Archive for December 2012

Tennis, anyone?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.31 at 12:31

Current mood: energeticenergetic

carole lombard p1202-1452ba

Not too many more hours after this is written, the world we inhabit will experience something it hasn’t seen in more than a quarter-century — and no, it has nothing to do with the “fiscal cliff” under debate on Capitol Hill. Rather, it will be the arrival of 2013…marking the first time since 1987 that the year will be represented by four different digits. Some of you never have experienced such a condition.

Okay, that has nothing to do with the photo above, in which Carole Lombard poses fetchingly in tennis whites. It’s Paramount p1202-1452 from late 1936, an image I’ve never seen before. While we’ve seen many Lombard tennis pix over the years, this has some new information about her, courtesy of a snipe on the back:

carole lombard p1202-1452ca

No wonder she chose that site earlier in 1936 after realizing her beloved Hollywood Boulevard home didn’t offer the privacy she sought for trysts with new beau Clark Gable. Seclusion, plus tennis court, sealed the deal.

Here’s what the photo looks like in its entirety, albeit shown at an angle:

carole lombard p1202-1452aa

Who can we thank for this relative rarity? A relative. Here’s the seller’s story:

“This belonged to my great step-grandmother. In the ’30s, she dated a bigwig in Hollywood; he gave her this photo, along with many more to be listed. I was cleaning things out and found them in an old trunk of my grandmother’s.”

Did the bigwig work at Paramount? I suppose he did if most of the upcoming photos are from that studio (and let’s hope there are a few more Lombards!). It’s an 8″ x 10″ original said to be in excellent condition. The seller adds:

“Some curling at ends, some slight corner bends, does not lay completely flat. Left corner is bent.”

You can buy the photo straight up for $99.95, or make a bid beginning at $85.95. The auction ends at 12:50 a.m. (Eastern) Jan. 7. It’s a nice way to ring in the new year for any Lombard (or tennis) fan. Discover all the details at

And best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy, safe and productive 2013.

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Posted December 31, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A pair of early Paramount portraits   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.30 at 13:20

Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard 2359a

Two portraits of Carole Lombard, probably taken to promote her first film at the studio, 1930’s “Safety In Numbers,” are now available via eBay.

First is the above photo, an original vintage picture from the renowned Lester Glassner collection; the seller promises more Lombard originals in the future, in contrast to earlier reissue or re-strike items that were available. This measures 7 1/4″ x 9 1/2″ (no information is on the back), is in very fine condition, and can be bought straight up for $149.95…or you can make an offer. Learn all the details at

The other pic is a 1970s reissue from Glassner, also from “Safety In Numbers”:

carole lombard 2358a

Note the “1249” code for the movie — as Lombard had not yet been signed to a full Paramount contract, she had not been assigned a “P” (player) number. Carole looks silky and stylish in this 8″ x 10″ single-weight, in very fine condition. This also is a buy-or-make-offer item, though the asking price is only $19.95. Find out more by going to

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Posted December 30, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Making a ‘True Confession’ in Westwood   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.29 at 20:57

Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

For those of you in the Los Angeles area whose appetite for Carole Lombard films is never whetted, good news. Next Sunday, Lombard’s last film for Paramount, the 1937 comedy “True Confession,” will be shown at UCLA’s Billy Wilder Theater as the second half of a screwball double bill beginning at 7 p.m. with Irene Dunne’s 1936 gem, “Theodora Goes Wild.” (Oh, by the way, that’s Lombard, Fred MacMurray, screenwriter Claude Binyon, director Wesley Ruggles and Una Merkel chowing down.)

Since comedy is contagious, films such as these are invariably better enjoyed in a theater environment; find out for yourself. More information on the event can be found at

Truth be told, the Wilder will have plenty of goodies for classic film buffs in upcoming weeks. For example…

…if you’ve heard about Clara Bow but have never seen her at work on the big screen, you’ll have your chance starting Friday and continuing through Feb. 10. Ten complete Bow films, plus fragments of movies that for now are sadly lost, will be shown, in a program aided by David Stenn, author of “Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild.” (He’ll be on hand for Friday’s opener, a double bill of “Call Her Savage” and “Hoop-La.” You’ll come to enjoy Clara’s vivacity that still shines after more than 80 years. See the schedule and learn more at

But wait, there’s more. The transition from silent to sound was anything but smooth, and you can get a feel for what it was like in the series “Silent/Sync/Sound: Multiple Versions from the Transition Era,” running from Jan. 12 to Feb. 17.

Among the films to be shown is “Dynamite” (1929), which Lombard fans know as the film she was dismissed from by director Cecil B. De Mille after a few days. It was made in silent and sound versions, and you can see both on Jan. 13. Stenn will be back Jan. 18 to introduce silent and sound versions of Bow’s 1930 vehicle “True To The Navy,” and on Feb. 16 compare and contrast an early Frank Capra film, “Rain Or Shine,” in silent and sound. The complete schedule for the event — which kicks off with “All Quiet On The Western Front” — is at

It all adds up to a delicious winter in Westwood.

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Posted December 29, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Elegance…and not just ‘In Name Only’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.28 at 09:47

Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard rko 1939 alex kahle 02a front

Elegance was the dominant theme of Carole Lombard’s publicity portraits for RKO when she joined the studio in 1939. Yes, she occasionally was photographed in casual wear, but at age 30 and now a genuine top-tier star, she could call the shots (pardon the photographic pun) in a way she never could at Paramount. The portrait above, taken by Alex Kahle in conjunction with her first film at RKO, “In Name Only,” is an example of the new, dramatic-oriented Lombard.

Moreover, we learn what she’s wearing from the snipe in the back, straight from that notorious RKO studio typewriter:

carole lombard rko 1939 alex kahle 02a back

An Irene design…no surprise there.

This glossy, measuring 7 1/2″ x 9 1/4″, is being sold at eBay for $150. Get more information at

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Posted December 28, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Deux ‘pressbooks,’ en francais   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.27 at 20:17

Current mood: calmcalm

carole lombard white woman 02acarole lombard in name only 09c

“White Woman” and “In Name Only” wouldn’t appear to have much in common other than starring Carole Lombard, but in today’s entry they do, because pressbooks for both are available. Mind you, to best appreciate both books it would help to have at least a smattering of knowledge of French, because that’s the language both books are in.

carole lombard white woman pressbook french 00a

The “White Woman” pressbook, here named “Le Fou Des Iles” (“Fool Of The Islands”), features a misspelled Laughton and several stills blended into a composite. It’s in very good condition, and can be bought for $49. Learn more at

The pressbook for “In Name Only” also has a different title en francais...

carole lombard in name only french pressbook 00a

…”L’Autre” (“The Other”).

From the same seller as the “White Woman” pressbook, this will run you $60. If interested, visit

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Posted December 27, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Plan to roam to Rome next August?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.26 at 15:26

Current mood: cheerfulcheerful

Rome, N.Y., that is, site of the annual Capitolfest, which bills itself as “Central New York’s 35mm silent and early talkie film festival.” Capitolfest 11 is set for Aug. 9 to 11, 2013, and the featured star is none other than Carole Lombard, as we learned a few months ago (

It’s still early in the scheduling process, but we already know of two Lombard films that will be shown at Capitolfest. One is “It Pays To Advertise,” shown above; the other, to be seen in a restored print from Disney’s labs some years back, is “Nothing Sacred” — something relatively few of us have seen on a big screen in its full Technicolor glory:

Carole’s Capitolfest films will focus “on the period before she became a major star, showcasing her in a few Mack Sennett comedies, some Paramount features.” So expect to see some movies that are all but impossible to find via an authorized DVD release.

More titles, for Lombard and the rest of the program, will be announced in coming weeks. You can follow it by going to the festival’s Facebook page,

There’s a lot to like about Capitolfest, as event officials aim to live up to its slogan — “a vacation, not a marathon.” At Capitolfest, “we seek to make this fun film weekend as relaxing as possible, with ample intermissions and dinner breaks.”

You may want to work a vacation around Capitolfest, as summertime in upstate New York is beautiful. You can go north to the Adirondacks, west to Syracuse and then the Finger Lakes, or south to the lovely village of Cooperstown, home of picturesque Otsego Lake and the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum:

But if all that isn’t enough to persuade you to see Lombard with a Roman twist, here’s the clincher: You can also meet the Capitol theater’s mascot, Kallie the calico cat:

If she can’t seal the deal, who can?

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Posted December 26, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A Christmas Carole (and company), part 3   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.25 at 01:11

Current mood: peacefulpeaceful

carole lombard christmas 03a

For the past two years, our Christmas Day entry has featured a Carole Lombard holiday photo along with several Christmas-themed pics from her friends and contemporaries. We continue that tradition this year, with the Lombard image one from 1927 or ’28, when she was working for Mack Sennett and Pathe and was more renowned for her figure and legs than any inherent acting ability. (That would soon change.)

So there’s Carole…now let’s get to the “company.” We’ll begin with a few of Lombard’s friend Jean Harlow, first from Christmas 1933…

christmas jean harlow 1933

…then, Christmas 1934…

christmas jean harlow 1934a

…and from the last Christmas Jean would live to see, 1936:

christmas jean harlow 1936

Here’s Harlow as holiday hostess:

christmas jean harlow dinner 00a

Now, some Christmas photos from some other stars of the era. You don’t think Bette Davis would pose for a shot like this, but she did — and it’s charming:

christmas bette davis 00a

How about a Marxist Christmas with the one, the only — Groucho? Hooray for Santa Spalding, hooray, hooray, hooray…

christmas groucho marx 00a

The still-blonde Joan Bennett, cat in lap and Christmas storybook in hand:

christmas joan bennett 00

Now, another Joan (Crawford), admiring a holiday wreath:

christmas joan crawford 01

Meanwhile, MGM cohort Hedy Lamarr is photographed within a wreath:

christmas hedy lamarr 00

Alice Faye is photographed with gifts at the door; are they for Tony Martin or Phil Harris?

christmas alice faye 00

Paulette Goddard under the Christmas tree (though we don’t know whether it’s at Charlie Chaplin’s residence or Burgess Meredith’s):

christmas paulette goddard 00

Anyone want to get in a snowball fight with a young Rita Hayworth?

christmas rita hayworth 00a

MGM starlet Virginia Grey serves up some 1935 cheesecake:

christmas virginia grey 1935

Let’s go back to the ’20s for Christmas publicity, such as Louise Brooks with a tiny holiday tree:

christmas louise brooks 00

Nancy Carroll, one of the first stars of the sound era, hugs a teddy instead of wearing one:

christmas nancy carroll 00a

As for Norma Shearer, she made the transition to talkies and became a pre-Code favorite:

christmas norma shearer 00a

And Rin Tin Tin, for a time Warners’ biggest star of the silent era, celebrated Christmas too:

christmas rin tin tin 1927a

Here are a few multiple star shots — first, Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, presumably for the Christmas-themed “Remember The Night”:

christmas barbara stanwyck fred macmurray 00

From “The Shop Around The Corner,” James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan decorate a store window:

christmas james stewart margaret sullavan the shop around the corner 00

And from a 1932 Christmas party, two actors whom I always link to each other…Ginger Rogers and Boris Karloff:

christmas ginger rogers boris karloff 1932

To close, two Christmas photos of Los Angeles. First, from 1937, Santa and his reindeer over Wilshire Boulevard, looking east:

christmas 1937 wilshire boulevard eastbound

This is a recent photo of Union Station, but it probably had a similar feel during its first Christmas in 1939:

christmas los angeles union station 00

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas as part of your faith, I think nearly all of us would echo the thought of peace on earth that the holiday has come to symbolize. So as the song goes, have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

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Posted December 25, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

So slim, so blonde, so lovely   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.24 at 00:17

Current mood: artisticartistic

carole lombard 1933 rotogravure large

It’s three Carole Lombard photos in one as part of this rotogravure montage from 1933. (Actually, the term “rotogravure” is usually synonymous with newspapers; this sepia image measures 8.25″ x 11.25″, and I’m going to guess this came from a magazine.)

The dominant photo was taken by Eugene Robert Richee, while the second pic shows off Carole’s sexiness and the third salutes the work of plastic surgeons to repair Lombard following her 1926 automobile accident. And Carole would indeed work with George Raft in 1934 — but in “Bolero,” not “All Of Me.”

This page is rated in very fine+ condition, making it suitable for framing. You can buy it straight up for $45.95 or make an offer; the auction ends at 5:06 p.m. (Eastern) Christmas Day. Learn more by visiting

Posted December 24, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Motion Picture, April 1931: Hollywood vs. the Corn Belt   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.23 at 20:13

Current mood: cynicalcynical

carole lombard twentieth century 024a banned front large
carole lombard twentieth century 024a banned back stamp large

Calls for censorship eventually led to strict enforcement of the Production Code not long after Carole Lombard’s breakthrough film “Twentieth Century” (from which the above promotional photo was rejected by Joseph Breen) was released in the spring of 1934. Some censorship came from state boards (, but some of it was self-imposed by Hollywood itself for commercial reasons. The following article, “Are Movies Run By The Middle West?” by Helen Louise Walker, from the April 1931 issue of Motion Picture magazine, provides considerable insight into how the industry viewed the heartland:

motion picture april 1931 are movies run by the middle west 00a
motion picture april 1931 are movies run by the middle west 01a
motion picture april 1931 are movies run by the middle west 02a

That article is chock full of pointed darts about the inhabitants of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and environs, and one wonders what they thought of it. Alas, we apparently will never know. While Motion Picture had a “letters to the editor” section, most of the letters consisted of comments about specific stars (e.g., Garbo vs. Dietrich). Few, if any, letters dealt with articles from prior issues — and a check of the next few issues of Motion Picture revealed no followups to “Are Movies Run By The Middle West?” Pity.

Oh, and as for “Twentieth Century”? It drew rave reviews from the trade press (such as the Hollywood Reporter) and New York papers and was well-attended in big cities…

carole lombard twentieth century 041334 hollywood reporter larger
carole lombard twentieth century 050934 hollywood reporter reviews

…it did middling business in “the sticks.”

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Posted December 23, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Motion Picture, February 1931: Those picture-house pests   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2012.12.22 at 20:21

Current mood: amusedamused

This week, we’ve run some Carole Lombard items from the online archive of Motion Picture magazine, and here’s more good news on that front: It’s now part of the Media History Digital Library, alongside Photoplay, Picture Play and other publications. Just go to, and immerse yourself in classic Hollywood.

Here’s an amusing two-page spread featuring Lombard and Paramount cohorts Stu Erwin and Skeets Gallagher from the February 1931 issue. Have problems going to the multiplex today, as annoying cellphone users, texters and the like spoil your film-going experience? Well, life for movie fans could be just as annoying more than 80 years ago, even without the use of high-tech gadgets, as these poses taken by Otto Dyar prove:

carole lombard motion picture feb 1931 there ought to be a law 00a
carole lombard motion picture feb 1931 there ought to be a law 01a

Two of Carole’s films, “Man Of The World” and “It Pays To Advertise,” were reviewed in the May 1931 issue:

carole lombard motion picture may 1931 reviews large

Two future Lombard friends gained pictorial recognition in Motion Picture about this time. Check out this sublime photo of Jean Harlow, from March 1931:

jean harlow motion picture march 1931a

The then-seductive Myrna Loy, like Harlow not yet arrived at MGM, received a two-page spread in the same issue:

We’ll have more goodies from Motion Picture –– including some fascinating articles on the film industry at the time — over the next few weeks.

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Posted December 22, 2012 by vp19 in Uncategorized