Archive for April 2013

Built for the box office   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.23 at 00:44
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard no one man 21a

As 1932 began, Carole Lombard had a lot riding on her new film, “No One Man.” It was the first time Paramount had given her top billing, and it was an adaptation of a story by popular writer Rupert Hughes. Moreover, the studio was giving her a publicity push — perhaps not up to the level of studio stablemate Miriam Hopkins, but considerable nonetheless.

You can see what we mean by the following trade ad:

carole lombard no one man motion picture herald 011632a

Lombard was praised for having “the ‘it’ that gets ‘them’,” for combining “personality and beauty,” and for being “built for the box office.” (And, dare we say it, other things.)

This ad ran in the Jan. 16, 1932 Motion Picture Herald, alongside ads for other notable films of the time, such as “Shanghai Express”…

motion picture herald 011632a shanghai express

…”One Hour With You”…

motion picture herald 011632a one hour with you

…and “Prestige”:

motion picture herald 011632a prestige

This issue came from the Fox studio library (long before 20th Century and Darryl F. Zanuck came on the scene), and it can be yours. It’s being auctioned at eBay, with a minimum bid of $5; bidding closes at 5:17 p.m. (Eastern) May 2. For additional information or to bid, visit

As for “No One Man,” it’s one of Carole’s weakest films…but she would get other chances to top the bill.

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Posted April 22, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

What backs a ‘Man Of The World’? Linen!   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.22 at 00:22
Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard man of the world 15a

OK, in this case, the “man” is actually Carole Lombard, showing off what’s chic in fashion for the spring of 1931 in conjunction with the Paramount film “Man Of The World.” But the portrait’s an original, measuring 7 3/4″ x 9 3/4″, in very good condition, and is linen-backed. It’s also an image of Lombard I’ve never run across before.

If you’d like to own it, bids start at $9.99 (none have been made as of this writing) and bids close at 7:08 p.m. (Eastern) next Sunday. To place a bid or find out more, go to

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Posted April 21, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Could Carole have dreamt of Manderley again?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.21 at 17:51
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard mr. & mrs. smith 13a

Carole Lombard worked with Alfred Hitchcock (and even directed his cameo) in the 1941 comedy “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” But perhaps, just perhaps, they might have collaborated on one of Hitch’s most famous projects.

Or at least that’s a possible inference from reading one of Hollywood’s better-known columnists.

I give you Hearst’s Louella Parsons, from the Sept. 3, 1938 Milwaukee Sentinel:

carole lombard 090338 milwaukee sentinel

Reading the piece, note Hitchcock’s name is nowhere to be found. While several of his British films, such as “The 39 Steps,” had won popular and critical success in America, he had yet to make a movie on this side of the pond. It’s hard for us to imagine a “Rebecca” directed by someone other than Hitchcock, but at this early stage one doubts Selznick had any particular director in mind for the project. (Of course, in late summer of 1938, David O.’s mind was preoccupied with adapting another novel to film.)

And Lombard as star of “Rebecca”? She had just come off a Selznick success in “Nothing Sacred” and was about to make another for him in “Made For Each Other,” so it’s natural they would have been linked together professionally. One might also read this as a consolation prize for Carole for missing out on the role of Scarlett O’Hara…but then again, was she a serious candidate for that role in the first place?

rebecca 00

Given Parsons’ hit-and-miss batting average on industry scoops, casting Lombard as the second Mrs. de Winter might not have worked; despite Carole’s ability as a dramatic actress, the public might not have bought her for a lead in a movie Photoplay deemed “a strange mixture of mystery, melodrama, scenic effects and pathos.” Joan Fontaine (shown with George Sanders and Judith Anderson) got the part and fit the film’s Gothic atmosphere beautifully. (And since she was a month or so away from turning 30, Lombard might have been considered too old for the part.)

“Rebecca” would win the 1940 Academy Award for best picture (the only one of Hitch’s films so honored) and for cinematography. As for Carole, she had to settle for being America’s second Hitchcock blonde.

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Posted April 21, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Otto-matic   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.20 at 09:25
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

Like his Paramount cohort Eugene Robert Richee, Otto Dyar helped define Carole Lombard’s look in the early 1930s — at times sultry, sexy, glamorous and elegant (sometimes all of them simultaneously). The following portrait is a splendid example of Dyar’s handiwork:

carole lombard otto dyar 04a front

Carole applies a sly, welcoming smile, a shapely leg and a seductive pose — resist her power at your own peril. That image is from an original photo, as proven by the studio stamp on the back:

carole lombard otto dyar 04a back

While there is no p1202 code number shown, it looks to be from the same 1931 session that produced p1202-148:

carole lombard p1202-148a

Save for some light wear on the corners, this 8″ x 10″ photo appears in excellent shape. It’s being auctioned at eBay, with a minimum bid of $50; bids close at 10:47 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. Bid or find out more at

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Posted April 20, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Motion Picture, February 1937: At home, the forecast is balmy   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.19 at 09:47
Current mood: giddygiddy

carole lombard hollywood boulevard home 01c
carole lombard bel air house postcard 00 large

When 1937 began, it had been several months since Carole Lombard had occupied her famed house on Hollywood Boulevard, as she had found it just a little too open for her to carry on her public, yet discreet, relationship with Clark Gable. So she moved to a more secluded site in Bel-Air (bottom)…but while her new digs didn’t have the renown of her earlier abode, it remained headquarters for Lombard’s lively personality.

For proof, check out this article from the February 1937 issue of Motion Picture magazine:

carole lombard motion picture february 1937aa
carole lombard motion picture february 1937ba
carole lombard motion picture february 1937ca
carole lombard motion picture february 1937da

This tour of Carole’s crazy home life, with old friend “Fieldsie” as the guide, makes for delightful reading — especially the segment about her menagerie. Lombard was definitely an animal lover (heck, her cat Josephine even slept with the dogs).

The piece also discusses how Carole’s party-giving habits had changed from throwing large parties to more informal ones, infused with her ever-active imagination. We also learn Lombard had become a big fan of radio, and that she loved to play gags (I think we can guess the recipient in the third-from-last paragraph).

All in all, a vivid portrait. Wish we’d been there.

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Posted April 19, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Comparing figures? Check out the Slate   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.18 at 09:18
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard swimsuit 02

It’s hardly a secret that Carole Lombard looked luscious in a swimsuit, but just how did her figure compare to that of her contemporaries in the industry? We get a bit of an answer through an article from the March 1931 issue of Photoplay magazine recently retrieved from history via the Slate website (, with the aid of the Media History Digital Library.

Writer Anne Helen Petersen notes, “To a modern viewer sensitive to body issues, this article seems abhorrent -— the four ‘judges’ are explicitly assessing women’s measurements.” (True, but a similar article written in the 1950s, when even more focus was placed on these criteria and “superstructure” was a term often used to describe the physique of a buxom actress, would have taken the issue even further.)

Here’s the story…and the winner:

photoplay march 1931aa
photoplay march 1931ba
photoplay march 1931ca
photoplay march 1931da
photoplay march 1931ea

Truth be told, Carole doesn’t figure much into this story, pardon the pun. In early 1931, Lombard was just getting started at Paramount, and only appears as one of 21 stars whose measurements were listed. She’s listed at 5-foot-6, which if true would tie her for second tallest with Greta Garbo, an inch shorter than Kay Francis. That doesn’t seem right to anyone who’s seen Carole on screen with Kay…though if the shoe measurements were accurate, they could trade their pairs of 4Cs, and even get Betty Compson into the mix. At this stage of her career, Lombard likely was happy just being listed in such rarefied air.

The winner, Dolores Del Rio, was of Hispanic descent, with some success in the late silent era. She successfully transitioned into talkies, although like Anna May Wong and fellow Hispanic Lupe Velez, ethnicity limited her appeal in the sound era. She had a fuller figure that, according to Petersen, “challenged the standard emulated by (white) stars of the time,” such as Marion Davies or Constance Bennett.

If Petersen is attempting to make Del Rio an early 1930s precursor of Jennifer Lopez, I’m not buying it. However, she might be right in saying this was a reaction to the boyish “flapper” look of the 1920s. As Adele Whitely Fletcher wrote in 1931, “The general notion of what is a good figure no longer seems to be what it was a year or more ago, influenced by the unsound fad which glorified boyish forms. Mrs. and Miss America survived on lamb chops and pineapple, oranges and lettuce.” In that vein, it would be little different than the rise of James Cagney and Clark Gable in 1931, both of whom were a distinct stylistic difference from the likes of silent heartthrobs John Gilbert, Ramon Novarro and Rudolph Valentino.

Lombard herself had experienced these changes in body ideals. Compare the swimsuit pic at the top of this entry to this 1927 image of Carole as a member of Mack Sennett’s troupe:

carole lombard the girl from everywhere 00b

A Sennett girl had to be shapely, not sleek, and Lombard was encouraged to gain a few pounds to better fill out a swimsuit, thus briefly earning her the tag “Carole of the curves” (sort of an anti-flapper). Upon leaving Sennett for Pathe, she temporarily shed those extra pounds, the tag and, even temporarily, the “e” in Carole (but that’s another story). By 1930, the lithe Lombard figure — in tune with that of her contemporaries — was here to stay.

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Posted April 18, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Hand colored, hand signed   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.04.17 at 02:19
Current mood: impressedimpressed

There are those who don’t care much for hand-colored pictures of vintage movie stars such as Carole Lombard, though it must be acknowledged that the best of them can be incredibly realistic. This portrait of Carole hardly meets such criteria…but it does feature her autograph, which more than makes up for it:

carole lombard autograph 79a

Of course, the next question is, is this the real deal? Let’s take a closer look:

carole lombard autograph 79a closeup

It’s signed “Cordially, Carole Lombard,” a frequent message of hers. It’s in green ink, generally (but not always) her preferred ink color. And the signature appears genuine (the seller says it’s not a reproduction). I deem it legit.

It’s 5.5″ x 7″, in excellent condition, and bidding begins at $125. Sold at that price, it would be a bargain, but since bids don’t close until 10:40 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday, expect the final price to be substantially higher.

You can bid — or learn more — by visiting

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Posted April 17, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized