Archive for September 2013

‘Married by chance,’ en espanol   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.30 at 06:15
Current mood: pensivepensive

carole lombard nmoho 0500b

She’s a small-town librarian; he’s a confidence man from the big city who wants to know her better. We know this scene as being from “No Man Of Her Own,” the only film Carole Lombard would make with future second husband Clark Gable. But if you saw this movie in Spain, or some other Spanish-speaking country, you would know it as…

carole lombard no man of her own spanish photoplay 00b

…”Casada Por Azar,” which translated into English reads “Married By Chance” (a more descriptive title for the film, in my opinion, but since this was derived from a book written by Val Lewton titled “No Bed Of Her Own,” probably not considered). Above is the cover for a Spanish-language photoplay of the movie; it’s 72 pages, including eight pages of pictures such as these:

carole lombard no man of her own spanish photoplay 02a
carole lombard no man of her own spanish photoplay 03a

The magazine measures 6.1″ x 8.5″; the seller (from Barcelona) describes it as being in “very good” condition — “The cover shows creases, some restored missing paper, something handwritten and some stains. The inner pages are yellowed, with some minor brown stains, and some of them are tape restored along edges. Slight wear along edges of the cover and the back, with some minor missing paper, tape restored inside. Some minor rests of dirt.”

It’s an interesting artifact from the film, and one would think some Gable or Lombard fan would want it for their collection. The item is selling for $32. If you’re interested, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/PO86-NO-MAN-OF-HER-OWN-CLARK-GABLE-CAROLE-LOMBARD-ORIG-VINTAGE-SPANISH-PHOTOPLAY-/151133892637?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item233048301d to buy or find out more.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 30, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

From Clark and Carole, an item of camp   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.29 at 02:02
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard clark gable 1940a duck hunting mexico front
carole lombard clark gable 1940a duck hunting oct 2 mexico ba

Carole Lombard and Clark Gable would spend less than three years as a married couple, but among the things they enjoyed doing was living the outdoor life. Now an artifact from that facet of their relationship is up for sale.

We’re referring to this portable Coleman stove owned by Gable, including a canvas bag with his initials:

carole lombard clark gable stove 01a
carole lombard clark gable stove 02a

There’s some history behind this stove, as the seller explains:

“This vintage Coleman camping stove belonged to legendary actor Clark Gable. It comes with a custom made case monogrammed ‘CG,’ letter of authenticity and photo of Gable and Lombard sitting on their truck. All of Gable’s hunting, camping and fishing equipment were in these monogrammed canvas cases.

“This lot of camping equipment was purchased at the 1994 Christie’s auction that was held by son John Clark Gable. Includes Letter of Authenticity. I purchased this from Sid Cahuenga’s at Disney Studios, then MGM studios (it still has the original tag on it). At that time they had many other items from this lot including a mess kit and tent stakes. Back in those days Sid’s carried mostly real film and actor memorabilia. They had a buyer which went to auctions and estate sales and resold at Sid’s.

“I was probably more of a Carole Lombard fan but was a fan of Gable because of what I had read in David Niven’s book, ‘Bring on the Empty Horses.’ Probably one of the best candid looks at old Hollywood. Anyway, since Gable and Lombard married during a break in the filming of ‘Gone with the Wind’ they never had a decent honeymoon.

“They took a 3-week vacation in February 1940 to Hattie Hamilton’s ranch in Baja Mexico in their truck with all of their hunting and fishing gear. On the way back from the ranch to an Ensenada Gun Club 115 miles away they went missing for 12 hours. The road washed out and they spent the night in a village. They bought lobster from the villagers and cooked them on this stove.

“No I can’t prove that but I read about this in a reliable biography. That is why I bought it. Gable’s golf clubs recently sold for $16,000. Most of his other stuff goes for over $1,000. I’m listing this for quick sale to someone who wants a cool piece of Gable/Lombard history.”

Imagine owning a stove on which Lombard cooked lobster.

Here not only is that letter of authenticity, but the photo of Clark and Carole, eager for adventure:

carole lombard clark gable stove 03b
carole lombard clark gable stove 00a

(Oh, and the seller also notes, “This thing is over 70 years old and has wear expected with same.” But I honestly don’t expect anyone who buys this stove will use it for actual camping.)

The “quick sale” price is $729, although you also can make an offer before the sale’s scheduled end at 5:59 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. Interested in owning this? Then go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-camping-stove-Make-an-Offer-/131004366448?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e8077fe70.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 29, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Dear (complete) diary   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.28 at 08:07
Current mood: thankfulthankful

carole lombard my man godfrey 075b

On Thursday, we ran an entry about the availability of one of the rarest promotional items from a Carole Lombard movie — the 12-page “Diary Of A Debutante” booklet created by Universal and distributed to theaters to promote “My Man Godfrey” (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/635990.html):

carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 00a

At the time, we ran its front and back covers, plus two of the 1nside pages. Today, thanks to the seller, we are able to run the booklet in full, so that classic film fans everywhere can view this amazing artifact from arguably the greatest of screwball comedies. Ladies and gentlemen, the inner thoughts of dizzy deb Irene Bullock (if you dare to wander there):

carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 01a
carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 02
carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 03
carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 04
carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 05

And finally, the back page of this exploitation extravaganza:

carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 06a

A fascinating look at the movie’s storyline from Irene’s point of view (and the “scrapbook” photos are a nice touch), but one wonders: Did this promotional piece have to pass muster with Joe Breen? There’s certainly a sensuality to her thoughts on Godfrey, almost to the point of, well, doing something no debutante in 1936 would dare admit, as her patronizing, possessive view of him evolves from pet to potential lover. As Boxoffice described it, this is indeed “a peppy little booklet.”

I thank the seller for making this 77-year-old item, unseen by all but a few for decades, available to the public — with a reminder that if you wish to make this “diary” your own, you can…but you’ll have to pay up (the opening bid is a whopping $3,500, and bidding is set to end Wednesday). All the info is athttp://www.ebay.com/itm/MY-MAN-GODFREY-CAROLE-LOMBARD-1936-DIARY-OF-A-DEBUTANTE/231062427629?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D1569509211686428852%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D231062427629%26.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 28, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Picture Play,’ February 1936: ‘Soft and Sharp Focus’…or out of focus?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.27 at 09:16
Current mood: amusedamused

carole lombard picture play august 1935 cover large

We’ve previously noted how Picture Play, among fan magazines of the era, singularly referred to Carole Lombard as “Carol” well into the 1930s. In the February 1936 issue, Norbert Lusk, writing in his “Soft And Sharp Focus” column, explained why:

carole lombard picture play february 1936aa
carole lombard picture play february 1936ba

Note Lusk claims Mack Sennett introduced her to audiences as “Carol” and not “Carole” (ignoring her brief career at Fox, in which her name had an “e”), ignoring this reference to her from “The Campus Vamp”:

carole lombard the campus vamp 16 title card

(Sennett briefly referred to Lombard as “Carolle” early in her tenure, but in his films the “e” remained. It was only in her films issued by Pathe, which had a working agreement with Sennett, where the “e” was dropped.) Had never heard that “rubber-stamp” story, either.

Interesting that a few months later, Lusk, writing about “The Princess Comes Across” in one of the Los Angeles papers, did use the “e” (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/409534.html):

carole lombard 1936 the princess comes across 00a

Lusk vowed Lombard’s first name would never be spelled with an “e” in Picture Play. So much for vows; it was added within the year (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/594915.html).

In that February 1936 issue, Lusk had some nice things to say about Lombard’s previous Paramount film, “Hands Across The Table”…

carole lombard picture play february 1936ca

…although elsewhere, one of the letter-writers takes aim at her high rankings in the November 1935 article judging beauty (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/620595.html), lauding Dolores Del Rio as the standard for Hollywood loveliness:

carole lombard picture play february 1936da

There’s also Picture Play’s view into the future of films — it’s always fun to examine these things and see how accurate they were in retrospect. This foresees what moviegoing would be like in not-so-far-off 1940 (did the editors think such massive changes actually could take place within four years?); some of the predictions were accurate, others weren’t:

picture play february 1936a
picture play february 1936b
picture play february 1936c
picture play february 1936da

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 27, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Dear (expensive) diary   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.26 at 19:55
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

carole lombard my man godfrey 055a

“My Man Godfrey” is one of Carole Lombard’s most beloved films…and it also features one of her movies’ rarest promotional items. That artifact is now available — but let me warn you at the outset that even though it measures a mere 3″ x 4″, it won’t come cheaply.

It’s called “Diary Of A Debutante,” and it’s supposedly written by Carole’s character, Irene Bullock:

carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 00a

It’s 10 pages, in “handwriting,” and contains Irene’s thoughts on the story (and her butler!), such as this:

carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 01a

This particular copy is from the Genesee Theater in Waukegan, Ill. (yep, Jack Benny’s hometown), where “Godfrey” was slated to play Nov. 1 to 4:

carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 02a

The Genesee opened on Christmas Day 1927, showed movies until 1989, and has been restored as a performing arts center that occasionally shows films (legend has it that Benny had his own office in the building, where he could stay the night instead of registering at a hotel, but that may be in keeping with Jack’s miserly comic persona). Here’s how it looked in days of yore…and now:

waukegan genesee theater 02a
waukegan genesee theater 00a
waukegan genesee theater 01a

Benny would be proud.

I should note the seller even quoted me in describing the item (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/176193.html):

It was called “Diary Of A Debutante,” and was 3 by 4 inches, with a pink cover; its “handwritten” 10 pages includes several stills from the film. I have no idea how many of these Universal issued — but I’m guessing they’re extremely rare, and among the most unusual items associated with promotion of a Lombard film.

The seller also borrowed a brief from Boxoffice magazine I had used in that entry:

carole lombard my man godfrey diary of a debutante 03a

So the good news — we finally know what this item looks like. The not-so-good news –– you may have to be a debutante to add this to your collection. (Dear Paris Hilton: Are you a Lombard fan?) The minimum bid on this is a whopping $3,500; you can attribute the gigantic price on both its rarity and its condition. (According to the seller, who’s possessed this for some 30 years, it’s in mint condition for its age.)

Bidding on this is scheduled to end at 11:10 a.m. (Eastern) Wednesday; should you come into an inheritance, marry into money or win big at a casino or lottery in the meantime, you can place a bid at http://www.ebay.com/itm/MY-MAN-GODFREY-CAROLE-LOMBARD-1936-DIARY-OF-A-DEBUTANTE/231062427629?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D1569509211686428852%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D231062427629%26.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 26, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

One Hoosier remembers another   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.25 at 01:23
Current mood: melancholymelancholy

carole lombard 011542 will b. hays 01a

January 15, 1942 — what would be the final full day of Carole Lombard’s life — filled her with pride, as the Indiana native returned to her home state to hold the nation’s first war bond rally. But she wasn’t the only Hollywood Hoosier there that day.

See that man to the right of her? That’s Will H. Hays, the former postmaster general in the Harding administration who had headed west two decades before to become the first “czar” of the motion picture industry, at a time when a myriad of scandals were giving movies an uncertain future. While Hays had some power, his prime purpose in Hollywood was to assure midwesterners and other conservative folk that filmdom wasn’t Sodom-by-the=sea. And that he did.

Before his death in 1954, Hays finished writing his memoirs, and Doubleday issued them the following year.

memoirs of will b. hays back cover 00a

The book, long out of print, has been retrieved from obscurity by the Media History Digital Library and posted online…and it turns out Hays wrote several pages about that fateful event in Indianapolis. So, unseen by most for nearly six decades, here’s what Hays recalls:

carole lombard memoirs of will b. hays 00a
carole lombard memoirs of will b. hays 01a
carole lombard 011542 will b. hays 02c
carole lombard memoirs of will b. hays 02a
carole lombard 011542 indiana war bond rally large
carole lombard memoirs of will b. hays 03a
carole lombard 011542 with mother large
carole lombard memoirs of will b. hays 04a

Most of Hays’ descriptions are accurate and vivid…but one part doesn’t ring true. I have never heard about Lombard needing retakes on “To Be Or Not To Be,” as the Ernst Lubitsch film was in post-production that week and was slated to hold its first preview that weekend. And part of me is skeptical that Elizabeth Peters, who had never flown and had come east by train, would have told Hays they were flying back.

Aside from that, Hays paints a nice portrait of the emotions of that day, less than a month and a half after the attack on Pearl Harbor had jolted a nation into war…and Lombard, eager to serve her country, contributed to the cause, but sadly would not live to see victory.

carole lombard 011542 indiana v for victory large

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 25, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Viewing Carole in ‘Silver (Screen’)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.24 at 08:57
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard silver screen may 1932b

Here’s Carole Lombard as she appeared on the cover of the May 1932 Silver Screen –– probably the first time she gained the honor since the magazine debuted in November 1930. Silver Screen was founded by Ruth Waterbury, a former Photoplay editor under James Quirk, and its 10-cent price (compared to 25 cents forPhotoplay), not only made it a huge success on newsstands, but led Photoplay to establish a budget subsidiary, Shadoplay, in 1933.

But Carole earlier had appeared on the inside of Silver Screen, including this stylish pose from the February 1931 issue, its fourth:

carole lombard silver screen february 1931b

That issue now is available via eBay. On its cover is a stunning portrait of red-haired beauty Nancy Carroll (note the “Edited by Ruth Waterbury” in the upper right-hand corner):

silver screen february 1931a cover

Aside from Lombard, what’s inside? For one thing, there’s “Hollywood’s Rules For Love,” dished out by Joan Crawford and Gary Cooper, both of whom knew how the game was played:

silver screen february 1931ab
silver screen february 1931ac

For another, there’s one of the earliest fan magazine articles on Kay Francis, preceded by a full-page George Hurrell portrait of the lanky lovely:

silver screen february 1931bb
silver screen february 1931bc

There’s also a still of Ronald Colman and Myrna Loy (in blonde wig!), from “The Devil To Pay”…

silver screen february 1931cb

…leggy Anita Page beating the drums for her toy soldier army, a rare example of Hurrell cheesecake…

silver screen february 1931cc

…a handsome portrait of Ramon Novarro…

silver screen february 1931db

…a story on female director Dorothy Arzner…

silver screen february 1931dc

…and finally, Loretta Young (in fan magazines of this era, there was no escaping her!) in an ad for Kellogg’s All-Bran:

silver screen february 1931eb

The seller says this standard-sized magazine is in “very good” condition, adding it “lies flat, looks quite clean, the staples are tight, and the spine is solid. …The pages are off-white and supple with some page/age tanning around the edges,” something you’d expect from an issue that’s 82 years old.

You can buy this magazine straight up for $45 or make a bid beginning at $30; in the latter case, the auction ends at 8:05 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. Learn more information, or bid or buy, by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/NANCY-CARROLL-cover-for-early-Silver-Screen-movies-Joan-Crawford-Carole-Lombard/261284197412?_trksid=p2045573.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D27%26meid%3D1511739842320724359%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D1011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D261284197412%26.

As for Waterbury, she left Silver Screen a few years later to work at Movie Mirror, but before the ’30s were through she had returned to Photoplay as its editor. She later wrote books on Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton before her death in 1982 at age 85.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 24, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Of art and tennis   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.23 at 08:28
Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard made for each other 63c lyle wheeler

During her decade-and-a-half as a film industry professional, Carole Lombard worked with an array of legends, including some whose names are unfamiliar with casual fans. Take, for instance, this image from “Made For Each Other,” where Carole is pictured with a man named Lyle Wheeler, the film’s art director.

lyle wheeler 00a

Lombard had previously worked with Wheeler, a Selznick employee since 1936, on “Nothing Sacred.” (His skill in applying the new three-strip Technicolor dye made him ideal for Selznick.) He went on to work on “Gone With The Wind,” for which he created the sets and set up the famed burning of Atlanta scene. Wheeler would be among the array of Academy Award winners for “GWTW”; he would go on to win four more Oscars over the next two decades (for “Anna And The King Of Siam,” its musical remake “The King And I,” “The Robe” and “The Diary Of Anne Frank”), and received nominations another 24 times.

Wheeler had his share of input on design, but so did Selznick, as this 1939 memo to both Wheeler and “Rebecca” director Alfred Hitchcock made evident:

rebecca lyle wheeler memo 00

Wheeler moved to 20th Century-Fox after the end of the Selznick studio, and his output was prodigious — “Laura” (a set for which is seen below), “Leave Her To Heaven,” “All About Eve,” “The Snows Of Kilimanjaro,” “Love Me Tender,” “The Girl Can’t Help It” and many more. (In fact, Wheeler did art design for both the 1953 film “How To Marry A Millionaire” and its 1957-58 syndicated TV version starring a young Barbara Eden.)

laura set 00

Unfortunately, Wheeler — whose last film work came in 1971’s “Bless The Beasts & Children,” some 11 years after his previous credit, Marilyn Monroe’s next-to-last film, “Let’s Make Love” — was financially troubled in later years. He sold his house in 1982, put his Oscars in storage, and didn’t have the funds to cover the rent. The awards, hidden in boxes, were sold, but Wheeler regained possession of one of them before his death at age 84 in January 1990.

The Lombard-Wheeler photo (not vintage) measures 8″ x 10″. Bids begin at $6.99, with bids closing at 3:55 a.m. (Eastern) Thursday. To make a bid on this rare pic or simply learn more, go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-AND-LYLE-WHEELER-CHAT-WITH-OTHERS-ON-THE-SET-OF-MFEO-1939-/181223810090?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a31c7e42a.

The same seller also has available this striking image of the tennis-playing Carole:

carole lombard tennis 10b

Its initial bid also is $6.99, although for this one, bids conclude at 3:15 a.m. Thursday. This would make an ideal gift for anyone who loves Lombard, tennis or both; get more information or make a bid by visiting http://www.ebay.com/itm/TERRIFIC-CANDID-OF-CAROLE-LOMBARD-PLAYING-HER-FAVORITE-SPORT-TENNIS-/181223792906?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a31c7a10a.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 23, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Let’s (blog)roll   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.22 at 05:43
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard swing high, swing low 45b carl mydans life

We’re on the set of Paramount’s “Swing High, Swing Low,” watching (from left) cinematographer Ted Tetzlaff, director Mitchell Leisen and stars Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray prepare a scene. Barring the invention of a time machine, we can’t zap ourselves back to late 1936 or early ’37 to watch them in action…but for those of us who love classic film, we can do the next best thing and immerse ourselves in the era.

We now have a new way to learn more about the golden age of Hollywood — it’s called the Ultimate Movie Blogroll. It states, “Our goal is to be the web’s largest list of amateur movie blogs! No blogathons. No awards. No comments. Just the ultimate in movie blogrolls.”

I was preparing to nominate “Carole & Co.”, when I discovered to my delight it already was there. In fact, as of this writing, I counted 92 blogs — many of them old friends, others I had never been aware of before. (Quite a few have or will participate in this weekend’s “Breaking News: Journalism In Classic Film Blogathon.”)

The Ultimate Movie Blogroll should make a fine one-stop reference when you want to see what’s going on in the classic film blogosphere; I look forward to using it regularly. The site is at http://movie-blogroll.blogspot.com/, where you can learn the requirements for getting your blog included. Carole looks forward to seeing you there.

carole lombard swing high, swing low 82a

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 22, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon: Carole’s in the news (‘Nothing Sacred,’ and more)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.09.21 at 15:28
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

carole lombard nothing sacred 18c

Chances are that when you juxtapose the name “Carole Lombard” with the phrase “newspaper film,” this is what comes to mind — “Nothing Sacred,” the classic 1937 Technicolor comedy about a journalistic scoop that turns out to be a hoax, and how all parties concerned try to cover up the matter.

There, Lombard was the subject of said hoax, but in this entry, part of the “Breaking News: Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon” sponsored by Comet Over Hollywood (http://cometoverhollywood.com/) and Lindsay’s Movie Musings (http://angelnumber25.wordpress.com/)…

…we’ll also examine a little-known film where Carole portrayed a reporter. More on that later. (May I also say that as a longtime journalist — having covered everything from sports and business to local news, working as a reporter, and editor and also on the copy desk — I’m delighted to be part of this blogathon.)

New York Morning Star reporter Wally Cook (Fredric March) is the victim of a fake story that leads to his demotion to the obituary section…

…when he gets word of a woman dying of radium poisoning in a small Vermont town. He goes up to investigate, though he gets little help from tactiurn townsfolk such as this spinster (played by the great character actress Margaret Hamilton, two years before she gained cinematic immortality for a very different type of film):

Cook finally meets Hazel Flagg (Lombard), who really isn’t suffering from radium poisoning but is persuaded by her family doctor (Charles Winninger) to pretend that she is so that Hazel and the doctor can go on a New York trip sponsored by the Star. Hazel’s story draws sympathy from New Yorkers and she becomes the toast of the town…but when she is discovered to be in ideal health, what do Hazel and Wally (who happen to be falling in love), not to mention the Star, do next? You’ll have to watch the film — which is in public domain, although a first-class Blu-ray version was issued last year — to find out.

carole lombard nothing sacred herald 04

“Nothing Sacred” is perhaps most famous for its fight scene, where Wally tries to wear Hazel out to make her look ill before a panel of renowned doctors arrive to examine her. Lombard, a real-life boxing fan who in her youth received lessons from champion Benny Leonard, got some more training on set from another champ, Maxie Rosenbloom, who had a small part in the film as a comic thug.

Acerbic newspaperman-turned-screenwriter Ben Hecht (who wrote the screenplay for Lombard’s pivotal film, “Twentieth Century”) worked on the script; it’s very good, and quite funny, but the semi-racist vitriol (the story that demoted Wally concerns a charitable potentate who’s discovered to merely be a Harlem bootblack) slightly lessens its appeal to modern audiences.

Over the years, quite a few classic-era actresses played newspaperwomen, from Loretta Young (“Platinum Blonde”) to Jean Arthur (“Mr. Deeds Goes To Town”; her role nearly went to Lombard) to Rosalind Russell (“His Girl Friday,” another film Carole missed on). But before any of these were made, Lombard portrayed a reporter in the relatively obscure 1929 Pathe movie “Big News”:

carole lombard big news 07b front
carole lombard big news 14c

As the photos imply, Lombard — playing the journalist wife of newspaperman Robert Armstrong — has relatively little to do in the movie aside from being attractive. It’s Armstrong’s vehicle, and he’s quite good at it as a reporter who falls prey to alcoholism and is accused of a murder he didn’t commit.

carole lombard big news motion picture news 090729a
carole lombard big news motion picture news 090729b

“Big News” was directed by Gregory La Cava, who seven years later would direct one of Lombard’s signature films, “My Man Godfrey.” This is nowhere as good a movie, but by 1929’s static standards, it’s more than adequate, and is probably the best of her three Pathe features.

But wait — there’s also one more instance of Lombard playing a reporter, and on this occasion she genuinely treads into Torchy Blane territory. However, you can’t see her in action (unless you have a fertile imagination) because in this case, she’s on radio!

While Lombard is probably best known broadcast-wise for her several appearances on “Lux Radio Theater,” she also made the rounds of several other programs, including a half-hour series called “Silver Theater.” This episode, “Murder Unlimited,” aired on March 9, 1941, as Carole plays a newspaperwoman who uncovers a ring of killers and finds a way to save the day. You can hear it at http://radioarcana.net/stations/xexs/1941/03/09/murder-unlimited-41/.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted September 21, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized