Archive for August 2012

Time for some tennis with a ‘White Woman’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.31 at 07:59

Current mood: curiouscurious

As we’re in the midst of the U.S. Open tennis tournament — where Carole Lombard’s close friend Alice Marble won the singles event for four consecutive years — how about something of Carole playing the sport she loved?

That’s a page from the September 1935 issue of Photoplay These photos were by Don English, a Paramount photographer best known for his collaborations with Marlene Dietrich, such as this iconic image from “Shanghai Express,” created with the magic of chiaroscuro lighting:

English isn’t quite as known for his work with Lombard, but these photos are charming.

Want the Lombard clipping, a gift most tennis fans would appreciate? You can buy it for $4.99; go to×10-Magazine-Photo-L0320-/380466451725?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item589591550d for more information.

The same seller has, for the same price, a page from an unknown magazine showing Lombard with Kent Taylor. While I’m not sure what magazine it’s from, we know it’s likely from late 1933 because of the references to “White Woman” (also the only film Carole would make with Taylor):

To buy, or learn more, visit×10-Magazine-Photo-L0274-/380466210031?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item58958da4ef.

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Posted August 31, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

It’s time to VAMP it up!   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.30 at 00:55

Current mood: happyhappy

carole lombard the campus vamp 22a

Why post the above image of Carole Lombard? Is it to remind us that next month, Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. (and Canada, too!) will air a tribute to Mack Sennett each Thursday? Well, it could be — although Lombard’s Sennett films won’t air until the 27th. (Oh, and to Robert Osborne, Ben Mankiewicz or whomever’s doing the intros that night: At Sennett, her first name was “Carole,” save for a brief, isolated time when publicity referred to her as “Carolle.” The “Carol” moniker was used at Pathe in 1929, and briefly retained for “The Arizona Kid” at Fox and “Safety In Numbers,” her first Paramount film.)

Actually, we’re using that still because it’s from the 1928 two-reeler “The Campus Vamp,” with emphasis on the word vamp. In the future, it’s going to be a notable acronym for many film fans.

What does VAMP (all caps) stand for? The Vintage Association of Motion Picture Blogs, “an association for bloggers who write primarily about films made before 1980.” The creator adds that the word “vintage” was used rather than “classic” because, well, “not every old movie is necessarily a classic, the word classic implying a level of greatness that not every film will possess” — “Fools For Scandal,” for example. And the cutoff point is arbitrary, since it wouldn’t make sense to label 1978’s “Foul Play” as vintage and another Goldie Hawn comedy, “Private Benjamin,” as not simply because it was issued in 1980.

(I’m guessing another reason “vintage” was used instead of “classic” was that the latter would lead to the acronym CAMP, which could cause some to erroneously believe the site was about the 1960s “Batman” TV series or whatever Susan Sontag liked to write about.)

With an acronym such as VAMP, what’s the symbol of the site? Who else but…

vamp banner 01a

…Theda Bara, the vamp by whom all vamps are measured (although, since most of Bara’s films are sadly lost, it’s difficult to do). Here’s Cincinnati-born Theodosia Goodman in two of her cinematic triumphs, as Madame DuBarry (left) and Cleopatra:

theda bara madame du barry 1917 george james hopkinstheda bara cleopatra 00

As for the real woman behind the vamp, check out this demure portrait:

theda bara 00a

Getting back to VAMP (the association, not the actress), at last check 15 blogs were members, and I’m proud to proclaim “Carole & Co.” now is one of them. This is the third movie blog group I belong to, joining the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) and the Classic Movie Blog Association (CMBA; its mascot is the lion Simba). If you view this site via LiveJournal, links are available at the bottom of the left-hand column; if you see this at WordPress, you can check out VAMP, and find out who are its members, at

Thanks to VAMP, I’ve already discovered a few movie blogs I’d not been aware of before, and I’m certain others will come along fitting that description. If you have a blog that would qualify as VAMPish, by all means join.

We’ll leave you with this photo of the lovely Thelma Todd, because it’s from a 1927 First National comedy called…”Vamping Venus”:

thelma todd vamping venus 02

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Posted August 29, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Get to meet Gable’s girl   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.29 at 10:06

Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard clark gable 1936ba

One side effect of Carole Lombard’s romance with Clark Gable was that it often thrust her, and her many accomplishments, into a Gable context. Take, for example, this photo of Lombard, from the February 1937 Photoplay:

carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 larger

Yep, she’s called “Gable’s Girl,” which she indeed was in early 1937, so that reference probably didn’t bother her; what more likely irked her was the line, “At one time she was a brunette and very fat.” Even at her heaviest, during the 1920s when she was labeled “Carol(e) of the curves,” she was never what anyone would call obese.

This portrait — which looks to be a retouched black-and-white image, not genuine color — was part of a fascinating Photoplay issue. That intrigue begins on the cover, where renowned artist James Montgomery Flagg lovingly captures Joan Crawford…although Flagg’s drawing also hints at a more complex side of the MGM star:

photoplay february 1937 joan crawford cover large

Crawford was the last in a series of eight stunning cover portraits Flagg did for Photoplay from July 1936 to February ’37 — including Carole in the November ’36 issue:

carole lombard photoplay nov 1936 james montgomery flagg large

From a strictly Lombard perspective, the February ’37 Photoplay doesn’t have all that much; there are no articles on her that month. In Kathleen Howard’s “Fashion Letter For February,” she’s shown in a dress with a raised waistline described as “slenderizing”…

carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 fashion letter 00a

…and later in the article, Howard elaborates on that dress, as well as hats Lombard will be seen wearing “with her enormous chic” in the upcoming “Swing High, Swing Low”:

carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 fashion letter 01b

Speaking of “Swing High,” in the column “We Cover The Studios,” we drop in on the set as a dance scene is planned:

carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 we cover the studios 00a
carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 we cover the studios 01a

This would be the fourth and final time Lombard would work with Prinz (, shown with Carole and George Raft a few years earlier:

carole lombard george raft leroy prinz 00a

Also, gossip columnist Cal York shows firsthand why Hollywood in that era was often deemed two-faced. Note this as the lead item of his column:

carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 cal york 00b

Then, a few jumps later, on page 106:

carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 cal york 01b
carole lombard photoplay feb 1937 cal york 01c

This issue also has plenty of good stuff for fans of other stars. Two pages after the Lombard “Gable’s Girl” portrait, we see one of Barbara Stanwyck:

photoplay feb 1937 barbara stanwyck 00a

That color looks to be ersatz, unlike this authentic color chic pic of Claudette Colbert:

photoplay feb 1937 claudette colbert 00a

Fans of both Constance Bennett and George Hurrell will delight in two photographic rarities:

photoplay feb 1937 constance bennett 00a
photoplay feb 1937 constance bennett 01a

Finally, “Rhapsody In Blonde,” a two-page spread on Jean Harlow, whose sudden death some months later would devastate the film community:

photoplay feb 1937 jean harlow 00a
photoplay feb 1937 jean harlow 01a

This issue of Photoplay, in good condition (note that aside from the cover, all the above images from the issue are from the Media History Digital Library), is being sold for $34.99, and if unsold will be available through 8:32 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. To buy or learn more, visit

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Posted August 29, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Thursday, welcome the king of the cads   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.28 at 02:11

Current mood: happyhappy

carole lombard 2176a travis banton 1936ann dvorak 011cjoan blondell 055c

Among the many splendid things about Turner Classic Movies’ annual August extravaganza, “Summer Under The Stars,” is that the channel occasionally gives 24 hours of honor to actors who might not have been on the top tier of stardom, but whose work certainly warrants a retrospective. For example, last year not only did TCM honor Carole Lombard, but two of her talented contemporaries as well — the oft-overlooked Ann Dvorak and the hard-working Joan Blondell.

thelma todd 091b

And it was two years ago that TCM pleased plenty of people (myself included) with 24 hours of Thelma Todd — someone probably better known for her work in comedy shorts than in features.

This year, you could argue that the most anticipated SUTS day is coming Thursday, when TCM mines its 1930s catalog to give us 24 hours of an actor whose renown has undergone a major boost thanks to the pre-Code revival — particularly in the past few years. We are referring to Warren William.

warren william 00b elmer fryer

Does he look a little devious there? Well, he should; Warners staff photographer Elmer Fryer took that portrait to promote William’s 1932 film “The Match King,” where he plays a ruthless businessman who causes world havoc before he’s done in. And truth be told, that’s the type of role he excelled at — a cad, someone who stops at nothing to get what he wants. Audiences may have rooted against such William characters, but they were almost always fascinated by him.

While Warren William could be as debonair as another Warners player, William Powell, he never possessed the latter’s warmth. Powell almost always made himself sympathetic, a trait Warren William largely eschewed…and frankly his characters, such as department store manager Kurt Anderson in “Employees’ Entrance” (William is shown below with Loretta Young in that 1933 film), didn’t care whether or not you liked him.

warren william loretta young employees entrance 00a

William, born Warren William Ketch, was a Minnesota native who served in World War I, pursued a theater career after the war and had some success on the New York stage in the 1920s. With a voice ideal for talking pictures, he signed with Warners in 1931, making 35 films over the next half-decade.

His career in some ways paralleled Dvorak’s (he played her husband in “Three On A Match,” an atypical sympathetic role): a pre-Code success, a post-Code fade. According to a fine essay on William at TCM’s “Movie Morlocks” blog (, the turning point was his inability to land the lead role in the 1935 adventure “Captain Blood,” a part that turned Errol Flynn into a star. Like Dvorak and Kay Francis, he quarreled with management and was given subpar movies until Jack Warner let him go in 1936. After that, he worked at a variety of studios in all sorts of genres (even westerns); he was the first actor to portray

warren william the case of the curious bride 00a

on screen, although author Erle Stanley Gardner was never fond of the light, Nick Charles-like treatment his characters received in the Warners films ( William also played Philo Vance in the ’30s (

In the 1940s, William moved to Columbia, where he had some success in a detective series called “The Lone Wolf”; he played Michael Lanyard, a reformed jewel thief. William died at age 53 in 1948.

Here’s the complete schedule for Thursday:

* 6 a.m. — “Bedside” (1934)
* 7:15 a.m. — “The First Hundred Years” (1938)
* 8:30 a.m. — “Wives Under Suspicion” (1938)
* 9:45 a.m. — “The Mouthpiece” (1932)
* 11:15 a.m. — “Skyscraper Souls” (1932)
* 1 p.m. — “Three On A Match” (1932)
* 2:15 p.m. — “The Match King” (1932)
* 3:45 p.m. — “The Mind Reader” (1933)
* 5 p.m. — “Gold Diggers Of 1933” (1933)
* 6:45 p.m. — “Times Square Playboy” (1936)
* 8 p.m. — “Lady For A Day” (1933)
* 9:45 p.m. — “Cleopatra” (1934)
* 11:45 p.m. — “Employees Entrance” (1933)
* 1:15 a.m. — “The Case Of The Howling Dog” (1934)
* 2:45 a.m. — “The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt” (1939)
* 4 a.m. — “Arsene Lupin Returns” (1938)

While I haven’t seen all the films here, I can recommend “Skyscraper Souls,” “Three On A Match” and “The Match King,” and I am also told “The Mouthpiece” (about a lawyer) and “The Mind Reader” are prime William cads. The late afternoon and early primetime films show William working in an ensemble (he portrays Julius Caesar in the Cecil B. De Mille-Claudette Colbert “Cleopatra”), while “Employees Entrance” serves as a bridge to detective series stories.

It should be a fun 24 hours; catch as much of it as you can.

And perhaps next year, SUTS can honor an actor who, surprisingly, has yet to receive such treatment (although his being a Star of the Month last year may have delayed such an honor until 2013). We’re referring to…William Powell.

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Posted August 28, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Picture Play, June 1932: Hollywood marriage, from ‘this young Mrs. Powell’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.27 at 08:19

Current mood: enthralledenthralled

carole lombard william powell 27b elmer fryer

The marriage of Carole Lombard and William Powell (shown here in a photo by Warners’ Elmer Fryer, taken not long after Powell left Paramount) was nearing its first anniversary when Picture Play sent Laura Ellsworth Fitch to interview the woman the magazine still steadfastly referred to as “Carol.” The subject, or one of them: Hollywood marriage. The result: This feature, which ran in the June 1932 issue:

carole lombard picture play june 1932 blue heaven 00a
carole lombard picture play june 1932 blue heaven 02a
carole lombard picture play june 1932 blue heaven 03a

Even if much of this piece, “Blue Heaven,” isn’t completely verbatim — and some of Lombard’s long comments indicate it isn’t — it does reveal some of the traits that made her so popular in the movie community. As Fitch described her, “She has that pleasant rarity, grace.”

Carole reminded readers that even though film folk were seen at giant size in theaters, they weren’t superhuman:

“Fundamentally, we are just like anyone else — we live the same, think the same, marry the same, subject to the natural vagaries of individual humans. … We fall in love. We marry, and hope to make a go of it. The same thing happens every day all over the world. Perhaps some of us don’t make a go of it. In that case, we separate — also the same thing happens all over the world.”

Keep in mind that while film stars in 1932 earned salaries far in excess of the average American (quite a few of whom had no salary at all in the depths of the Depression), their paychecks at the time were comparable to business executives and others whose marital habits weren’t topics for national debate.

As for her marriage to Powell, Lombard was prescient, perhaps aware of some of the undercurrents taking place in the relationship:

“I think we have a good chance — we have such fun together. We hope it will work. If it doesn’t, we shall separate, and separate before it becomes ugly, or has a chance to mar what has gone before. And if it ever happens, it certainly won’t be because of Hollywood. That’s a pretty feeble alibi at best, I’ve always thought.”

Carole’s contempt for alibis is noted in the caption on the page opposite from the lead, in a portrait taken by Eugene Robert Richee, who also took the photo of her at the bottom of the first page:

carole lombard picture play june 1932 blue heaven 01b

Lombard also notes that she and Powell are impulsive enough to leave for some nearby resort getaway at two or three in the morning…”So we simply put on coats, stick toothbrushes in the pockets, get in the car and go.

As for wanting a family, here’s what the 1932 Carole had to say:

“Naturally. But not until I’m entirely through with pictures. Never before that. It would be a rotten trick to play on a child, giving it a mother who called out, ‘Good morning, dear,’ as she left for the studio, got home in time to see it tucked into bed, and occasionally summoned it out to say, ‘Curtsy for the ladies.’

“I think that is dreadful. When I was a child I had such fun with my mother I’d feel like a thief if I deprived my own children of such happiness. And, too, from a purely selfish viewpoint, what is the sense of having a child if you can’t constantly watch its subtle growth and development every day?”

By “entirely through with pictures,” one assumes Lombard was referring to acting — although this interview was conducted when Carole was 23, and perhaps she had yet to envision herself working in film in other capacities.

Her self-deprecating humor is evident in this passage, where she jokes about her earlier work at Fox, Sennett and Pathe:

“Incidentally, I spent years wrecking one company after another. I swear that I was no sooner signed up and at work than the company’s finances would fall apart. I was a jinx. It’s a wonder no one found out and blacklisted me.”

And that “jinx” continued in early 1933 when Paramount declared bankruptcy, the second largest such bankruptcy in the U.S. at the time.

The interview wasn’t the only place in the issue one could find Lombard. She was also part of a Max Factor ad catering to blondes, with her image promoting “No One Man,” still making the rounds of many theaters that spring:

carole lombard picture play june 1932 ad large

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Posted August 27, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Fan magazines for the ears, not the eyes   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.26 at 19:56

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard modern screen january 1931b

Carole Lombard appeared on the cover of many a movie fan magazine, such as the one above for Modern Screen in January 1931. But over the years, Lombard even graced the covers of fan magazines that more or less had little to do with movies. Here’s proof:

carole lombard radio guide jan 1939

This is from the Jan. 21, 1939 issue of Radio Guide, released at about the same time Carole was to debut in the cast of NBC’s new series, “The Circle,” which ultimately turned out to be one of the biggest flops in the network’s history (although Lombard left the program before its demise). That issue, and 29 others from that magazine, are now available via eBay:

radio guide assorted issues 00a

Before providing the particulars of how to get this, some background on Radio Guide, courtesy of broadcast history maven Elizabeth McLeod (her writing in italics, followed by illustrations and my comments):

“‘Radio Guide’ began in Chicago and New York in November 1931, as a venture of Moe Annenberg, a former hood and strong-arm man for the Hearst newspaper distribution interests in Chicago (his duties usually involved blackjack-and-brass-knuckle confrontations with distributors of rival publications), who went legit in the twenties as publisher of the ‘Daily Racing Form.’ For about its first year it was presented in a tabloid newspaper format, with most of its editorial content coming from press releases—although New York Journal radio critic Mike Porter and music critic Carleton Smith were regular contributors from very early on.”

radio guide 122731a
radio guide 122731c
radio guide 122731b

The front-page story on the Rose Bowl says a “Don Wilson” was to broadcast the game. Is this the same Don Wilson who later gained fame as the announcer on the Jack Benny program? Also, note the item on tenor Morton Downey, who married Barbara Bennett (the middle sister between Constance and Joan) and whose son Morton Jr. gained fame (or infamy, depending on your perspective) as a TV talk-show host.

“Beginning in 1933,’Radio Guide’ began to feature two-color ‘art covers’ and was presented in a saddle-stitched large-magazine format. There was also a new emphasis on original editorial content, and Chicago Herald-Examiner radio editor Evans Plummer became a regular contributor with his ‘Plums and Prunes’ column.”

radio guide 031635 coverradio guide 062935 cover

Examples of Radio Guide’s full-color covers mentioned below, with Jane Froman and the team of George Burns and Gracie Allen.

“Full color art covers were featured beginning in the spring of 1935, and continued until the magazine switched to black-and-white photo covers in early 1938. Many of these covers were elegant portraits of stars-of-the-moment painted by Charles Rubino, and these issues are perhaps the most collectible of the run. This period also marked the peak of Radio Guide’s editorial quality—it published substantial criticism and serious journalism about radio, such as its 1935 expose revealing that elements of ‘Major Bowes’ Original Amateur Hour’ were rigged.

radio guide 020940 cover
radio guide 020940a
radio guide 020940b

The Feb. 9, 1940 issue of Radio Guide, the end of an era.

“‘Radio Guide’ changed both its title and focus in 1940, as a direct result of Moe Annenberg being sent to prison for tax evasion in 1940 -— the magazine was taken over by his son Walter (later publisher of ‘TV Guide’) and the change to a combination radio-movie format was an attempt to pump up the cash flow by merging ‘Radio Guide’ with ‘Screen Guide,’ another troubled Annenberg publication of the era. The transition to ‘Movie Radio Guide’ was unfortunately accompanied by a sharp drop in editorial quality — the publication became much more of a shallow celebrity-oriented fanrag, rather like what’s happened to ‘TV Guide’ over the last twenty years.”

movie-radio guide nov 1943 covermovie-radio guide nov 1943a
movie-radio guide nov 1943bmovie-radio guide nov 1943c

Movie-Radio Guide in November 1943, near the end of its run.

“‘Movie Radio Guide’ ceased publication at the end of 1943, as a casualty of the wartime paper shortage. The magazine had tried several strategies for reducing page count during 1942-43, and switched to a monthly format in early 1943, which continued until the publication went out of business at the end of the year.”

So while Radio Guide and TV Guide both were Annenberg publications that largely followed the identical formula — regional broadcast listings complemented with entertainment stories — there was no continuous lineage.

The issues available via eBay date between Aug. 11, 1934 and the Feb. 9, 1940 issue, pages of which were seen above. There are multiple copies of three 1937 issues, and aside from pencil scrawls on the cover of one 1938 issue, all are in good shape.

You can buy the collection straight up for $100, or make a bid, beginning at #19.95; bidding ends at 12:38 p.m. (Eastern) on Saturday. To find out more information (including all the cover subjects), visit

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Posted August 26, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Picture Play, January 1930: Fun across the border   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.25 at 01:35

Current mood: stressedstressed

carole lombard william powell agua caliente 012433 front
carole lombard william powell agua caliente 012433 back

It’s been a while since we ran that photo of Carole Lombard and then-husband William Powell raising a toast alongside Ernest Truex and his wife in January 1933. I thought of this picture the other day while watching Powell’s brilliant performance in “One Way Passage,” made only a few months before the Powells and Truexes were photographed.

kay francis one way passage 00b

What caused the mental juxtaposition? Well, in the movie Powell and co-star Kay Francis mention the site where the top pic takes place…Agua Caliente. (And what does it have to do with “One Way Passage”? See the film and find out.)

Agua Caliente was a resort in Tijuana, Mexico, close to the U.S. border. As we’ve noted from the top pic, it was home to a racetrack…

agua caliente racetrack 00a

…not insignificant, because it wasn’t until the early ’30s that California allowed pari-mutuel wagering on horse races. While habitues of the horses spent plenty of time there, it was two miles from the track where the real took place — as Agua Caliente was the site of a casino:

agua caliente casino 02a

Inside, the place looked lavish, even away from the gaming rooms:

agua caliente casino 03a
agua caliente casino 04a

And you could not only gamble legally in Mexico, but drink alcohol as well in those Prohibition days.

One can see why it soon became a favorite with the movie crowd after its opening in June 1928. By late 1929, it had become such a Hollywood hangout that Picture Play decided to do a feature on the resort for its January 1930 issue:

carole lombard picture play jan 1930 the playground of the stars 00a
carole lombard picture play jan 1930 the playground of the stars 01a

From the jump page, we discover that Lombard visited — and played at — the place several months before she met Powell. And apparently she came out ahead by a few bucks, at least on the day in question. Also note that among other notables patronizing the casino were Al Jolson, Tom Mix and Clara Bow.

Author A.L. Wooldridge wrote about a hold-up of casino receipts in which $85,000 in cash and checks were stolen. What wasn’t mentioned was that this May 1929 incident resulted in the death of a courier and a guard; eventually the robbers and killers were caught.

A young dancer named Rita Cansino was discovered at Agua Caliente; we know her better as Rita Hayworth. Portions of the 1931 King Vidor favorite “The Champ” was filmed there, along with a movie appropriately named “In Caliente.” Quite a few notable horses raced at the track, including the famed Phar Lap in 1932. VIPs could gamble in something called the Gold Room, which used gold chips and reportedly had a minimum wager of $500. It’s no wonder Bugsy Siegel cited Agua Caliente as an inspiration for his pioneering Las Vegas strip resort.

However, Agua Caliente’s time as a casino would be short-lived. California weakened its horse racing by finally approving racetracks, and in 1935 a new Mexican president, Lázaro Cárdenas, outlawed gambling and closed the resort (the racetrack remained, but its prominence declined). There is an Agua Caliente casino resort today, but it’s in the Inland Empire town of Rancho Mirage, is run by the Cahuilla Indians, and has no ties whatsoever to the Mexican site of the ’20s and ’30s.

The January 1930 Picture Play has another Lombard reference — a review of “Big News,” her second of three talkie features at Pathe:

carole lombard picture play jan 1930 big news 00a
carole lombard picture play jan 1930 big news 01a

The magazine gave its approval for the film, noting that Lombard, “who used to be just a pretty figurante, has developed a charming, cultivated voice.” (Director Gregory La Cava, who seven years later would direct “My Man Godfrey,” what might be Carole’s definitive film, is not mentioned.) The review might have pleased Lombard as much as winning a few bucks at the casino.

carole lombard big news 14a

Then again, maybe it didn’t.

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Posted August 25, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Pre-Code eroticism, plus flip your lids for Clark and Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.24 at 10:06

Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

carole lombard brief moment 17a front

Carole Lombard bares her shoulder in this alluring portrait now available via eBay, but what else do we know about it? The seller says of “this sultry view”: “Posing in a flapper-style art deco gown and giving a smoldering look over her shoulder, this dates to around her appearance in ‘Supernatural’…”

Note the seller says it “dates to around her appearance in ‘Supernatural,'” because something at the bottom indicates it wasn’t from that film:

carole lombard brief moment 17a columbia closeup

The “C.P. Corp.” stands for Columbia Pictures Corporation, and ‘Supernatural’ was a 1933 Paramount film. Fortunately, we also have the back of the photo, which lacks a snipe but provides other helpful information:

carole lombard brief moment 17a back

It’s from 1933, all right, and was received Nov. 26 at La Nacion, a Spanish-language publication. That would indicate this pic is from “Brief Moment,” which Columbia released that fall, and a check of another publicity still from that film, with Carole clad in that outfit, confirms it:

carole lombard brief moment 09c

This vintage silver single-weight photo measures 7″ x 9″, trimmed from its original dimensions. According to the seller, it’s “in very good condition, with a crease in the left bottom corner and scattered handling wear.”

One bid, for $4.95, has been made as of this writing, but since the auction will last until 10:43 p.m. (Eastern) Sept. 2, expect the bidding to go quite a bit higher. If you’re interested, or curious, visit

From that, another Lombard eBay item, this one with second husband Clark Gable, so to speak:

carole lombard clark gable ice cream lids 00a

These are Hood ice cream lids, a premium for mid-’30s film fans who also loved ice cream (and wouldn’t that have included just about everybody?). We’ve covered this Carole collectible before, specifically regarding “Concertina,” a film we now know as “The Princess Comes Across” (; the other Lombard lid is for “Swing High, Swing Low,” a film issued in early 1937…about the same time as the film with the Gable lid, “Parnell,” a box-office failure Carole loved to rib Clark about (

Each lid measures 2 1/4″; they are in generally good condition, although the “Concertina” lid has some mild creasing. Bidding lasts through 6:34 a.m. (Eastern) Wednesday, with a minimum opening bid of $6.75. To bid or find out more, go to

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Posted August 24, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Picture Play, April 1933: She’s a smooth operator   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.23 at 11:38

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard p1202-356a

What adjectives might one have used in early 1933 to describe Carole Lombard? “Sleek,” “sexy,” “alluring”? All those definitely would have applied. But one more came to the fore in that April’s issue of Picture Play, yet another snapshot of the era from that fan magazine (

The word is “smooth,” and we can credit it to writer George Kay in his article, “It’s Smart To Be Smooth”:

carole lombard picture play april 1933 it's smart to be smooth 00a
carole lombard picture play april 1933 it's smart to be smooth 01a
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It’s noteworthy that according to Kay, “smooth” was rapidly supplanting “glamorous” in the hip Hollywood lexicon. Having one syllable, as opposed to three, was important, Kay wrote, as “This is an era of economy.” (The first few months of 1933, as the Hoover administration gave way to the Roosevelt administration’s taking over that March, was arguably the bleakest economic period in American history.)

According to Kay, Lombard was not only smooth in her actions, but owned a smooth vocabulary. (As a fan magazine writer, he probably had access to the studios, and thus probably heard Carole converse, although I’ve never read anything where he interviewed her.)

Kay says she connoted approval of something or someone by using words such as “smooth, sporting, subtle, adult” (as in “if you refuse to let a faux pas ruffle you, you’re acting adult”); conversely, disapproval was indicated by the likes of “sentimental, messy, crude, conspicuous” (as in “expecting a honeymoon to last forever is being sentimental” — something Carole may have come to realize after nearly two years with William Powell). Note that the former list of words are terse, two syllables at most, while two of the latter group have four syllables each, and perhaps may have sounded pretentious to the Lombard ear.

Two other stars were cited as examples of smoothness — Lilyan Tashman and Jean Harlow:

lilyan tashman 03jean harlow 561

According to Kay, “Jean Harlow is a smooth woman because she glides through life, leaving as few vestiges and [clues] behind as if she were wrapped in cellophane.” (In the ’30s, cellophane was deemed a wondrous, modern invention; recall the line “You’re cellophane!” in Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top”?) A man could date Jean with minimal mess, Kay stated, although one might wish for a strand of Harlow hair to serve as a souvenir.

Kay wrote Tashman even exceeded Harlow in this quality — “There’s something positively glorious in the way she can live and yet not rub off,” also noting, “Lilyan Tashman’s claim to being a smooth woman rests primarily on the fact that she can look as peeled and glossy at five o’clock in the morning as the ordinary party girl does at eight the preceding evening — and still doing all the things that the others are, without stinting herself.” (From what we now know about Tashman, one presumes “doing all the things that the others are” refers to myriad sexual affairs, in Tashman’s case, predominantly lesbian. She would die of cancer at age 37 the year after this story was published.)

“There are other actresses who are called smooth,” according to Kay. Heck, some of them might not even have been blonde.

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Posted August 23, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Being negative…and also for ‘No Man’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.08.22 at 07:57

Current mood: enthralledenthralled

This stunning image, Carole Lombard in Paramount p1202-264 (from 1932), is actually an original studio 8″ x 10″ negative in excellent condition. (The seller notes its vintage status by saying the number was “Written with raised black ink on the bottom right corner” (which, of course, would appear white when reversed). Here’s the pic, with its actual borders:

An artifact such as this won’t come cheaply, and in fact the minimum bid for this item is $399, so only serious collectors of Lombardiana need apply. The deadline for bids is 10:10 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday; if you have the dough and really want it — or are merely curious — visit

That fall, Lombard made a movie with a red-hot star whom Paramount had acquired on loan from his home studio. They had good chemistry on screen, but some years later discovered they had even better chemistry off it. Of course, I’m referring to Clark Gable and “No Man Of her Own,” and some items from that movie are now available via eBay.

How about an 8-page British press book for the film?

The cover is generic for Paramount press books of that era, and the seller doesn’t furnish any examples of what’s inside, although we learn it’s 9 1/2″ x 11 1/2″, and is deemed in “very good” condition, with “minor creases, minor soiling, very minor tears, very minor fading, minor discoloration along border, writing.”

This is being sold, not auctioned, for $59.99, though you can also make an offer, and if it goes unsold and is considered the most acceptable offer by the deadline of 12:54 p.m. (Eastern) on Sept. 20, it could yet be yours. Learn more at

To complement the press book, a pair of vintage stills from the film:

Both are sold as a unit and are 8″ x 10″ “vintage gelatin silver, single weight, glossy photos,” according to the seller, in “very fine” condition. The opening bid is 99 cents, but expect bidding to go quite a bit higher before the deadline of 1:11 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. All the info is available at

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Posted August 22, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized