Archive for June 2012

Carole and Tallulah, Olympic queens   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.30 at 11:45

Current mood: hothot

With Carole Lombard sporting an Olympic bob (for the 1932 Olympiad in Los Angeles) and the Summer Games in London several weeks away, how about showing Carole (and Tallulah Bankhead) gracing a playing card to commemorate the L.A. Games?

The card, which we noted earlier this year (, was part of a set issued by the P.G. Wenger Co.

This is being auctioned at eBay by Immortal Ephemera, a top-rank seller of classic Hollywood memorabilia. The opening bid is $9.99, and bids will be taken through 10:32 p.m. (Eastern) Friday. To bid, or learn more, visit

And to all of you on the East Coast hit with the double whammy of high heat and no power, my thoughts are with you. I’m in the same predicament, as only a backup generator at my office (where I’m scheduled to work later today) allowed me to create this entry.

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Posted June 30, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

An award of appreciation   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.29 at 00:49

Current mood: productiveproductive

carole lombard 011542a indiana bond rally large

Carole Lombard’s service to America on what would be the last full day of her life — Jan. 15, 1942, when she sold more than $2.1 million worth of war bonds at the Indiana State Capitol — was not forgotten.

In 1946, Lombard’s widower, Clark Gable, received this from the Treasury Department…

carole lombard treasury medal front large
carole lombard treasury medal back large

…along with this letter:

carole lombard treasury medal letter large

Here’s the letter in close-up:

carole lombard treasury medal letter closeup

The letter implies that other women — women who didn’t make the ultimate sacrifice — may have received a similar award. And that includes other actresses, such as Hedy Lamarr, shown here at bond rally in York, Pa., later in 1942:

hedy lamarr 1942 war bond rally york pa.large

I have no idea whether Lamarr, or other women, received similar awards for their contributions.

Gable, who would make his contribution to the war effort in uniform (though Carole sadly would not be there to see it), probably treasured this item honoring his late wife’s patriotism.

This one-of-a-kind item of Lombardiana is being auctioned at eBay, though only the most serious (and wealthy) collectors likely will be able to pursue this. That’s because the minimum bid is $50,000. If, for some reason, you have that money available, or will come into it over the next few days — bidding ends at 8:52 p.m. (Eastern) next Thursday, the day after the Fourth of July — go to Of course, you can always go there merely to online window shop.

It’s always good to remember how much Lombard loved the country, and how she proved it in both word and deed.

carole lombard war bond rally 04a

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Posted June 28, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A happy 100th to Paramount!   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.28 at 02:13

Current mood: excitedexcited

carole lombard p1202-1159d

Nice place for a star to relax, isn’t it? Carole Lombard likely thought so, too. This is her Paramount dressing room/home-away-from-home in p1202-1159, probably taken sometime in 1935. Of course, Carole spent lots of time around the lot, too, from posing for Hungarian Christmas photos…

carole lombard christmas 01a hungarian

…to participating in a team picture with other Paramount players, even letting Jack Oakie rest his hands on her lovely shoulders…

carole lombard paramount lot 1930s larger

…to assisting a midget auto race pitting Jackie Cooper against Groucho and Harpo Marx…

carole lombard groucho harpo marx jackie cooper at paramount 01a

…to promoting upcoming pictures, such as “True Confession,” with the likes of Fred MacMurray and Una Merkel:

carole lombard true confession 43b fred macmurray una merkel

As many of you may know, Paramount is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2012 (it was 100 years ago this summer that founder Adolph Zukor got the company off the ground by premiering Sarah Bernhardt in “Queen Elizabeth,” and the company even has a special logo to commemorate the milestone:

paramount 100th anniversary 00

In addition, Paramount has created a stylized poster commemorating 100 of its films (though alas, not one film for each year). Nevertheless, it’s fun figuring out which each stands for:

paramount 100 years of pictures

All in all, a reminder of the greatness produced behind the studio’s famed Bronson Avenue gate:

paramount 1926a bronson avenue gate

I’m bringing all this up because this fall, specifically Sept. 27-28, the Hollywood Revue blog ( is hosting a “Paramount Centennial Blogathon”…

paramount centennial blogathon 00

…and yes, I’ll be participating, with a Lombard-themed entry, of course. And speaking of blogathons, we are still seeking suggestions for a reader-inspired Lombard retro film for next month’s “The Great Recasting.” Learn about this “what if” concept, and leave a suggestion, at

the great recasting 01a

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Posted June 28, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Posing for fashion from 1936   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.27 at 07:48
Current mood: relaxedrelaxed

carole lombard p1202-1212b

Perhaps the dress clashes with the sofa’s upholstery, but it’s Carole Lombard in a fashion pose, so who’s complaining? This is Paramount p1202-1212, taken sometime in 1936. I’m not certain whom the photographer is, but I do know at least three other shots of Carole in that dress were issued, p1202-1201…

carole lombard p1202-1201b

…p1202-1204, where the dress is shown full-length…

carole lombard p1202-1204b

…and p1202-1213, where Lombard frankly looks a bit reluctant:

carole lombard p1202-1213a

P1202-1212 is available through eBay; it’s a reprint struck from a studio negative and is listed in fine condition. You can buy it now for $10. For more information, visit

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Posted June 27, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Clark and Carole out of “the box,” part 2   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.26 at 10:06

Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard clark gable 115a

Nearly two weeks ago, we ran a batch of Carole Lombard and Clark Gable photos, courtesy of Tally Haugen and what she calls “the box,” a huge assortment of Carole clippings from newspapers and magazines ( Now, some more images of the famed couple, beginning with the pic above, where Clark frankly looks rather unenthusiastic. Had he just read the script for “Parnell”?

I’m guessing this next one comes from Feg Murray’s movie-related Sunday comic “Seein’ Stars”:

carole lombard clark gable 115c

Next, Clark and Carole with Jack Benny — but from the caption, referring to Lombard in the past tense — it’s obviously from February or March of 1942, as Hollywood magazine salutes “the memory of a truly great person”:

carole lombard clark gable 115b

For something a bit happier, check this image out, from page 15 of some magazine:

carole lombard clark gable 116a

In part 1 of “the box” entry, we ran a photo of Carole and “mighty-eared Cineman” Clark (as Time labeled him) at Samuel Goldwyn’s Greek war relief benefit in early 1941. This time around, they’re joined by Lombard’s “Now And Forever” co-star, Shirley Temple (soon to enter her rather awkward teen years, though she would be sporadically successful later in the ’40s), Myrna Loy and Tyrone Power:

carole lombard clark gable 117a

Not sure where (or when) this one is from:

carole lombard clark gable 117ba

Finally, Clark and Carole at the racetrack, and the caption (which appears to be from the New York Daily News asks if they had Stagehand, the winner of the Santa Anita Derby (which took place on Feb. 22, 1938). From the looks on their faces, we’re not so sure…

carole lombard clark gable 117ca

More Clark and Carole down the road.

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Posted June 26, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

To the power of soft-focus-glam   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.25 at 17:57

Current mood: artisticartistic

A new book — actually, a new version of an old book — has piqued my interest lately. For this, credit a blog in the Austin Chronicle, where Kimberley Jones writes, “I’m trying this new thing where I spend a couple pages before lights out with ‘Hollywood Movie Stills: Art and Technique in the Golden Age of the Studios’ (Titan Books) by former London Time Out film critic Joel Finler. I haven’t even touched the text yet; right now, I’m just reveling in the pictures.”

And guess who’s in one of those pictures?

“There’s Carole Lombard, all soft-focus-glam in ‘Twentieth Century’ promo stills…”

But there’s one problem. What stills? There’s no accompanying illustration of Carole, nor could I track one down in other reviews of the book. Could it be this (hey, it shows the train the film is named after)?

carole lombard twentieth century 029e


carole lombard twentieth century 026a


carole lombard twentieth century 028a

Or possibly this?

carole lombard twentieth century 037b

Of course, this is assuming the still is of Lombard by herself. Several stills were made of Carole with co-star John Barrymore, including a few rejected by industry censor Joseph Breen (,

Whatever, the book “Hollywood Movie Stills: Art and Technique in the Golden Age of the Studios,” first published in 1995, has been reissued this month:

hollywood movie stills 2012 edition 00a

The new version is said to be both bigger and better than its predecessor, as it features an expanded reference bibliography, additions and corrections to the original text (including a more complete list of studio stills photographers). There are also 30 more pages of photographs and captions.

I’m sort of embarrassed to say that I don’t think I saw the original version of the book (if I did, it was little more than thumbing through a copy at a bookstore), but I am familiar with Finler, the author. He’s written quite a few film-related books, including one of my favorites and unquestionably the best book ever written on the classic studio era from both a business and artistic perspective, “The Hollywood Story”:

the hollywood story 00a

Plainly put, the man knows his stuff, and I’m certain this will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in classic Hollywood still photography.

If you’ve already picked up this book (or have the old edition), somebody please tell me which Lombard photo was used (assuming it was also in the ’95 version). This inquiring mind wants to know.

Oh, and don’t forget that we’re seeking nominations for a suggested post-1965 film to “star” Carole in for the blogathon “The Great Recasting,” set for late next month.

the great recasting 00a

You also have to come up with co-stars, a director, and a year (during Lombard’s lifetime) to set this retro-film. I’ve come up with one of my own, but let’s submit a second from our readership. Go to to leave your suggestion; the deadline is midnight (Eastern) Saturday.

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Posted June 25, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Sign in, Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.24 at 12:34

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard 1697b

After more than five years of running this site, I like to think that by now I have some sort of expertise where Carole Lombard is concerned, but there’s still one area where I have some trepidation…and that is regarding autographs. Can I recognize Lombard’s penmanship enough to see an obvious fake? I believe I can. As for assuring that a signature of hers is the real deal, I defer to others.

So when I saw this on eBay…

carole lombard autograph 73

…I sought the expertise of Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive. Asking her to confirm its authenticity, she said:

“You can take this one to the bank. Good as gold. A nice, clean early signature — should have been during the Powell years or thereabouts, from the looks of it.”

Here’s a close-up:

carole lombard autograph 73b

The seller lists the item as a “Vintage Original 1930 Autograph,” but since Lombard was known as “Carol” for much of 1930, not adopting “Carole” once and for all until that fall, the reference may be to the decade, not the individual year. Compare it to this Lombard autograph from 1933:

carole lombard autograph 1933a

The autograph measures 4 1/4″ x 6″, and was part of an album collected by a mother and daughter from 1860 through 1980 (when the daughter was 94).

No bids have been made as of this writing; the opening bid is $149, with bidding scheduled to close at 10:04 p.m. (Eastern) July 1. Sampeck calls it a “lovely find, excellent price.” If you’ve always wanted a genuine Lombard autograph, place a bid at

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Posted June 24, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Lombard for the barflies   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.23 at 01:55

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard 1929 magazine photo
carole lombard 1929 magazine caption

The 1929 Carole (or, as she was known for most of the year, Carol) Lombard was a different animal from the assured comedic star of the mid-1930s or even the undefined fashion plate of the early ’30s. Just coming into her own at Pathe after more than a year with Mack Sennett, Lombard’s youthful sex appeal and curvy figure was her major selling point, even if it didn’t prevent her from being fired by Cecil B. De Mille. As the caption above describes her, “Carol is not one of your too-thin girls.”

Later in 1929, the shapely Lombard found herself in another magazine:

carole lombard jim jam jems nov 1929 large

It wasn’t a Hollywood fan magazine, however, but one that catered to a distinctly different crowd:

carole lombard jim jam jems nov 1929 cover largecarole lombard jim jam jems nov 1929 inside large

Welcome to the November 1929 issue of Jim Jam Jems, a publication that labeled itself the official magazine of the “Bar Flies Of America” (at a time when Prohibition was still on the books but enforced in many places along the lines of spitting on the sidewalk). There was plenty of risque humor, albeit minus what we might later call “the George Carlin seven,” some cheesecake served up along with the beer and liquor.

This apparently was the second go-round of Jim Jam Jems. It had been founded in 1912 by a Bismarck, North Dakota man named Sam Clark. While Clark wrote on topics ranging from fighting prostitution to war with Mexico (he apparently had it in against the Federal Reserve System and would write a 1922 book called “The Federal Reserve Monster”), there was enough humor — with relatively few illustrations — for a rival publisher to create a similar title, Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang, in 1919. (Fans of “The Music Fan” will note the anachronism — in Prof. Harold Hill’s famous song “Trouble,” there’s a reference to Whiz Bang, even though it was set in 1912.)

Anyway, Jim Jam Jems –– the title of which would be borrowed for a 1920 Broadway revue whose cast included Harry Langdon and Joe E. Brown — disappeared in the mid-1920s, and was revived as something to appeal to the male crowd who read the bawdy Film Fun and similar mags, though there was also some editorial content. It lasted through at least 1931.

Here are a few of its covers — July 1929, September 1929, October 1930 and February 1931:

jim jam jems july 1929ajim jam jems sept 1929a
jim jam jems oct 1930ajim jam jems feb 1931b

Oh, and one other cover to show you, from May 1930. Look familiar?

jim jam jems may 1930a

The subject, who had just been hired at Paramount, probably didn’t notice or take umbrage.

The November ’29 issue where Lombard is credited is being auctioned at eBay. It’s 64 pages, 5.25″ x 7.5″, and the seller deems it in “acceptable” condition. The minimum bid is $22, and bidding closes at 10:34 p.m. (Eastern) on Tuesday. If you’re interested in this artifact from the end of the Roaring ’20s, find out more at

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Posted June 23, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

From the pages of Photoplay, Oct.-Dec. 1937   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.22 at 01:35

Current mood: creativecreative

carole lombard photoplay oct 1937ab claudette colbert travis banton

There aren’t that many photos showing Carole Lombard with Claudette Colbert (while they were on good terms, their social paths rarely crossed), and since this also has Paramount fashion maven Travis Banton, it adds allure. But what’s the context? Here’s the answer:

carole lombard photoplay oct 1937aa claudette colbert travis banton

It’s Claudette being fitted by Mary O’Brien for a dress she’ll wear in “Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife.” (Oh, it appears Colbert is wearing something white underneath that organdy.) One hopes someone, somewhere, has a non-cropped version of this photo. And it’s from the October 1937 issue of Photoplay, roughly at the apex of Carole’s career.

It’s part of Kathleen Howard’s “Fashion Letter,” and while there’s nothing on Lombard (or Colbert) in the article, check out the rest of it to get an idea of filmland fashion for fall 1937:

carole lombard photoplay oct 1937ba fashion

We even kept the ads on adjacent columns. (That Radio Mirror ad for Jack Benny’s “Vacation Readio Broadcast” sounds like fun reading; one wonders how accurately it hewed to Benny’s comedic persona.)

Now on to November; this time, instead of being a Banton fashion viewer, Lombard is his subject, specifically for an outfit for “Nothing Sacred”:

carole lombard photoplay nov 1937aa

Can’t read the caption? Here’s a larger version:

carole lombard photoplay nov 1937b

Finally, to December of ’37, more fashion from Carole. The caption states she stole Clark Gable’s winter hat; whether or not that was actually the case, one surely believes Lombard looks lovely in male millinery:

carole lombard photoplay dec 1937aa fashion
carole lombard photoplay dec 1937ac fashion

For several years, Carole had been considered among the industry’s best-dressed actresses. The difference now was that she was getting to prove it in better movies.

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Posted June 22, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A critic heads for heaven   1 comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.06.21 at 01:32

Current mood: thankfulthankful

carole lombard p1202-85c

He stared at this sudden sight, an angelic woman in white in between two large gates. “I know who…you are,” he haltingly said. “But it simply — couldn’t be!”

“It is!” she replied, smiling. “I’m Carole Lombard. Welcome, Andrew Sarris.”

andrew sarris large

Sarris finally figured things out, but just to be sure, he asked one question. “By welcome, you mean up…”

Carole smiled. “Of course! You thought otherwise?”

“You can never be sure,” Andrew replied. “Some of my reviews over the years have led people to tell me to go to–”

“Yes, that hockey-stick place,” said a stout man with a British accent, mysteriously emerging from nowhere to give Sarris a friendly hug. “We’re glad you’re here.” Lombard laughed over seeing Alfred Hitchcock with the esteemed critic.

andrew sarris alfred hitchcock 00a

“I suppose Alfred should have been the one to first welcome you here, after you championed him with the auteur theory and all that — he’s said so many nice things about you! — but I had my reasons for wanting this assignment.”

Sarris was confused. “And that was…”

“What you wrote about me in that book of yours, ‘You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet.'”

andrew sarris you ain't heard nothin' yet 00a


“When I read your statement, ‘No American novelist of the past half-century has created a woman character one-tenth as fascinating as Carole Lombard, and character is the operative word here, for whereas Gable had a sparkling personality, Lombard had a sterling character’…”

Andrew’s eyes opened up. “Yes?”

Carole smiled. “Well, I can’t say I was in heaven for the next few days, ’cause I’m thankfully here for all eternity, but boy, was I beaming!” She walked up to Sarris and gave him a passionate kiss. “That’s not something you’ll have to tell Molly when she gets here, and someday, she will.”

Sarris nodded with a sigh, wistfully thinking of his wife, film critic and author Molly Haskell. Trying to be polite, he told Carole, “I hope that didn’t get you in trouble with Gable.”

clark gable 008a clarence sinclair bull 051236

“Nah,” said Clark Gable, himself appearing from thin air in between Lombard and Hitchcock. “Carole does that all the time to film fans she welcomes. You’ve earned it. And yes, you said some nice things about me, too.” He paused. “And…and I know what Molly is going through right now. Don’t worry — your spirit will be there for her, just as Carole’s was there for me all those years before we reunited.”

Sarris nodded. “That’s encouraging to think about.”

“It’s what’s beautiful about the hereafter,” Lombard said. “Oh, by the way, there’s another director here to see you,” as Howard Hawks, who had directed Carole in “Twentieth Century,” walked up to his longtime supporter and shook his hand.

carole lombard twentieth century 047c

“You’re the guy who got me invitations to speak at all those film societies and college classes,” Hawks said. “It was nice to be appreciated.”

Satisfied over his new home, the curious Sarris had one more question to ask. “Are — are other critics here?”

Hitchcock replied. “Well, there’s James Agee, Graham Greene, Bosley Crowther, to name a few.”

“And Vincent Canby and Gene Siskel, though you probably just regard him as a TV guy,” Gable added.

“Well, there’s one in particular I’m curious about…”

Carole smiled. “Oh, her,” she said, “Yeah, I knew you two had your differences over the years.”

“That’s an understatement,” Sarris said.

“But, yes, Pauline is here, and Ms. Kael sends her regards,” Lombard said. “No hard feelings.”

pauline kael 00a

Hawks nodded. “The important thing is your love for movies. That overrides everything.”

Sarris paused. “So in a few years, some critics neither Pauline nor I had much affection for — and no, I won’t name any names — will be joining us here.”

“Yes,” Hitchcock said, “although for several of them, heaven can wait.”

“Are you referring to the 1943 Lubitsch film or the 1978 remake of ‘Here Comes Mr. Jordan’ with Warren Beatty?” Sarris said. Everyone laughed as they took him on a tour of heaven.

Yes, thank you, Andrew Sarris (1928-2012).

For my entry about his book “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet,” see For Roger Ebert’s thoughtful reflections on his passing, go to And for several highlights from the years Sarris spent at the Village Voice, visit

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Posted June 21, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized