‘Picture Play,’ April 1938: ‘Fools’ on the set   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.01.18 at 16:32
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard fools for scandal 40b

Carole Lombard had a pretty good batting average where her films was concerned, but if she didn’t strike out on “Fools For Scandal,” she managed no more than a weak infield popup. She looked gorgeous, but had absolutely no chemistry with leading man Fernand Gravet, was saddled with a meandering script, and discovered to her dismay that Warners, the studio making the film, had no feel whatsoever for screwball comedy. Put them all together, and even an array of talented supporting actors couldn’t come to Carole’s rescue.

The moviegoing public wouldn’t see the disappointing finished product until mid-to-late April, but in that month’s issue of Picture Play, it got to see Lombard and company cavort on set…

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…and read about the behind-the-scenes action as part of a studio roundup:

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I apologize for the archaic, patronizing racial reference in the description of “Jezebel,’ but such were attitudes on those matters more than 75 years ago.

Here’s the part of the column dealing with “Fools For Scandal”:

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I had never read anything about the relationship between Lombard and Marie Wilson, and I’m pleased to learn it was a good one despite the relative mediocrity of this picture. Wilson would reach full stardom following World War II through the series “My Friend Irma” — where she played the scatterbrained blonde of the title — on radio, television and the movies. This issue showed Marie in an uncharacteristic glamour shot, not long before her breakthrough film role in “Boy Meets Girl”:

marie wilson picture play april 1938a

Carole also was featured as part of a story by Edwin Schallert (longtime Los Angeles Times entertainment writer, and veteran actor William Schallert’s father) about star salaries. According to this article, at this stage of her career Lombard was making about $10,000 a week, roughly the same as Clark Gable, the star she was romancing. (Her money came in handy, as she paid for most of the Encino ranch they would move into after their marriage the following year, as Clark had to use most of his funds to pay for his divorce from Ria Langham.)

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Oh, and from the “you can’t please everyone” department, a letter from “Helen,” a sales clerk at a Los Angeles store whose vitriol cuts many a star down to size — and after reading this, Lombard must have felt a few feet smaller:

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If it was any solace to Carole (who was deemed “ratty looking” and “she isn’t a marvelous person at all”), she wasn’t the only target. Katharine Hepburn: “very unpleasant to wait on.” Joan Blondell: “looks like she always needed to wash her neck.” Constance Bennett: “I’d rather see the devil himself coming into the store than Miss Bennett.” Perhaps this was a generational thing, because Helen praised Marion Davies and noted she had seen her in the Ziegfeld Follies…which had last occurred two decades earlier.

The cover subject that month was Ginger Rogers, making a mere $5,000 per week, according to Schallert — but cinematically at least, Ginger had a better 1938 than Carole:

ginger rogers picture play april 1938 cover large

And inside was a portrait of Myrna Loy, whose pittance of a $3,500 weekly salary was dwarfed by both Rogers and Lombard:

myrna loy picture play april 1938a

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Posted January 18, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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