Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Their first time together as leads(?)…in Leeds   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.19 at 20:14
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard now and forever 05d

For Carole Lombard fans, “Now And Forever” is probably best remembered today as her lone film with Shirley Temple, on loan to Paramount shortly before her meteoric rise to fame at Fox (which hadn’t yet merged with Darryl F. Zanuck’s Twentieth Century Pictures at the time this was made in the summer of 1934). But when it arrived in Great Britain the following March, the local theater took a different angle to promote it…and got it all wrong.

The theater in question is the Paramount Theatre in Leeds:

carole lombard now and forever paramount leeds 00a
carole lombard now and forever paramount leeds 01a

Read the paragraph below:

carole lombard now and forever paramount leeds 01b

That “new starring romantic team” was Cooper and Lombard, according to this program, which added, “the picture marks the first time that these two popular players have appeared together as leads.”

Say what?

carole lombard i take this woman 49b

Weren’t they aware of a film issued a few years earlier named “I Take This Woman”?, where Carole and Coop definitely were the leads? (That movie probably played Leeds.)

Whatever; let’s ignore that error and look at the rest of this program. Also coming to the Paramount was a Zane Grey western starring two fellow Lombard cast members, Randolph Scott and Gail Patrick, playing not “the other woman,” but the leading lady…

carole lombard now and forever paramount leeds 02a

…Joan Bennett (whose first film, “Power,” was a silent with Lombard) and Francis Lederer in “The Pursuit Of Happiness”…

carole lombard now and forever paramount leeds 03a

…and Sylvia Sidney opposite former (and future) Carole co-star Gene Raymond in “Behold My Wife”:

carole lombard now and forever paramount leeds 04a

The Paramount opened in early 1932 with the Ernst Lubitsch gem “The Smiling Lieutenant.” Here’s the exterior, not long after it opened, with “This Is The Night” on the marquee:

paramount odeon leeds 00a

Renamed the Odeon in 1940, the theater later was host to concerts featuring acts such as Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, the Beach Boys and several appearances by the Beatles (including two shows with Roy Orbison in June 1963). Here’s the stage where they performed:

paramount odeon leeds 01a

The Odeon was “twinned” in 1968 and eventually became a five-screen multiplex. But suburbanization affected UK theaters too, and the last films were shown there in late 2001. While the interior was razed and converted into retail space, the exterior was preserved.

The eight-page program measures 8.5″ x 5″ and is in good condition with some light ageing. The opening bid in this auction is $9.99, with bidding scheduled to end at 5:36 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday. Interested in adding this to your collection of Lombardiana? Then visit Just remember that it wasn’t Gary and Carole’s first cinematic go-round.

Posted April 19, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Essentials Jr.’, an August spot — so what is ‘To Be’?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.18 at 23:10
Current mood: anxiousanxious

carole lombard to be or not to be 54b front

We’re running that rare publicity photo of Carole Lombard and Jack Benny because the film it’s promoting, “To Be Or Not To Be” (that pose of them certainly isn’t from the movie), will be part of TCM’s Sunday night summer “Essentials Jr.” series this year. That in itself is welcome; what makes it especially interesting is when it’s scheduled — Aug. 10. And August, as any TCM fan knows, is the month for…

tcm summer under the stars 01b

…”Summer Under The Stars,” for many TCM buffs the most eagerly awaited event of the year…31 days of 24-hour cinematic salutes to a particular star.

Lombard’s been a two-time honoree (Aug. 17, 2006 and Aug. 28, 2011; the latter also featured her as part of “Essentials Jr.” with “My Man Godfrey”). Could she be in line for a third appearance?

If it were to happen, TCM probably would want to run a slightly different slate of her films from 2011…and let’s face facts: Lombard lived relatively briefly, so her cinematic output is somewhat limited. However, there are quite a few movies of hers that as of yet have been inaccessible to TCM.

Perhaps the most prominent is 1940′s “They Knew What They Wanted,” which was part of TV packages in the late 1980s and had a videocassette release via RKO but hasn’t been on TV for decades or been issued on domestic DVD. The problem likely lies with legal hassles with the estate of Sidney Howard, who wrote the play it’s based on in the mid-1920s. Pathe’s “Big News,” from 1929, also has never appeared on TCM; it was directed by Gregory La Cava seven years before “Godfrey.” And Fox has 1930′s “The Arizona Kid,” where Lombard has a supporting role. (I’m not even sure if that’s ever aired on Fox Movie Channel.)

There are quite a few other Carole movies that have yet to appear on TCM, and most hail from her early years at Paramount. (The only film from that studio that was shown in her SUTS day in 2011 was “Hands Across The Table.”) They include the likes of “Safety In Numbers”…

carole lombard safety in numbers 104a

…”It Pays To Advertise”…

carole lombard it pays to advertise 13a

…”No One Man”…

carole lombard no one man 22b

…and “From Hell To Heaven”:

carole lombard from hell to heaven 05b sidney blackmer

None are masterpieces, but all at least have historical value.

Universal controls the rights to most pre-1948 Paramount product, probably including all the movies she made there; until recently, it did relatively little with its films from that era, but in recent months it’s followed the lead of the Warner Archive and has began issuing old, somewhat obscure Paramount (and Universal) releases via the video-on-demand format. While none have been Lombard titles, they now may be available for TCM to run. (One Paramount title not owned by Universal is 1931′s “I Take This Woman,” where Carole’s co-star is Gary Cooper. A 16 mm print was found, restored and shown a few times in theaters, but it’s yet to be on video or TV.)

All this is conjecture, of course. It’s entirely possible TCM could be running 24 hours of Benny, who made a lot of films in addition to his groundbreaking radio work. Or TCM could throw us a curve and have this be part of 24 hours of Robert Stack, a supporting player here but a significant star during the 1940s and ’50s.

We’ll find out soon enough. TCM’s schedule for August — and the 2014 SUTS lineup — should be known to the public by the end of April. For now, stay tuned.

Oh, and here’s the complete “Essentials Jr.” list (it’s 14 nights this summer, since there are five Sundays during June and August), again with Bill Hader as host:

* June 1: Bringing Up Baby (1938)
* June 8: The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)
* June 15: The Yearling (1947)
* June 22: Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956, American version)
* June 29: A Kid for Two Farthings (1955)
* July 6: Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
* July 13: The Little Princess (1939)
* July 20: Silent Comedy Shorts –- Laurel & Hardy in “Two Tars” (1928); Harold Lloyd in “Never Weaken” (1921); Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton in “Coney Island” (1917); and Charlie Chaplin in “The Immigrant” (1917)
* July 27: Cat People (1942)/The Curse of the Cat People (1944)
* Aug. 3: How Green Was My Valley (1941)
* Aug. 10: To Be or Not to Be (1942)
* Aug. 17: Lifeboat (1944)
* Aug. 24: The Maltese Falcon (1941)
* Aug. 31: Shane (1953)

Posted April 18, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Four photos, speak of {‘Up Pops) The Devil’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.17 at 21:09
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard up pops the devil 34b

“Up Pops The Devil” is among an array of programmers Paramount cast up-and-coming player Carole Lombard in during the first few months of 1931. It’s never received any sort of official video or DVD release, nor has it shown up on YouTube. Thankfully, several vintage stills from the film now are up for sale at eBay, all for $13.99 each such as the one above showing Carole with Norman Foster; it’s at×10-Photo-Carole-Lombard-Up-Pops-the-Devil-Paramount-Picture-1931-77-/310933056419?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item48650deba3.

Here’s another image, which appears to be from the same scene in the movie:

carole lombard up pops the devil 35b

It’s at×10-Photo-Up-Pops-the-Devil-Carole-Lombard-1931-79-/310933056412?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item48650deb9c.

Lombard’s looking sternly at Lilyan Tashman and Foster in this pic:

carole lombard up pops the devil 33b

Find it at×10-Photo-Carole-Lombard-Up-Pops-the-Devil-Paramount-1931-70-/261455191045?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cdff19c05.

And finally, here’s Carole, dressed to the nines by 1931 standards, in apparently some sort of comedic scene:

carole lombard up pops the devil 32b

To purchase or learn more, visit×10-Photo-Carole-Lombard-Up-Pops-the-Devil-1931-74-/310933056408?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item48650deb98.

“Up Pops The Devil” is among several Lombard films I have yet to see, and these photos make me yearn to see it all the more.


Posted April 17, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Entries , April 6-April 16   Leave a comment

Size her up!

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.16 at 21:53
Current mood: draineddrained

carole lombard p1202-1489b

So what’s the scale of your affection for Carole Lombard: big, bigger or biggest? An eBay seller wants to know, because four Lombard Paramount portraits — each struck from the original studio negatives, including the one above, p1202-1489 — are for sale at three different sizes.

You can buy an 8″ x 10″ for $15, choose an 11″ x 14″ for $20, or go gigantic with a 24″ x 36″ for $35.

Other pix of Carole available are p1202-216…

carole lombard p1202-216e


carole lombard p1202-1412e

…and p1202-1476:

carole lombard p1202-1476c

Here are the listings for each pic at each size:

For p1202-216…
8″ x 10″:×10-photo-from-original-negative-IM120-/351050436321?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bc3c8ee1
11″ x 14″:×14-photo-from-original-negative-IM120-/380886663432?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58ae9d4108
24″ x 36″:×36-poster-photo-from-original-negative-IM120-/380886663430?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58ae9d4106

For p1202-1412…
8″ x 10″:×10-photo-from-original-negative-IM117-/380886663435?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58ae9d410b
11″ x 14″:×14-photo-from-original-negative-IM117-/191138906649?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c80c44219
24″ x 36″:×36-poster-photo-from-original-negative-IM117-/351050436332?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bc3c8eec

For p1202-1476…
8″ x 10″:×10-photo-from-original-negative-IM196-/380886663426?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58ae9d4102
11″ x 14″:×14-photo-from-original-negative-IM196-/351050436339?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bc3c8ef3
24″ x 36″:×36-poster-photo-from-original-negative-IM196-/191138906648?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c80c44218

For p1202-1489…
8″ x 10″:×10-photo-from-original-negative-IM198-/380886663424?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58ae9d4100
11″ x 14″:×14-photo-high-resolution-original-negative-IM198-/351050436289?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bc3c8ec1
24″ x 36″:×36-poster-photo-high-resol-original-negative-IM198-/191138906596?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c80c441e4

And as you can tell from the presence of the pictures, I’m back east, again using my desktop computer. More and more, it appears I will be taking it west with me later this year; precisely when remains to be seen.

carole lombard 02

Homeward bound (but shall return)

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.15 at 01:23
Current mood: excitedexcited

About 12 hours from now, I’ll be leaving Carole Lombard and classic Hollywood behind (in a purely geographical sense), as I’ll be traveling from Los Angeles to Washington, via Minneapolis-St. Paul. The week I’ve spent here has been illuminating, making me all the more certain this is where I want to make my new home.

Precisely where that home will be remains uncertain; I have at least one definite possibility and hope to have a few more soon. I may require another visit, this time focused solely on a place to live, before I confirm where I’ll be moving to, and when. A decision of this magnitude doesn’t come cheaply — what do I take with me? What will I leave behind (or try to sell)? What can I store, and where?

While I’m hardly what one would call wealthy, I have enough resources on hand to make the move, and a source of income to keep me going once I head west. It’s simply a matter of how to go about doing it.

Congratulations, Los Angeles; you’ve got another person from the east under your seductive spell, just as you did to a Jane Alice Peters 100 years ago. Stay tuned.

carole lombard 01

Happy 20th, TCM!

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.14 at 14:14
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

It was twenty years ago today…and no, Sgt. Pepper had nothing to do with it. On this day in 1994, Turner Classic Movies signed on, appropriately with Ted Turner’s all-time favorite movie, “Gone With The Wind,” starring Carole Lombard’s second husband, Clark Gable.

A big deal in retrospect, not so much then. For the past few years, Turner Network Television had been showing all sorts of goodies from Turner’s large film library of vintage MGM, Warners and RKO titles. What differed TCM from the original TNT was the absence of commercials…and as TCM’s film holdings grew and grew, rival channels such as American Movie Classics were left in the dust and gradually changed their programming approach.

TCM has won its viewers’ trust through people such as Robert Osborne, a genuine film historian who’s written a number of books, through clever programming such as Star of the Month, the August favorite Summer Under The Stars, and events such as the recently concluded TCM Classic Film Festival. No wonder it’s gathered an array of avid fans.

I would celebrate today by watching TCM…but alas, my hotel doesn’t carry it. No matter; I’m leaving for home tomorrow and will be back on Wednesday. But remember, Los Angeles, I shall return.

carole lombard 07

Making friends at the festival

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.13 at 22:33
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

It’s been a blast meeting people at this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, people wh share my enthusiasm for Carole Lombard in particular and classic movies in general.

Had a pair of sustained conversations — one Saturday evening, the other this afternoon — with Lara Gabrielle Fowler, administrator of Backlots ( Lara is working on a book about Marion Davies, and judging from the research she tells me she’s doing, this project will feature plenty of information about the sweetheart of San Simeon that’s never found its way into print before. To that end, she’s also planning to move to Los Angeles, though she would only have to journey a few hundred miles, from the Bay Area.

Another person I met face-to-face, although prior commitments prevented her from joining us Saturday for tea and coffee, was Jessica Pickens, owner of Comet Over Hollywood (, a site well worth checking out. Sorry I was unable to spend more time with her

That’s the good news. The bad news is that while Lara and Jessica got to see films — and plenty of them — during the festival, I lacked such luck. Without a pass, I was limited to stand-by status, and my viewing was limited to seeing “The Thin Man” at the Egyptian Friday morning. Over the weekend, I made two efforts to see “Employees’ Entrance” and one more for “Fifth Avenue Girl,” but there was no room at any of the showings. Frustrating, yes, but no complaints; after all, I planned this late in the process…and lest I remind you, the primary reason for my visit was not to see the TCM Classic Film Festival, but to find an apartment in Los Angeles. I’ll check on some more leads Monday before leaving Tuesday.

Next year, I intend to attend the TCM festival as a full-fledged participant — and assuming it’s again held in Hollywood, this time, I won’t need to stay in a hotel.

carole lombard 06

Guess who got a Carole & Co. business card?

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.12 at 18:05
Current mood: pleasedpleased

It’s someone you know and probably like…and a Carole Lombard fan, to boot. If you’re in Hollywood this week at the TCM Classic Film Festival, there’s a good chance you’ve seen or met him. He’s Ben Mankiewicz, one of Turner Classic Movies’ hosts and part of a venerable film (and political) family.

Friday, Ben was walking along Hollywood Boulevard while I was waiting for a bus. I said hello, shook his hand and told him I enjoyed his work on TCM (and I do). He noted I, like him, had Washington roots from the Nationals cap I was wearing. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him the Nats had dropped a heartbreaker in Atlanta earlier that night.) I then noted a had a card for my classic Hollywood site, dug one from my pocket, and handed it to him.

Mankiewicz has been quoted as saying Lombard is among his very favorite classic Hollywood personalities, and family relatives either wrote screenplays for Carole or knew her.

Ben, if you do come around this site, please pardon me for the name-dropping (though our visitors include numerous people either associated with film history or currently involved with the industry as writers or actors). I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Carole & Co., and continued personal and professional success.

And if any of you at the TCM Classic Film Festival would like a Carole & Co. business card, just look for the guy wearing the curly W (and no, not the one standing for Walgreens).

carole lombard 05

Making an entrance like Myrna

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.11 at 15:57
Current mood: dorkydorky

Grauman’s Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Boulevard played an important role in the life of one of Carole Lombard’s good friends, Myrna Loy. One of her first jobs in the entertainment industry was as one of Sid Grauman’s dancers in the stage shows accompanying films after the Egyptian opened in 1922.

I mention this because Myrna’s spirit must have inhabited me this morning…well, sort of. Let me explain.

As I planned my trip to Los Angeles too late to arrange for a pass or press credentials for the TCM Classic Film Festival, any events I attend will be on a stand-by basis — and so it was for this morning’s screening of “The Thin Man” at the Egyptian. Fortunately, seating was available, so I paid my $20 (cash only) and was able to enter. As it was nearing 9 a.m. (Pacific), I was hungry (hadn’t yet eaten breakfast) and while in line at the lobby noticed a concession stand in the distance…anddidn’t a downward step in front of me.

Just as Myrna did in “The Thin Man” when we first meet her Nora Charles character, I fell — but unlike Nora, I wasn’t carrying holiday presents, nor handling a terrier on a leash. And my fall certainly lacked a Loy-like grace.

I was helped up by ushers who walked me down to an aisle seat on the fourth row…where a TCM Julianne Moore profile of Loy (including the aforementioned stumbling scene) preceded the feature.

I’ve watched “The Thin Man” several times on TCM and other TV outlets, but seeing it on a big screen, with an audience savoring that one-of-a-kind chemistry between Myrna and William Powell, adds so much to the experience. I don’t know whether either of my parents saw the movie in theaters, but if they did, they must have thrilled to it.

Oh, and to Johnny Depp: Don’t even think about a remake, as has been rumored. Powell’s shoes (or martini glasses) are too big for you to fill, and that would go likewise for whichever actress was cast as Nora.

My earlier tumble led the ushers to consider me a cripple, and I was gingerly helped up the stairwell as if I were 85 rather than 58. But once reaching the lobby, it was worth it, because there was the knowledgeable and lovely Kimberly of, a splendid site dedicated to classic Hollywood style. Great lady.

Returning to my hotel to soothe my feet, I stopped at Larry Edmunds Bookshop, a Hollywood institution since 1938 (Robert Matzen’s “Fireball,” about Lombard’s ill-fated Flight 3, is available there), bought a few cinema-related books, and the gracious staff allowed me to leave some Carole & Co. business cards alongside a few of the other freebies.

Don’t know if I’ll attend any other festival events today, as my nephew and his family are coming from Riverside County to meet me for dinner. But I’ll try to make up for it tomorrow.

carole lombard 04

And the festival begins

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.10 at 21:39
Current mood: happyhappy

The 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival kicked off in earnest today, and I dropped by the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt to be a part of it. (To a point, alas; since I arranged my trip to Los Angeles too late to secure either a pass or media credentials, any showings I see will be on a stand-by basis. But it’s the atmosphere that makes this event fun.)

The general public could watch what was going on this afternoon, since the passholder-only Club TCM didn’t begin until evening. And I got to see Mr. TCM, Robert Osborne, in the flesh himself, interviewing famed director-producer-actor Mel Brooks (it’s the 40th anniversary of “Blazing Saddles,” which will be shown at the festival. Both now are in their 80s, but from the lively conversation, you’d never have known it. Brooks is a comedic legend, of course, but he’s produced several dramatic films (e.g., “The Elephant Man”), and he really knows and loves his movies.

I bought a TCM festival bag from the TCM Boutique we noted recently, and also discreetly handed out about 100 or so Carole & Co. business cards in the Roosevelt lobby. One person said she had visited the site before and loved it, while another person handed me her card, for, and two others asked for (and received) multiple cards to pass along to friends.

I’ll have more cards to hand out Friday, with hopes I’ll be able to take part in a screening or two. Hope to see you there.

carole lombard 03

Apartment hunting begins, and it’s time for Dodger baseball

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.09 at 19:34
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

Again, greetings from Los Angeles, where in my dream to excavate more research on Carole Lombard and classic Hollywood, I am hoping to relocate sometime later this year. Today I had my first apartment visit, a converted 1920s hotel in Koreatown (or, to pun on the title of an old Fifth Dimension hit, California Seoul). The building was nice — one of the three studio apartments I saw there even had a view of the “HOLLYWOOD” sign, an appropriate touch for any film historian — but I’m not committing to anything just yet, and probably won’t for the remainder of my trip. Too many things still are up in the air, and I’d like to evaluate as many options as possible.

Yesterday’s highlight was my first game at Dodger Stadium in more than 17 years, an interleague game against the Detroit Tigers, and with the combination of a zippered hoodie Dodger blue sweatshirt as a giveaway plus the onslaught of the Michigan diaspora (who normally visit Anaheim for their Tiger fix), the place was packed. So much so, in fact, that the Dodger Stadium Express bus from Union Station took nearly an hour to reach Chavez Ravine.

For a ballpark that’s 52 years old, Dodger Stadium remains youthful and immaculate. From my loge box seat just behind home plate (by far the best seat I’ve ever had at that ballpark), I saw a fascinating game — one that looked to be a rare early-season slugfest there when the teams traded early solo homers, then settled into a typical pitchers’ duel (defending AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer for Detroit, former Washington National Dan Haren for the Dodgers). However, neither would figure in the decision, as LA scored one in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers evened it up in the ninth, and Carl Crawford’s RBI hit in the 10th sent Dodger fans home happy. A good win for the locals…but as a Nationals fan, if the Dodger finish a game ahead of Washington in playoff seeding or a race for the second wild-card, I’ll never forgive myself. (They’ll meet six times this season, three in D.C. in early May and three in Los Angeles at the start of September.)

Oh, and one more thing: When taking Metro to Union Station to and from the ballgame, guess who was there to provide inspiration? Carole, of course…specifically the transportation mural which includes Lombard.

Tomorrow, more apartment searching and the opening of the TCM Classic Film Festival (although ironically, TCM is not part of my hotel’s cable lineup).

carole lombard 02

A morning stroll through the Walk of Fame

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.08 at 15:44
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

The last time I genuinely experienced the Hollywood Walk of Fame was in September 1996, and much has changed since then; Carole Lombard’s star, for instance.

It’s still on Hollywood Boulevard, slightly east of the Hollywood Roosevelt where she spent plenty of time with both Russ Columbo (at the Cinegrill) and Clark Gable (at the penthouse suite that now bears their names), but it’s now in front of a Baja Fresh Mexican restaurant. Or should I say, the restaurant was built behind it. (A bit further east along the boulevard, a McDonald’s stands near stars for Marilyn Monroe and Ginger Rogers, among others. Wonder if that added a bit to the sales price?)

What would Carole think? Hard to say, though she probably ate her share of Mexican cuisine (El Cholo, on Western Avenue, has been around since the 1920s, and we know she regularly went south of the border to Agua Caliente while married to William Powell).

The Walk of Fame remains as fascinating as ever, and it says something about how much I’m now immersed in classic Hollywood that I now recognize far more of these names than I did while visiting in 1989 and 1996. (I also visited LA in March 2000, but my time spent on the Boulevard was limited to waiting for a cab near Hollywood and Vine on a drizzly Saturday night after getting off the Metro following a Kings game at Staples Center.)

Some of the stars are in rather appropriate places. For instance, John Barrymore’s is in front of Musso & Frank’s Grill, which has been around since 1919 and where he probably dined (and drank). Others are beautifully juxtaposed; TV icon Betty White’s star is next to that of her late husband, game show host Allen Ludden (“The password“).

Across on the south side of the Boulevard, the star for famed TV producer Dick Wolf is adjacent to one for Jack Webb, whose “Dragnet” radio and TV series inspired Wolf to create his own police procedural shows. (Wolf even produced a revived “Dragnet,” with Ed O’Neill — yes, that Ed O’Neill, who also has a star on the Boulevard — as Joe Friday, but it didn’t catch on.)

A stop at the Roosevelt showed the lobby being set up for the TCM Classic Film Festival later this weekend; all sorts of goodies saluting the channel were being assembled for the TCM Boutique. I’m not certain how much of this I’ll be able to partake, since I don’t have a festival pass, but at least I’ll be on the periphery. If you’re going, I’ll try to see you there…and also envy you.

Again, I apologize for the lack of photos, but I’m still learning the ropes with this laptop. Additionally, I apologize to those of you who regularly use my WordPress alternate site, as I’ve been unable to copy my laptop entries. Once I return east, I’ll aim to set everything right.

carole lombard 01

Say hello to Hollywood

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.07 at 23:29
Current mood: excitedexcited

Apologies to Billy Joel, but I have arrived in Los Angeles, specifically at the Motel 6 on Whitley Street, just north of Hollywood Boulevard. It’s the same venue I stayed at during my first trip to LA nearly 25 years ago, only then it was a hostel.

The trip will blend business and pleasure — tomorrow night, I’m traveling to Dodger Stadium to see an interleague game with the Tigers (have a good seat — a loge box behind home plate, just beneath the Vin Scully Press Box). Wednesday, I’ll begin my search for an apartment, with hopes I’ll find something and move in later this year.

And later this week, the TCM Classic Film Festival takes place a few blocks from my lodging, and while it’s too late to procure a pass, I’m hoping to see a few screenings on a standby basis.

It’s great to be here!

carole lombard 07

A ‘Lady By (Choice’ Collection)

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.06 at 20:40
Current mood: annoyedannoyed

You already can obtain Carole Lombard’s last of five films for Columbia, 1934′s “Lady By Choice,” as part of the three-movie “Carole Lombard In The Thirties” collection — but if you want only that film, you now have that option.

Sony Pictures Choice Collection, a manufacture-on-demand program, issued “Choice” several months ago, and it’s already received at least two reviews from sites that cover DVD releases.

DVD Talk ( calls it an “okay comedy/drama/romance…genial enough, with [May] Robson getting laughs and tears by equally broad means, and gorgeous Lombard fascinating us (as usual) with that strange, modern quality of hers.”

The writer, Paul Mavis, praised the video transfer, though he also admitted he hadn’t seen the version from ‘Carole Lombard In The Thirties.” I have, however, and it’s a 16 x 9 full-screen ratio, just as Mavis describes the Sony Choice version. Not good hews if you prefer the original 1.33-1 format.

DVD Verdict ( isn’t quite as knowledgeable about the film as DVD Talk is, but approves the film with reservations, calling the print “dirty, with a fair bit of damage.” It’s deemed “maybe not an essential film in Carole Lombard’s body of work, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun, with great performances, a funny script and a nice message that’s a little less cloying than what was often found in romantic comedies of the day.”

Amazon has “Lady By Choice” available at

(Incidentally, if you’re wondering why this entry lacks images, it’s because it’s the first entry on my new laptop, and I’m still getting the hang of the thing.)

Posted April 17, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

California, here he comes   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.05 at 00:43
Current mood: excitedexcited

carole lombard poolside 00a

Unless I’m fantasizing (or hallucinating), I won’t be seeing Carole Lombard poolside in a few days. I will, however, be in the town she called home for more than a quarter-century of her life (save for some brief time in Beverly Hills), as come Monday, I’ll arrive in Los Angeles and stay there for slightly more than a week.

My primary purpose while there will be to look for an apartment in hopes of moving there sometime later this year as a base for researching film history, something I vowed to do soon after 2014 began ( I’ve already lined up one interview for a vacancy and hope to learn about several others in a few neighborhoods I’m interested in.

But while much of my time will be spent finding a place to relocate, that doesn’t mean I can’t mix in a little pleasure with business.

tcm classic film festival night 00

The TCM Classic Film Festival, occurring at roughly the same time as the channel’s 20th anniversary, will take place only blocks from my hotel, and while I haven’t arranged a pass, I hope to attend some of the films as a standby. Cross my fingers and see how it goes — and if you’re going, and I know Kimberly Truhler of GlamAmor will be there…

kimberly truhler tcm classic film festival 2012

…please say hello; it should be plenty of fun.

And when I’m not relaxing with movies, I have another passion…

los angeles dodger stadium night 00

…baseball. I intend to catch a game at Dodger Stadium, and perhaps also trek over to Angel Stadium in Anaheim:

angel stadium 00

Haven’t seen a game at either ballpark in 18 years.

Because of this trip, I may at times miss a day or two of entries…but I’ll try not to. If I do, please understand.

Posted April 4, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The aural unveiling of William Powell   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.04 at 19:14
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard man of the world 11d

A few months after working with William Powell on “Man Of The World” in early 1931, Carole Lombard married him, no doubt entranced by his urbane voice. Powell, as Roger Ebert would describe decades later, “is to diction what Fred Astaire is to dance.”

But few moviegoers were aware of that voice unless they had seen Powell perform on the stage; in silent cinema, his persona was distinctly different, more often than not that of a villain. Here’s the story of the film that changed his career forever, thanks to the excellent site Greenbriar Picture Shows (, which presents plenty of marketing background behind classic Hollywood.

interference 00

Paramount entered the all-talking field with the premiere of “Interference” at the famed Carthay Circle theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 5, 1928, the day before the presidential election between Republican Herbert Hoover and Democrat Al Smith and a mere 3 1/2 months since Warners’ “Lights Of New York” became the first all-talkie release. (It was a huge success despite being a poor film, throwing all of Hollywood into turmoil.) As relatively few theaters, nearly all of them big-city picture palaces, had been wired for sound, Paramount — which initially planned to issue “Interference” solely as a silent — decided to give it dialogue as well. A story in Motion Picture News from October 1928 gave an idea of the difference between a silent and sound treatment:

interference 01a

The director of the silent version was Lothar Mendes, whom later would direct Powell and Lombard in “Ladies’ Man” and whose later credits included “The Man Who Could Work Miracles.” Handling the sound version was someone with a respected background — Roy Pomeroy, technical director for “The Ten Commandments” in 1923 who also assisted on films such as “Wings.” In fact, he was among the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He had gone east to learn more about sound from Western Electric officials, and once Pomeroy returned, he was given the assignment.

Pomeroy may have been a fine technical director, but as far as helming a motion picture was concerned, he was out of his league. This nearly four-minute segment from “Interference” will make that evident; even by early silent standards, it’s primitive and creaky:

interference 02

This by itself wasn’t a revelation about Powell’s rich speaking voice, as it’s obvious his style is stymied by the film’s slow pace. His co-star in that scene, Evelyn Brent, won most of the plaudits at the time. However, the other female with a starring role, Doris Kenyon, who had been a silent leading lady of some renown, even working opposite Rudolph Valentino (in fact, Doris Day, who turned 90 yesterday, was named Doris in her honor at birth), fell out of favor in talkies, largely unable to restrain her silent-style movement on screen, and wouldn’t return to film until 1930, when she took much smaller roles. Powell’s not in this six-minute clip, but Brent, Kenyon and Clive Brook are:

Paramount quickly realized Powell’s pipes could make him believable as characters beyond rogues, and in his next film, “The Canary Murder Case,” he made the first of his four appearances as detective Philo Vance. By late 1928 standards, “Interference” indeed was a step forward in sound, for which the film press praised Paramount:

interference 03a
interference 04a

Oh, and note that the Eddie Cantor and Ruth Etting performances in New York were on film, not the stage.

As for Pomeroy, he got his comeuppance. He successfully coerced Paramount to raise his salary tenfold, from $250 to $2,500 per week. When he tried to increase it to $3,500 per week in the wake of the success of “Interference,” Paramount figured it could teach its actual directors the ins and outs of filming talkies and Pomeroy became yesterday’s news. He would direct only two more films before his death at age 55 in 1947.

“Interference” survives and was part of the 1958 Paramount film package for TV syndication, but has never received an official video release.

Posted April 4, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Until it happens, this’ll have to do   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.03 at 09:36
Current mood: frustratedfrustrated

carole lombard run, girl, run 01c
carole lombard matchmaking mamma 07f
carole lombard the campus vamp 15a front large

One area of Carole Lombard’s career that’s frustrating to research is her Mack Sennett period. Unlike the rest of her silent-era output, nearly all her films from this era have survived; that’s the good news. The bad news is that relatively few are in circulation, and they’ve yet to be assembled into some sort of set (the list of what’s on hand is at A handful of shorts are available, but they either haven’t been restored or they haven’t been put forth for mass theatrical or video viewings. (It is believed all of Carole’s Sennett work is now in the public domain.)

From top, “Run, Girl, Run,” “Matchmaking Mamma” and “The Campus Vamp” all have been used as extras for Lombard’s public domain features such as “Nothing Sacred” — but finding them is a hit-and-miss affair. Now, all three have been put into a separate DVD:

carole lombard the silent comedies 00a

The seller at least is honest. From the eBay description:

“This vintage public domain material has not been restored or digitally-enhanced; flaws (flips, skips, graininess, static, audio/visual uneveness, etc.) are inherent in material of this age, which has often been subjected to years of neglect. Please be realistic in your expectations and understand that the sheer rarity of this title far outweighs any quality issues.

“This disc consists entirely of public domain material and is in full compliance with The Berne Act. Released between January 1, 1928 and December 31, 1929 – entered public domain on or before December 31, 2009. Intended for the serious film collector; no rights given or implied.

“All of our discs are Region 1 (US & Canada) in the DVD-R format — please consult your disc player’s user manual to ensure compatibility before bidding. In the rare instance you receive a defective disc, we will send a replacement at our expense.”

You can bid on this item, starting at $9.99; the auction is scheduled to end at 7:56 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. Or you can buy it straight up for $15. Bid, buy or learn more at And hope that someday, the Sennett segment of Carole’s career is collected into a set worthy of both comedic legends.

Posted April 3, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Carole and Cary, kissing for Cromwell   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.02 at 08:35
Current mood: productiveproductive

carole lombard in name only 34a front

Whom do you envy more: Carole Lombard, for passionately kissing Cary Grant, or Grant, for doing likewise with Lombard? (Either way, we all should be so lucky.) Director John Cromwell isn’t taking sides in this debate — he’s watching the pair go at it, making sure it’s a successful take for RKO’s “In Name Only,” the second film of Carole’s he directed in 1939 (the first was “Made For Each Other” at Selznick International).

This is the front side of an original 7″ x 9″ photo available at eBay; we know it’s original because the back has markings, including a snipe from that inimitable RKO publicity office typewriter indicating it was third in a sequence:

carole lombard in name only 34a back

We see it ran on page 5 of the Sept. 10, 1939 Minneapolis Star-Journal Sunday rotogravure section. (Incidentally, it’s being reported that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune -- whose lineage dates back to the Star-Journal and rival Tribune -- has been purchased by the owner of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.) The photo was taken by Alex Kahle, who took a number of Lombard portraits during her two-year tenure at RKO.

Bidding on this relatively rare image begins at $9.99, and the auction is scheduled to close at 11:02 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To get in on the action, go to

As it happens, a lobby card reproduction of that scene, albeit from a different angle, also is on sale:

carole lombard in name only lobby card 03b

It measures 11″ x 14″; the print, on 100-lb. card stock, is taken directly from the original image. Bids start at $8.99, closing at 9:29 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. If you’re interested, visit×14-LC-print-1933-/161265934896?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item258c32e230.

Posted April 2, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Hollywood’s in San Diego, and Lombard’s a puppet   1 comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.04.01 at 22:12
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard nothing sacred opening credits 01a

No, this isn’t a joke in the waning hours of April Fool’s Day, although as you can see, Carole Lombard was animated (sort of) for the Technicolor opening credits of “Nothing Sacred.” But more than two years before that film’s release in November 1937, Carole apparently was reproduced in puppet form down the coast in San Diego, a town she and other filmland notables knew well, if only because it was the gateway to Mexico and Agua Caliente, where during Prohibition days, movie people could legally not only drink alcohol, but bet on horse races. (The former became legal in California in late 1933, the latter in 1934.)

We have proof of her puppet status from a story in Motion Picture Daily on July 15, 1935 about the California Pacific International Exhibition, held at what now is known as Balboa Park:

carole lombard motion picture daily 071535b

Lombard, George Raft and Sally Rand…might we have been able to witness a puppet “Bolero”? (That very concept boggles the mind.)

Were these puppets of Carole, George, Sally, Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers and others scaled down or life-sized? (I’m guessing the latter; I’m also guessing the revue was changed after Rogers’ death in a plane crash a month later.) Alas, I’ve found no visual confirmation one way or the other — in fact, I’ve been unable to track down any images of the interior of the exhibit, called the Hollywood Motion Picture Hall of Fame. (Apparently, unlike Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame, which would be founded the following year, this had no inductees, but instead was a behind=the-scenes look at how motion pictures operate, done with the help of the Screen Actors Guild.)

The magazine California Garden gave this description of the exhibit:

“The Hollywood Motion Picture Hall of Fame contains the story of the motion picture, graphically presented, along with articles which made some of the stars famous such as Charlie Chaplin’s big shoes, the curls of Mary Pickford and similar items.”

Thankfully, we have several photos of the exterior of the building, which looked impressive:

san diego 1935 hollywood hall of fame 02b
san diego 1935 hollywood motion picture hall of fame 00a
san diego 1935 hollywood hall of fame 03a

We even have a color postcard of the place, although the back unfortunately discusses the buses, not what was inside:

san diego 1935 hollywood hall of fame 01b
san diego 1935 hollywood hall of fame 04a

The exhibition was a reprise of a similar fair held in San Diego two decades earlier; it was repeated in 1936, although the Motion Picture building was turned into a general entertainment exhibit (and the real-life Sally Rand performed her fan dance there).

Posted April 1, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Again, feel your oats   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.03.31 at 01:14
Current mood: weirdweird

carole lombard clark gable 031b

When Carole Lombard and Clark Gable went hunting together in search of duck or pheasant, one wonders whether they had this for breakfast on those chilly mornings in the wild:

quaker oats 1930s larger

Good old Quaker Oats, a rise-and-shine staple for generations. And a few years earlier, many Americans could have Carole and Clark “join them” for breakfast:

carole lombard quaker oats standee 2014aquaker oats standee 2014a clark gable

Yes, those 7-inch high Quaker Oats standee collectibles we discussed a few years ago ( are back, again from Cliff Aliperti at Immortal Ephemera, who’s giving his readers — and ours — a chance to claim these items before they reach eBay on Tuesday. This time around, 26 stars are available; while it’s not a complete set (there’s no Marlene Dietrich standee included, as there was in 2012), there are enough notables on hand to whet the appetite of any classic Hollywood fan (even after a hearty bowl of oatmeal).

On a budget? You can get Binnie Barnes or George Brent for $8.50 apiece:

quaker oats standee 2014a binnie barnesquaker oats standee 2014a george brent

At the other end of the spectrum are Jean Harlow, at $45, a whopping twenty bucks more than the Gable standee. (Lombard joins Myrna Loy and Joan Crawford at $24.) The only surviving member of the standee group is Olivia De Havilland, whose image is going for $14:

quaker oats standee 2014a jean harlowquaker oats standee 2014a olivia de havilland

Information on the Lombard standee is at!/~/product/category=9089644&id=35404824. To learn about the entire set, visit!/~/category/id=9089644&inview=product35404824&offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc.

Finally, today marks opening day for 25 of the 30 teams in major league baseball (the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona and San Diego have already began their seasons, and the New York Yankees open at Houston Tuesday night). As a Washington Nationals fan, I’m excited about today’s opener in New York against the Mets. Although the Nats finished 86-76 to give D.C. its first back-to-back winning seasons in MLB in 80 years (okay, that includes a 33-year absence of baseball), it was a disappointment following an NL East title in 2012. With a new manager in Matt Williams and several good off-season trades, this should be a hungrier team wearing the curly “W” this summer.

And going from Quaker to a quake, in case you haven’t seen this video clip, it’s fascinating, and yet another example of Vin Scully as the man who’s seen everything. During his 65 years doing Dodgers games in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, he’s broadcast games everywhere from Boston’s long-vanished Braves Field (from 1950 to 1952) to Australia (two games just over a week ago). Friday night, Dodger Stadium played host to the exhibition Freeway Series against the Angels, and during the sixth inning things began shaking…and no, not from the sound system, but from what turned out to be a 5.1 (downgraded from the 5.3 Scully initially stated). No damage was reported — in fact, judging from fan reaction, few felt it in the ballpark — but it was noticeable at the press box level, and without missing a beat, Scully calmly described the atmosphere. Listen to a master at work.

Posted March 31, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized


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