Archive for January 2012

She…is everyday people!   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.01.24 at 00:48

Current mood: creativecreative

Sly and the Family Stone’s hit “Everyday People” was still three decades in the distance when “Made For Each Other” hit movie screens in February 1939. But as a way of preparing audiences for a different, dramatic side of Carole Lombard, Selznick International Pictures and its renowned publicist, Russell Birdwell, sought to sell an egalitarian angle to the picture and emphasize empathy in lieu of the laughs and glamour normally associated with Lombard. Three publicity photographs — all with snipes, all now being auctioned at eBay — make this obvious.


“…Miss Lombard is seen as a mother whose counterpart might be found in a million average homes.” (Incidentally, Sylvia McClure, the eight-month-old Lombard is holding, is not listed in the Internet Movie Database for the film, though she is listed in an uncredited infant role for another 1939 film, “Young Mr. Lincoln.”)


“NEW LOMBARD ROLE — In a serious story of everyday people, Carole Lombard turns from comedy to straight drama in David O. Selznick’s ‘Made For Each Other.'” That’s director John Cromwell, readying to put 10-day-old Bonnie Bell Barber in her crib, as he sets up a scene with Lombard and co-star James Stewart.


Here, Lombard and Stewart rehearse one of their newlywed love scenes for Cromwell (seated in a plaid jacket).

All these are 8″ x 10″ originals in good condition. Bidding for the latter two photos begins at $9.99, whereas bids for the pic of Lombard holding infant opens at #24.99. Bids for all three end between 9:40 and 9:45 p.m. (Eastern) next Monday.

For Carole holding the baby, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-MADE-EACH-OTHER-CANDID-w-SNIPE-VINTAGE-PHOTO-U504-/400272075022?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d3213290e. For Cromwell holding the newborn, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-JAMES-STEWART-CANDID-w-SNIPE-VINTAGE-PHOTO-U505-/380405104120?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5891e93df8. And for Lombard and Stewart in front of Cromwell, check out http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-JAMES-STEWART-MADE-EACH-OTHER-w-SNIPE-CANDID-PHOTO-U506-/200704452910?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ebaeae92e.

Oh, and did the publicity campaign work? “Made For Each Other” received generally good reviews, kicking off what would be a banner year for Stewart, but boxoffice was lukewarm.

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Posted January 24, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Lombard, the artist’s muse   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.01.23 at 12:34

Current mood: artisticartistic

Above is Carole Lombard posing for a mid-thirties portrait by Azadia Newman, wife of director Rouben Mamoulian; the painting was to be one of a series of color inserts for a new, upscale magazine called Cinema Arts, but it expired after three issues and this was never printed. In fact, the painting itself has been missing for decades.

Lombard’s ethereal beauty and charming personality made her a natural for artistic inspiration, and it continues to this day. Note this photographic portrait of her from the early ’30s:

It’s been adapted into a painting that’s largely monochromatic, save for a little bit of red to accentuate the lips:

The artist is Katie Glantz of Dallas, and her Lombard portrait is part of something she calls the “Femme Historique Concatenation” — images of noted women. In a news release, Glantz said, “The entire collection shows my growth as a woman and as an artist. Life brings so many challenges and we must face them head on to overcome obstacles. Art became my refuge during turbulent times, and each woman I painted became my subject, my guidance and light.”

Several of the subjects share classic Hollywood roots with Carole — her good RKO friend Lucille Ball…

…1940s icon Rita Hayworth…

…and 1950s icon Marilyn Monroe:

Others in the series include jazz legend Billie Holiday, ill-fated supermodel Gia Carangi, famed pinup Bettie Page, famed fashion designer Coco Chanel and Glantz’s most recent subject, Gala Dali, wife of surrealist painter Salvador Dali.

On her website, Glantz says, “My latest collection, Femme Historique Concatenation, started over two and a half years ago. These women taught me so much about myself and to believe in my dreams. They whispered their story to me in each brush stroke. Through their triumphs and tribulations, I learned you can accomplish anything you set your mind to…and so my passion and love for art was reborn. I am excited to share my creativity with the world and hope to empower women through the gift of art.”

Learn more at Glantz’s site, http://www.katieglantz.com. And from what I know about Carole, she would be thrilled and delighted that 70 years after her passing, she still serves as an artistic muse.

This week’s LiveJournal header shows Carole and Cary Grant riding the rails in a scene from their only co-starring vehicle, the 1939 drama “In Name Only.”

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Posted January 23, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Figuring’ it out   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.01.22 at 12:00

Current mood: productiveproductive

Three weeks ago, we kicked off the new year with a September 1933 story in which film mogul Darryl F. Zanuck labeled Carole Lombard one of the “nine queens of Hollywood,” noting her domain was having the best figure among actresses (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/474070.html). At about that time, Lombard made a series of portraits for Paramount that made it evident.

Even while nicknamed “Carol of the curves” in the late 1920s, Lombard was never particularly voluptuous, something that might have worked against her had she been born some 20 years later. However, her fashion sense, expertise with lighting, and aid from some of the era’s greatest portrait photographers more than compensated. I’m not certain whether the photos at this session were taken by Eugene Robert Richee or Otto Dyar, but whomever did it helped maximize Carole’s rather minimal up-front “assets.” Here are p1202-388, 392 and 393, all of which we’ve run before:



Now add another to the list, p1202-396.

The pose is similar to 388, but her facial appearance is different, and the lighting and pose help accentuate her bustline in an altogether dissimilar way. Comparing the two gives one a sense of the work put in by both stars and photographers to create those ethereal portraits of the 1930s.

This 8″ x 10″ vintage photo, listed in “good” condition (the seller says it has “minor edge, corner and surface wear. There is also a few pinholes in the corners and along the side borders with 2 surface pinholes in the image that do not penetrate through the photo”). is being made available at eBay; it can be bought straight up for $95, or you can make an offer. Go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-Original-1930s-CAROLE-LOMBARD-Art-Deco-Glow-PARAMOUNT-Portrait-/270898498721?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item3f12cf0ca1 for more information.

That seller is from north of the border (western Canada); now let’s head south for this 1930s full-page newspaper pic of Carole from the Mexican publication La Prensa:

This measures 16″ x 10.6″, and the seller says it’s in “great condition” and would look “amazing framed.” (Can’t disagree.) It’s available for a mere $7 (though it’s only on sale another two days), and to find out more, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190433229981&category=280&emailtemplateid=41219533&sellerid=FpRekKD1aqDSR79nXlR65w==&buyerid=FpRekKD1aqBMjcgYXvgwXw==&refid=store&ssPageName=ADME:B:SEMK:US:LISTG.

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Posted January 22, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The Hearsts meet the Kanes at the Castle   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.01.21 at 00:21

Current mood: surprisedsurprised

Carole Lombard was among the many filmland friends of William Randolph Hearst (shown with Carole, Clark Gable and director Mervyn LeRoy at one of Hearst’s famed costume parties). Lombard had briefly dated one of the mogul’s sons in the mid-1920s, and counted Hearst’s beloved Marion Davies as a good friend. Carole was a frequent guest at Davies’ gargantuan Santa Monica beach house and made her share of visits to what the publisher called “the ranch,” mapmakers labeled “San Simeon” and what the rest of the world knew as “Hearst Castle.”

And it just so happens that on March 9, a little bit of history will be made on the Castle property. That’s because that night, as part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, the Hearst Castle Visitor Center…

…will present, on its five-story National Geographic Theater screen…

...with the blessings of the Hearst family.

You read that correctly. Festival organizers got the idea of showing the Orson Welles classic at the theater, and great-grandson Steve Hearst gave his approval. In fact, he says he’s seen “Kane” several times, calling it “a classic, entertaining American film. … I obviously don’t believe it to be an accurate depiction of W.R. or his love for the property” in San Simeon, or “his lifestyle, associations and demeanor.” In other words, the sunny San Simeon on the central coast of California was in no way the gloomy, fictional Xanadu of Florida. (It’s also interesting to note that the Visitor Center has for years sold W.A. Swanberg’s scathing biography, “Citizen Hearst,” which itself is now half a century old.)

The younger Hearst, a vice president of the corporation bearing the family name, said “(the movie) bothered W.R. in a large way. … He realized people would be making a judgment about him based on the film.”

William Randolph Hearst was fully aware of the power of film, having been in the business himself for many years with newsreels, animation (often of Hearst comic-strip properties) and feature films, many (but far from all) of which were vehicles for Marion Davies, his longtime paramour — and someone he certainly would have married had his wife Millicent, who cherished her social status and being mother to his sons, ever granted a divorce.

As has often been stated here and elsewhere, the Kane character developed by Welles and Herman Mankiewicz is a composite of several moguls in various industries; had he achieved his fictional fame in a field other than publishing, it’s doubtful links to Hearst would be made. But they were, and while Hearst had been attacked for decades for sundry reasons — first mostly from the right, later mostly from the left — his knowledge that this time Davies, who had been retired from acting for several years in 1941, would be the main victim in guilt by association particularly enraged him.

Upon hearing that the Hearst family was allowing “Kane” to be shown on the property, one person commented that W.R. “must be rolling over in his grave.” Truth be told, his namesake company little resembles the one he owned at the time of his death nearly 60 1/2 years ago.

Newspapers, Hearst’s longtime stock in trade, are now relatively few and far between; the biggest by far is the San Francisco Chronicle, longtime rival of Hearst’s original newspaper, the San Francisco Examiner, which was sold several years ago, and the Houston Chronicle. These days, Hearst is better known for magazines, including Esquire, Cosmopolitan (a far different publication than it was in Hearst’s day) and O, The Oprah Magazine, and broadcasting (including the A&E cable network and a minority share in ESPN).

If anything would have made Hearst roll over in his grave, it was how Davies was effectively shut out of the company power structure immediately after his death, particularly considering that had it not been for her loan of $1 million in 1937 to rescue his tottering empire, there might not be a Hearst Corporation today.

To learn more about the “Kane” screening, part of a night called “Hollywood To Hearst Castle” that will feature guest Harrison Ford (did Marion ever make a movie with his silent-era namesake?) and Hollywood photographer Timothy White, go to http://slofilmfest.org/2012/01/16/hollywood-to-hearst-castle. It promises to be plenty of fun, something Hearst and guests always enjoyed. Witness this photo from the Castle in 1926:

Who’s here? Most of the elite in the film industry in 1926:

Back row, left to right, partially obscured: King Vidor, Beatrice Lillie, Richard Barthelmess, Eleanor Boardman.

Middle row: Frank Orsatti, E. B. Hatrick, Edmund Goulding, Mrs. Talmadge, Greta Garbo, Nicholas Schenck, unidentified, Harry Rapf, Aileen Pringle, J. Robert Rubin, Norma Shearer.

Front row: Hal Roach, Natalie Talmadge, Eddie Mannix, Constance Talmadge, Buster Keaton, Paul Bern, Irving Thalberg.

Foreground, reclining: John Gilbert.

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Posted January 21, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Carole and Fred go goofy, plus a ‘gorgeous’ facsimile   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.01.20 at 10:02

Current mood: sillysilly

Imagine trying to explain Carole Lombard to someone for the first time — the earthborn equivalent of the proverbial “man from Mars” — and the angle you decide to focus on is her ethereal, luminous beauty. You say that she was considered one of the most stylish and elegant actresses of the Golden Age, and to prove it, you go into your file of Lombard photos and, self-confident, pull out one at random. You unknowingly choose this:

Chances are you’d have an inner reaction similar to what Carole had when a preview audience laughed at a tragic scene of hers in “Swing High, Swing Low” (a scene that later was cut): “I felt like crawling under the seats and losing myself among the gum and other useless things.”

Then again, this pic, from her other 1937 pic with Fred MacMurray, “True Confession,” shows the Lombard daffy sense of self millions loved her for as much as for her looks, so resist that urge to crawl. It’s an original photo, 7 3/4″ x 9 1/4″ (note the visible creases on the left side), and here’s the back of it, where one can discern additional information:

The German language can be found, although those stickers look to be of recent origin. Until World War II, many American films were popular with German audiences, though Nazi authorities did what they could to downplay the Hollywood influence.

Bids for this photo will be taken through 9:04 p.m. (Eastern) next Wednesday; bids open at $9.99 (no bids have been made as of this writing). You can learn more by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/Carole-Lombard-and-Fred-MacMurray-original-portrait-photo-1937-True-Confession-/380403888744?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5891d6b268.

Here’s another eBay item of interest:

I emailed the authority on such autographs, Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive, about it, using the subject heading, “Real?” Here’s what she had to say:

“The sig is printed into the photo; it is a facsimile. I have been offered literally dozens of these over the years. What confuses people is that the sig is printed in blue into a B/W photograph — so they assume that it must be an actual, original, hand-written signature. It’s a gorgeous portrait, though, isn’t it?

These are almost always 5″ x 7″; I’ve only encountered a few in a larger format.”

It is indeed gorgeous; whether you want to pay $19.99 for it (the minimum bid) is for you to decide. The seller is at least being honest about it by writing, “I do not have authentication but have compared the autograph with others online and believe it to be legitimate. There are no guarantees of authenticity, thus the low starting bid price.” The autograph is indeed legitimately Lombard’s, but not authentic.

You can check it out at http://www.ebay.com/itm/AUTOGRAPHED-STUDIO-PICTURE-CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIGINAL-FOTOCHROME-X-/330673885450?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cfdb3110a; bids end at 3:10 p.m. (Eastern) next Wednesday.

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Posted January 20, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

An elegiac farewell   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.01.19 at 00:57

Current mood: touchedtouched

As might be expected, the sudden, shocking death of Carole Lombard 70 years ago Monday brought forth all sorts of contemporary tributes. I’m going to run one, both because it’s particularly poignant and to honor the man who wrote it — longtime Los Angeles Times writer Edwin Schallert. He worked at the paper from 1912 to 1958, and from 1919 until his retirement he was one of its entertainment writers, normally focusing on drama but covering and reviewing motion pictures. He is also the father of one of my favorite actors, William Schallert, who’ll turn 90 on July 6 and like Betty White, continues to get plenty of work (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/190884.html).

For the Jan. 18 issue of the Times, Edwin Schallert tried to put Carole’s passing in perspective, noting that every few years of so, a beloved actress in the industry departed from the scene well before her time. He examines Lombard’s life, explaining why she had such a devoted following among those in Hollywood; in other words, the outpouring of grief was genuine, and not provoked merely because a famous actress was suddenly gone.

Here’s Schallert’s piece, which recently ran at http://ladailymirror.org; double-click on each segment to read at full scale:

The most tantalizing tidbit here concerns Carole’s professional future. It’s known that her next film was to have been “They All Kissed The Bride” (listed here under its working title, “He Kissed The Bride”), but what would have come up after that? According to Schallert, she was to have worked with director Gregory La Cava again, some six years after their triumph in “My Man Godfrey,” and 13 years after their first collaboration, the Pathe film “Big News.”

A check of La Cava’s filmography shows that in 1942, he directed the comedy “Lady In A Jam” at Universal, starring Irene Dunne, Patric Knowles and Ralph Bellamy (with Eugene Pallette in a supporting role). Might this have been the film Lombard would have made? I tend to doubt it; it was released in June of ’42, and the work schedule for an actress of Carole’s stature at that time probably didn’t include making two films in such a short timespan — this wasn’t 1932 anymore. So I’m guessing any potential project La Cava might have planned was simply shelved when Lombard left us.

Here’s the part of the piece I think Lombard would have most appreciated:

“…throughout the years Carole was generosity itself with the people around her.

“One could go on for days citing examples of this generosity. It extended to all those with whom she came in immediate contact and far beyond that, nor did she ever hang her head by the wailing wall because of taxes and other necessary and material assaults upon the compensation that she received for her work in filmland.

“The money wasn’t the main interest; it was the life, the living in Hollywood, and there seems no doubt that in the last several years of her life she enjoyed a goodly vista of genuine happiness.”

Happiness that she, in return, was more than pleased to share with us.

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Posted January 19, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

More negativity, a breezy book and censorship fears   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.01.18 at 01:08

Current mood: aggravatedaggravated

Not long ago, we noted a vintage Carole Lombard 8″ x 10″ negative of one of her Paramount publicity photos was being auctioned at eBay. That seller is back with another portrait goodie, this one p1202-980, from sometime in 1934:

It’s an elegant Lombard, outfit trimmed in fur. The negative is deemed in “excellent plus” condition, and something of that quality naturally doesn’t come cheap; the starting bid is $350, with bidding ending at 10:05 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. Want to place a bid, or just curious? Find out more about it at http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIGINAL-8-x-10-STUDIO-NEGATIVE-/350517714632?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item519c7bdec8.

A blog that I’ve come to enjoy quite a bit in recent months is http://classicmoviechat.com, which revisits classic Hollywood history and attempts to separate myth from reality. It’s plenty of fun, and I think you’ll come to like it, too.

This is a good time to bring it up because one of its “Classic Movie Guys,” Joe Morella, co-wrote a book about Lombard (and three of her contemporaries) with Edward Z. Epstein in the mid-seventies that now happens to be up for sale at eBay:

“Gable & Lombard & Powell & Harlow” is more a breezy read than a definitive biography, as you might expect from a paperback that was probably Dell’s way of potentially cashing in from the “Gable And Lombard” biopic hitting screens in February 1976. (Then the movie came out, and Dell realized there would be no cashing in.) Nevertheless, it has a nice feel for its quartet of subjects.

The seller copied some of the book’s promotional blurbs, and here they are, just as the seller typed it:

“Gable — the greatest screen lover of them all — Lombard — a liberated woman far ahead of her time — Powell — the epitome of screen sophistication — Harlow — the sexual boomshell who exploded into fame in films……..These four came together in a very adult love story that never would have gotten past the censors of their day. This is how Hollywood really was, in the time of its most outrageous splendor. These are the stars as they really were, in all their larger than life flamboyance and their very human emotions.”

Love that inadvertent phrase “sexual boomshell” — sounds like something Swedish-dialect comic El Brendel would have said. Moreover, in the sales header, the seller lists the fourth member of the team as “Gene Harlow,” not to be confused with ’40s Fox star “Jean Tierney,” I guess.

You can buy the book straight up for $14.99 — roughly ten times its cost on paperback racks some 37 years ago — or make an offer. Simply go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-William-Powell-Gene-Harlow-/320831446005?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item4ab30b5bf5 for further information.

Finally, to learn more about why so many in the blogosphere are against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and similar legislation, go to http://sopablackout.org/learnmore. While I hate losing access to Wikipedia and other sites that are temporarily shutting down today to protest the potential legislation, I understand what they are doing, and if a day’s loss of access translates into a censorship-free future, it’s well worth the sacrifice.

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Posted January 18, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized