Archive for May 2012

‘Jr.’ is back for the summer   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.06.01 at 00:03

Current mood: excitedexcited

Last Aug. 28, when TCM’s “Summer Under The Stars” featured 24 hours of Carole Lombard, the prime-time showing, “My Man Godfrey,” also concluded that summer’s edition of “Essentials Jr.,” the series that shows classic films the family can enjoy. It’s a splendid way to get the younger generation interested in the golden age of Hollywood.

Returning as host is Bill Hader of “Saturday Night Live,” a genuine classic Hollywood buff who last year did a wonderful job of explaining these timeless film to young viewers. Some of the props in the following picture give hints as to what will be shown this summer:

June 3: “Twelve Angry Men”
June 10: “The Wizard Of Oz”
June 17: “Rio Bravo”
June 24: “The Circus”

July 1: “Lassie Come Home”
July 8: “The Bank Dick”
July 15: “The Thief Of Bagdad” (1940)
July 22: “The Great Escape”
July 29: “The Band Wagon”
Aug. 5: “The Invisible Man”
Aug. 12: “42nd Street”
Aug. 19: “North By Northwest”

Aug. 26: “Ball Of Fire”

(Barbara Stanwyck, in a role Lombard reportedly turned down, showing why adults should want to watch the series, too.)

For more on the series, visit

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Posted May 31, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Up Pops’ two pix   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.31 at 00:07

Current mood: artisticartistic

Hollywood Paper does it again, with two more vintage Carole Lombard pics available through eBay. We’ll kick things off with a promotional photo of Carole and Norman Foster from Paramount’s 1931 film “Up Pops The Devil”:

This 8″ x 10″ is in good condition, and you can either buy it outright for $49.95 or make a bid starting at $44.95, in which case bids close at 10:41 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. You can get additional information at

Let’s leap ahead to late 1939 or early 1940, when Lombard was at RKO, for this elegant portrait from John Miehle:

And yes, the snipe is from that notorious RKO publicity typewriter:

As you might expect, this will cost more than the other, not just because it’s stunning but because it’s in “excellent-” condition. (The seller says there’s a faint scratch over her face.) You can make a bid on it beginning at $107.95, in which case bids will end at 10:33 p.m. (Eastern) next Wednesday, or if you simply must have it now, buy it for $119.95. Details are at

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Posted May 30, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A mystery with Carole, Marion and the Central Coast   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.30 at 00:00

Current mood: curiouscurious

What connects Carole Lombard and Marion Davies with a lighthouse? In the mind of one author, plenty.

The lighthouse is the Piedras Blancas, located at San Simeon, not far from William Randolph Hearst’s ranch (as he called it) or castle (as everyone else did). And what’s been found on the beach near the lighthouse — a corpse — sets everything in motion in “Uncertain Sanctuary,” part of the recently issued anthology of historical mysteries, “Somewhere In Crime.”

The premise of “Uncertain Sanctuary,” set in 1939, is that a teenage Jewish immigrant hired as a housekeeper finds the corpse and starts to have doubts about her employers, notably a Swiss lighthouse keeper. Davies and her good friend Lombard get involved in the goings-on.

Author Sue McGinty lives in nearby Los Osos, and says she’s toured Hearst Castle about 15 times — she’s “obsessed with the place.” (Many of us are.) She calls Lombard “the original gutsy dame, a true liberated woman. She’s beautiful, of course, but unlike other stars of the era…she doesn’t seem obsessed with her looks.”

“Somewhere In Crime” is available at most bookstores and through McGinty has also written “Murder at Cuyamaca Beach” (Aberdeen Bay) and “Murder in Los Lobos” (Daniels Publishing). Learn more about her at

As for the lighthouse, it predates Hearst’s ranch/castle, as it was built in the 1870s. Here’s how it looked in the 1890s, not much different than it appeared in 1939:

On New Year’s Eve 1948, nearly two years after Hearst left his home for the last time, a small earthquake damaged the upper portion of the tower, leading to the removal of the lens. The tower now looks like this:

For more on the lighthouse — a landmark in its own right that is open for tours — visit

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Posted May 29, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Speak of the devil…Carole and Marlene, caught in the Webb   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.29 at 00:00

Current mood: deviousdevious

Was Carole Lombard possessed when she posed for the following portrait? (And no, it’s not publicity for the film “Supernatural.”)

This promoted her film “Bolero,” but what’s so satanic about it? The number, my friend, the number:

That’s right — it’s p1202-666, downright devilish. Assuming that was merely a coincidence, the snipe on the back refers to “pre-war stuff”…and in those days, “pre-war” was a reference to 1914, as Travis Banton goes what we today might call “old school”:

Hollywood Paper is offering this relatively rare pic, an 8″ x 10″ in “good-” condition. You can either buy it now for $139.95 or bid beginning at $119.95, in which case bidding will end at 10:36 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. All the information is available at

Carole and Marlene Dietrich may not have always been the closest of pals, but they often found themselves invited to the same parties. Take this one, for example, hosted by Clifton Webb (the first party he hosted at his Beverly Hills home, and I’m guessing this to be from 1934 or ’35):

The lady in between Lombard and Dietrich is a Mrs. G.W. Kavanaugh. Ronald Colman’s at top right, Webb at center, and the man on the left may be Noel Coward. Nice group to invite to a party, isn’t it?

This vintage sepia 1930s gelatin silver matte double-weight original photograph is part of a huge array of a very large collection of Webb’s personal items (photographs, letters and personal papers) from the seller “greatclassics.” Save for a tiny crease in the upper right corner, the pic is in excellent condition.

One bid has been made already, for $4.95; bids will close at 10:32 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. To place your bid, visit

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Posted May 28, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

For Memorial Day, some starry-eyed military   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.28 at 02:25

Current mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

While on a brief stopover in Salt Lake City on Jan. 13, 1942, making her way east for the Indianapolis war bond rally, Carole Lombard gladly posed with a few members of the military — the very people she was to raise funds for. Had fate not intervened, one could imagine Carole posing with plenty of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines over the next few years.

In honor of Memorial Day and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for America, here are some photos of classic Hollywood actresses showing their patriotism by giving their support and boosting the morale of the folks keeping us free.

We’ll begin with one of Carole’s contemporaries at Paramount, Marsha Hunt, who’s still with us and did her share of performing for the troops during World War II:

We next go from Marsha to Martha — Martha Raye, that is, whose comedy and singing talent made her a favorite among American forces aboard from World War II through Vietnam:

Perhaps no actress was as actively involved in World War II as Marlene Dietrich, who put herself in harm’s way many a time to entertain Allied forces. And this photo, taken somewhere in liberated France on Nov, 18, 1944, reminds us that WACs played a role in the war, too:

Remember actress Wini Shaw of “Lullaby Of Broadway” fame? Well, she and British actress Anna Lee (at left) journeyed to north Africa in 1943 to for Allied troops in support of the man at far left, Jack Benny:

On the home front, vivacious Betty Hutton leads soldiers in a round of song at the Hollywood Canteen on April 12, 1945, but unlike her movie alter ego Trudy Kockenlocker, she did not get drunk or pregnant:

Two other stars who supported the troops during World War II were Irene Dunne…

…and a buxom newcomer named Jane Russell:

Russell’s co-star in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Marilyn Monroe, got her opportunity to perform for soldiers in Korea…

…and stars such as Ann-Margret continued the tradition in Vietnam:

Something to think about while we remember that Memorial Day is more than just the start of the summer season.

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Posted May 28, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Horseathon: The equine side of Carole Lombard   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.27 at 03:01

Current mood: creativecreative

For the Horseathon teaming classic Hollywood + horses sponsored by the blog “My Love For Old Hollywood” (, Carole Lombard seemed a natural fit — not so much because she rode them in movies (she made only a handful of westerns, none after 1930), but because she loved them in real life. This entry will give insight into the lady the snipe above called “an ardent horsewoman.”

Lombard owned quite a few horses during her sadly abbreviated life, but perhaps her favorite was Pico, a Palomino gelding. Here’s another Carole-Pico pic, one that was autographed (by the human, obviously, not the horse):

There aren’t very many movies in which Carole’s character rode a horse, and none featuring still pictures. However, several Lombard films featured horsey settings. Part of the 1931 “I Take This Woman” took place on a ranch, with Carole wearing a stylish equestrian outfit while embraced by Gary Cooper:

Another 1931 Paramount movie, “Man Of The World,” had a scene set at a Parisian racetrack:

A few months after making this film, Lombard married William Powell, and it turned out to be a case of life imitating art, as both enjoyed going to the track. (In the 1920s and early 1930s, Hollywood had a special reason for going — the closest track was at Agua Caliente in Mexico, where one could purchase a drink legally. On June 27, 1933, California voters approved pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing, and before year’s end, Prohibition was also repealed.) Here are two shots of Bill and Carole playing the ponies south of the border, first by themselves, then alongside actor Ernest Truex and his wife:

The man who became Lombard’s second husband, Clark Gable, also squired her to the track, but by then it could be done not far from Hollywood. Here are two shots of Clark and Carole at Santa Anita in Arcadia:

One trip to the track led a shrewd photograph to take a veritable gallery of Gable and Lombard’s reactions (some of them are priceless), and it ran in the April 1940 Screen Guide:

Incidentally, that day Clark’s wagers made him $26.80 richer, compared to Carole’s losses of $10.

Where Gable and Lombard differed from Powell and Lombard is that their equine interest extended far beyond placing down bets at the $2 window. Clark briefly owned thoroughbreds, but none did much at the track. However, he and Carole owned several horses at their Encino ranch, focusing on thoroughbreds for riding and trotting:

The couple even attended horse shows, such as this one held in Northridge in June 1938:

Here are a few more horse-related images of Clark and Carole:

Might horses have held the marriage had Lombard lived? We’ll never know. But the couple certainly loved those graceful, long-limbed creatures.

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Posted May 27, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A potpourri of portraits, part 2   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.26 at 11:14

Current mood: determineddetermined

As promised, more vintage Carole Lombard photos available through eBay, and we’ll start with this one, showing Lombard the khaki-clad huntress, ready to shoot down her prey. Nice pic, you say, but what’s the context? The entire front of the pic provides the answer:

“Made For Each Other” — ah yes, who can forget Carole’s character, Jane Mason, in the hunting scene? (Be thankful husband John got that cinder out of her eye, or else she might really be dangerous.) OK, it’s not actually from the movie, just a publicity shot.

It’s 8″ x 10″, listed in very good to excellent condition; according to the seller, Hollywood Paper, “Slightly toned and faded, several minor handling creases, very faint traces of ink residue to the right of Carole’s head from a photo with a wet ink stamp being laid on top of this one, tiny folds in the bottom corners, and a faint curved indentation that runs from the stock of the gun to Carole’s left foot.” But who’s complaining?

This image of a real-life screen goddess evoking Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, would be an ideal gift for anyone who loves both classic Hollywood and the outdoors. As no one has bid on it yet, you can buy it for $119.95 or, if you’d like to try your hand at bidding, begin at $107.95, in which case bidding will end at 10:34 p.m. (Eastern) next Friday. Get in on the action or find out more by visiting

No students of mythology have been able to identify a goddess of fashion, but whomever it was would approve of this stylish portrait of Lombard, one that also features a snipe:

It’s from Universal’s 1936 film “Love Before Breakfast,” and note that the studio “planted” it to a magazine (in this case, Screenland) in early February that year. And to get a better idea of what that snipe says, let’s isolate and enlarge it:

Those of you who enjoy colorizing old pics, dig out the grey, navy and silver. “Smart elegance,” indeed.

Also from Hollywood Paper, this is 8″ x 10″ and listed in good+ condition. (There are three punch holes at the top of the photo, indicating this was probably part of some keybook.) It’s substantially cheaper than the first photo, as it can be bought for $59.95 or bid on starting at $49.95, with bids expiring at 10:38 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. All the information is available at

Finally, back to RKO for an image from the 1940 drama “Vigil In The Night,” a film — and performance — that’s the antithesis of the casual, joyous Lombard we know and love. This Carole, playing a British nurse, shows her intensity and determination:

Note the inscription on the back is written in another language (German?).

It’s Hollywood Paper as well, and it’s 8″ x 10″, in good condition (some wrinkling in the lower right side, and some light discoloration on her right cheek and chin). It’s also a buy for $59.95, bid for $49.95, but the bidding deadline is a few days earlier — 10:36 p.m. (Eastern) on Tuesday. To find out more, go to

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Posted May 26, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A potpourri of portraits, part 1   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.26 at 01:09

Current mood: pleasedpleased

For the Carole Lombard fan, there’s always something special in discovering heretofore unseen portraits of her (three in this entry, three in another to come); each one seen adds a bit more to the sum of her personality. And that’s true even when you can’t pin down a time, place or studio the photo has ties to, as in the case above — Carole at her most demure, from the hat topped off with a feather to her gloved hands and pensive appearance.

Hollywood Paper, the seller, doesn’t know either…all it can tell us is that it’s 7″ x 9.25″, with borders trimmed, and in good condition. And it also tells us that it can be yours for $139.95 straight up. Prefer to bid? It begins at $119.95, with bids closing at 10:36 p.m. (Eastern) next Friday. You can learn more by visiting

RKO’s Alexander Kahle took his share of stylish portraits of Lombard during her two years at the studio, and here’s a fine example from 1939:

If the snipe was available, we might be able to find out what upcoming film it may have been tied to (not as an actual scene, but in terms of publicity).

Hollywood Paper isn’t auctioning this photo; you only can buy it for $69.95 (there’s a 3″ tear at the bottom left). The photo itself measures 7 1/2″ by 9 1/4″. Additional information is available at

Finally, let’s travel from the end of the 1930s to the beginning — and the beginning of Carole’s Paramount career with this photo from “Safety In Numbers”:

It’s Lombard in lingerie, alongside Josephine Dunn and Kathryn Crawford, as Charles “Buddy” Rogers watches over them. This is 8″ x 10″, in near mint condition, and a marking says this was part of the “Look Library” — interesting, as this pic is from 1930 and Look didn’t begin publishing until early 1937. The photo, taken by E.A. Schoenbrun, is again a “buy it now” item, costing $79.95. If the idea of owning a near-mint vintage Lombard photo strikes your fancy, then check it out at

More photos to come soon.

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Posted May 26, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The princess, er, duchess comes across   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.25 at 01:11

Current mood: enthralledenthralled

Carole Lombard played someone trying to pass herself off as a princess in the 1936 comedy “The Princess Comes Across,” but where fashion was concerned, she was genuine royalty. That was true in the 1930s, and remains so today, more than seven decades after her premature passing.

Want proof? Noted London designer Roland Mouret named one of his fall 2009 dresses, which has a discreet slit to the thigh, “the Lombard” in Carole’s honor. It has since been worn by the likes of Carla Bruni, wife of the former French president Nicolas Sarkazy (left) and famed model Amber Valletta:

But now, the coup de grace. Earlier this month, an off-white version of that dress was worn at a London event by Kate Middleton — you may also know her as the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William. Here are two views of Kate’s form-fitting dress:

The Daily Mail called it “the epitome of effortless chic, the long-sleeved classic dress is at once grand and understated, a style the Duchess has made her signature.”

Mouret said of Kate, “The Duchess has an elegance and timeless beauty that is a breath of fresh air, it is an honour to be part of her journey,”

Elegance? Timeless beauty? Sounds like the lady the dress was named for, a lady who could also look smashing in a dress slit to the thigh.

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Posted May 25, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

From honeymooning cruise to drifting apart   Leave a comment

Posted by [info]vp19 on 2012.05.24 at 01:24

Current mood: sadsad

Relatively few Hollywood marriages have divorced with more friendship than Carole Lombard and William Powell. Perhaps both should have realized that they’d make better friends than lovers, but Carole was in her early twenties, eager to get married, while Bill loved Lombard’s youthful spirit and zest for life, probably thinking some of that would rub off on him at the same time that his sophistication would rub off on her.

That wasn’t the case, and the rise and fall of their two-year marriage is illustrated by these two photos now available from eBay.

We’ll begin with a photo issued Aug. 6, 1931 of the couple returning to the mainland after their honeymoon in Hawaii:

The deeply tanned couple are aboard the cruiseliner “City Of Los Angeles.” (Ironically, Carole’s ill-fated war bond rally in 1942 would begin with an eastbound journey from L.A. to Chicago aboard a train of that name. Lombard, stockings shining in the sun, looks pleased to be returning home (she was ill for much of the honeymoon), while Powell is proud to show off his new wife to reporters.

The future looked bright, but two summers later, things had changed; to borrow a line from an Everly Brothers song, so sad to watch good love go bad. In July 1933, Lombard announced she was heading to Nevada for six weeks to establish residency there and file for divorce. She was a few weeks into her domicile when this photo, featuring Carole and Bill in happier times, was issued on July 20:

Instead of the headline “HONEYMOONERS!” as in the earlier photo, this one asks the question, “ARE THEY DRIFTING APART?” The answer, of course, was “yes.”

Both of these photos were from the Acme Photo syndicate, but this has the imprint of United Press International (which didn’t have that name until United Press merged with Hearst’s International News Service in 1958). The other one was also in the UPI files, as the seller is a former UPI employee who had been based at Tribune Tower in Chicago; one presumes he is from the South Side of town, because the seller is identified as “soxphotos” (the “Sox” in this instance being White, not Red).

The honeymoon photo is 8″ x 6″, with bids beginning at $9.99; bidding closes at 9:36 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. For more information, go to

As for the photo announcing their separation and likely divorce, it measures 7″ x 9″, has the same $9.99 initial bid, but here bids close at 10:28 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. You can find out more at

But as we all know, there was a happy ending of sorts. They remained close friends with minimal rancor, among the reasons Powell insisted Lombard get the female lead in “My Man Godfrey” when Universal preferred the flighty Constance Bennett or Miriam Hopkins. And Carole took care of Bill when his health was struggling, such as in 1938 when they reprised their roles on an adaptation of “Godfrey” for “Lux Radio Theater”:

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Posted May 24, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized