some other notables, both actors and executives, came out to Glendale…even a few who had nothing to do with the film:

carole lombard modern screen august 1931da
carole lombard modern screen august 1931ea
carole lombard modern screen august 1931fa

I’m definitely looking forward to using these fanmags as a resource.

Posted June 15, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Half a dozen heralds for Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.14 at 02:48
Current mood: draineddrained

carole lombard sinners in the sun herald 00

Those of you who collect Carole Lombard heralds — two-sided sheets, usually folded into four pages, “heralding” an upcoming attraction at that theater — are in the midst of a surfeit of riches. Six heralds from as many Lombard films are up for auction at eBay, such as one for “Sinners In The Sun” above. Here’s the flip side:

carole lombard sinners in the sun herald 01

That herald — probably from Great Britain, since the film was set to run in March 1933 and it premiered in the U.S. the previous summer — already has one bid, for $10. That’s the minimum bid for the herald offered by the same seller, from the Lombard-William Powell film “Man Of The World” (note the back side is left blank):

carole lombard man of the world herald 00
carole lombard man of the world herald 01

The seller has three heralds where bids open at $15 — from “Swing High, Swing Low”…

carole lombard swing high, swing low herald 00
carole lombard swing high, swing low herald 01

…”Nothing Sacred”…

carole lombard nothing sacred herald 05
carole lombard nothing sacred herald 06

…and “The Gay Bride”:

carole lombard the gay bride herald 00a
carole lombard the gay bride herald 01a

The auctions for the first four end Sunday between 10:21 and 11:56 a.m. (Eastern) Sunday, while “The Gay Bride” auction concludes at 5:01 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. Bid or find out more about these and other Lombard items from this seller (a total of 40 were listed) by visiting http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_osacat=0&_armrs=1&_ssn=mangiamo&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1311.R1.TR10.TRC2.A0.H0.Xcarole+lombard&_nkw=carole+lombard&_sacat=0&_from=R40.

But wait, there’s more! Another seller, from India, has this fascinating herald from Lombard’s second film at Paramount, “Fast And Loose”:

carole lombard fast and loose herald 01a
carole lombard fast and loose herald 00

Some interesting things here. Not only note that Lombard’s first name is listed as “Carole,” which it became for good in the fall of 1930 (and isn’t that a lovely shot of her on the phone?), but she’s received second billing, behind Miriam Hopkins, but ahead of Frank Morgan. According to a calendar check, “Saturday, April 2nd” didn’t come until 1932, so by then Paramount management probably wanted to give Carole more attention than Morgan.

Bids for this rarity begin at $40, with the auction slated to end at 5:02 a.m. (Eastern) Friday. Interested? Find out more by going tohttp://www.ebay.com/itm/ORIGINAL-MOVIE-HERALD-FAST-AND-LOOSE-MIRIAM-HOPKINS-CAROLE-LOMBARD-/111380518478?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19eecbd64e.

carla laemmle 00

In closing, some happy and sad news. First, we note the passing Thursday of Carla Laemmle at age 104; she was part of the Laemmle family of Universal lore and an actress and dancer dating back to the silent era. Carla remained a vital part of classic Hollywood to the end, regularly appearing at shows and festivals.

los angeles kings 2014 stanley cup 00

On a more cheery note, Lord Stanley is returning to Los Angeles for the second time in three years. The Los Angeles Kings — who won their first three playoff series this year with Game 7 victories on the road — clinched the Stanley Cup before the home folks with a 3-2 victory in double overtime, beating the New York Rangers in five games. (Two years earlier, L.A. won the Cup by beating the team from the other side of the Hudson, the New Jersey Devils.)

It caps a stunning season for southern California hockey, including the Kings’ sold-out January game at Dodger Stadium against the Anaheim Ducks (they would meet in the playoffs for the first time, with the Kings winning in seven after rallying from a three-games-to-none deficit against San Jose in the first round). Want to celebrate? The Kings’ championship parade will begin downtown Monday at noon at Figueroa and 5th Street and end 30 to 45 minutes later at Staples Center.

Posted June 14, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 54 other followers