Carole & Co. entries, May 2011   Leave a comment

Enter June in the house of Morgan

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.31 at 07:19
Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Among the many joys of classic Hollywood film are the huge array of character actors who populated the era’s movies; their talent and reliability made them mainstays with audiences, and many moviegoers found them every bit as indispensable as the stars. Frank Morgan, shown with Carole Lombard in 1930’s “Fast And Loose,” was one of those performers (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/287493.html).

Wednesday, June 1, marks the anniversary of his birth, and to commemorate, Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. is showing 10 lesser-known Morgan movies made between 1932 and 1940. If you only know Morgan from the likes of “The Wizard Of Oz” and “The Shop Around The Corner” (the latter is increasingly gaining renown as the definitive Morgan performance), you’ll enjoy seeing him in these roles and get a flavor of his ability to add zest to just about any film. Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

* 6 a.m. — “Secrets of the French Police” (1932) Frank plays a French detective trying to solve a murder in a case that may involve famed Russian Princess Anastasia. With Gwili Andre and Gregory Ratoff.

* 7 a.m. — “The Half Naked Truth” (1933) A fun pre-Code, directed by Gregory La Cava of later “My Man Godfrey” fame, featuring Lee Tracy as a carnival pitchman, as well as Lupe Velez and Eugene Pallette.

* 8:30 a.m. — “The Nuisance” (1933) Tracy’s top-billed in this one, portraying an ambulance-chasing attorney with Madge Evans as his leading lady; Frank plays a doctor.

* 10 a.m. — “The Cat And The Fiddle” (1934) Jeanette MacDonald and Ramon Novarro are the leads in this operatic romance, with Frank as a wealthy arts patron. (Above are Morgan, Novarro, MacDonald and Jean Hersholt.) The final segment of this film was shot in three-strip Technicolor, a year before “Becky Sharp” became the first feature to be entirely filmed in this new process.

* 11:30 a.m. — “By Your Leave” (1935) Frank was occasionally top-billed in lower-tier MGM films such as this one, where he and Genevieve Tobin portray a couple in a mid-life crisis. The cast includes Neil Hamilton, Gene Lockhart, Margaret Hamilton and a young Betty Grable.

* 1 p.m. — “The Perfect Gentleman” (1935) Another leading role for Frank, where he plays a struggling aristocrat who helps a singer (Cicely Courtniedge) make a comeback.

* 2:15 p.m. — “Piccadilly Jim” (1936) A romantic comedy of manners where Frank plays the father of London cartoonist Robert Montgomery. A strong supporting cast includes Madge Evans, Eric Blore, Billie Burke and Robert Benchley.

* 4 p.m. — “Beg, Borrow Or Steal” (1937) A story of con artists on the Riviera decades before “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” this co-stars Florence Rice, John Beal and Erik Rhodes.

* 5:15 p.m. — “Henry Goes Arizona” (1939) Frank’s a broke vaudeville dandy who inherits an Arizona ranch. Virginia Weidler and Guy Kibbee co-star.

* 6:30 p.m. — “Keeping Company” (1940) A domestic comedy, with Frank married to Irene Rich and father of daughters Ann Rutherford, Virginia Weidler and Gloria De Haven.

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Looking back: May 1932

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.30 at 03:45
Current mood: curiouscurious

This month’s review of Carole Lombard items in the news from 79 years ago begins with an amusing anecdote regarding “Sinners In The Sun,” reported in the Milwaukee Sentinel on May 6, 1932:

“When Carole Lombard and Chester Morris were filming location sequences for ‘Sinners In The Sun,’ two wild mallard ducks flew into the scene. The ducks refused to leave, despite efforts of employes to chase them away, and the director found it necessary to use them in the scene and record their quacks!”

Maybe the mallards were looking for the “Horse Feathers” set (remember the ducks’ appearance when Groucho Marx sings “Everyone Says I Love You” to “college widow” Thelma Todd?) and settled for this film instead.

Later that month, “Sinners In The Sun” premiered at the Liberty in Spokane, Wash., and on May 18, here’s part of what the Spokesman-Review wrote about it:

“Miss Lombard is svelte and stunning in her lavish wardrobe, but Morris would be better if he wasn’t quite so resolute. Some opening scenes of Miss Lombard’s quarreling family are quite overdone, but amusing, but the picture’s chief merit lies in its style shows.”

On May 27, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, through its Hollywood columnist and former actress Eileen Percy, said Lombard and her husband were taking up a new activity:

“Bill Powell has discarded his tennis rackets for a set of golf clubs. No, Bill has not grown too old for the game of forty-love, but his wife, Carole Lombard, has been advised by her physician to take up golf instead of the more strenuous form of exercise. So now Mr. and Mrs. Powell are being taught the more gentle art of the drive and putt.”

How long did that last? Well, I’ve never seen a photo of Lombard playing golf, but plenty of her once she returned to this:

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Carole and Marlene, via Maria

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.29 at 01:32
Current mood: productiveproductive

No human being is immune from having his or her share of contradictions, and Carole Lombard and Marlene Dietrich, Paramount stablemates for much of the 1930s, certainly were not immune. We’ve discussed their relationship in the past, and in this entry we’ll do so through the book, “Marlene Dietrich,” written not long after her death by her daughter, Maria Riva.

Riva’s book is hardly a “Mommie Dearest” expose — she clearly has affection towards her legendary mother — but at the same time, it doesn’t hide her foibles and eccentricities. Marlene was in many ways an admirable woman, but like the rest of us, she had her moments.

Lombard wasn’t one of Dietrich’s “pet hates” — according to Riva, that status belonged to Loretta Young, who Marlene detested for her overly pious nature — but Carole elicited some intriguing reactions from the German star.

When Dietrich’s husband, Rudi Sieber, arrived in Los Angeles to meet her in 1932, Marlene didn’t think much of Paramount’s roster, telling him:

“Here no women have brains. Certainly not at the studio and, with Jo (Josef von Sternberg), that’s the only place one sees. There is that vulgar (Tallulah) Bankhead, awful, chases the bit players. There is that ugly Claudette Colbert, so ‘shopgirl French.’ Lombard is pretty, but too ‘palsy’ American, and tries to look like me, and (Bing) Crosby’s chorines, and … who else is there? Now, at Garbo’s studio (MGM), there they have women — beautiful ones. I don’t mean that Norma Shearer — she’s a dead fish, and that new one, (Jean) Harlow, too low-class. But they have some that are very interesting, but with Jo, of course, impossible.”

When Marlene was preparing costumes for her film “The Scarlet Empress,” where she portrayed Catherine the Great, Riva wrote she overheard her mother conversing with Paramount design maven Travis Banton:

“Travis — I know we have a blacker black than this velvet. The nap is too short on this to look rich on the screen, and where is the georgette we didn’t use in ‘Blonde Venus’? Did you use it for Lombard? That old satin you draped her with for those publicity stills — really! — off the shoulder? A la ‘vamp’? Lombard? She looked silly…”

“Talk about silly, where did you get that sailor outfit they put on her? Really, Travis, you can’t do that!”

“Lombard can be very funny. If she gets the right pictures, she can become a big star. You have to watch what Lombard wears. She loves to look like me; why not make her a ‘Dietrich’ suit out of that white flannel we found — but she will need a shorter jacket than I wear. She has an American body. Also a behind, so watch the skirt line.”

Then came the 1935 Venice party, of which Riva wrote, “This was so rare that it created quite a stir in our lives.” Here’s how she described Dietrich’s reaction upon receiving the invitation:

“It says here, ‘Wear old clothes!’ What does she mean, ‘old clothes’? Just like her, trying to be ever-so-different and cutesy! Get me Travis at the studio.”

She got Banton on the phone, and Riva wrote her mother’s end of the conversation went something like this:

“Travis? Have you heard about Lombard’s big party? Well, what does she mean with ‘old clothes’? Old clothes ‘history’ or old clothes ‘no good anymore’? … Oh! Is a fun house really that dirty? Then why give a party there? Do you know what she is going to wear? Knowing her, she will have alerted publicity and there will be photographers. … Really? Now everyone thinks they can wear trousers — so, what do I wear? I am coming in! Think! We will have to make something ‘old clothes’!”

Marlene chose not to wear trousers, a decision she likely regretted, as Maria — who did not go to the party — said Dietrich came home “a bloody mess”:

“What an idea for a party? We had to sit on potato sacks and slide down enormous slides? I thought we were going straight through the wall into the ocean! … And barrels that rolled! We had to run through them trying not to fall! It was awful! Everyone was crashing on top of each other and they were laughing. They thought it was fun! You know those horrible mirrors that make you look like a midget or a giant or fat? She had those too. Who wants to see themselves fat? I can have that right here in my bathroom and not look like I have been in a war!”

Dietrich is shown above with Lombard, Lili Damita and Errol Flynn at the party. Riva described her knees: “They were really bad. She looked as though she had fallen off a bicycle at high speed on a gravel road. … We cleaned the caked blood off her knees and shins, then she soaked in a hot bath loaded with epsom salts.”

Meanwhile, Marlene kept on moaning:

“Of course, Lombard’s trousers protected her legs. Her legs should be covered!”

Dietrich is shown with Richard Barthelmess, her escort that night, and Cary Grant. The following morning, Marlene did a 180 when describing the party to friends on the phone: “I went to a marvelous party that Carole Lombard gave in a fun house! Well, let me tell you all about it! …”

She was conversing with Banton in 1936 when Lombard again entered the conversation:

“I saw a picture of Lombard in something you did for her — in that black monkey fur … you want to give her a banana? Really, Travis? But in that film …”

She then turned to Maria: “What’s the name of that film, where we saw the photographs and I said, ‘Finally, Lombard looks beautiful!’?”

Riva: “‘The Princess Comes Across.'”

“Yes — a bad title — in that film, you finally did something for her. She looks just like Dietrich. I hear she calls you ‘Teasie’ — how very cutesy-poo’!”

According to Riva, when Dietrich learned of Lombard’s death, she said this to her daughter:

“See? What do I always say? Never fly! Airplanes are dangerous. I never really liked her, but she could be beautiful when someone dressed her right. I wonder who Gable will find now?”

Typical Dietrich. According to Riva, Marlene’s closest friend at Paramount was, like her, an outsider, and also one whose style and personality signified no threat to Dietrich. We are referring to, of all people, Mae West:

Riva’s word portrait of Dietrich and her amazing life will at times delight, shock or exasperate you … but it will never bore you. It’s well worth a read.

For Memorial Day, this week’s header features Lombard with two servicemen during her eastbound rail stop at Salt Lake City on Jan. 13, 1942. Let us remember those who sacrificed for our country, and don’t let the unofficial summer kickoff obscure the real reason for the holiday.

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Bid for Lombard…get an extra page free

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.28 at 00:59
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

Fan magazines are a wonderful resource for Carole Lombard items and images, even if some of the former have to be sifted with a skeptical eye towards the Hollywood publicity machine. At first, we weren’t sure what magazine the following page hails from, but thanks to Amy Jeanne, we discovered it was Movie Classic of July 1932:

Nice pic of Lombard, one that isn’t seen too often. Here’s what the caption says:

“Despite ill health, Carole stayed by her post until ‘Sinners In The Sun’ was completed — and THEN had a nervous breakdown. Unlike many a star, however, she didn’t play on public sympathy. The headline-hunters didn’t know of her illness until she was almost recovered. And were they mad? Almost as much as when Carole and William Powell got married secretly — a year ago June 26th!”

This page is being auctioned at eBay…and since it’s from an actual magazine, there’s something on the other side. Not an ad, not a table of contents, but photos of another actress, one far less remembered than Lombard.

Her name was Adrienne Dore. Born in 1910 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, she moved to Los Angeles in her youth, was named Miss Los Angeles in 1925 and was a runnerup in the Miss America pageant that year (some biographies erroneously list her as having won the title).

Movie work followed; in fact, one of her early films was “The Swim Princess,” the 1928 Mack Sennett short featuring Lombard. By 1929 Dore had small roles in Clara Bow’s “The Wild Party” and the William Powell vehicle “Pointed Heels.”

By 1932, she was at Warners, appearing in a number of films including Kay Francis’ “Street Of Women” and Edward G. Robinson’s “Two Seconds.” She didn’t remain at the studio very long, and by 1934 was out of film acting entirely. She died in Woodland Hills, Calif., in November 1992. Dore is so forgotten by all but the most ardent film buffs that the seller for this eBay item lists her last name as “Dare.”

Bids begin at 99 cents (none have been made as of this writing), and bidding closes at 4:27 p.m. (Eastern) next Friday. If you’re interested in this rare Lombard image as well as some bath shots of an overlooked ’30s starlet, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-Adrienne-Dare-Bathing-Beauty-/320705748642?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aab8d5ea2.

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Get ready to place your bids

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.27 at 00:01
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

It’s no secret that Carole Lombard loved animals; well, it just so happens that another portrait of Lombard plus pet will be up for auction beginning this Sunday, thanks to Heritage Auctions. Take a look:

This is a 7″ x 9″ vintage Kodak nitrate negative, p1202-616 (from about 1934). According to Heritage, it’s an “unrestored negative that appears virtually unused. Closer inspection may reveal one or two minor flaws, such as some mild developer residue that should not affect the printing process. The image that is shown is a recent paper print taken from the actual negative being offered. With today’s digital technology available through Photoshop, these original negatives can easily be used to produce beautiful positive prints when correctly processed.”

Bidding on this item starts Sunday and lasts through the following Sunday.

Heritage has three other Lombard items which will be open for bidding on June 24 (the auction itself will occur July 16 and 17), and it’s just as well the date’s a few weeks off because two of them are 8″ x 10″ autographed photos that should go for a pretty penny, and this will give potential bidders some time to save the dough:


The top image has no p1202 marking; the bottom is p1202-1716, from 1937 and among Lombard’s last portraits at Paramount.

Of the top photo, Heritage writes: “Vintage gelatin silver, single weight, glossy photo. It has been inscribed: ‘Cordially, Carole Lombard. There are some very faint surface crinkles, and some minor corner creases.” Of the bottom: “This rare vintage gelatin silver, single weight, glossy photo has been autographed by Carole Lombard. There is some edge wear with minor corner bumps, surface crinkling, and scrapbook paper remnants on the verso.”

The fourth photo features Lombard with Clark Gable in “No Man Of Her Own,” when they were merely co-stars in a film and not in real life:

The back of the 7.75″ x 10″ is hand-marked with a date of Dec. 21, 1931, which doesn’t make sense since “No Man Of Her Own” wasn’t filmed until the fall of 1932 and came out that December. Heritage describes it as “Vintage gelatin silver, double weight, linen backed glossy keybook photo. This is a publicity photo from the only on-screen pairing of Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, and it’s a beauty! The photo has been studio linen backed for insertion into a keybook. There are only some very small surface dot bumps, and some very small corner bends.”

To see all four items and get bidding information, visit http://movieposters.ha.com/common/search_results.php?Nty=1&Ntk=SI_Titles&N=54+793+794+791+792+2088&Ntt=Carole%20Lombard.

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Was Carole’s face red? Her hair seemingly was

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.26 at 01:44
Current mood: amusedamused

When “Nothing Sacred” came out in late 1937, that’s how movie audiences first experienced Carole Lombard (and Fredric March, for that matter) in three-strip Technicolor. But Carole’s hair led to potential problems for what planned to be her color talking debut (segments of a few of her silent Mack Sennett shorts were shot in two-strip Technicolor).

We’re referring to a movie she never made, “Spawn Of The North” (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/137095.html). Lombard was announced for the Paramount film in June 1936, but while she had shown she could deliver good box office, the studio feared her fans might be confused. Why? Let Hearst columnist Louella Parsons explain in the Los Angeles Examiner of June 21, 1936, yet another clipping courtesy of Tally Haugen:

Under the headline “Carole Lombard Will Compete With Aurora Borealis” (some of the exteriors were to be shot well north of the continental U.S.), Parsons wrote:

“In making the color photography tests Carole and everyone concerned received a shock to discover that her gilded locks filmed as Titian as Jeanette MacDonald’s tresses or Ginger Rogers’ morning glory. And the studio was in one of those well-known, old-fashioned quandaries.

“What would happen, everyone asked, if Carole’s fans should be faced out of a clear screen with a Lombard gone redhead, redhead, gingerbread-head right overnight and without a word of warning?”

So what happened, Louella?

“…Carole came galloping to the rescue like a true United States Marine and changed the color scheme of her coiffure by permitting her hair to resume its naturally beautiful ash-blonde hue.”

And thankfully, she didn’t have to adopt a Marine cut to go with it, as she returned her hair to its appearance of earlier in the 1930s (although I doubt Carole went back to her 1931-32 ultrablonde look).

Also note the byline below Lombard’s picture: Otto Winkler, whose fate would sadly tie in to Carole’s slightly more than 5 1/2 years later. At the time, Winkler covered the film industry for the Examiner before joining MGM’s publicity staff.

Of course, Lombard never made “Spawn Of The North” (when it finally hit theaters in 1938, Dorothy Lamour had her part) and by the time “Nothing Sacred” was made, Carole had returned to a slightly reddish shade, though nowhere as vividly red as that of future RKO studio mate Lucille Ball:

Oh, and one final twist: “Spawn Of The North” was ultimately filmed in black and white.

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Connie, not Carol(e), nearly made a ‘Racket(eer)’

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.25 at 01:19
Current mood: productiveproductive

It’s no secret that Carole Lombard’s final film at Pathe, back when her first name didn’t have an “e,” was “The Racketeer” with Robert Armstrong (Kit Guard is between them in this still from the movie). But what you may not know was that Lombard’s last was initially announced as someone else’s first, someone whose path would intersect with Carole’s on several occasions…

…Constance Bennett. “The Racketeer” apparently was to have been her first movie after signing with Pathe, and her first talkie of any sort. (Bennett had brief stardom in silents in 1925, but married, moved to Paris for a few years and left the business.)

This is among a number of Lombard-related tidbits found in the files of Film Daily, specifically the May 23, 1929 issue (82 years ago Monday), through the Media History Digital Library (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/412516.html). Here’s the item in its entirety (http://www.archive.org/stream/filmdaily4748newy#page/n1241/mode/2up/search/Carole+Lombard):

Constance Bennett’s First Picture “The Racketeer”

“Constance Bennett’s first talking picture for Pathe will be ‘The Racketeer,’ from an original by Paul Gangelin. Readjustments of the studio’s production schedule made it advisable to put this story into production before the play which at first it had been planned to give her.

“In ‘The Racketeer’ Miss Bennett will play opposite Robert Armstrong. As Armstrong has completed rehearsals for a dramatic talking picture of newspaper life from the unproduced play, ‘For Two Cents,’ production on ‘The Racketeer’ will be held up until the completion of that picture, which is in production this week under the direction of Gregory LaCava. With Armstrong in the cast are Carol Lombard as feminine lead, Wade Boteler, Sam Hardy, Tom Kennedy, Lewis Payne, Warner Richmond, Bob Dydley, Gertrude Sutton, George Hayes and Fred Behrle.”

It’s apparent that “For Two Cents” was soon renamed “Big News,” a more descriptive fit for a newspaper yarn. But the reference “before the play which at first it had been planned to give (Bennett)”…what could that mean? A search for Constance Bennett items in Film Daily showed it was “This Thing Called Love,” which turned out to be Connie’s second film at the studio; the first was “Rich People.” (Both films were released in December 1929, and both are believed lost.)

Bennett had signed with Pathe in early April 1929. At first, the studio planned to make her pictures in New York, where she and sisters Barbara and Joan had grown up as the daughters of Broadway acting legend Richard Bennett, but by May, Pathe decided to send Connie to the coast.

By June 30, the feminine lead in “The Racketeer” was shifted to Lombard. Did Constance have second thoughts about the project? Was it a scheduling conflict that caused the change? Or did Bennett, whom Pathe projected as a potential major star, get first crack at prime properties? (We do know that Bennett was more than likely the catalyst for getting Lombard and fellow blonde Diane Ellis dismissed from Pathe’s roster in late ’29.) Whatever, it was Carole who ended up portraying Rhoda Philbrooke in this programmer, and its lackluster nature is shown on her face:

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It takes two to ‘Rumba’

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.24 at 00:48
Current mood: hopefulhopeful

In “Rumba,” released in early 1935, Paramount tried to make lightning strike twice with the dancing combo of George Raft and Carole Lombard, so sexy and successful at the box office in “Bolero” a year before. However, it was received coolly and didn’t make much of an impact.

Perhaps it was a case of going to the well once too often, or maybe the strict imposition of the Production Code — which came in between the pictures — lessened its appeal. (No Lombard dancing in lingerie this time, fellas.) Or maybe RKO’s Astaire-Rogers musicals, which featured better dancing, two stars who could sing, and songs from some of Hollywood’s top tunesmiths, had stolen their thunder and defined the genre.

Whatever, there are several items at eBay related to “Rumba,” and here are two of note. First, this photo of George and Carole:


This is an original 8″ x 10″ photo from a newspaper file, received Feb. 6, 1935, and you can buy it for $28.88. To learn more, visit http://cgi.ebay.com/1935-Carole-Lombard-George-Raft-Rumba-Wire-Photo-/270727317044?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item3f089b0634.

Next, a Lombard solo shot to promote the film:

The snipe on back reads, “GLAMOROUS CAROLE — The Lombard girl at Paramount, who is at present appearing opposite George Raft in ‘Rumba,’ being directed by Marion Gering.”

This original portrait, p1202-948, shows Carole in bangs and was received in February 1935 as well. It’s 7/5″ x 10″ and deemed in good condition, though it’s had some wear and minor creasing over the years. It’s also a “buy it now” item, though this will set you back $100. Interested? Go to http://cgi.ebay.com/1935-Carole-Lombard-Rumba-VINTAGE-1930s-Movie-PHOTO-26f-/380256193133?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5889090a6d.

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Learn more about 1920s film…daily

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.23 at 03:39
Current mood: pleasedpleased

Researching film history in general is fascinating for me; when such history involves Carole Lombard, it holds added importance. And towards that end, here’s some welcome news involving a site I’ve mentioned before, the Media History Digital Library (http://www.archive.org/details/mediahistory). The library, whose items include Photoplay from 1925 through 1930, has just added another publication from that era — the files of Film Daily from 1922 through 1929.

Unlike Photoplay, which was a fan magazine, Film Daily was a trade publication, printed every day but Saturday. (The Sunday issues were traditionally larger and usually featured color in advertising.) It was basically meant for industry executives and theater owners, but there were updates on actors, directors and other personnel as well as brief film reviews on Sundays — not only for feature films, but many short subjects as well.

It’s remarkable to peruse the archives and get an idea of what the film industry was like, especially during 1928 — when Hollywood began to realize that unlike several previous attempts to make pictures talk, this time sound was not a novelty — and 1929, when the business was in tumult trying to retool itself for “talkies.”

Unlike microfilm, these scans are in full color, and some of the special advertising sections promoting individual studios are dazzling. Check out the June 18, 1929 section on Fox talkies (http://www.archive.org/stream/filmdaily4748newy#page/n1431/mode/2up), and the introduction of Radio Pictures on July 15 (http://www.archive.org/stream/filmdaily4950newy#page/106/mode/2up).

Another advantage of the Media History Digital Library is that these files are searchable. According to David Pierce, the man behind the site (and someone to whom all film researchers owe thanks), here’s how it works:

You can start here (http://www.archive.org/details/mediahistory) and choose a volume — such as this one (http://www.archive.org/details/filmdaily4950newy).

On the left, under “view the book” you can download the PDF and use the built in search function to do text searches. (If you own a copy of Acrobat (not the free reader), you can search across multiplevolumes at the same time.

Or you can open the volume using the “read online” option and there is a search box in the upper right corner.

I used the latter, and discovered that the first reference to Lombard in Film Daily came not in 1925, when she appeared in a few films for Fox, but on Feb. 20, 1927, in the following blurb:

Cameramen’s Frolic March 12
The Junior Cameramen’s Club is to hold its first annual dance and entertainment at the Hollywood Masonic Temple March 12. Hank Mann will be master of ceremonies assisted by Sammy Blum, Arthur Lake, Sammy Cohen, Nick Stuart, Carol Lombard, George Blandford and Barbara Luddy.

Lombard, trying to make her way back into the industry following her 1926 auto accident, may have hooked up with the Junior Cameramen while trying to learn the tricks of the trade (that’s strictly conjecture on my part). The only other name I recognize from that list is Lake, who years later would play Dagwood in the “Blondie” series of films.

Carole’s networking must have paid off, because the following ran in the June 24, 1927 issue:

Sennett Plans More Bathing Beauties
Hollywood — Mack Sennett will feature 12 girls in a series of the “Bathing Beauties” type, which Eddie Cline will direct. Sennett already has chosen Carol Lombard, Anita Barnes, Katherine Stanley, Leota Winter and Marie Tergain for the series.

Two items below the Sennett blurb was an announcement that Greta Nissen had been hired to play opposite John Barrymore in “Tempest.” That was the film Lombard had tested for just before her auto accident. But that was in the past, and Carole readied for her new status as a Sennett girl. Here she is in 1928’s “Run, Girl, Run,” watching diminutive Daphne Pollard kiss her beau:

This week’s header features Carole in triplicate. Enjoy.

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Yet more from Tally

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.22 at 00:57
Current mood: excitedexcited

Tally Haugen’s recently acquired array of Carole Lombard newspaper and magazine clippings is the gift that keeps on giving for Lombard fans. And we have a few more assorted items to share with you.

From the reference to “Made For Each Other,” we know this is almost certainly from early 1939, and it’s unfortunate we don’t have the photos of Constance and Joan Bennett that are referred to (by this time, Joan had revitalized her career by turning brunette).

The slightly risque captions (not to mention Carole’s scanty outfit) are indications the clipping on the left is from Film Fun or a magazine of its ilk in 1932, when “Virtue” was released. Its partner is an advertisement for Old Gold, one of several cigarette brands Lombard endorsed over the years.

Two photos that appeared in the Los Angeles Times –– one from “Bolero” in February 1934, the next promoting “Now And Forever” six months later.


Finally, a photo split into two parts, showing Carole with Fernand Gravet and director Mervyn LeRoy during filming of “Fools For Scandal.”

Some fascinating stuff; we look forward to more.

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A clearance on Carole

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.21 at 01:32
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

For a student of Carole Lombard’s still portraits, coming across a new one is always a delight, but difficult to do after years of searching. So this photo, p1202-742 from 1934, is welcome news. Even better is learning where it cam fron.

It’s among 94 Lombard photos, all 8″ x 10″, on clearance from a seller in Brooklyn; each can be bought outright for $12.50, or you can choose to make an offer instead. They aren’t originals, but were printed in the 1980s or thereabouts on photostock paper. To bid or learn more on the one above, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ONE-8×10-bxw-photo-CLEARANCE-30-/370504774742?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5643ce3456.

What makes this exciting is seeing that the batch includes several images I was not familiar with, some of the lesser-known Lombard portraits. There’s a good chance a few of these will be new to you as well. Here are some of mine:

This one is lovely, but unfortunately someone cropped out the p1202 number when reproducing the image, where Carole’s hands and hair come to the forefront. It is sold at http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ONE-8×10-bxw-photo-CLEARANCE-12-/390308932978?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5ae039ad72.

Here’s p1202-857; we’ve seen similar photos of Lombard in that outfit, in that chair, but not in that pose. To buy or make an offer, visit http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ONE-8×10-bxw-photo-CLEARANCE-40-/370504775055?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5643ce358f.

Can’t quite make out the p1202 number at the bottom, but just from the coat, I know that’s a portrait I’ve never seen before. Find it at http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ONE-8×10-bxw-photo-CLEARANCE-36-/390308933323?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5ae039aecb.

Someone at Paramount should have had heeded the lesson of this photo, p1202-343, and used a dark marker for that earlier image. This one can be seen at http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ONE-8×10-bxw-photo-CLEARANCE-55-/370505831686?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5643de5506.

This is p1202-1402, from late 1936 or early ’37. If you’re interested, drop by http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ONE-8×10-bxw-photo-CLEARANCE-66-/390310051600?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5ae04abf10.

And finally, p1202-676, a sleek, lovely Lombard (and with a dark marker on a light background). It is at http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-ONE-8×10-bxw-photo-CLEARANCE-56-/390310051622?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5ae04abf26.

The entire collection of Carole clearance portraits can be found at http://stores.ebay.com/machinist-43stuff/aa-one-8×10-photo-CLEARANCE-/_i.html?_nkw=Carole+Lombard&_fsub=1676569011&_ipg=30&_sasi=1&_sid=723087901&_sop=1&_trksid=p4634.c0.m322&_vc=1. For some, the offers expire next Wednesday; for others, the following Sunday.

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These clippings are ‘What They Wanted’

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.20 at 00:01
Current mood: moodymoody

“They Knew What They Wanted,” which was released in the fall of 1940 and would turn out to be Carole Lombard’s final excursion into drama, has a rather unsettled history. It’s been said Lombard and co-star Charles Laughton had little fondness for each other, and yet neither could claim prior ignorance of their differences, since they had teamed up never seven years earlier for the campy Paramount programmer “White Woman.”

In contrast, “They Knew What They Wanted” was a top-line item from the get-go. It was an adaptation of Sidney Howard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play from the 1920s, though some of the story was watered down to appease Joseph Breen and industry censors. RKO hoped that with Laughton, a former Academy Award winner, and Lombard, a past best actress nominee, this would be a prestige production that could make some noise come Oscar time. (Neither of the leads would be nominated, though William Gargan secured a best supporting actor nomination.)

The latest batch of Lombard clippings scanned my way from Tally Haugen provides some background into the film, from both contemporary newspapers and fan magazines, as well as quite a few rare photographs. We’ll kick it off with sort of an alpha and omega — part of a Louella Parsons column from March 1940 stating Lombard and Laughton had been cast in the leads, alongside a review of the movie from Kate Cameron of the New York Daily News and a photo of Carole with director Garson Kanin and a floral horseshoe:

A fan magazine took a publicity photo of Carole and Charles, then added a caption:

The fan magazine Movies ran a two-page spread of location photos, including a trio of a jovial Lombard and Laughton at right:


Such poses weren’t enough to quiet the chatter that the co-stars were not on the best of terms. So a fan magazine (not sure which one) decided to “investigate.”

It’s hard not to get a kick out of the drawings of Lombard and Laughton in boxing mode (evoking memories of “Nothing Sacred”). And how about that photo of Stuart and Elizabeth Peters coming up to Napa to check out action on the set? (A little known fact: Elizabeth was at the Hollywood premiere of “Citizen Kane” at the El Capitan theatre in May 1941. One guesses that Lombard was invited by Orson Welles, but was reluctant to go for fear of antagonizing William Randolph Hearst and her good friend, Marion Davies. Welles arranged a private screening of “Kane” for Carole and Clark Gable later that year. Below is the exterior of the RKO lot in ’41; you can see the ad for “Kane,” and a note that the El Capitan was the only Los Angeles theater showing the film.)

So was there genuine tension between Lombard and Laughton during the filming of “They Knew What They Wanted,” or was it overblown? I’ll leave the verdict up to you.

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This month’s heiress: When Stanwyck went ‘Mad’

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.19 at 06:55
Current mood: amusedamused

The heiress was a frequent figure of comedies from the mid- and late 1930s. Carole Lombard’s Irene Bullock in 1936’s “My Man Godfrey” was among the most famous of such characters, though the first to reach popular consciousness came two years earlier, when Claudette Colbert portrayed Ellie Andrews in “It Happened One Night.”

Many of the great actresses of the era became comic heiresses on screen (including Myrna Loy, the de facto title character in “Libeled Lady”). This entry examines what happened when another classic star gave it a try…specifically, Barbara Stanwyck in an RKO film called “The Mad Miss Manton,” which aired on Turner Classic Movies the other day:

Stanwyck portrays East Side heiress Melsa Manton, ringleader of a group of fun-loving young socialites whose pranks exasperate police and give her a rather screwy reputation. This causes trouble for Melsa when she comes across a corpse in an empty mansion on 14th Street one night; in fact, editor Peter Ames (Henry Fonda) writes an editorial castigating Manton for causing more pain for city authorities.

Feeling like a libeled lady herself, Melsa visits his office to threaten a lawsuit, and while she and Peter initially can’t stand each other, as so often happens in such films, that negative attraction soon turns positive as he helps Melsa and crew track down the culprit. En route to solving the murder, Peter is frequently victim of the Manton troupe.

This was the first of three Fonda-Stanwyck teamings, and truth be told, during filming Henry often felt as constrained as his character did in that shot. “I was so mad on this picture — I resented it,” he later said of the film. Understandably so, as it was a female comedy vehicle and not the strongest of screwballs. (Philip G. Epstein of “Casablanca” fame wrote the screenplay, as he did with another unsuccessful screwball heiress film, Bette Davis’ “The Bride Came C.O.D.,” in 1941. Perhaps that’s why he decided not to make Ilsa an heiress.)

“Manton” is hardly prime Stanwyck, but she goes at it with her usual elan in a role one can imagine Lombard playing (though by mid-1938, when the film was made for an October release, Carole would have deemed it “been there, done that”). However, RKO initially envisioned this as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn, a followup to the solid, if somewhat overrated “Bringing Up Baby.” Kate turned it down and Stanwyck, who needed an assignment, took over.

Manton’s army of seven demented debutantes — sort of a prelude to the “seven dwarfs” that would be seen in a later Stanwyck film, “Ball Of Fire” — parade around in fur coats much of the time. If you’re a fur fetishist, you’ll love this movie, which one site labels “the best fur fashion film of all time” (http://furglamor.com/2010/01/03/furs-on-film-the-mad-miss-manton/). But it wasn’t an easy shoot; exteriors were shot on the Columbia ranch in Burbank in midsummer 100-degree heat, not much fun in a mink stole.

Stanwyck is her usual professional self, and Fonda holds up well despite his obvious disdain for the film, but the best performance in “Manton” may arguably be Hattie McDaniel (billed on screen as “Hattie McDaniels”), a year before her Oscar-winning triumph in “Gone With The Wind.” She plays Melsa’s maid Hilda, but she’s no subservient black stereotype by any means.

Hilda greets Peter with a pitcher of water (though she actually likes him, telling him she used distilled water) and makes snide remarks about some of Melsa’s dimwitted society pals which her employer appreciates. When one of them says, “Comes the revolution, and we’ll start being exploited by our help,” Melsa glances at Hilda and says, “In my home, the revolution is here.”

Such impudence caused some tension in Hollywood, and Joseph Breen reminded RKO that it “may be objectionable in the South where the showing of Negroes on terms of familiarity and social equality is resented.” Some cuts were apparently made, but the core of Hilda’s character remained.

“The Mad Miss Manton” isn’t top-flight screwball, but it’s worth seeing once. And Fonda and Stanwyck would make a more memorable teaming in 1941 for Preston Sturges’ “The Lady Eve”:

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Two more from p1202

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.18 at 00:01
Current mood: contentcontent

Above is p1202-10, one of the first Paramount portrait of Carole Lombard, probably taken in the spring of 1930 after she was hired to play a supporting role in “Safety In Numbers.” Over the next seven-plus years at Paramount, Lombard would be seen in about 1,800 such photos, as well as others listed and coded for specific films and some that simply were never coded at all.

Two of those original p1202 pics are currently being sold at eBay.

First, p1202-679, as Lombard proudly welcomes older brother Stuart Peters to the set of “We’re Not Dressing.” Carole’s co-star, Bing Crosby, looks a bit befuddled, as if he can’t make up his mind whether to appear in character or as himself for this shot.

It’s 7 3/4″ x 9 3/4″, in excellent shape (with a snipe on the back), and can be yours for $94.95. If interested, check out http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Carole-Lombard-HER-BROTHER-34-DBW-Candid-/380338214151?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item588dec9507.

The same seller has this item, p1202-1411, from 1936:

It’s slightly larger than the other one (8″ x 10″), in sepia tone and in excellent shape. This is being sold for $249.95; to find out more, visit http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-Carole-Lombard-36-GORGEOUS-GLAMOUR-Portrait-/380338214148?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item588dec9504.

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Lombard, with some Spanish spice

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.17 at 00:00
Current mood: impressedimpressed

The year 1933 was an intriguing one for Carole Lombard. While she hadn’t quite gained complete traction as a film star, she continued to make advances as an actress. Her personal life was highlighted by a divorce from William Powell, though they remained friendly and even dated a few times after their split.

Early in the year, Feb. 5 to be precise, a magazine in Madrid, Spain, put Lombard on its cover:

Here’s a closer look at the top and bottom of the cover:

Spanish isn’t my primary foreign language, but I can make out enough to know the caption is commenting on Carole’s rather flimsy, “see-through” outfit.

The magazine, Cronica, measures 15″ x 11.5″, with 28 pages. Bids begin at $9.99 — no bids have been made as of this writing — and bids close at 5:08 p.m. (Eastern) on Monday. If you’re interested in this Lombard rarity, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-CAROLE-LOMBARD-Cronica-Large-Euro-Mag-1933-/310319444501?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item48407af215.

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CMBA Movies of 1939 Blogathon: “Made For Each Other”

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.16 at 01:00
Current mood: artisticartistic

The biggest news Carole Lombard made in 1939 probably wasn’t on the movie screen, but in real life, when after several years of waiting, she was finally able to wed Clark Gable. That isn’t meant as a knock on her screen work that year, however. She made two movies in ’39, both opposite leading men reaching filmdom’s top tier. One was Cary Grant (“In Name Only”); this entry deals with her other co-star of ’39, James Stewart, who teamed up with her for a drama with comedic overtones called “Made For Each Other.” It would be part of a year’s cinematic output that put him on the map for good.

As ’39 began, Stewart was hardly unknown to the moviegoing public. He had appeared in “You Can’t Take It With You,” which would win the Academy Award winner for best picture of 1938, but it was an ensemble piece and he didn’t have to carry the film. Other notable appearances had been in “Born To Dance” with Eleanor Powell, in which he introduced the Cole Porter standard “Easy To Love” (although Stewart would have been the first to admit he was no singer) and “Vivacious Lady” with Ginger Rogers. While Stewart was engaging, he had yet to fully assert himself on screen. Of “Born To Dance,” Alistair Cooke wrote at the time, “There is James Stewart, trying to be ingenious and charming like Gary Cooper, but many tricks and light years behind.”

In 1939, Stewart would go beyond a mere Cooper clone, and it all began with “Made For Each Other” (filmed in the fall of 1938, but not released until the following February), which Stewart, an MGM contract player, made on loanout to Selznick International. He plays a young attorney who falls for Lombard; they get married and have a baby. The film, directed by John Cromwell (who would also direct “In Name Only”), well conveys the highs and lows of domestic life — although the final third of the movie, where their child’s life is endangered by a disease that needs a rare vaccine, devolves into melodrama — and James and Carole have a solid cinematic chemistry. (They would team up for several radio appearances over the next two years, and although each would perform “Made For Each Other” for “Lux Radio Theater,” it would be opposite other actors — Fred MacMurray with Lombard in 1940, Marsha Hunt with Stewart in 1945.)

“Made For Each Other” received warm reviews. Frank S. Nugent in the New York Times wrote, “It is a richly human picture they have created, human and therefore comic, sentimental and poignant by turns.” (His paper would list it among its top ten films of the year.) John Alden in the Minneapolis Tribune –– who said he still preferred Lombard in comedic roles — wrote, “Jimmy Stewart is becoming better and better, in our humble opinion, with every picture. His naturalness and freshness haven’t been lost, and at the same time they haven’t begun to pall on us.”

But did MGM notice? The first film Stewart made for the studio in ’39 was a lackluster vehicle called “Ice Follies Of 1939,” in which we see him partnered in a ridiculous romantic triangle with Joan Crawford and Lew Ayres, featuring spectacle from the real-life Shipstad and Johnson ice troupe in Metro’s attempt to cash in on the Sonja Henie ice craze. Fortunately, his next film at MGM was more substantial: a little comedy, directed by W.S. Van Dyke of “Thin Man” fame and co-starring Claudette Colbert, called “It’s A Wonderful World.” It’s plenty of fun, and because its title is similar to that of Stewart’s most famous film, it occasionally gets lost in the shuffle.

The eventual director of that other “Wonderful” film, Frank Capra (who’d worked with Stewart in “You Can’t Take It With You”), brought James back to Columbia to star in one of the year’s best-loved movies, “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” This movie, co-starring Jean Arthur, is arguably where Stewart as all-too-human hero comes to the fore; his speech before the Senate ranks as one of the high points of his career. The New York Film Critics named him best actor of 1939 for this performance, beating out the likes of Gable, Robert Donat and others.

Another studio (Universal), another leading lady (Marlene Dietrich!), another genre (comic western), and a completely different Stewart for “Destry Rides Again,” where James plays a sheriff who eschews violence a decade before making his series of acclaimed psychological westerns.

Not a bad way to close the year, arguably the best calendar year for an actor since William Powell in 1936 (although Powell’s output that year never had anything as tawdry as “Ice Follies”).

Stewart’s 1940 would be nearly as good: “The Shop Around The Corner,” directed by Ernst Lubitsch; “The Mortal Storm,” a look at life in Nazi Germany; “No Time For Comedy,” an adaptation of a play; and “The Philadelphia Story,” for which he would win an Oscar as best actor. For a two-year stretch, Stewart’s output would be difficult to beat. And following World War II, he returned as an actor of unique complexity, with a maturity and edge largely absent in his earlier roles. But Stewart’s star began to shine for good in 1939…and it all started with “Made For Each Other.”

This week’s header shows Carole on the phone, kicking up her heels. (Maybe she’s excited about this blogathon, too.)

For the list and links to the various entries, go to http://clamba.blogspot.com/2011/04/classic-movies-of-1939-blogathon-may-15.html.

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A dictionary for the flapper flock

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.15 at 00:05
Current mood: amusedamused

Carole Lombard is “The Campus Vamp” in a scene from that 1928 Mack Sennett short, using her wiles and sex appeal to wield power over just about every male student at that college. Was she a flapper? Most likely, but by that time flappers were nothing new.

They arrived on the scene at roughly the turn of the decade, at just about the time the Nineteenth Amendment gave women in all states the right to vote. An increasingly urbanized America was changing its mores, and the flapper character fit right in with the newfound feminine modernity.

By 1922, there was even a magazine dedicated to this new breed of womanhood, a Chicago-based publication appropriately called The Flapper:

Labeled “Not For Old Fogies,” the monthly magazine celebrated the flapper lifestyle. It apparently didn’t last very long — its first issue was dated May 1922, and I can’t find one past November — but it provides a fascinating glimpse into American youth culture of the time.

And, thanks to an April entry in the blog “Book flaps: Musings of a small-town book peddler” (http://bookflaps.blogspot.com/2011/04/flappers-dictionary.html), I discovered that the July 1922 issue of The Flapper featured something called the “Flapper’s Dictionary,” an array of terms to use in your crowd to emphasize that you indeed were not an old fogie. According to the anonymous author, “The flapper movement is not a craze, but something that will stay. Many of the phrases now employed by members of this order will eventually find a way into common usage and be accepted as good English.”

Here’s the list of lingo; judge for yourself whether the author was right. And remember these phrases for your next Roaring ’20s party or when you ride that time machine back to Prohibition days:
_________________________________________

Absent treatment -— Dancing with a bashful partner.

Airedale —- A homely man.

Alarm clock —- Chaperone.

Anchor —- Box of flowers.

Apple knocker —- A hick; a hay-shaker.

Apple sauce — Flattery; bunk.

Barlow -— A girl, a flapper, a chicken.

Bank’s closed -— No petting allowed; no kisses.

Barneymugging -— Lovemaking.

Bee’s knees -— See “Cat’s pajamas.”

Bell polisher —- A young man addicted to lingering in vestibules at 1 a.m.

Bean picker -— One who patches up trouble and picks up spilled beans.

Berry patch -— A man’s particular interest in a girl.

Berries —- Great.

Biscuit —- A pettable flapper.

Big timer (n. masc.) -— A charmer able to convince his sweetie that a jollier thing would be to get a snack in an armchair lunchroom; a romantic.

Billboard -— Flashy man or woman.

Blushing violet -— A publicity hound.

Blouse —- To go.

Blow —- Wild party.

Blaah —- No good.

Boob tickler —- Girl who entertains father’s out-of-town customers.

Brush ape -— Anyone from the sticks; a country Jake.

Brooksy -— Classy dresser

Bust -— A man who makes his living in the prize ring, a pugilist.

Bun duster -— See “Cake eater.”

Bush hounds -— Rustics and others outside of the Flapper pale.

Cancelled stamp —- A wallflower.

Cake basket -— A limousine.

Cake eater -— See “Crumb gobbler.”

Cat’s particulars -— The acme of perfection; anything that’s good

Cat’s pajamas -— Anything that’s good

Cellar smeller -— A young man who always turns up where liquor is to be had without cost.

Clothesline -— One who tells neighborhood secrets.

Corn shredder -— Young man who dances on a girl’s feet.

Crepe hanger -— Reformer.

Crumb gobbler -— Slightly sissy tea hound.

Crasher -— Anyone who comes to parties uninvited.

Crashing party -— Party where several young men in a group go uninvited.

Cuddle cootie -— Young man who takes a girl for a ride on a bus, gas wagon or automobile.

Cuddler -— One who likes petting.

Dapper —- A flapper’s father.

Dewdropper -— Young man who does not work, and sleeps all day.

Dincher -— A half-smoked cigarette.

Dingle dangler -— One who insists on telephoning.

Dipe ducat —- A subway ticket.

Dimbox -— A taxicab.

Di Mi -— Goodness.

Dogs -— Feet.

Dog kennels -— Pair of shoes.

Dropping the pilot -— Getting a divorce.

Dumbdora —- Stupid girl.

Duck’s quack -— The best thing ever.

Ducky —- General term of approbation.

Dud —- Wallflower.

Dudding up —- Dressing.

Dumbbell — Wallflower with little brains.

Dumkuff —- General term for being “nutty” or “batty.”

Edisoned -— Being asked a lot of questions.

Egg harbor -— Free dance.

Embalmer -— A bootlegger.

Eye opener —- A marriage.

Father Time —- Any man over 30 years of age.

Face stretcher —- Old maid who tries to look younger.

Feathers -— Light conversation.

Fire extinguisher —- A chaperone.

Finale hopper —- Young man who arrives after everything is paid for.

Fire alarm —- Divorced woman.

Fire bell —- Married woman.

Flap -— Girl

Flat shoes -— Fight between a Flapper and her Goof

Fluky —- Funny, odd, peculiar; different.

Flatwheeler -— Slat shy of money; takes girls to free affairs.

Floorflusher —- Inveterate dance hound.

Flour lover -— Girl who powders too freely.

Forty-Niner -— Man who is prospecting for a rich wife.

Frog’s eyebrows —- Nice, fine.

Gander —- Process of duding up.

Green glorious —- Money and checks.

Gimlet -— A chronic bore.

Given the air —- When a girl or fellow is thrown down on a date.

Give your knee —- Cheek-to-cheek or toe-to-toe dancing.

Goofy -— To be in love with, or attracted to. Example: “I’m goofy about Jack.”

Goat’s whiskers -— See “Cat’s particulars.”

Goof -— Sweetie.

Grummy -— In the dumps, shades or blue.

Grubber -— One who always borrows cigarettes.

Handcuff -— Engagement ring.

Hen coop -— A beauty parlor.

His blue serge -— His sweetheart.

Highjohn -— Young man friend; sweetie, cutey, highboy.

Hopper -— Dancer.

Houdini —- To be on time for a date.

Horse prancer -— See “Corn shredder.”

Hush money -— Allowance from father.

Jane -— A girl who meets you on the stoop.

Johnnie Walker -— Guy who never hires a cab.

Kitten’s ankles -— See “Cat’s particulars.”

Kluck -— Dumb, but happy.

Lap -— Drink.

Lallygagger —- A young man addicted to attempts at hallway spooning.

Lens Louise -— A person given to monopolizing conversation.

Lemon squeezer -— An elevator.

Low lid —- The opposite of highbrow.

Mad money —- Carfare home if she has a fight with her escort.

Meringue -— Personality.

Monkey’s eyebrows —- See “Cat’s particulars.”

Monog -— A young person of either sex who is goofy about only one person at a time.

Monologist -— Young man who hates to talk about himself.

Mustard plaster —- Unwelcome guy who sticks around.

Munitions -— Face powder and rouge.

Mug —- To osculate or kiss.

Necker -— A petter who puts her arms around a boy’s neck.

Noodle juice -— Tea.

Nosebaggery -— Restaurant.

Nut cracker -— Policeman’s nightstick.

Obituary notice -— Dunning letter.

Oilcan —- An imposter.

Orchid —- Anything that is expensive.

Out on parole -— A person who has been divorced.

Petting pantry -— Movie.

Petting party -— A party devoted to hugging.

Petter —- A loveable person; one who enjoys to caress.

Pillow case -— Young man who is full of feathers.

Police dog -— Young man to whom one is engaged.

Potato -— A young man shy of brains.

Ritzy burg -— Not classy.

Ritz —- Stuck-up.

Rock of ages -— Any woman over 30 years of age.

Rug hopper —- Young man who never takes a girl out. A parlor hound.

Sap —- A flapper term for floorflusher.

Scandal —- A short term for scandal walk.

Scandaler —- A dance floor fullback. The interior of a dreadnaught hat, Piccadilly shoes with open plumbing, size 13.

Seetie -— Anybody a flapper hates.

Sharpshooter -— One who spends much and dances well.

Shifter -— Another species of flapper.

Show case -— Rich man’s wife with jewels.

Sip -— Flapper term for female Hopper.

Slat —- See “Highjohn”; “Goof.”

Slimp -— Cheapskate or “one way guy.”

Smith Brothers -— Guys who never cough up.

Smoke eater -— A girl cigarette user.

Smooth —- Guy who does not keep his word.

Snake —- To call a victim with vampire arms.

Snuggleup —- A man fond of petting and petting parties.

Sod buster -— An undertaker.

Stilts —- Legs.

Stander -— Victim of a female grafter.

Static —- Conversations that mean nothing.

Strike breaker -— A young woman who goes with her friend’s “steady” while there is a coolness.

Swan —- Glide gracefully.

Tomato -— A young woman shy of brains.

Trotzky (sic) -— Old lady with a moustache and chin whiskers.

Umbrella -— young man any girl can borrow for the evening.

Urban set —- Her new gown.

Walk in —- Young man who goes to a party without being invited.

Weasel —- Girl stealer.

Weed —- Flapper who takes risks.

Weeping willow -— See “Crepe hanger.”

Whangdoodle —- Jazz-band music.

Whiskbroom —- Any man who wears whiskers.

Wind sucker -— Any person given to boasting.

Wurp -— Killjoy or drawback.
_________________________________________

Interesting terms, doncha think? One wonders if Jane Alice Peters was using any of the terms while at Virgil Junior High School in ’22, or if a few years later the renamed Carole Lombard, Joan Crawford and company said such lingo while dancing at the Cocoanut Grove at the Hotel Ambassador in 1925.

We can guess the teenage Lombard steered clear of any potential “smooth” or “potato,” made sure to stock up on “munitions” before enjoying any “whangdoodle,” and enjoyed being a “sip” while showing off her “stilts.”

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Leggy in linen

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.14 at 01:09
Current mood: flirtyflirty

Beginning with her starlet days at Fox in the mid-twenties, Carole Lombard was known for her attractive legs, which she regularly showed off (above is part of a publicity portrait for 1932’s “No Man Of Her Own”). So it’s understandable that during the early 1930s, Paramount frequently played up her shapely legs in photos. Here’s a sample, p1202-158:

This is an original linen photo from about 1931, measuring 7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″, slightly trimmed and sepia toned. We’ve seen Carole in similar photos using this setting, but this one, flashing plenty of gam, is new to me.

You can buy it for $49.99. If interested, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/30s-Sexy-Carole-Lombard-VINTAGE-Linen-Movie-PHOTO-924B-/200606904975?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb51a728f.

To paraphrase that old hosiery slogan, nothing beats a great Lombard leg.

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This window card ‘Comes Across’

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.13 at 00:00
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

“The Princess Comes Across” may not be top-tier Carole Lombard (shown with Alison Skipworth), but it has its charms, not the least of which is Lombard using a mock Swedish accent as she tries to pass herself off as a Swedish princess sailing across the Atlantic, bound for Hollywood and film fame.

An artifact from that film that I’ve never seen before is currently being auctioned at eBay. It’s a window card, but instead of measuring the usual 14″ x 22″, it’s a mere 14″ x 18″ (evidently the top part, in which the theater’s name and dates the film was playing would appear, was cut off; you can’t tell whether or not it had been used for that purpose):

Want a closeup of Carole? You’ve got it:

It’s got a few smudges and signs of wear, but for something three-quarters of a century old, it’s in reasonably good shape.

Bids on this begin at $149.99; as of this writing, no bids have been placed. Bidding ends at 9:03 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. If you’re interested in this item, visit http://cgi.ebay.com/CAROLE-LOMBARD-PRINCESS-COMES-ACROSS-WINDOW-CARD-1936-/380338909419?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item588df730eb.

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Carole plays nurse

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.12 at 00:59
Current mood: gratefulgrateful

Today, May 12, is International Nurses’ Day, not coincidentally the day of Florence Nightingale’s birth. In honor of the day, and of all the wonderful work nurses do for us, some images from a film where Carole Lombard portrayed a nurse…


“Vigil In The Night,” directed by George Stevens and released in early 1940, is rarely considered one of Lombard’s top films, even though she gives an earnest, heartfelt performance. But it’s a drama, and a fairly solemn drama at that. To those who prefer their Carole on the lighter side, it’s not easy to watch. But after experiencing her share of days in the hospital for an array of ailments, Lombard certainly appreciated the work nurses did, and one guesses those recollections probably helped her in her portrayal. “Vigil” is still considered one of the better movies made about the nursing profession.

So for all you nurses out there, some stills from “Vigil”:





“Vigil In The Night” will be shown on Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. on Aug. 28, the day Lombard is honored during TCM’s 2011 edition of “Summer Under The Stars.” We hope the channel shows the ending shown in overseas markets, where Carole and the other characters react to Great Britain going to war in September 1939 following Germany’s invasion of Poland. (The movie is set in England.) TCM showed this alternate ending during the 2006 SUTS, though it hasn’t done likewise on subsequent airings of the film.

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Carole and Fred, via Tally

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.11 at 01:10
Current mood: busybusy

What are Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray doing behind bars, especially when we know it’s not from “True Confession”? (Fred has no mustache…and he isn’t fooling anyone with his scowl.) Looks like the photographer had some fun with it; supposedly it’s from “Hands Across The Table.”

That photo above comes from the latest batch of Carole clippings courtesy of Tally Haugen, and today we’re going to examine a few items related to the four movies Lombard and MacMurray made together (also her final four films at Paramount). “Hands” has been taken care of, so now let’s go to “The Princess Comes Across”:

There are two articles here. The first is from New York-based Norbert Lusk, a well-known writer of the time who worked for Picture Play, the Los Angeles Times (which is where I believe this came from) and other publications. Interesting to see her that Lusk focuses on the directing of W.K. Howard, someone not all that well remembered among directors of that era, though he does say, “Miss Lombard’s acting can only be compared with her hit in ‘Hands Across The Table,’ and there are some critics who refuse to credit her with acting in that, even. These die-hards acknowledge her ability in the new film, however, while those who have always been aware of her cleverness and inclined to think she exceeds every past effort.”

Lusk became friends with a number of actresses, notably Joan Crawford, and later did some film publicity work before his sudden death in mid-1949.

The other item comes from “across the pond,” specifically the British magazine Film Pictorial of Nov. 14, 1936. This article, “How Plain Jane Became Carole The Glamorous,” has some delightful quotes from her, such as:

“Hollywood has always placed so much emphasis on the importance of its stars that perhaps the players themselves are not entirely to blame for developing false ideas of their own importance. … I hear stars talking about ‘their pictures,’ ‘their public,’ as though they and they only were the cause of it all. I have never forgotten — and I hope I never will forget — how much we owe to the scriptwriters, the director and the cutter. Why anyone goes high-hat in this business I can’t imagine.”

Next up…”Swing High, Swing Low”:

This review was written by Rose Pelswick, a longtime movie critic for Hearst in New York (she wrote for the chain into the 1960s); this was from the New York Evening Journal, not long before it merged with the morning American to form the Journal-American. Pelswick generally approved of the film, and note that in the final paragraph she makes reference to “the Armstrong band” at the Paramount theater — that’s Louis Armstrong’s orchestra performing in between showings. Lombard and Louis in Times Square? Not a bad combo.

Finally, “True Confession,” from near the end of ’37, and guess what magazine did a piece on it?


Why, True Confessions, of course. (A little log-rolling never hurt.)

And to close, a photo of the acquittal scene, which I believe ran in the Los Angeles Times of Nov. 7, 1937:

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Twice the woman she was before: Carole goes Gish

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.10 at 00:07
Current mood: chipperchipper

We get two Carole Lombards for the price of one, thanks to the camerawork and mirrors employed by Paramount portrait artist Otto Dyar. But there’s another way to get multiple Caroles…trick photography. And here’s proof, and a quality version of an image I’ve been seeking for some time:

That’s Paramount p1202-736 from 1934, showing Carole, plus Carole. (Heck, the entry we ran the other day discussed her figurative ability to be two different women.) The snipe is headlined “ROLES THEY’LL NEVER PLAY,” where Carole would play twin orphans…”in which Carole would never stand being sent out into a snow storm for art or anyone else…”

It’s an obvious take-off on the 1922 D.W. Griffith film “Orphans Of The Storm,” starring Lillian and Dorothy Gish as waifs, one of them blind, struggling through the French Revolution:

Lombard probably saw the movie in her youth, and let’s face it — putting Carole in a costume drama didn’t play up to her strengths. (After her lone talking western, 1930’s “The Arizona Kid” at Fox, none of Lombard’s films was set in a time before the first World War, probably a reason she was never a serious contender in the Scarlett O’Hara derby.)

This photo has been a holy grail for some time; Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive had sent me a low-toned version, and I’m glad to finally have the image in high quality. It’s 7 1/2″ x 9 3/4″ and in excellent condition. Bidding begins at $94.95 (no bids have been placed as of yet), and bids close at 10:15 p.m. (Eastern) on Wednesday. To bid, or to learn more, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Carole-Lombard-34-UNUSUAL-DOUBLE-EXPOSURE-DBW-/380335373963?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item588dc13e8b.

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A fan magazine, en francais

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.09 at 00:00
Current mood: confusedconfused

Carole Lombard is dressed in fur for “Fools For Scandal,” which was partially set in Paris (or at least Warners’ interpretation of it, which hardly compares to the Paris supplied by Ernst Lubitsch at Paramount). We want to get you in a French state of mind, because the fan magazine excerpt in today’s entry — another item courtesy of Tally Haugen — just happens to be in that language.

It’s called “Carole Lombard et le marriage,” and I’m guessing it to be from 1938 or ’39. Unfortunately, I don’t know what magazine this is from, or even if it’s French Canadian or from France itself. We have three pages of the article, but it appears to be incomplete, judging from the rather abrupt ending.

Here are those pages, and even if you can’t read French, you can appreciate the photos, some of which are uncommon:



Interesting to see an article from the late 1930s bring up “Carole Lombard” and “marriage,” and yet there’s not a single reference to Clark Gable. That’s bizarre.

Anyone care to translate a few paragraphs to give us a better flavor of the piece? My French is a bit rusty.

We’ll leave you with this item, in English, showing Carole on the set of “My Man Godfrey,” evidently in a moment that’s been immortalized in a number of blooper compilations:

This week’s header shows Lombard the tennis player, in a shot taken by William Walling in 1936…and continuing the French theme, I believe we’re not far away from play on the clay of Roland Garros.

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Mothers and movie stars

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.08 at 01:23
Current mood: lovedloved

That’s Carole Lombard in August 1933, being welcomed home by her mother, Bess Peters, after Carole’s return to California following her divorce from William Powell. (Lombard established Nevada residency for six weeks in order to qualify for a divorce.) With Carole is noted aviator Roscoe Turner, who had flown her back from Nevada.

As you might guess, we’re running that photo in honor of Mother’s Day. And while we’re at it, how about some images of other stars from that era with their mothers?

We’ll start with Jean Harlow and her mom (who actually was named Jean Harlow; her daughter was christened Harlean Carpenter, and decided to use mom’s moniker as a movie stage name):

Here’s a mother-and-daughter pose of one of Lombard’s Paramount stablemates, Claudette Colbert and her mom, Jeanne Loew Chauchoin, a pastry cook:

One of Hollywood’s best-known mother-daughter combos was Ginger Rogers with her mom, Lela:

Finally, Bette Davis and her mother, Ruth Augusta Davis:

The happiest of Mother’s Day to you — and to your mother.

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Pay a vintage visit

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.07 at 08:19
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

A candid photo of Carole Lombard circa 1935, taken in the city she called home for more than four-fifths of her sadly brief life…Los Angeles. Until a time machine is invented, we can’t go back and experienced that rapidly-growing city as it was, the new chief metropolis of the West.

But thankfully, we can do the next best thing. And credit goes to a lady named Alison Martino, who grew up in LA as daughter of the late singer Al Martino (of “I Love You Because” fame and the film “The Godfather”). Now a TV producer, she experienced much of what made LA special in her youth — enough to comprehend what was lost when many of those venues fell victim to changing tastes and so-called “progress.”

Consequently, she began collecting items pertaining to Los Angeles of the past, initially focusing on the town in the ’50s through the ’80s, but expanding it into a Facebook site called “Vintage Los Angeles” (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vintage-Los-Angeles/121097987946929), which at last count had close to 7,000 members. That in itself is impressive, but consider that it’s barely more than a month old. Obviously, Alison has struck a chord with thousands who either experienced vintage LA firsthand or, like me, are fascinated with a place they never visited. (I’m in the latter camp, as my first trip to LA came in June 1989.)

At last check, there were more than 1,400 photos, many from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s but some that go back to pre-World War II Los Angeles, the city as Lombard knew it. For example, while people who lived during the 1960s might recall KHJ as a legendary Top 40 radio station, its heritage dates back much further; Bing Crosby regularly sang at the station in the early 1930s. And here’s the KHJ transmitting site in 1927:

Alison also has a blog dedicated to LA of the past, “Martino’s ‘Lost’ Angeles Time Table” (http://www.martinostimemachine.blogspot.com/), which features images such as the Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard:


By the late 1960s, that site was the short-lived Aquarius theater, and dig it in groovy, mind-blowing color:

It used to be fairly common to scoff at the concept of LA having a history. Thankfully, people now know better, and sites such as Vintage Los Angeles are a reason why.

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Get your own Gable, gals: Here’s how

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.06 at 01:59
Current mood: happyhappy

So, how did she do it? Just how did Carole Lombard bag one of Hollywood’s major stars — Clark Gable? (Okay, so technically he was married, but to borrow a title of one of Lombard’s films, the public knew it was “in name only.”)

The June 1939 issue of Movie Mirror supplies the answer, and thanks to Tally Haugen, I can share it with you. And that answer is: be multiple women.

No, Carole hadn’t come up with a 1930s version of cloning herself. But depending upon the situation, she could make herself be a paragon of femininity at one time, show toughness the equal of any man at another.

Here’s the story, “How To Get Your Own Clark Gable,” by S.B. Mook:



(Isn’t that a great photo of Carole with James Stewart, apparently in the same Selznick International office where Lombard played studio publicist for a week?)

As was the case with the fan magazine story in yesterday’s entry, many, if not all, of the “quotes” attributed to Lombard are probably from the writer. At the same time, Mook (whom I believe to be male) does provide a more authentic “voice” for Carole than the earlier piece; you can actually imagine her saying some of these things. Such as:

“When we (women) go out at night we have to be strictly feminine. Our escorts expect it. They want to be flattered, to be listened to. They like to think we’re helpless little things — and so we play our parts. But we’re only playing.”

“It’s up to every working girl, whether she earns ten dollars a week or a thousand, to be a regular businessman and she has to be prepared to face a roomful of men and tell them what’s what. And with no masculine shoulder to lean on, either.”

“The day of the clinging vine is gone and I, for one, don’t mourn her passing. It’s one thing to let a man teach you to swim or play golf or tennis, but can you imagine what would happen if girls started swooning all over the place as they used to do? Or uttering silly little shrieks and jumping on chairs every time a bug appeared?”

“The sporting sections of the papers are no longer written for and read exclusively by men. Women are just as interested in these things. They have to be in order to talk with even a semblance of intelligence to their boyfriends about the things in which the latter are interested.”

“The only marriages today that last are those where the husband and wife have a community of interest and you can’t have anything in common with a man if you’ve constantly to be taken care of.”

Lombard the feminist, Lombard the feminine…some splendid advice that’s applicable even if you’re not a celebrity.

It’s no wonder that in the next-to-last paragraph, Mook describes “Carole as a gallant modern girl who knows how to get her man — because she has the qualities to hold him and make him happy.” And without sacrificing her own happiness, either.

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Marriage and movies can’t mix

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.05 at 02:15
Current mood: cynicalcynical

Oh, those happy loving couples, such as Carole Lombard and William Powell in 1931. So sure their marriage was eternal, so sure their romantic voyage would sail smoothly. By their second anniversary, that voyage had hit the rocks, and not long afterwards, they split — albeit absent of acrimony.

More than half a year following their divorce, in the May 1934 issue of Movie Story, Carole sat down with writer Sonia Lee and spoke her mind about why such marriages of celebrities are invariably doomed to failure. (OK, Lee likely paraphrased Lombard somewhat — I doubt most of these are direct quotes — but they probably are indicative of her feelings at the time.)

Intriguing reading, and just another sample from the colossal collection of Carole clippings that my friend Tally Haugen recently received and was generous enough to scan for me. Take a look:



Near the end, Carole says (or at least Lee has her say): “Some day, I suppose, I shall marry again, because no woman can determine her emotions.” And as fate would have it, on the front page of this article was a photo of Lombard in a love scene with Clark Gable, nearly two years before they became “an item” and close to half a decade before they would exchange vows.

(This issue also has a story on Carole’s new Hollywood Boulevard residence, described as “a home that could be a background for only a blonde.” Hope it’s stashed somewhere in Tally’s box.)

Finally, in memory of Jackie Cooper, who just passed away at age 88, here he is with Lombard on the Paramount lot from 1933, as Carole gives him a push in his go-cart “race” with Groucho and Harpo Marx:

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‘Baby, let’s cruise…away from here…’

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.04 at 07:10
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

That delightful nautical pose of Carole Lombard ties in with today’s entry, dealing with the recent TCM Classic Film Festival. It was a huge success, with attendance of about 25,000; passholders came from every state except West Virginia (what gives, Mountaineers?) as well as Canada, Italy, Romania, Poland, Australia, France and Argentina. Some of those fans can be seen inside Grauman’s Chinese Theater, waiting for one of the many classic film showings:

Consequently, the channel has announced that a third annual event will take place in 2012, but that’s not all. Before this year is out, TCM will sponsor its first-ever cruise. From the news release:

“The new TCM Classic Cruise is set for Dec. 8-12, 2011. It will be a five-day/four-night event aboard Celebrity Millennium. The multi-faceted, interactive experience is being planned by TCM in partnership with cruise production company Sixthman, the industry leader in theme cruises. The TCM Classic Cruise will sail from Miami to Key West and Cozumel.

“The TCM Classic Cruise will include live appearances by Hollywood legends, as well as exclusive events with [TCM host Robert] Osborne and TCM weekend daytime host Ben Mankiewicz. In addition to the ocean liner’s amenities, travelers will be treated to a wide variety of movie-themed events, from screenings and panel discussions to trivia contests and parties.”

Above is said boat, shown off the coast of Ketchikan, Alaska — a far cry from the terrain TCM cruisers will view this December.

More information on the event will gradually be announced in ensuing weeks. Again, from the release:

“Celebrity Millennium accommodates more than 2,000 passengers in 1,017 staterooms, 80 percent of which feature an ocean view. Pre-sale begins May 9 and run through May 19. Cabins go on sale publicly May 20. Prices for interior cabins start at $795, which also includes meals, entertainment, and onboard activities. Guests can visit http://www.tcmclassiccruise.com for more information and details on booking a reservation.”

All in all, another way for TCM to promote its brand to its zealous fan base and beyond. If you’re a landlubber and prefer to wait for the 2012 festival, go to http://www.tcm.com/festival for details, which will gradually be released.

Ready to set sail?

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See Valentino for yourself this Friday

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.03 at 00:07
Current mood: excitedexcited

Even from the start, Carole Lombard’s career crossed paths with just about everyone in the film industry…but there probably were a few exceptions. One of them will be honored on the 116th anniversary of his birth Friday.

He’s Rudolph Valentino, legendary lover of the silent screen. While it’s possible that Jane Alice Peters, just entering her teenage years, may have spotted Valentino at a premiere or related event, by the time she got into pictures in late 1924 and adopted the screen name Carole Lombard, she didn’t work at the same studio he did (she was at Fox, he was at Paramount). And in August 1926, when Valentino died unexpectedly during surgery, Lombard — not yet 18 — had no time to mourn, as she herself was recovering from plastic surgery to heal the scars from an automobile accident earlier that year, which led to Fox canceling her contract.

I am certain she saw at least a few of Rudy’s pictures; he was incredibly popular, particularly with female audiences.

Friday, American viewers who know Valentino only as a 1920s sex symbol rather than as an actor can get an idea of what he was like on screen, as Turner Classic Movies will air six of his films as a birthday commemoration.

“The Sheik” (shown above), arguably Rudy’s most famous role, isn’t on the schedule. Thanks to its runaway success, “sheik” quickly became a major twenties term for any amorous male; in fact, Hollywood High School’s athletic teams are called the Sheiks (the girls’ teams are called “Shebas,” after “Queen of”). All six of the films TCM are showing are from 1921 and ’22, not long after Valentino rose to worldwide fame. Here’s the schedule (all times Eastern):

* 8 a.m. — “Beyond The Rocks” (1922). Many people have heard of Valentino but have never seen him act, and the same can be said for the silent-era output of Gloria Swanson. You can kill two birds with one stone in this film, thought lost for decades before it turned up. There’s some decomposition near the end, but you’ll get to see what these two legends were like in this mountain adventure.

* 9:30 a.m. — “Moran Of The Lady Letty” (1922). Rudy goes from the mountains to the sea in this tale of playboy Rudy (whose character is named Ramon Laredo!) rescues a young woman (Dorothy Dalton) who’s been kidnapped by smuggles (she’s the “Moran” of the film’s title). A fun movie with some good maritime sequences.

* 10:45 a.m. — “The Young Rajah” (1922). Here, Valentino portrays an American boy who learns that he’s really an Indian ruler and must desert his sweetheart to reclaim his throne. A bit absurd, but nonetheless fun.

* 11:45 a.m. — “Camille” (1921). This ran on TCM’s “Sunday Silent Nights” not long ago, and here’s your chance to see it again. Alla Nazimova plays the title character with Rudy in a supporting part, as the story is transferred to more contemporary times with some stunning set design. One guesses Greta Garbo saw this while a teen in Sweden, not knowing that years later, she would star in a version that talked.

* 1 p.m. — “The Conquering Power” (1921). Here, Valentino plays a young man who falls for his wicked uncle’s stepdaughter (Alice Terry). Not one of his better-known films.

* 2:45 p.m. — “The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse” (1921). This is the film that put Rudy on the map, as he plays an Argentine of French descent who fights for his father’s country during the World War…and dances a mean tango (with Terry) in the process. Brilliantly done, one of the landmarks of the silent era.

Had Valentino lived to witness the arrival of sound, would he have been a star in talkies? Recordings exist of his voice, which sounds consistent with his persona. Would he have adjusted to the differing style talking pictures required, or would it have crippled him as it did John Gilbert? It’s a question we’ll never have an answer for.

On Friday, however, witness the work of the Valentino we do know. His natural acting may surprise you.

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It’s hard out here for a star

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.02 at 08:19
Current mood: workingworking

Who’s with Carole Lombard in that picture, from the 1929 Pathe film “The Racketeer”? An actress named Hedda Hopper — that’s right, actress. Before gaining fame as a syndicated columnist based at the Los Angeles Times, Hopper (born 126 years ago today) acted on stage and in film.

Hopper indulged in a lot of gossip, the stock in trade of the Hollywood columnist, but her experience in the business gave her a perspective lacking in contemporaries such as Louella Parsons. Every now and then, she would write a column on what life in the film colony was really like, as if to show John and Jane Public that movie stardom wasn’t entirely glitz and glamour. In fact, much of it was grunt and grudgery.

Take this column, for instance, from April 30, 1939:



Regarding salaries, Hopper more or less confirmed what Carole Lombard had been saying the previous August about how high a percentage of taxes is taken from an actor’s salary (although Hedda, a staunch Republican, probably objected far more to their removal than New Dealer Lombard).

And the hours…as Hopper wrote, “Now let’s have a look at this easy life we hear about from those who have never lived it,” noting that studio employees — from stars to technicians — reported to studios at the crack of dawn to work. It wasn’t simply the early shift, either:

“Do you work 72 hours a week? A screen actress does when she’s on a picture. And if you’ve an idea our gals walk leisurely for coffee at 10 and call it a day at 4, you’re wrong. Movies aren’t made that way.”

Hedda also said the public’s fawning over stars had a flip side as well: “But when they try to snip a lock of hair as you go into the theater, or push you off the sidewalk and break your ankle, as they did Elizabeth Patterson — and it isn’t entirely healed yet — I don’t think that comes under the heading of ‘ease.'”

No doubt Lombard experienced some of that tension in public, but her fortright personality helped blunt any potential problems.

As Hopper concluded: “No, my friends, the money is never quite as big, nor the life as easy, as their paid press agents would have you believe.” Something stars like Carole and her one-time idol, Gloria Swanson, could vouch for.

This week’s header shows Lombard in lingerie (so you know it’s pre-Code) in a screencap from 1932’s “No Man Of Her Own.”

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‘Show’-ing two sides of Lombard

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2011.05.01 at 09:25
Current mood: confusedconfused

In her waning days as a teenager, Carole Lombard looks a bit bewildered in her role as a showgirl in the 1928 Pathe part-talkie programmer “Show Folks.” How did she get this way? An eBay seller provides a partial answer to those of us who haven’t seen the rarely-revived film. Check out this still photo of her with Eddie Quillan:

It’s easy to see how the Lombard of this era gained the nickname “Carol of the curves”; thanks to eating plenty of bananas (something suggested by Mack Sennett, her primary employer at the time), she looks more filled out than the sleek Lombard that gained fame in the ’30s.

This is an original 8″ x 10″ photo, listed in very good condition. One bid, for $9.99, has been made as of this writing, with bidding closing at 8:01 p.m. (Eastern) tonight. If you’re interested in this 83-year-old picture, visit http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-Show-Folks-ORIGINAL-1928-KEYSET-photo-/260773876881?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cb7559491.

The same seller has another 8″ x 10″ photo of Carole, made a few years later and revealing a drastically different side of her:

That’s a stern-looking Lombard with plantation owner Charles Laughton in a still from the steamy 1933 Paramount jungle melodrama “White Woman.” You can buy it for $12.99 by going to http://cgi.ebay.com/Carole-Lombard-White-Woman-ORIGINAL-1933-scene-still-/260776491078?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cb77d7846.


Somethings never go out of fashion …

Posted by [info]cinemafan2 on 2011.05.01 at 18:32


About 300 of the couple’s family and friends were invited to the evening reception that was hosted by Prince Charles inside Buckingham Palace, according to Us. And with her groom in a dapper tux, newlywed Kate Middleton changed from her lacy wedding dress and veil into another Sarah Burton gown and sweater.

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Posted December 31, 2011 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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