Archive for July 2013

Prepare to get ‘Under the Stars’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.07.31 at 17:47
Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard made for each other 25a
tcm summer under the stars 01a

What October is to baseball fans or January to pro football fans, so has August become over the past decade for classic movie fans thanks to Turner Classic Movies’ now-annual month-long promotion, “Summer Under The Stars” — with each of the 31 days devoted to 24 hours’ worth of a particular star. It’s been a favorite of TCM fans in the U.S. (and Canada too, although occasionally TCM will have to make a substitution north of the border as a result of rights issues).

Carole Lombard was among the featured artists two years ago, and she appears in just one film slated for airing this month — “Made For Each Other,” which will run at 2:45 p.m. (Eastern) Aug. 24, as part of a day-long salute to the fine character actor Charles Coburn (pictured above with Carole and child). But Lombard worked at one time or another with many of this year’s honorees; heck, she even married one of them.

For this year’s SUTS, TCM is employing star silhouettes as the angle, as in this promo:

tcm summer under the stars promo 2013

Here’s the schedule:

1. Humphrey Bogart
2. Doris Day
3. Alec Guinness
4. Mary Boland
5. Charlton Heston
6. Joan Fontaine
7. Fred MacMurray
8. Ramon Novarro
9. Steve McQueen
10. Lana Turner
11. Henry Fonda
12. Catherine Deneuve
13. Mickey Rooney
14. Bette Davis
15. Gregory Peck
16. Ann Blyth
17. Wallace Beery
18. Natalie Wood
19. Randolph Scott
20. Hattie McDaniel
21. William Holden
22. Maggie Smith
23. Elizabeth Taylor
24. Charles Coburn
25. Clark Gable
26. Jeanne Crain
27. Martin Balsam
28. Shirley Jones
29. Glenda Farrell
30. Kirk Douglas
31. Rex Harrison

Some complain TCM relies too much on the tried and true during SUTS, but if I were running the channel I’d probably blend the familiar with the “obscure,” too. Humphrey Bogart kicks things off with a dozen of his best-known films from 1941 on, and the Doris Day slate for the 2nd includes 13 favorites, including her debut, “Romance On The High Seas” (though none are the early ’60s “sex comedies” for which she may be most famous).

doris day romance on the high seas 00a

However, more than half this year’s honorees are first-timers, including the likes of the aforementioned Coburn, Mary Boland, Mickey Rooney (hard to believe he’d not yet been part of SUTS!), Maggie Smith, Natalie Wood, Hattie McDaniel as the de facto “minority” representative and Ramon Novarro, representing the silent era. And TCM puts a different spin on some of its favorites; for example, when Bette Davis is honored on the 14th, the focus largely will be on her oft-overlooked films of the ’30s.

bette davis 03a scotty welbourne

One day I’m especially looking forward to is the 29th, when the spotlight turns to Glenda Farrell, one of the great corps of actors Warners maintained throughout the ’30s. There’s lots of Glenda goodness all day long, including several Torchy Blane movies and “Kansas City Princess,” which she made with real-life pal Joan Blondell (a first-time SUTS honoree two years ago):

glenda farrell joan blondell kansas city princess 00a

For the entire schedule, visit — and plan your schedule accordingly.

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Posted July 31, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

More from Mr. Welles   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.07.30 at 14:07
Current mood: enviousenvious

carole lombard rko 1939 alex kahle 02a front
orson welles rko 00aNearly a month and a half ago, we provided segments of an upcoming book on recorded conversations with one of Carole Lombard’s friends at RKO, Orson Welles ( Comments Orson made regarding Carole and other Hollywood notables, issued in advance of the book’s release earlier this month, caused a furor around the blogosphere.

my lunches with orson 00a

Now the book, “My Lunches With Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom And Orson Welles,” edited by Peter Biskind, has been released — and to borrow the advertising slogan used in Welles’ cinematic landmark, “Citizen Kane,” it’s terrific. Not the most factual of books, nor the most soothing or sympathetic portrayal of this multimedia genius, but terrific just the same. This aging lion, wounded by Hollywood yet still trying to put all sorts of movie projects together despite lacking money, is a riveting raconteur…at times incredibly perceptive, at others merely an expert at shoveling bull.

Welles has a little bit more to say about Lombard beyond his controversial allegation that the plane she was aboard in 1942 was shot down by Nazi snipers, a claim that seems dubious at best.

O.W.: I remember when [Clark] Gable made a picture called ‘Parnell,’ a costume picture. Nineteen thirty-seven, with Myrna Loy. Nobody came. They released it toempty theaters! Proving that there’s no such thing as the star who can’t empty a theater. I think it was the only MGM film that lost money. Not that it mattered to [Louis B.] Mayer. Money was almost no object to Metro, ’cause they couldn’t lose money.
H.J.: You mean the way they had the distribution set up, owning the theaters, they were so locked in that–
O.W.: And when I learned to fly, I flew with Carole over Metro, at lunchtime. We buzzed the commissary, just as everyone was coming out, and she dropped leaflets that said, “Remember ‘Parnell'”! That’s the kind of girl she was.

myrna loy clark gable parnell 00a

Get the bull detectors out, folks. The “Parnell” anecdote has long been part of Lombard lore (it well may be apochryphal), but no one has ever said Welles was part of it. And if the incident ever took place, it would have been in the latter part of 1937 or early in 1938...when Orson spent most or all of his time in New York, directing or performing on the stage or on radio. (Welles earlier says he did some stage work in Los Angeles before Irving Thalberg’s death in 1936, but added he never met the man, whom he had little regard for.)

Back to the conversation:

H.J.: [Lombard] looked to me like kind of a road-company Garbo.
O.W.: Not at all Garboesque! My God, she was earthy. She looked like a great beauty, but she behaved like a waitress in a hash house. That was her style of acting, too, and it had a great allure. She wasn’t vulgar; she was just… I got to know her when I had to make peace between her and Charles Laughton. I was sort of an emissary for Laughton. They were making a picture called ‘They Knew What They Wanted,’ about an Italian vintner who gets a mail-order wife, played by Lombard, you know? The movie was directed by Garson Kanin. Laughton was the simple Italian peasant. He would come down to my office, and sit down across the desk from me, and put his head on the desk and cry.
H.J.: Laughton?
O.W.: In the middle of the day. Said, “I can’t go on the way they’re making fun of me on the set.” ‘Cause they were sending him up so. And then I would go and talk to Gar, and talk to Carole, and say, “You know, he is a great actor. Take it easy with him. You’re gonna ruin your own picture.”

carole lombard they knew what they wanted 15b

One’s tempted to believe Welles’ “I got to know her” comment negates what he just said about “Parnell,” but we’ll give Orson the benefit of the doubt on that one. The rest of that block makes sense…and as for the “road-company Garbo” remark, perhaps Jaglom had been a bit confused about her after watching “The Princess Comes Across.” He certainly seems confused after making this statement, which Welles refutes and then follows with a comment about Gable:

H.J.: Now, Lombard could not have been very bright.
Very bright. Brighter than any director she ever worked with. She had all the ideas. Jack Barrymore told me the same thing. He said, “I’ve never played with an actress so intelligent in my life.”
H.J.: But Gable was certainly not bright.
O.W.: No, but terribly nice. Just a nice big hunk of man. If you’re working hard that long — if you have to be in makeup at five-fifteen, and you get home at seven o’clock — how much brightness do you want? The guys just wanted to stagger home — and, if they could, get laid. Otherwise, a happy smile and get ready for the next day’s work.

Carole also figures into this comment of his, regarding his movie-going days in the 1930s:

“I didn’t like the screwball comedies at all, with the exception of Carole Lombard. Anything with her — that was fine.”

Welles has some other notable things to say about his contemporaries:

orson welles rita hayworth the lady from shanghai 00a

* Of ex-wife Rita Hayworth, whom he directed in “The Lady From Shanghai,” he says “she was a really talented actress who never got a chance,” adding they still had affection for each other following their divorce. “When I almost died of hepatitis, she spent five months with me while I recovered. And she never did anything except take care of me.”

* His thoughts on Frank Capra:

O.W.: The only really bad Capra picture I’ve ever seen is this ‘Shangri-La.’ It’s terrible — terrible. Absurd! I screamed with laughter! Shangri-La, where they were kept, was this sort of Oriental country club. Still, I was a great Capra fan.
H.J.: ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ You want to hate it, but–
O.W.: Well, yes — hokey. It is sheer Norman Rockwell, from the beginning to the end. But you cannot resist it! There’s no way of hating that movie.

* Welles said he rejected performing in “Anna And The King Of Siam” (a part that went to Rex Harrison) “because I couldn’t stand Irene Dunne, who had already been cast. That’s why I turned down ‘Gaslight,’ too. She was going to do it. And then after I turned it down, they got [Ingrid] Bergman and I was out.” Why such antipathy for Dunne?

“Irene Dunne was so dry-toothed and such a good fucking Catholic that I wanted to kick her in the crotch. Such a goody-goody. And she was always heading the censorship groups. and all that. Conservative, in a terrible Catholic-Christian way that I found peculiarly offensive. To me, she was the non-singing Jeanette MacDonald, you know., And I hated her as an actress. She was so ladylike that I knew there wouldn’t be any electricity between us.”

Interesting that Welles lambastes Dunne for her ultra-Catholic behavior but says nothing about Loretta Young (with whom he worked in “The Stranger”), whose detractors tend to paint with the same brush.

* While Welles noted he got along well with several conservative film personalities such as John Wayne and John Ford, one he had little affection for (calling him a “raving maniac”) was right-winger Adolphe Menjou. Welles tells an anecdote about a USO troupe Menjou headed in north Africa during World War II, at a time Noel Coward was heading its UK equivalent. They met at a mess hall in Casablanca, and Menjou criticized the many trysts black American soldiers were having with English girls (although Menjou used the “n”-word), saying you didn’t know what race would result from such miscegenation. Coward called it “perfectly marvelous,” which infuriated Menjou. According to Welles, Coward replied, “At last there’ll be a race of Englishmen with good teeth.”

I simply can’t say enough about this book, as Welles proves himself a 20th-century Falstaff (a role he played in the 1966 movie “Chimes At Midnight”) — comedic, at times absurd, but surprising you with his depth when you least expect it. Orson regularly appears in lists of people from history you’d like to invite for dinner…but lunch will do just fine, thank you. We’re delighted Welles and Jaglom brought us to the table.

orson welles henry jaglom 00a

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Posted July 30, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Two for the ‘Show (Folks’)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.07.29 at 08:41
Current mood: awakeawake

carole lombard show folks 07c front

The other day, we noted that the 1928 Pathe silent “Show Folks” was selected to fill out the schedule at next week’s annual Capitolfest in Rome, N.Y., where Carole Lombard will be this year’s featured star ( Now, a pair of vintage, single-weight pictures from that film are up for auction at eBay — the image above that shows her with Eddie Quillan (an image that’s new to me) and this shot of Carole with Quillan and Lina Basquette:

carole lombard show folks 08a front

Both photos are 7.5″ x 9.5″, trimmed. Each is in very good condition.

Bidding on each photo opens at $24.95, and concludes just after 10:15 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. If interested in the top image, go to;for the bottom pic, visit

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Posted July 29, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Picture Play,’ November 1935: The jury’s out on beauty   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.07.28 at 18:14
Current mood: pleasedpleased

carole lombard picture play september 1935aa

That’s Carole (or as the magazine still referred to her at the time, “Carol”) Lombard, as featured in a Eugene Robert Richee portrait in the September 1935 issue ofPicture Play. It said of her,

“Beautiful Carol Lombard charms by her wit, her chic, and her increasing power as an artist. Give her any role within reason and she plays it well, but she is best as an ultra-modern searching for a happiness she cannot put into words. Slightly weary of it all, but humorous more than self-pitying. She is uniquely different and has never yet slighted a role nor been indifferent to advice or criticism. Carol’s tops!”

Two months later, Lombard was tops in the magazine in a different way, though it wasn’t via the cover — that belonged to Myrna Loy:

myrna loy picture play november 1935 cover large

Inside, Picture Play had a feature from Dorothy Wooldridge called “The Jury Of Beauty.” The theme? Twelve of the industry’s male “experts on feminine beauty” (including Mitchell Leisen, director of Lombard’s latest film, “Hands Across The Table,” gave their preferences in various categories among stars of the film community. By 2013 standards, that may well sound shallow and sexist, but it was a good way to provoke arguments at the office pool, beauty salon or bridge club.

Unfortunately, part of two facing pages have been clipped from this article; fortunately, only a minimal bit of copy and a photo or two was lost. It should also be noted that the only studio without a representative among the 12 was MGM, probably a result of studio policy. (Two members of the “jury” hailed from what had just become Twentieth Century-Fox, though the magazine referred to that studio as its pre-merger moniker of “Fox.”) Here are their observations:

carole lombard picture play november 1935aa
carole lombard picture play november 1935ba
carole lombard picture play november 1935ca
carole lombard picture play november 1935da
carole lombard picture play november 1935eb

As you can tell, Lombard fared well among the judges, who labeled hers the best body; she tied with Kay Francis for the best back and was even with Marlene Dietrich and Rosita Lawrence for best hands. And just in case you need proof of the beauty of Carole’s hands, they — not her face — were the subject of a Paramount picture, p1202-495:

carole lombard p1202-495

Some other thoughts:

* Despite the absence of an MGM-related judge, several of its stars won honors. Norma Shearer was judged to have the best hair, Joan Crawford tied Dietrich and Claudette Colbert for best ankles, and Jean Harlow shared best feet with Dietrich and Ginger Rogers. (Let’s hope they don’t stumble over each other.)

* Marlene won or tied in more categories than any other actress; in addition to the three above, she was judged as having the best legs. (Surprised?)

* Winners of two of the categories went against popular Hollywood legend. We’ve all heard of the glories of Myrna’s nose, but the judges picked…er, selected…Irene Dunne; Loy didn’t land a vote. And what about “Bette Davis Eyes”? Sorry, Jackie DeShannon (and Kim Carnes), but in 1935 Loretta Young’s eyes were deemed tops. Bette was blanked.

Earlier in ’35, Lombard was voted Hollywood’s best-dressed actress in at least one poll. Now, she was being honored for some other attributes.

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Posted July 28, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Lots up for auction   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.07.27 at 17:18
Current mood: productiveproductive

carole lombard william e. thomas 22a

Like that portrait of Carole Lombard? It’s from William E. Thomas during her Pathe days in 1929, and it’s one of the items being auctioned tomorrow through the site Profiles in History and its Hollywood Auction 56 ( It’s an 11″ x 14″ double-weight, gelatin silver print in fine condition.

Here are some other Lombard items being offered. How about this George Hurrell silver-matte portrait, signed “To Hedda…Love, Carole.” Hopper, perhaps?

carole lombard george hurrell 11

There’s a collection of 10 studio negatives of Carole, most of them from Paramount. Here are six of them:

carole lombard assorted 00
carole lombard assorted 01

If you think that’s a bunch, how about another collection being offered –– 52 vintage negatives, most taken by Otto Dyar or Eugene Robert Richee, including these nine:

carole lombard assorted 02
carole lombard assorted 03
carole lombard assorted 04

And here are two more signed Lombard photos, both to a “Bernice” — first a portrait from William Walling Jr. …

carole lombard autograph 83

…and one of Carole and second husband Clark Gable:

carole lombard autograph 84

Another firm, Heritage Auctions, has these two Lombard photos — Paramount p1202-1420…

carole lombard p1202-1420 front

…and a spooky shot from “Supernatural”:

carole lombard supernatural 24

They can be found at

Getting back to Profiles in History, it will have an auction of Lucille Ball memorabilia on Tuesday. Yes, there will be plenty of items from “I Love Lucy” and her television days (and no, there are no photos of Lucy with Lombard), but these are my favorites from collection — the documents that started it all for her, back in 1933. That July, Samuel Goldwyn sent Ball a message to head to Hollywood…

lucille ball 1933 goldwyn 00

…and in August, a modification of her contract loaning her out to Darryl F. Zanuck’s Twentieth Century Pictures (two years before its merger with Fox):

lucille ball 1933 goldwyn 01

Learn more about Lucy at

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Posted July 27, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Show’ places in the win column   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.07.26 at 08:52
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard show folks cast and crew 00a

Smile, you members of the “Show Folks” cast and crew (especially you, Carole Lombard)! Your film has been chosen by fans of Capitolfest to be added to this year’s festival in Rome, N.Y. (where Lombard is the featured star), replacing “Power,” another Pathe silent from 1928. “Show Folks” was selected over Carole’s second movie for Paramount, 1930’s “Fast And Loose,” which like “Power” will probably find its way to a future Capitolfest.

capitolfest 2013a

“Show Folks” will have accompaniment from Philip C. Carli; perhaps he’ll be using this cue sheet from the film’s original release:

carole lombard show folks cue sheet 00a

Here’s another artifact from the movie, a herald:

carole lombard show folks herald front large

(In his Lombard biography “Screwball,” Larry Swindell maintains that director Paul L. Stein’s repeated pawing of Carole on the set led her to learn profanity from her two older brothers as a way of warding off advances.)

The complete Capitolfest schedule is below; note that “Show Folks” will run at 7:20 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, following “The Campus Vamp,” a Lombard two-reeler from Mack Sennett. (Carole’s titles are in bold.)

Friday, August 9
noon Flaming Waters (FBO, 1926)
1:15 pm Along Came Ruth (Warner Bros./Vitaphone, 1933)
1:40 pm My Pal, the King (Universal, 1932)
3:10 pm DeForest Phonofilm: Casey At The Bat (192?)
3:20 pm DeForest Phonofilm: A Few Moments With Eddie Cantor (1923)
3:30 pm The Affair of Susan (Universal, 1935)
7 pm The Campus Vamp (Sennett/Pathe, 1928)
7:20 pm Show Folks (Pathe, 1928)
8:35 pm DeForest Phonofilm: President Coolidge Taken On The White House Grounds (1924)
8:40 pm DeForest Phonofilm: Ben Bernie And His Orchestra (192?)
8:55 pm Nothing Sacred (David O. Selznick/United Artists, 1937 — restored 35mm Technicolor print from the original negative)

Saturday, August 10
9:30 am From Hell to Heaven (Paramount, 1933)
11:05 am Don’t Weaken (Rolin/Pathe, 1920)
11:20 am DeForest Phonofilm: Webeer And Fields In Their Famous Poolroom Scene (1925)
11:40 am The Cohens and Kellys in Africa (Universal, 1931)
2:10 pm Lon Chaney Fragment: A Mother’s Atonement (Rex/Universal, 1915)
2:40 pm Lon Chaney Fragment: The Place Beyond the Winds (Red Feather/Universal, 1916)
3:45 pm Broadway Love (Bluebird/Universal, 1918)
4:55 pm DeForest Phonofilm: Sissle & Blake (1923)
5 pm Mr. Lemon of Orange (Fox, 1931, a rare El Brendel vehicle)
8 pm Assistant Wives (Hal Roach, 1927)
8:20 pm The Showdown (Paramount, 1928)
9:55 pm DeForest Phonofilm: Cohen On The Telephone (c. 1923)
10 pm DeForest Phonofilm: Eubie Blake Plays His Fantasy On “Swanee River” (1923)
10:10 pm The Night Ride (Universal, 1930)

Sunday, August 11
9:30 am DeForest Phonofilm: Abbie Mitchell In Songs Of Yesterday (c. 1925)
9:45 am Captain of the Guard (Universal, 1930)
11:25 am The Bicycle Flirt (Sennett/Pathe, 1928)
11:45 am The Bedroom Window (William C. DeMille/Paramount, 1924)
2:10 pm Voice of Hollywood #12 (Tec-Art/Tiffany, 1931)
2:30 pm It Pays to Advertise (Paramount, 1931)
3:40 pm Jack Theakston’s Short Subject Follies
4:50 pm The Dancing Town (Paramount Pictures, 1928)
5:10 pm The Cruise of the Jasper B (William C. DeMille/PDC, 1926)

A delightful lineup — not only are there seven Lombard films (including the Sennett shorts and her appearance in the “Voice Of Hollywood” episode), but nine rarely seen pre-Vitaphone “Phonofilms,” including two with the legendary Eubie Blake…not to mention portions of a pair of early Lon Chaney performances!

capitol theatre rome ny 01a

For more on Capitolfest, including information on tickets and accommodations, visit

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Posted July 26, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Wait…only six stranded castaways?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.07.25 at 00:41
Current mood: sillysilly

carole lombard we're not dressing 19a

Yep, this ain’t no kitschy ’60s TV show, just a kitschy ’30s musical comedy. Specifically, it’s Carole Lombard and Bing Crosby heading an offbeat cast in 1934’s “We’re Not Dressing,” a loose (very loose!) adaptation of the venerable tale “The Admirable Crichton.” The shipwrecked sextet — from left, Leon Errol, Ethel Merman, Crosby, Ray Milland, Lombard and Jay Henry — mull their fate on this deserted island…little knowing that they’d soon meet scientists (of a sort) George Burns and Gracie Allen, researching the local flora and fauna, or that sailor Bing would round his wealthy, dissolute companions into shape (especially haughty heiress Carole).

This vintage photo, one that’s new to me, is up for auction at eBay. It’s 8″ x 10″, in good condition (there are some pinholes and creases at the corners and some minor wear to the surface). Bids start at $9.99, and bidding closes at 9:09 p.m. (Eastern) next Wednesday.

Interested in this apparently rare item from this goofy pre-Code musical, the only on-screen teaming of Lombard and Crosby? Then go to

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Posted July 24, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized