Archive for July 2012

Say, aren’t you two…divorced?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.07.25 at 00:36

Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

carole lombard william powell 090533b vendome cafe front

So nice to see Carole Lombard and William Powell out on the town, isn’t it? What a wonderful couple they are. But there’s just one hangup, as folks might have said some three decades later: they’re not a couple. In fact, they’re not even married anymore, as the back of this photo makes clear:

carole lombard william powell 090533b vendome cafe back

Can’t read that snipe? Then let’s isolate and enlarge it:

carole lombard william powell 090533c vendome cafe back

The photo is from a “barn dance” party hosted by Kay Francis (who starred with both of them in 1931’s “Ladies’ Man”) at the Vendome Cafe, owned by Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson and taken on Sept. 2, 1933 –– just 15 days after Lombard had divorced Powell in Carson City, Nev.

This was their first public appearance since the split, and their chummy presence at the party (“much absorbed in each other’s company”) may have led some attending to believe the two might turn around and remarry. That never happened, of course; Bill and Carole had discovered they made better friends than lovers, and that’s how it stayed for the rest of Lombard’s life. Bill helped Carole land perhaps her signature role, as Irene Bullock in “My Man Godfrey”; when Powell fell seriously ill in late 1937, Lombard was among a group of close friends who guided him back to health.

The photo is a vintage silver gelatin news press wire photo measuring 7″ x 9″. It was part of the collection from United Press International’s Chicago office at Tribune Tower (though I’m uncertain whether it originated from United Press or Hearst’s International News Service; the two merged in 1958). There is a crease in the bottom left corner, but it’s in reasonably good shape for a photo nearly 79 years old.

The pic is being auctioned at eBay; the minimum bid is $9.99, and bidding closes at 10 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. If this is of interest to you, bid or learn more about it at It might make a nice gift for any couple you know who’s planning to divorce. Heck, it might persuade them to get back together again…or at least be on friendly terms following the split.

Oh, and if the photo looked familiar, it’s because we ran something similar earlier this year:

carole lombard william powell 1933 vendome kay francis party

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Posted July 24, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Beyond unmarried husbands and wives   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.07.24 at 00:24

Current mood: aggravatedaggravated

carole lombard photoplay jan 1939 photoplay fashions 01a hurrell

Pretty lovely image of Carole Lombard, isn’t it? Well, guess who took it, in one of his rare forays into color photography — none other than the fabled George Hurrell:

carole lombard photoplay jan 1939 photoplay fashions 00a hurrell

It’s from the January 1939 Photoplay, an issue that wasn’t one of Lombard’s favorites despite the pic. That’s because the issue also ran one of the most notorious articles in the magazine’s history — “Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands And Wives,” by Kirtley Baskette.

While we’ve run the story before (, it wasn’t as it originally appeared in the magazine. Now that the entire 1914 to 1940 run of Photoplay is available online, we thought it would be good to let you see this controversial piece the way the magazine’s readers saw it when it hit newsstands midway through December 1938:

carole lombard photoplay jan 1939 hollywood's unmarried husbands and wives 00a
carole lombard photoplay jan 1939 hollywood's unmarried husbands and wives 01a
carole lombard photoplay jan 1939 hollywood's unmarried husbands and wives 02a

The Hollywood establishment was up in arms over the article, and there was debate over how the industry should react ( Lombard, who rarely held grudges, probably never again spoke to Baskette for the rest of her life.

But the January 1939 Photoplay had other Lombard goodies to offer fans, such as this pic of Carole with a burro she received as a gag gift at the “Made For Each Other” wrap party:

carole lombard photoplay jan 1939 cal york gossip of hollywood 00a

There’s also a closeup of three Hollywood designers, two of which had definite ties to Lombard — Irene of Bullocks Wilshire ( and jewelry expert Joseff.

carole lombard photoplay jan 1939 closeups of hollywood designers large

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Posted July 23, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Picture Play, December 1930: Cheering on Carol   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.07.23 at 08:35

Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard fast and loose 07a

“Fast And Loose” was the only film Carole Lombard made in New York, and it afforded her nearly two months in the city ( It also gave her exposure to the New York press — not only newspapers, but the eastern branch of many fan magazines.

That includes Picture Play, much of whose output from 1929 to 1933 is now available online ( One of its writers, Malcolm H. Oettinger, interviewed her at Paramount’s Astoria Studios in Queens and came up with a story, “Another Three Cheers!”, which ran in the December 1930 issue.

From reading it, I’m guessing either Oettinger made up some of her quotes or that Lombard — trying to cover some of her past tracks and reinvent herself — altered some of her history. We know she did not jump directly from Fox to Mack Sennett, for instance. Nevertheless, this is a nice snapshot of a star on the rise:

carole lombard picture play dec 1930a another three cheers 00
carole lombard picture play dec 1930 another three cheers 02a

The first page of the article even had a portrait of Lombard facing it — her first after being signed as a Paramount player, p1202-1, taken by Herman Zerrenner in New York ( Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive once described it “as being full of joy, hope, unlimited possibilities,” a mood the article certainly shares:

carole lombard picture play dec 1930 another three cheers 01b

Picture Play’s people must have liked Lombard so much that they wanted her to stay in town, or at least make plenty of movies there; at least that’s the impression you get from another part of that December 1930 issue. One of its regular features was a New York-based gossip column called “Over The Teacups,” credited to “A Bystander,” who had “conversations” with an equally fictitious person called “Fanny the fan.” Part of that month’s column featured this exchange:

carole lombard picture play dec 1930 over the teacups closeup

It’s entirely possible Lombard might have made more films in New York — but in 1931, the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy (turning the October 1929 crash into a full-fledged depression), and Paramount found it best to consolidate its feature film operations out west. By this time, most of the top performers and writers had already left for southern California.

As for the film, Picture Play reviewed it in its March 1931 issue and gave it restrained approval…though it believed one of its players was miscast:

carole lombard picture play march 1931 fast and loose 00
carole lombard picture play march 1931 fast and loose 01

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Posted July 23, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Bewitching support for Bob’s daughter   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.07.22 at 13:33

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard mr. & mrs. smith 71a montgomery hitchcock

Carole Lombard’s return to comedy in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” was a fun time for all concerned, and that includes co-star Robert Montgomery and director Alfred Hitchcock. Comedy was new territory for Hitch, but he had been friendly with Carole for some time and enjoyed working with her.

A feel for what life was like making the movie can be found in the December 1940 Photoplay, now available online. In “We Cover The Studios,” writer Barbara Hayes visited the set. Here’s the entire page…

carole lombard photoplay dec 1940a we cover the studios

…followed by the “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” segment, and note the topic of the final few paragraphs:

carole lombard photoplay dec 1940b we cover the studios
carole lombard photoplay dec 1940c we cover the studios

If dad was trying to dissuade his daughter, Carole gave Elizabeth ammunition — which I’m sure the child enjoyed seeing in print. (I have no idea whether they ever met, although if there was a wrap party for “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” there’s a good chance it happened.)

As it turned out, Elizabeth would be a success — and while she made her share of motion pictures, her chief claim to fame would come in a medium that was “just around the corner” in late 1940…television. Robert would work in TV in the 1950s, and his daughter appeared on several productions of his anthology show, “Robert Montgomery Presents.” Here are dad and daughter from the ’50s:

elizabeth and robert montgomery 00

Of course, baby boomers best know Elizabeth for her iconic role as Samantha on “Bewitched,” but once that sitcom ended, she regularly appeared in her generation’s equivalent of anthology shows, TV movies, playing a wide variety of roles. She left us in the 1990s, and her former husband Bill Asher — producer of “Bewitched” and previously a director of many “I Love Lucy” episodes — passed on earlier this month at age 90. (By the way, did you notice that the first paragraph of the Photoplay “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” item contains the word “bewitched”?)

elizabeth montgomery bill asher 00

There are some other Lombard-related goodies in that issue. First, there’s “Getting Fit For Fun” in the “Photoplay Beauty Shop” segment:

carole lombard photoplay dec 1940a getting fit for fun

Not only are there photos of Mrs. Gable…

carole lombard photoplay dec 1940b getting fit for fun

…but there’s a revitalization tip from her, too:

carole lombard photoplay dec 1940c getting fit for fun

One presumes while Carole was in the shower, she used Lux soap. We know she did in an ad elsewhere in that issue:

carole lombard lux photoplay dec 1940a

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Posted July 22, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A voluminous array of Photoplay   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.07.21 at 01:23

Current mood: artisticartistic

carole lombard photoplay june 1934 larger

Photoplay, arguably the top movie magazine of its era, helped promote the career of Carole Lombard (shown in her first cover appearance, from June 1934). Now, both researchers and casual fans have online access to the golden days of this publication, thanks to the Media History Digital Library, a favorite of this community for some time.

This month, the library has put up the entire run of Photoplay between 1914 and 1940, including 24 new volumes. The process took three years, but it was worth it. There’s plenty to see, such as Lombard’s first mention in the magazine (for “Marriage In Transit”), in June 1925. The 16-year-old actress must have been thrilled:

carole lombard photoplay june 1925 closeup

Note that Lombard’s first name is spelled “Carole,” as it was for both her time at Fox in ’25 and most of her Mack Sennett tenure (an exception is below), and that two columns away is an ad featuring Marie Prevost, who slightly more than a decade would be cast in a supporting role in the Lombard vehicle “Hands Across The Table.”

Lombard’s image was in Photoplay for the first time in December 1927, as she was part of a two-page spread of Sennett beauties:

carole lombard photoplay december 1927aacarole lombard photoplay december 1927ba

But check a close-up and see how her first name is spelled — “Carolle”:

carole lombard photoplay december 1927bb

(Note she’s also lumped in with the two Gretas and Gwen Lee as being “Nordic but nice.”)

Let’s move ahead to 1940; check out this ad for “Vigil In The Night,” from the March issue:

carole lombard photoplay march 1940 ad large

That October, the magazine ran an article on how Lombard and her second husband, Clark Gable, live at home. While the volumes are generally in good shape, some pages are missing. One was the facing page to the article, which I thankfully had elsewhere in my online collection, albeit at a far smaller size:

carole lombard photoplay oct 1940a

Fortunately, the rest of the article is available at a relatively large scale, and here it is in its entirety:

carole lombard photoplay october 1940aa
carole lombard photoplay october 1940ba
carole lombard photoplay october 1940ca

No, I’m not sure why a photo of Loretta Young’s marriage to Tom Lewis was in the midst of a Gable-Lombard article, unless it was some editor’s idea of an in-joke.

As you can tell, there’s a lot to like about having more than a quarter-century of Photoplay online. It boasted about its premier reputation…

photoplay july 1940a

…and if you’d like to peruse “the aristocrat of motion picture magazines,” visit Carole, shown here on the January 1940 cover, cordially invites you:

carole lombard photoplay january 1940 larger

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Posted July 21, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Yet more Glassner goodies   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.07.20 at 00:22

Current mood: determineddetermined

carole lombard p1202-25b

Earlier this week, we noted several rare Carole Lombard photos from the estate of collector Lester Glassner were available on eBay ( More have been added to the collection (such as the above, p1202-25 from late 1930), for a total of 23 items.

While none of the 22 photos and one lobby card are originals — they were produced in the 1970s and ’80s — most are rarities for the Lombard collector. So let’s present a few. (Note that all of the following have a minimum bid price of $14.95, and bidding ends next Monday or Tuesday.)

We’ll kick things off with four images from the rare 1931 teaming of Carole and Cooper (Gary, of course), “I Take This Woman.” First, this stunning solo shot of Lombard; to my mind, it’s eerily similar to how Loretta Young looked at the time:

carole lombard i take this woman 28b

Now, a pair with the two co-stars, as society girl Lombard adjusts to western life with cowboy Cooper:

carole lombard i take this woman 29bcarole lombard i take this woman 30bwidth=”463″ height=”” />

Finally, Coop, Carole and Charles Trowbridge:

carole lombard i take this woman 27b

The seller wasn’t certain which Lombard-William Powell film this was from, but a glance of my files leads me to believe this is from “Ladies’ Man”:

carole lombard ladies man 13b

The Glassner entry from earlier this week showed two solo portraits of Carole from her first Paramount movie, “Safety In Numbers.” Here’s a lingerie-clad Lombard in a group still from the film:

carole lombard safety in numbers 96b

Finally, a lobby card reproduction from “White Woman,” showing Lombard and Charles Bickford in the heat of passion:

carole lombard white woman lobby card 06b

To see all 23 items, and bid if you so desire, visit

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Posted July 19, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Picture Play online? That’s all right, MOMA   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.07.19 at 08:03

Current mood: excitedexcited

carole lombard picture play july 1932 coverViewing fan magazines of Carole Lombard’s era provides insight into both Carole’s career and the movie industry of the time. Now, an extended run of a top publication of the period is available for viewing online. It’s Picture Play, Street & Smith’s contribution to the genre. The run of July 1929 to June 1931, as well as all of 1932 and ’33, can now be seen — including covers and ads in their original color. For this we can thank New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), which stored copies in its library as part of its extensive film coverage.Picture Play, founded in 1926, was never a serious challenger to more established rivals such as Photoplay, as it failed to post a consistent tone ( Nonetheless, it has some fascinating stories and photos, and now that we’ve uncovered this treasure, we’ll excavate some of it in upcoming weeks, such as this still, taken by Paramount’s Otto Dyar, from June 1931:

carole lombard picture play june 1931c
carole lombard picture play june 1931 closeup

We isolated and enlarged the caption to show one notable idiosyncrasy of Picture Play –– its refusal to refer to Lombard as “Carole.” In mid-1931, when she had adopted the Carole moniker for good for less than a year, that opinion might have been understood, but the magazine kept calling her “Carol” through at least 1933 (in fact, there’s no “e” on a Lombard Picture Play cover from August 1935!). By 1938, though, the magazine finally acquiesced and called her Carole. (And “there’s no such cognomen as Carole”? Had they paid attention to Lombard’s career up to 1928?)

Once you get past that, there’s some splendid stuff here. For example, here’s its first extended article on Lombard, from August 1929 (when she really was “Carol”), called “A Fire-Alarm Siren”:

carole lombard picture play aug 1929 a fire alarm siren 01a
carole lombard picture play aug 1929 a fire alarm siren 02a

Nice little anecdote about Lombard and Joseph P. Kennedy near the end, though there’s also a major chronological error in that her automobile accident took place after she joined Mack Sennett. Moreover, it said she didn’t do Cecil B. DeMille’s “Dynamite” because Pathe called her back for work (actually, she was fired). Oh, and there’s a large portrait of her as well:

carole lombard picture play aug 1929 a fire alarm siren 00b

Hope that whets your appetite for more Lombard Picture Play articles. To browse through the 1929-33 online output, visit; the volumes are right at the top.

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Posted July 19, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized