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

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

carole lombard p1202-843b

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

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

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

carole lombard modern screen october 1934gb

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

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

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

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

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

carole lombard modern screen october 1934ea

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

carole lombard modern screen october 1934fa

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

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

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

ann sothern george hurrell shadoplay june 1934b

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

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

Here’s what was shown for Carole:

carole lombard modern screen october 1934jb

The issue had Janet Gaynor on the cover:

janet gaynor modern screen october 1934a

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

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

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

modern screen october 1934ia

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

modern screen october 1934ja

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

modern screen october 1934ka

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

modern screen october 1934ha

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

Posted October 15, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

carole lombard house exterior 00
carole lombard house exterior 01

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

carole lombard fort wayne knight mansion shepherd's house

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

carole lombard fort wayne peters mansion

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

carole lombard house plaque 00b

Posted October 14, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A look back at Fort Wayne’s Lombard lovefest   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.13 at 16:19
Current mood: happyhappy

carole lombard as child with peters family 00d

Already showing how she could command a photographer’s spotlight even as a child, Jane Alice Peters (the future Carole Lombard) poses with her two older brothers Frederic and Stuart as well as her mother, Elizabeth Peters, in a picture taken in her birthplace of Fort Wayne, Indiana. A week ago Sunday, on the eve of the 106th anniversary of Lombard’s birth, the city showed its love in return.

Author Robert Matzen, whose fine book “Fireball” not only chronicles Lombard’s tragic end, but lovingly looks at her life and the other 21 victims of Flight 3, gave a lecture at the Fort Wayne History Center, and more than 130 filled the room (the one time city council chamber)…

carole lombard fort wayne 100514a robert matzen fort wayne history center

…helping Matzen sell plenty of books:

carole lombard fort wayne 100514 robert matzen signing books 01a

Lots of Lombard memorabilia was on display, much of it provided by Carole Sampeck and The Carole Lombard Archive:

carole lombard fort wayne 100514 memorabilia 01a

Afterwards, many of the visitors took a tour of Carole’s birthplace at 7047 Rockhill Street:

carole lombard fort wayne 100514a birthplace 704 rockhill street

Read more about it from Matzen himself at http://robertmatzen.com/2014/10/07/woodstock-on-the-maumee. And from one who couldn’t make it back east, thanks to all who attended.

Posted October 13, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Get ‘Swing’-in’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.12 at 15:57
Current mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

carole lombard swing high, swing low 86b front

The presence of Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray, two stars on the rise, led Paramount to bet on the success of “Swing High, Swing Low” in the first few months of 1937. To that end, the studio heavily promoted the film in both general-interest publications (e.g., daily newspapers and magazines such as Life) and the trade press. One example of the latter now is on sale via eBay:

carole lombard swing high, swing low trade ad 00b

According to the seller, “This ad (ready for framing) was very carefully removed from a magazine like Motion Picture Herald or Motion Picture Exhibitor, and is not a reproduction.” I don’t know about those two publications, but I do know this ran in another trade publication, Film Daily, on Feb. 25, 1937.

Now to the particulars of this ad — it measures 12 1/4″x 18 3/4″ and, the seller says, “Has some minor handling wear on the edges, otherwise it’s in good condition.” You can purchase it for $8.99 (10 percent off the regular price); to buy or for more information, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/SWING-HIGH-SWING-LOW-1937-ORIGINAL-TRADE-AD-CAROLE-LOMBARD-MUSICAL-ROMANCE-/181550195847?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a453c2487.

Dorothy Lamour, part of the supporting cast, recorded a fine version of the movie’s title song; alas, I couldn’t find it on YouTube. So here is “Swing High, Swing Low” as performed by the Ink Spots in 1937, when they still were emulating the Mills Brothers with a scat-style sound:

Posted October 12, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘No Clark Gable,’ indeed   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.11 at 09:25
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard virtue 49a

“Virtue” — Carole Lombard’s 1932 film, not the concept itself — came up the other day in San Francisco Chronicle film critic (and pre-Code maven) Mick LaSalle’s Q & A column (http://www.sfchronicle.com/movies/askmicklasalle/article/Ask-Mick-LaSalle-Ben-Stiller-bad-5812536.php). To be specific, here’s the exchange:

Hi Mick: I’m writing to point out an instance of fantasy predicting reality. In “Virtue,” Carole Lombard’s 1932 film, someone says, “I must have been a sight,” to which someone replies, “You weren’t no Clark Gable.” A predictor of Lombard and Gable’s marriage?

Ron Harrison, San Francisco

Hi Ron: Actually, the weirdest thing in that exchange is that it’s a Columbia picture and yet they said something promoting an MGM actor. The fact that they referenced Gable — in the way that Clooney or maybe Brad Pitt might be referenced now — as a universal exemplar of what a guy should like, tells me that Columbia had nobody under contract who fit that description. In 1937, they would address that absence by signing Cary Grant.

This is accurate, to be sure, but could use some elaboration (and given the space constraints of a newspaper column, I’m guessing that wasn’t possible in this instance). First of all, the speaker of “I must have been a sight” is Lombard’s leading man in the film, Pat O’Brien (as cab driver Jimmy Doyle), who has gone off on a bender after an argument and breaking up with Lombard’s character, wife and ex-streetwalker Mae. (I believe the response came from Ward Bond, but that’s neither here nor there in this argument.)

george hurrell clark gable 1932

I don’t have the production dates for “Virtue,” but I know it was released in October 1932, so I’m guessing it was shot during the summer. By then, Gable (above, in a 1932 George Hurrell portrait) had gained renown as a “man’s man” of motion pictures; his characters had gained a texture they initially lacked the year before, when he played thugs in the likes of “A Free Soul” (his breakthrough film) and “Night Nurse.” (In fact, three months before “Virtue” premiered, Gable hit theaters in an atypical movie, an adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s “Strange Interlude.”)

carole lombard no man of her own trade ad hopkins 00a

Most Lombard fans know she made one film with Gable, “No Man Of Her Own,” which premiered on the next-to-last day of 1932; many also know that she replaced Miriam Hopkins — who left the production in a dispute over billing — as Clark’s leading lady (see proof above from a trade paper ad of the time). But was this known at the time “Virtue” was in production? Might have this line have been inserted as an in-joke by screenwriter Robert Riskin (himself a later Lombard lover; in fact, her last before Gable)? I’m not sure. (Also note the film initially was to have been known as “No Bed Of Her Own,” and the finished product had little, if anything, to do with Val Lewton’s book.)

carole lombard virtue 48

And LaSalle is right; at the time, Columbia didn’t have anyone under contract who fit that Gable description — in fact, since they really didn’t have anyone that fit James Cagney’s description, they acquired O’Brien, the next best thing, from Warners as the leading man. (“Virtue” has much the same atmosphere as “Taxi!”, a Cagney movie which Lombard had turned down a loanout for, only to watch it become a hit in early ’32 with Loretta Young as leading lady. In effect, Columbia mogul Harry Cohn was giving Carole a second chance.) And indeed, Columbia wouldn’t have a top-tier leading man under contract until Grant left Paramount in 1937. However, thanks to Cohn’s policy of acquiring loanouts, he did get Gable before that:

clark gable it happened one night poster rare 02

And did he ever — “It Happened One Night” not only was an unexpected hit, but won Academy Awards in 1934 for best picture, best actor (Gable), best actress (Claudette Colbert), best writing, adaptation (Riskin) and best director (Frank Capra).

Posted October 11, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Modern Screen,’ May 1938: Whatever happened to…glamour?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.10 at 16:00
Current mood: giddygiddy

carole lombard modern screen may 1938aa

It’s the spring of 1938, and Carole Lombard is the star of the hour following two hit movies, “Nothing Sacred” and “True Confession,” not to mention a highly visible romance with the technically still-married Clark Gable. So it’s no wonder she’s sipping a soda and gracing the cover of that May’s issue of Modern Screen.

While there are no stories specifically focusing on Carole, she figures prominently throughout the magazine. Take, for example, this story, entitled “Glamor For Rent”:

carole lombard modern screen may 1938fa
carole lombard modern screen may 1938ga
carole lombard modern screen may 1938hbcarole lombard modern screen may 1938ia
carole lombard modern screen may 1938ja

A yearning for the “good old days” when things supposedly were better is part of human nature (if it wasn’t, there’s a good chance this blog might not exist), and it applies to nearly all endeavors. (For example, complaints in the press about the decline of baseball date back to the 19th century!) So it is here, as writer Caroline Somers Hoyt decries the decline of good old-fashioned Hollywood glamour, of which Lombard was among the primary proponents…and now she milked cows on her ranch rather than throwing lavish parties.

However, Carole wasn’t a recluse — she continued to enjoy nightlife. Witness this photo of her (love that smile!) and Gable:

carole lombard modern screen may 1938lb

It accompanies a column of gossipy briefs, which included a few Lombard tidbits:

carole lombard modern screen may 1938kb

Carole, or films she made, played an integral part of the “Between You ‘n’ Me” letters column:

carole lombard modern screen may 1938mb
carole lombard modern screen may 1938nb
carole lombard modern screen may 1938nc
carole lombard modern screen may 1938ob

The last letter discussed “Nothing Sacred”; in choosing some of the best performances of 1937, Modern Screen went with Carole’s other recent picture:

carole lombard modern screen may 1938ea

Yes, Lombard was riding high — but thanks to a cinematic bucking bronco from Burbank, that wouldn’t last long:

carole lombard modern screen may 1938da

This 9.5″ x 12.5″ magazine, in good condition for its age, can be purchased for $24.99. If interested or curious, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-MODERN-SCREEN-MOVIE-MAGAZINE-MAY-1938/351190961411?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D26215%26meid%3D4532509ed0bd40d49a99247f4411877e%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D10926%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D351190961411.

Posted October 10, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

(Swim)suit up with Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.09 at 11:12
Current mood: hothot

carole lombard swimsuit 02

It’s no secret that Carole Lombard filled out a swimsuit as well as any actress of the 1930s, although she more or less stopped posing for such portraits after 1937. And while the above pic (my favorite of Carole in swimwear) still doesn’t have its Paramount p1202 number identified (help!), another pic of the poolside Lombard does -- and it’s up for auction at eBay. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you p1202-792:

carole lombard p1202-792a front

That pic has sort of a Jean Harlow-esque feel, doesn’t it?

jean harlow swimsuit 00

And there’s a snipe on the back as well:

carole lombard p1202-792a back

This was taken in 1934, at about the time Carole did plenty of swimsuit shots, such as p1202-789…

carole lombard p1202-789b

…p1202-790…

carole lombard p1202-790c front

…and p1202-794:

carole lombard paramount p1202-794

With the autumnal chill beginning to blanket much of the northern hemisphere, I hope these pics cheer you up (or, if you plan on wearing a swimsuit in 2015, provide some inspiration).

More on the p1202-792 being auctioned: It’s an 8″ x 10″ original in “very good — almost excellent” condition, according to the seller, and is double-weight. Moreover, the seller wins points from me for knowing that the Carole and Gary Cooper film called “You Belong To Me” was renamed “Now And Forever,” with up-and-coming Shirley Temple also part of the cast.

As of this writing, three bids have been made, topping out at $28.99; the auction continues through 6:11 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. Like to add it to your collection? Then go tohttp://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-models-a-bathing-suit-ORIGINAL-1934-portrait-nice-figure/371155864679?_trksid=p5411.c100169.m2942&_trkparms=aid%3D555012%26algo%3DPW.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140131123815%26meid%3D11d8f11e5be344c5b9c8d054d94d8cf6%26pid%3D100169%26prg%3D20140131123815%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D161443945429 to bid or find out more.

Posted October 9, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers