One step closer to that Lombard bio   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.20 at 00:00

Current mood: jubilantjubilant

From her week handling publicity at Selznick International Pictures, Carole Lombard understood that typing and other office work isn’t all that easy. And that’s why I think she’d appreciate what went on yesterday at the House of Morgan — the British house of author Michelle Morgan, that is:

That’s Michelle’s daughter Daisy typing in “THE END” to conclude the first draft of her mother’s long-awaited Lombard biography, “Carole Lombard: Twentieth-Century Star,” which is scheduled to be released in early September 2016. Here’s what Michelle had to write about the momentous occasion at her Facebook site (

About five minutes ago, I completed the first draft of my Carole Lombard biography!! Here is Daisy doing the honours of typing THE END for me. This project has been going on for almost nine years and during that time I had more than my share of rejections and false starts. But I never gave up and now I have a first draft (and wonderful publisher) to prove it. Things mean more when you work hard for them. As Carole once said, “I’m scared of getting things too easily. Houses built on sand — no foundations. I like getting them the hard way. I might as well – that’s the way I always get them.” Well this project certainly hasn’t been built on sand, and I’m really proud of it. Raising a glass to Carole this evening, then I begin the edits tomorrow!!

Michelle, those of us who have been waiting patiently for this project to come to fruition share your joy. It will be worth the wait.

Simply with the vast increase in research resources denied earlier Lombard biographers thanks to improved technology, Morgan’s book would be the definitive book on Carole. But then add her painstaking research skills and her ability to paint portraits of historic personalities as people first and foremost — a talent she’s most notably displayed in her books on Marilyn Monroe, someone too often painted in iconic, not human, terms– and this promises to be something special. (A disclaimer: Not only have I assisted Michelle with research, but I am going to be one of the two people the book is dedicated to; longtime Lombard expert Carole Sampeck is the other. Needless to say, both of us are thrilled.)

Congratulations to Michelle on a job well done — now get to those rewrites. Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention her latest book on another one of the great, but ill-fated funny ladies of classic Hollywood, Thelma Todd:

“The Ice Cream Blonde: The Whirlwind Life and Mysterious Death of Screwball Comedienne Thelma Todd” is set to be released at the start of November; I’ve already glimpsed a few sasmple chapters at’s site, and it’s your typical well-researched, smartly-written Michelle Morgan work. Robert Matzen, author of the Lombard book “Fireball,” says of this work, “’The Ice Cream Blonde’ is a riveting mystery about the death of Thelma Todd. It’s also an eerie exploration of the Todd dichotomy -— breezy comedienne on the one hand; serious businesswoman with underworld connections on the other. Highly recommended.”

If you’d like to pre-order it, go to

And to Michelle, cheers from Carole:

Posted October 20, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Lombard en francais   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.19 at 04:06

Current mood: artisticartistic

This 1932 French magazine with Carole Lombard on the cover is now available via eBay for $15, or you can make an offer. It’s listed in “acceptable” condition.

Interested? Find out more by visiting

Posted October 19, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A trio of ‘Picturegoers’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.18 at 09:48

Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Picturegoer was a popular weekly British film publication during the Golden Age of Hollywood, and Carole Lombard was its cover subject at least three times over a 16-month span in the early ’30s, before “Twentieth Century” carried her to full-fledged stardom. Above is the cover from March 26, 1932.

Inside, she was part of a two-page fashion spread:

Here’s a closeup of Carole and how she was described:

Inside was a feature on the love life of Lombard’s childhood idol and friend from Pathe days, Gloria Swanson:

The Hollywood notes column was graced by a picture of Conchita Montenegro. (My doctor in Los Angeles has the last name Montenegro, but I don’t think they’re related.)

We move up to the Picturegoer of Dec. 3, 1932:

Who can resist a feature on Ernst Lubitsch and sex appeal (in his movies, of course!)?

Clara Bow discussed her comeback, which turned out to be short-lived:

And film industry notes and gossip run opposite photos of Lilian Harvey and Herbert Marshall:

Finally, the Picturegoer of July 15, 1933:

Just as Fay Wray too often is remembered solely for “King Kong,” so is Elsa Lanchester pigeonholed as the “Bride of Frankenstein.” This charming photo should set things straight regarding Charles Laughton’s wife:

The other day, we noted a feature about location filming on Bali. But for the documentary “Eskimo,” we can safely say no one was going outdoors bare-breasted:

Johnny Weissmuller displays proper lifesaving techniques on the left-hand page, while on the right is a profile of a “Madchen in Uniform” star — not Dorothea Wieck, but Marjorie Bodker:

Each of these issues can be bought straight up for $32.50, or you can make bids beginning at $25, with the auctions closing Oct. 27. For the March 1932 issue, visit For December of ’32, go to The July ’33 issue can be found at

Posted October 18, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Yet another clip job   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.17 at 17:27

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

Lovely Carole Lombard pic, isn’t it? Well, it’s part of a group of clippings being auctioned via eBay:

Here’s what’s included:

* 2 portrait pages (1932, 1935)
* a 2-page article, “The College Boys’ Delight” (magazine unknown, 1931)
* a 3-page article, “Portrait of a Self-Made Woman” (Movie Classic, December 1935)

* a 2-page, 2-pic fashion feature from 1932
* a 1-page color Lucky Strike ad from 1937

* a 1-page ad for “Fools For Scandal” (1938)
* a Lux ad (1941)
* and 3 candids

The seller says their condition is “Generally good — articles/story feature may have issues — chips/tears/fragile acidic paper decline due to age, but overall great for their age (80+ years)!”

Bidding begins at $7.99, and the auction closes at 1:38 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. Think you’d like to add this to your collection of Lombardiana? Then go to

Posted October 17, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Hollywood,’ December 1933: A second look at a Carole cover, plus inside…bare breasts!   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.16 at 15:25

Current mood: curiouscurious

Slightly more than a month ago, we ran this Carole Lombard cover as part of an eBay ad for the December 1933 issue of Hollywoodmagazine — the issue immediately preceding the 10-year span of its being uploaded to the Media Histori Digital Library. Well, we’re doing an encore, so to speak, because we have more inside pages, and they’re shown at an easier angle to read.

Oh, and the bare breasts? They aren’t Carole’s, nor do they belong to any female star of the time. (Sorry.) Instead, they are part of a feature on filming in Bali, so we get to see said breasts in a non-Caucasian, National Geographic sort of way. In late 1933 — some two decades before Hugh Hefner’s Playboy began — running bare white breasts in a magazine probably would lead to confiscation by the Postmaster General’s office. (And speaking of Playboy, it will no longer print nudes as of next March’s issue. Times indeed are changing.) Anyway, here’s the two-page spread (there’s a jump, presumably to a page with no illustrations):

Incidentally, don’t you think it’s rather ironic that decades later, Bali became the corporate name for a bra company?

Inside is more conventional fanmag fare, such as this fetching portrait of Claudette Colbert…

…followed by a two-page spread featuring Loretta Young, Margaret Sullavan and the still-with-us Mary Carlisle:

There’s advice on men from a woman whose feminism is often hidden by her double entrendres, Mae West:

Articles on Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper and Joel McCrea:

A story on Toby Wing, the chorus girl famous for being, well, a chorus girl:

And finally, Norma Shearer’s love story. (One guesses Joan Crawford ordered her secretary to clip those pages out before sending her the issue.)

It’s 66 pages, in excellent condition, and you can buy it for $39 or make a bid beginning at $30. In that case, the auction lasts until 5:50 p.m. (Eastern) next Saturday. Find out all the particulars by visiting

Posted October 16, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Lombard (and legs) go ‘Hollywood.’ In color. In 1931.   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.15 at 10:30

Current mood: hornyhorny

This leggy cover of Carole Lombard, from Hollywood magazine, already was on newsstands in late June of 1931 when she was taken “off the market,” so to speak, by William Powell. Sorry, guys.

Master photographer Edwin Bower Hesser, who often used Lombard as a subject (as was Jean Harlow), took the image, using a process he called “Hessercolor.” It’s pretty stunning now; one only can imagine the reaction it must have drawn some 84 years ago.

Inside, Lombard and Powell are united (and cited) in the magazine’s capsule movie reviews, specifically for their Paramount collaboration, “Ladies’ Man”:

And I had absolutely no idea the term “lounge lizard” existed in 1931; it sounds so, well, ’70s. (Imagine William Powell, the very definition of “urbane,” in a lime leisure suit. On second thought, please don’t.)

Can’t tell you too much more about this issue, as Hollywood issues prior to 1934 have yet to be uploaded by the Media History Digital Library (though the above cover of Carole should provide some impetus). But we have some stuff available, such as the front page and a rather paltry table of contents:

Inside are these goodies. First, a Hurrell portrait of Norma Shearer, the subject who changed his career, opposite the beginning of a feature on Greta Garbo and fashion:

Then, an early pic of Ginger Rogers and Harry Carr’s column:

There’s a two-page pictorial on Ruth Chatterton, who believe it or not was 37 1/2 when this feature ran:

And finally, some stars in swimsuits, serving as a remember that Lombard wasn’t the only lady in Hollywood with good legs:

Aside from having penciled dates on the cover, this magazine is in excellent condition — and there are two ways it can be yours. Either buy it outright for $39, or bid, starting at $30. In that case, the auction lasts through 6:32 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Saturday. The link to this item is

Posted October 15, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Screen Book,’ January 1937: Finally, full ‘Projections’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.14 at 16:21

Current mood: relievedrelieved

Carole Lombard was riding high in early December 1936 when Silver Screen’s January 1937 issue hit newsstands. “My Man Godfrey” was a huge hit with both theatergoers and critics, Lombard was among the highest-paid actresses in the industry and she was frequently seen in public with Clark Gable. Not a bad life.

Not only was Carole on the cover, but she was profiled inside by one of her favorite fan magazine writers, Elizabeth Wilson, in its “Projections” feature. Unfortunately, until now we’ve never run this in full, because when this issue was auctioned or on sale at eBay, only the first two pages were displayed. Now, thanks to the Media History Digital Library, that issue of Silver Screen has been uploaded, so we finally can show the other two pages as well.

Let’s go:

Reading it in full adds a dimension to this story, doesn’t it? I particularly like the anecdote about when Carole and friend Madalynne Fields journeyed east in 1935.

As you would expect, there are several movie ads in this issue, beginning with MGM’s blue-toned Clark Gable-Joan Crawford collaboration, “Love On The Run”:

Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, who had starred in 1936 in Frank Capra’s “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” at Columbia, reunited at Paramount for Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Plainsman”:

Warners goes back to its “Gold Diggers” series, this the 1937 version, starring Dick Powell and Joan Blondell:

Universal hyped Doris Nolan as its star to be in “Top of the Town.” Since you’re probably saying, “Doris who?”, you know how well that turned out:

Twentieth Century-Fox hyped an array of pictures from Darryl F. Zanuck:

And while this isn’t an ad, it makes for fascinating reading as Silver Screen polls its readers, offering a star calendar (with either Kay Francis, Ginger Rogers or Robert Taylor) in return:

You can buy this issue straight up for $39 or make a bid beginning at $30, in which case the auction ends at 4:23 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Saturday. Find out more

Posted October 14, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Late ’28: So much to ‘Show’ (‘Folks,’ ‘Girl,’ ‘People’)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.13 at 12:34

Current mood: creativecreative

Forgive moviegoers in the fall of 1928 if they were a mite confused over what to see. Not only could they find up-and-coming Carole Lombard in a supporting (and antagonistic) role in Pathe’s “Show Folks,” but about that time MGM released a film starring Marion Davies and directed by King Vidor called “Show People,” a first-rate satire of Hollywood aided by William Haines in a supporting role and cameos from the likes of Charlie Chaplin:

Then to add to the confusion, First National put one of its stars, kewpie-doll-come-to-life Alice White, in something titled “Show Girl”:

(This is not to be confused with her 1930 talkie vehicle, “Show Girl in Hollywood.”)

We bring this up because the ’28 “Show Girl,” lost for decades, has been brought back to life…somewhat. It was unveiled last week at a silent film festival after work was done on restoring the visuals:

However, according to Ron Hutchinson of the Vitaphone Project, the jazz-oriented soundtrack has yet to be fully coupled with the images, so the premiere ran with piano accompaniment. The complete version should premiere sometime in 2016, and I hope it’s as much a wow as another First National restoration, Colleen Moore’s “Why Be Good?” We look forward to its full restoration.

I hope most of you have seen “Show People,” rightly regarded as Davies’ finest hour on screen. But relatively few have viewed “Show Folks,” and “Show Girl”? Well, if you caught it the first time around, you probably in your nineties. So let’s see how those two films were received back in the day in a small, but influential publication of the time, the Hollywood-based Film Spectator. Here’s what its president and editor, Welford Beaton, had to say about “Show Folks” in its Nov. 10, 1928 issue:

According to Lombard biographers, Paul Stein was the director who couldn’t resist putting his paws on places of Carole where he had no right to, thus leading to Lombard learning inventive invective from her brothers as a defense mechanism.

And here’s a bonus — Beaton’s review of another Lombard Pathe production, “Ned McCobb’s Daughter” (the most recent of Carole’s “lost” films):

Welford wasn’t the only Beaton providing reviews in the magazine. So did his son Donald, 18 at the time, in a cdlumn called “As They Appeal to a Youth.” Here’s what he had to say about “Show Folks” — and just below, his comments on “Show Girl,” a film his dad didn’t yet get to:

A pretty good writer for a teenager, doncha think? Alas, Donald apparently died in May 1931 at age 20 (don’t know the cause), and his father outlived him by another 20 years.

Posted October 13, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The hotel may be gone, but her furniture lives on   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.12 at 20:45

Current mood: curiouscurious

Carole Lombard’s fateful final trip to her home state of Indiana for what would be the nation’s first war bond rally of World War II has become the stuff of legend. It’s well known that Carole helped sell $2 million worth of bonds at the Indiana state capitol building during the day, then spoke at a rally at the now-demolished Cadle Tabernacle that night. It’s also known that Lombard’s final two nights were spent at the famed Claypool Hotel, a downtown structure that no longer is with us.

But did you know that while the hotel may have been razed, the furniture from the suite where Lombard stayed has been preserved? It’s true. And here it is:

You can see it at a place that in some ways mirrors the Fort Wayne home where Lombard spent the first six years of her life as Jane Alice Peters. It’s at 1410 North Delaware Street in the Old Northside District, and is known as the Indianapolis Propylaeum.

Built in 1890 in the Victorian style by a local beer baron, and over the next three decades or so was sold to other families. By 1923, it wound up in the hands of the Proplyaeum, a local women’s cultural group, whose first president was noted suffragette May Wright Sewall (the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was ratified the month after she died). More than 90 years after it opened, it’s still used for cultural and community purposes.

To learn more about this landmark, visit

I have no doubt in my mind that both Carole and her mother, Elizabeth Peters, would appreciate that their journey to Indianapolis has been commemorated in this manner.

Posted October 12, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Motion Picture,’ November 1930: She’s three in one   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.10.11 at 21:53

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

It’s the fall of 1930, and word is starting to get out about this new player on Paramount’s roster. For Carole Lombard the baseball fan, she must’ve felt like a touted rookie just called up to the big club after spending some time in the minors.

Essentially, that was Lombard’s situation after a false start at Fox, an automobile accident that threatened her career, getting some seasoning at Mack Sennett and Pathe before the latter dismissed her, and a brief second go-round at Fox. Now, Carole (about to reclaim the “e” on her first name for good) had made two films for Paramount, one in New York, and had been signed to a long-term contract by this major studio. Not bad.

In its November 1930 issue, Herbert Cruikshank of Motion Picture wrote a feature on Lombard, one of those actresses people had seen on screen but couldn’t quite place where, called “The Three-In-One Girl”:

The lead sentence must have been particularly delicious for Carole: “Imagine Constance Bennett with Jeanne Eagels’ voice and you have Carole Lombard.” (Near the end of the story, we learned someone mistook her for Connie.) She had nothing against Eagels, who had died young in October 1929, but Bennett? Another matter entirely. It’s long been believed that when Constance signed with Pathe in 1929, one of her conditions was that the studio divest itself of potential blonde competition…so goodbye Lombard, goodbye close friend Diane Ellis.

This story apparently derives from an interview Lombard gave Cruikshank at New York’s famed Hotel Algonquin when she was in town filming “Fast and Loose” at Paramount’s Astoria studios. Did she mention what happened with Bennett at Pathe? Was it common knowledge in the industry? (Even if it were, it really wasn’t fodder for fanmags, who wanted to stay on the good side of stars and studios.) So perhaps Carole planted the reference to Connie, and the writer discreetly ran with it. (Also note that Carole is described as “tall”; either she had purchased shoes with unusually high heels while in NYC, or she simply exuded a larger-than-life aura to these easterners.)

One thing I particularly like about this piece is that Cruikshank sees Carole’s strength as comedy (“Let her make folks laugh and she’ll be happy”) — something that should’ve been obvious given her training with Mack Sennett, though Paramount kept trying to shoehorn her into an all-purpose leading lady over the next few years.

Another surprise here is her naming an actor who I had never heard of as one of her favorites. His name was Charles Kaley (1902-1965), a singing bandleader from Nebraska whose best-known film was “Lord Byron of Broadway” (1930); he made but five films, two of them shorts. Here he is with Gwen Lee in “Lord Byron”:

Also note she gave the writer her impression of Greta Garbo nearly six years before making “The Princess Comes Across”! All in all, a fun snapshot of Lombard as she slowly began to establish the persona she’d gain fame for throughout the ’30s.

Marland Stone’s portrait of Helen Twelvetrees graced the cover:

Inside is a fascinating feature on what passed for special effects in 1930, long before CGI, green screen and other innovations:

Star portrait subjects included Joan Bennett…

…Robert Montgomery…

…and Anita Page:

Opposite the first page of the Lombard feature was Marion Davies, promoting Technicolor:

And there were plenty of movie ads as well. Fox touts a few of its releases:

From Paramount, there’s Harold Lloyd in “Feet First,” aka “Safety Last” with sound:

By now, Sennett had set up shop at Educational, still cranking out comedy shorts:

Ann Harding starred in a version of the stage chestnut “Girl of the Golden West”:

Lordly MGM used spot color to brighten the advance of its “Trader Horn”:

At Warners, vivacious Winnie Lightner starred in “The Life of the Party.” directed by future husband Roy Del Ruth:

And finally, up-and-coming Columbia cited the directors it had hired, including Frank Capra, Howard Hawks and Victor Fleming. Also note the “Miss Columbia” contest Harry Cohn used to spark interest in the studio, which unlike most of its brethren owned no theater properties:

Posted October 11, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized