Archive for January 2014

TCM documents Oscar’s 85 years   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.31 at 23:14
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

carole lombard my man godfrey page review 82a

The closest Carole Lombard ever came to claiming an Academy Award occurred in 1936, when she was nominated for best actress; co-star William Powell was nominated for the second time in three years, but failed to win (which he also failed to do in 1947 for “Life With Father.” The same fate befell Mischa Auer and Alice Brady in the new category of supporting roles, although Brady would capture the supporting actress Oscar a year later for “In Old Chicago.”

Tomorrow, Turner Classic Movies begins its annual Academy Award extravaganza, “31 Days Of Oscar.” As I’ve stated here before, many TCM addicts have surprisingly little love for this promotion — not because they may or may not like the movies offered (all of them either won or were nominated for Oscars), but most are films they’ve seen before. It’s as if your favorite free-form FM station (kiddies, if your parents went to college from the ’60s through the ’80s, they can tell you all about this) suddenly switched to playing nothing but the likes of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” or “Respect” for a month. (This February, I might waive that disdain if such a station played plenty of Beatles tracks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the British invasion they spearheaded.)

But give TCM credit for realizing every year, it has to find a new way to put lipstick on this proverbial pig. Last year’s theme was settings for films, everything from Los Angeles and New York to outer space and prehistoric times. This year, it’s kicking off the event with a prime-time original documentary, airing at 8 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday…

and the oscar goes to... 00b

It’s a joint effort between TCM and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which might cause some trepidation among a few of you. But according to a review from the Associated Press, there’s relatively little cause to worry; every time “And The Oscar Goes To…” threatens to become too reverent, something comes along to knock the Academy down a peg, such as the 24-year gap between wins for black actors (Hattie MacDaniel for “Gone With The Wind” in 1939 to Sidney Poitier for “Lilies Of The Field” in 1963). Or the Academy’s initial stand against the growth of industry unions such as the Writers Guild of America or Screen Actors Guild. Jeffrey Friedman and Robert Epstein, both Academy members, co-directed the film and had final cut; here are Epstein (left) and Friedman at the Jan. 23 premiere screening in a still provided by AMPAS:

and the oscar goes to... epstein and friedman 00

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz was there as well:

and the oscar goes to... ben mankiewicz 00

My friend Lara Gabrielle Fowler, who runs the fine blog “Backlots,” came down from the Bay Area to attend the screening (, as were quite a few other classic film bloggers. Fowler wrote:

“I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film is quite unbiased in its attitude toward the Oscars. Instead of the Academy flouting what it does as somehow the be-all, end-all in Hollywood, it highlights several people who emphasize the idea that the Oscars are not really what Hollywood is all about.” 

She then cited this excerpt:

“My absolute favorite quote from the film came from a director who said that everyone thinks the Oscars are the real Hollywood. They are not, he said. He continued on to say that the real Hollywood is seen when the actors, directors and crew members show up on the set the day after the lavish Oscar party, wearing jeans and eating bad doughnuts and drinking stale coffee. Hollywood is not the Oscars, he emphasized. Hollywood belongs to the people who work all day and all night for the perfect shot and put their blood, sweat and tears into what they do.

“Following that quote, the entire theater burst into applause.”

Nothing against classic film bloggers such as Lara — they may have clapped, too — but I’m guessing most of the applause at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills that night came from people who work in the industry, people who understand being in the motion picture business goes far beyond the red carpet glamour we’ll see this March 2. Movies have changed in so many ways since the 1930s, but the hard work that goes into the process is something that Lombard and many of her contemporaries appreciated:

carole lombard sinners in the sun 26a

Fowler thought some of the film was a bit disjointed, and that tighter editing between the premiere and the TCM airing could improve things a bit; we’ll have to wait and see.

We’ll have more Academy-related news in an upcoming entry. Stay tuned.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track


Posted January 31, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Covering Carole in a continental manner   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.30 at 13:07
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

carole lombard kinorevue czech 1938a

As we’ve previously seen, Carole Lombard was a popular magazine cover subject not only in North America, but in Europe, too. As proof, here she is gracing a 1938 issue of the Czechoslovakian publication Kinorevue, a magazine that continued into at least 1939 despite Germany’s annexation of the country, as this cover of Carole and James Stewart is indicative:

carole lombard kinorevue 1939 czechoslovakia

The ’38 magazine is being auctioned at eBay; it measures 10.5″ x 7.5″ and has 20 pages, and according to the seller is in very good condition. The minimum bid is $9.99, and bidding is set to close at 6:39 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. Interested, or merely want to Czech it out (sorry, couldn’t resist)? Go to

That same seller has two more Lombard mags available, both from Belgium earlier that decade and sold as a combo.

carole lombard az 111332b

This is A to Z, from Nov. 13, 1932. It was followed several months later by…

carole lombard ons volk belgium 021933b

...Ons Volk, from Feb. 19, 1933.

Each magazine is 32 pages long (A to Z measures 12″ x 9″, Ons Volk 11.5″ x 8.5″), and each has some light ageing but are in good condition. The magazine duo has an opening bid of $5.99, and its bidding will expire two minutes before Kinorevue. Place your bid or find out more by visiting

And finally, a reminder to those of you in the Los Angeles area:

loretta young centennial birthday tribute 00a

The Loretta Young Centennial Birthday Tribute (belated though it may be) is set for tonight at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. The life and achievements of this Hollywood legend will be saluted through memorabilia, film clips and more, and it promises to be plenty of fun. And for those of you who do go, thank Linda Lewis (Loretta’s daughter-in-law) for making this possible.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted January 30, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Looking back: January 1934   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.29 at 00:00
Current mood: workingworking

carole lombard george raft 01 leroy prinz

Carole Lombard was close to finishing “Bolero” when 1933 concluded (she and George Raft here get instructions from Paramount choreographer Leroy Prinz), little knowing come midnight on New Year’s Eve that 1934 would be the most tumultuous year of her life to date, filled with both the heights of professional glory and the depths of personal tragedy.

She apparently had New Year’s Eve dinner at Elizabeth Stack’s house (I believe that was Robert Stack’s mother), where she looked stunning according to Louella Parsons in her Hearst column, which ran Jan. 1 in the San Antonio Light:

carole lombard 010134a san antonio light

While “Bolero” was about ready to wrap up, several other Lombard films were making the rounds of the hinterlands — such as “From Hell To Heaven” from early 1933, only now playing the Ideal Theater in Corsicana, Texas, according to that town’s Daily Sun:

carole lombard 010334 corsicana daily sun

Casting was volatile throughout the industry at the start of 1934, and on the 6th, the Reno Evening Gazette reported Carole would be the female lead in “The Man Who Broke His Heart”:

carole lombard 010634 reno evening gazette

The following day, the Zanesville (Ohio) Times-Signal identified another cast member:

carole lombard 010734 zanesville times-signal

But she never appeared in that film, nor would that be its finished title. We learned of Lombard’s replacement (Carole apparently had been set to replace Mae Clarke, who got an MGM assignment) in the Jan. 10 Hagerstown (Md.) Daily Mail...

carole lombard 011034b hagerstown daily mail

…and “The Man Who Broke His Heart” would wind up as “Wharf Angel.” That “newcomer,” Dorothy Dell, would be one of the tragedies of 1934, dying in a car accident that summer at age 19.

Loanouts were becoming commonplace as 1934 began, and Carole was readying for one at Columbia, where she had already made three films, or so wrote theMansfield (Ohio) News-Journal on Jan. 3. (Of course, “Night Bus” — that Capra movie with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert — was about to be renamed “It Happened One Night,” en route to making Hollywood history.

carole lombard 010334a mansfield news-journal

But what would that Lombard movie be? The Jan. 10 edition of Hagerstown’s other paper, the Morning Herald, said it would be something called “Sonata”…

carole lombard 011034 hagerstown herald-mail

…but that day’s Syracuse Herald begged to differ, saying Carole was one of two candidates to play opposite John Barrymore in “Twentieth Century”:

carole lombard 011034 syracuse herald

Louella provided the answer in the Jan. 12 San Antonio Light, and aside from a title change for “Sonata” (it was renamed “Sisters Under The Skin” and released that April), she was on target (and wouldn’t you have loved to have attended that Screen Actors Guild ball?):

carole lombard 011234 san antonio light

The timing of these assignments paid off — much to Lombard’s delight, as the Mansfield paper reported on Jan. 13:

carole lombard 011334 mansfield news-journal

And indeed it would be “just about the best break in pictures that Carole has had.”

What about that Katya Sergava, her supposed rival for the part? Sergava, a native of Russia born in 1910, was a one-time ballerina who appeared in a handful of ’30s films, and in 1943 appeared in the dream ballet sequence in the original Broadway run of “Oklahoma!” Sergava remained in New York, occasionally acted on TV shows based there, and died in November 2005. (Two years earlier, an erroneous obituary ran in the Daily Telegraph of London, and the New York Timescopied it without researching — much to the delight of the rival New York Post.)

Winning the female lead for “Twentieth Century” undoubtedly was the biggest Lombard news for January 1934, but there were a few other items of note to accompany this Max Factor ad from the Jan. 29 Lowell (Mass.) Sun:

carole lombard 012934 lowell sun

During that month, Paramount fashion maven Travis Banton traveled to New York and apparently held a press conference; it resulted in at least two stories where Carole was mentioned, first in the Jan. 21 Oakland Tribune...

carole lombard 012134a oakland tribune

…while a slightly different story ran in the Jan. 30 Helena (Mont.) Daily Independent:

carole lombard 013034 helena daily independent

That same day, the Hammond Times in Indiana ran a piece where the eyes have it — six pairs, in fact, including Lombard’s, in a feature on eyebrows:

carole lombard 013034 hammond times

I’m guessing this was a Paramount news release, since all six actresses listed were under contract there.

Lombard’s laugh was lauded, along with that of a few other stars, in the Jan. 28 Zanesville paper:

carole lombard 012834b zanesville times-signal

Here’s an odd one, from the Jan. 21 Burlington (N.C.) Daily Times News. The item connects Lombard with a fellow Paramount star whom she’s rarely associated with — in fact, I’ve never read of any tie-in between them at all:

carole lombard 012134a burlington daily times news

Perhaps Carole was thankful to Mae West for keeping Paramount afloat during the darkest days of the Depression. (Save for Marlene Dietrich, West rarely socialized with her fellow actresses at the studio.)

Maybe Mae never came by Lombard’s dressing room, but plenty of others did, according to this item from the Jan. 29 Edwardsville (Ill.) Intelligencer:

carole lombard 012934 edwardsville intelligencer

In early ’34, Carole was socially seen with Raft, Russ Columbo (according to Parsons in the Jan. 10 San Antonio Light)…

carole lombard 011034 san antonio light

…and was even occasionally squired by her ex, William Powell — or at least that’s what was written in the Jan. 26 Lawrence Journal World by Richard Doan, a former University of Kansas student residing in the film capital:

carole lombard 012634a lawrence journal world

Apparently Doan didn’t make much of an impact in Hollywood, as he has no listing in the Internet Movie Database.

Finally, remember a few years ago, when we ran a 1933 ad which used this pose of Lombard:

carole lombard 060833a oakland tribune

Well, Walter Winchell’s column (here from the Jan. 31 Wisconsin State Journal of Madison) reported Carole had some regrets about agreeing to appear in that ad, and said she no longer would endorse products:

carole lombard 013134 wisconsin state journal

How long did that policy last? Not very; this ran Feb. 21 in the Baltimore Sun:

carole lombard lux ad 022134a baltimore sun

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted January 29, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Call it the ‘Loretta-tennial(+1)!’ this Thursday   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.28 at 00:06
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard carole-tennial banner 00f

Some of you may recall the initial blogathon hosted by “Carole & Co.”, coinciding with the 103rd anniversary of Carole Lombard’s birth in October 2011, so we called it the “Carole-tennial(+3)!” We’re borrowing the “-tennial” part of that term to alert you to an upcoming salute to another Hollywood legend, set for this Thursday. It’s the Loretta Young Centennial Birthday Tribute.

loretta young 16c midnight mary adrian

What we’re calling the “Loretta-tennial(+1)!” (she was born Jan. 6, 1913) will be at 8 p.m. at the Alex Theater in Glendale. Her son Christopher Lewis (his wife, Linda Lewis, is a Facebook friend of mine) and celebrity and industry friends will take the audience on a journey through the life of the Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress.

Loretta Young’s work and contributions to the entertainment industry has become more appreciated in recent years, though thankfully she saw the beginnings of the pre-Code revival — which brought many of her early films to the forefront — before her passing in August 2000. One of filmdom’s most ethereal actresses, Young already was a movie veteran and noted star by the time her teen years had ended. Here’s an autographed picture of Loretta, all of 17, outside the Vine Street Brown Derby in 1930:

loretta young 1930b brown derby

Young remained a solid box office draw for the rest of the 1930s and into the ’40s, and was rewarded with a best actress Academy Award in 1947 for “The Farmer’s Daughter.” By this time, she had developed plenty of business savvy, and with the rise of television in the early ’50s, she transitioned to the new medium with the drama anthology “The Loretta Young Show”; her grand entrances gave the series glamour, though the wardrobe in the roles she played could range from the everyday to the exotic, such as in a 1957 episode where she portrayed Egyptian legend Nefertiti (below). She won an Emmy for her efforts.

loretta young 1957a nefertiti

The Glendale event also will feature movie clips, conversations, testimonies and dramatizations of pivotal events in her life, such as when 14-year-old Gretchen Young (second from left, below) got a small part in the 1927 Colleen Moore comedy “Her Wild Oat”…not to mention a new first name:

colleen moore her wild oat 03a loretta young

Also on display will be an exclusive exhibit of Loretta’s famous dresses and cherished possessions. From the start, she was considered one of filmdom’s best-dressed stars, as witnessed from this display in the March 1932 issue of The New Movie Magazine:

loretta young 00a the new movie magazine march 1932
loretta young 01a the new movie magazine march 1932

She continued to be stylish into her later years, as this photo makes evident:

loretta young gown 00a

Tickets are $35 and $55, and can be ordered at I hope many of you who are in the area will attend, and that you’ll have a wonderful time at the “Loretta-tennial(+1!).”

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted January 28, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The bride is back   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.27 at 08:58
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

carole lombard pathe 04b front

We’ve run this Carole Lombard bridal picture from her Pathe days before ( — specifically, it’s Pathe CL-112 — but it’s now on the market again, complete with snipe to let you know it’s vintage:

carole lombard pathe 04a back

It’s from the spring of 1929, and I’m guessing the Robert Armstrong film referred to is “The Racketeer.”

The photo, from the Glassner collection, can be bought for $150; if you’re interested, find out more about it at

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted January 27, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Busy, or chic, as a beaver   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.26 at 09:39
Current mood: coldcold

carole lombard p1202-971b front

Real fur never fell out of favor during Carole Lombard’s lifetime (although she was a renowned animal lover), so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see her in this outfit for a photo issued in late 1934 to promote her upcoming Paramount film “Rumba.” We learn what type of fur it is from the back of this vintage image, p1202-971:

carole lombard p1202-971a back

Yep, it’s beaver (“the smartest of furs”), from an outfit designed by Travis Banton. And if you somehow thought that signature on the front of the photo belonged to Lombard, the “not an autograph” marking above the snipe should set you straight, and the seller isn’t claiming it’s the real deal. (Why someone would mark thefront of a photo — there are no crop marks indicating it was used for a newspaper or other publication — is anyone’s guess.)

Nope, here’s what a Lombard signature looks like:

carole lombard autograph 89a

The story behind this is interesting. The seller’s uncle was a newspaper columnist and movie critic. When he wrote a review, he would send a clipping to its star and he or she would write him back. (Presumably most of these reviews were positive.) He must have liked one of Carole’s films, because this is what she sent him — an 8″ x 10″ matte photo, with “Cordially, Carole Lombard” written in blue ink. (Yes, while Lombard was noted for signing autographs in green ink, that wasn’t always possible.) The signature is certainly hers.

While the seller has no certificate of authenticity, these and other autographed photos were taken to an “Antiques Roadshow” appearance in Boise, Idaho, where the appraiser valued each of them. For this image, the value is $5,500, although any potential buyer can make an offer. You can find out more by visiting

As for the beaver pic (and please, no double entendre), it’s an 8″ x 10″ single-weight photo in very good+ condition; bidding begins at $24.95, with bids closing at 11:51 p.m. (Eastern) Friday. Interested? Bid, or get additional information, at

Given the cold spell in the East of late, I could use a fur...faux, of course.

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted January 26, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Liberty,’ Nov. 14, 1936: Is Carole Lombard in love at last?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.25 at 22:55
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

carole lombard 110636b la times changing name 00

In November 1936, about the time Carole Lombard entered the Los Angeles Hall of Records to officially change her name from Jane Alice Peters, Bernarr Macfadden’s Liberty magazine ran a story about her, focusing not so much on her career as an actress but her personal — heck, romantic –– life.

We ran this article in March 2012 (, but at the time we didn’t have a good copy of the story (the wording came courtesy of, but now we have the pages available. Heck, we have the cover, too:

carole lombard liberty 111436 cover

Now, the story:

carole lombard liberty 111436a
carole lombard liberty 111436b
carole lombard liberty 111436c

As Liberty was a general-interest magazine, there really wasn’t much else in that issue which was movie-oriented, but with the Super Bowl coming up in just over a week, this article provides an interesting perspective on football in that era. In 1936, most considered football a collegiate game, but a former star and coach said the professional game was coming up fast:

carole lombard liberty 111436d
carole lombard liberty 111436e
carole lombard liberty 111436f

It discusses the famed “sneaker” game between the Chicago Bears and New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in 1934, and it’s amazing to see that franchises such as the Bears, Giants and Boston Redskins (they would move to Washington in 1937) were valued at $100,000.

Finally, one of my favorite actors now has an online presence. It’s veteran character actor William Schallert, who I interviewed some years ago ( and comes from a family with deep roots in classic Hollywood. There are photos, a scrapbook and more…you can even purchase autographed photos.

william schallert 00

The site is at

Link  Leave a comment

Edit   Tags   Add to memories   Share   Track

Posted January 25, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized