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

Advertisements

Posted September 25, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: