Archive for May 2014

Memorial Day thoughts   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.26 at 07:53
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

carole lombard 011342 salt lake city 00d
carole lombard 011342a salt lake city

These photos show Carole Lombard with servicemen at the Salt Lake City train station on Jan. 13, 1942, during a stopover while she was en route from Los Angeles to Chicago to be debriefed on her upcoming war bond rally in Indianapolis. From the background of these images, they look to have been taken alongside a train, perhaps the City of Los Angeles that Lombard was riding; these soldiers and sailors may have been on board, too.

We know that before the week was done Carole would be lost to history, among the first war-related casualties of World War II. However, we don’t know the fates of the three men she’s pictured with. It’s possible one may be with us today, though that diminishes every year as time elapses. Another may have passed on a few decades ago, able to witness — and aid — an Allied victory. And at least one of them may not have come back.

It is in honor of those who made that ultimate sacrifice that we hold Memorial Day observances each year. Many of us, through no intentional reason, lose sight of that as we celebrate the unofficial start of summer.

So while you’re in the midst of your holiday festivities — cookouts, ballgames, travel, whatever — take some time to remember the real reason for this holiday and think about those who served and paid the price.

Posted May 26, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Looking back: May 1934   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.25 at 12:48
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard twentieth century 055b

May 1934 would be one of the most pivotal months in the life of Carole Lombard…and all it took was a ride with John Barrymore aboard the “Twentieth Century.” Columbia opened the film in wide release that month, and while it wasn’t anywhere as big a hit as the studio had hoped (particularly following its unexpected smash with “It Happened That Night”), it did sufficient business — especially in metropolitan areas such as New York, which was familiar with the Broadway play it derived from. That familiarity can be seen in capsule reviews of the film from Manhattan papers in the May 9 Hollywood Reporter:

carole lombard twentieth century 050934 hollywood reporter reviews

What also began to change was public perception of Carole, from a clotheshorse with indifferent acting skills into a dynamo in front of the camera. And while that perceived change wouldn’t reach full fruition for another year and a half, reviews made it evident. Let’s cross the East River into Brooklyn and see how that borough’s paper, the Eagle (where my grandfather was a reporter) reviewed “Twentieth Century”:

carole lombard 050434 brooklyn eagle

Barrymore’s tour de force understandably drew the lion’s share of the attention (oh, and speaking of “Drew” and of “Barrymore,” I’m happy to report that “Twentieth Century” will be part of this season’s roster on Turner Classic Movies’ “The Essentials”), but reviewers noted Carole matched him stride for stride, such as this one from the May 5 Syracuse Herald:

carole lombard 050534a syracuse heraldcarole lombard 050534b syracuse herald

In its review, the May 28 Bakersfield Californian first said of her, “Miss Lombard is bewitchingly pretty,” but then addressed her real magic — “and this is the first time she has really registered as an actress”:

carole lombard 052834 bakersfield californian

And a syndicated column, “Screen Life In Hollywood,” which ran in the May 4 Scranton Republican, had similarly nice comments:

carole lombard 050434 scranton republican

carole lombard twentieth century 036a unretouched proof front

The May 13 Brooklyn Eagle even ran a piece (I’m guessing it was a Columbia handout) explaining how the “Twentieth Century” passenger rail set was constructed:

carole lombard 051334a brooklyn eagle

Of course, that wasn’t the only Lombard movie making the rounds of theaters. “We’re Not Dressing,” from her home studio of Paramount, was still running — and publicity stills from both films were at the top of the aforementioned Eagle page:

carole lombard 051334 brooklyn eagle

The Kossuth County Advance of Iowa, whose reviewer was diffident about Carole’s performance in “Bolero” (, felt likewise about her in its May 10 review of “We’re Not Dressing,” calling her “beautiful at times, rather ordinary at others”:

carole lombard 051034 kossuth county advance

The college crowd, or at least that at New York’s Barnard College, was similarly unimpressed. The reviewer in the May 1 Barnard Bulletin deemed Lombard “not particularly convincing,” though it liked the film’s goofy fun:

carole lombard 050134 barnard bulletin

A week later, the Bulletin approves of “Twentieth Century,” although Carole is mentioned only peripherally:

carole lombard 050834 barnard bulletin

In Texas, this pic promoted “We’re Not Dressing” in the May 6 Waco Tribune-Herald:

carole lombard 050634 waco tribune-herald

Lists of stars (most beautiful, best dressed, etc.) were a favorite topic of newspapers back in the day, and impresario Earl Carroll got into the act twice during May. In the May 3 Lowell (Mass.) Sun, he chose his 11 most beautiful women in the movies…and yes, Carole made the cut. (It’s in the upper right-hand corner, next to a story about Jean Harlow the author.)

carole lombard 050334 lowell sun

But that wasn’t enough for Carroll. In the May 14 Indiana (Pa.) Gazette, he did himself one better by choosing 16 beauties, again including Lombard:

carole lombard 051434 indiana gazette

His selections met a wide variety of fates; Dorothy Dell died in an automobile accident in June and never made it out of her teens, while Gloria Stuart lived to see her centennial (and publicly celebrate it in Hollywood) before her passing in 2010.

Yet another list ran in the May 23 Sheboygan (Wis.) Press column “That’s That”:

carole lombard 052334 sheboygan presscarole lombard 052334a sheboygan press

This was about the time that the U.S. established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union for the first time since the 1917 revolution.

Here’s a segment of a Walter Winchell column that ran in the May 12 Reading (Pa.) Times:

carole lombard 051234 reading timescarole lombard 051234a reading times

What’s interesting here is that Walter must have changed his mind about Lombard’s legs, because in a later column he complimented Carole regarding them ( With summer on the horizon, those Lombard legs were seen in a still for swimsuits, as she suggested blondes wear black swimwear while at the pool or beach. This is from the May 8 North Adams (Mass.) Transcript:

carole lombard 050834 north adams transcript

Another pic — no to swimsuit, yes to sombrero — ran in the May 29 Massillon Independent in Ohio:

carole lombard 052934 massillon independent

And speaking of “You Belong To Me,” had she made that film, those Lombard locks might have seen a different shade, according to the May 11 Oakland Tribune:

carole lombard 051134a oakland tribune

And five days later in the Fresno Bee, Louella Parsons’ syndicated column said Carole would be back at Columbia for another movie, under the working (but thankfully only temporary) title “Orchids And Onions.” (It became “Lady By Choice.”)

carole lombard 051634a fresno bee

Finally, here’s a weird one from the May 15 Salt Lake Tribune –– the Orpheum Theater was seeking “a girl for special work who looks like Carole Lombard”:

carole lombard 051534 salt lake tribune

I have no idea if they found one, or what they did with her if one indeed was found, but it probably was meant in conjunction with this, if the ad from May 20 is indicative:

carole lombard 052034 salt lake tribune

Posted May 25, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Photos simply ‘Made For Each Other’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.24 at 15:03
Current mood: impressedimpressed

carole lombard made for each other 68a

“Made For Each Other,” uneven though it may be, remains a popular Carole Lombard title, probably because it was her only on-screen pairing with James Stewart. (They teamed up several times on radio.) Fans of that film now have more memorabilia to pursue, because eight vintage stills from the movie — a majority of which are rarities, such as the one above — are up for auction at eBay.

Without further ado, here are the other seven:

carole lombard made for each other 65a
carole lombard made for each other 66a
carole lombard made for each other 67a
carole lombard made for each other 69a
carole lombard made for each other 70a
carole lombard made for each other 71a
carole lombard made for each other 72a

All are single-weight glossy originals, each measuring roughly 8″ x 10″, and in very good to fine condition with no marking or copy on the back.

The minimum bid for each photo is $24.50; as of this writing, none of them have received a bid. The auction closes between 6:43 and 7:02 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday.

These are rare goodies for any fan of “Made For Each Other,” or of Lombard or Stewart. You can take a look at all eight photos by visiting

Posted May 24, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

An early look, in linen   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.23 at 08:28
Current mood: artisticartistic

carole lombard p1202-41c eugene robert richee front

Some Carole Lombard portraits can be deceptive in their appearance; take the one above, for example. At first glance, it looks to be from about 1933, even possibly 1934. Then you look at the Paramount p1202 number in the lower right-hand corner, and you’re thrown for a loop.

carole lombard p1202-41 eugene robert richee inset

P1202-41? That would mean it was from sometime in late 1930, probably after Carole returned from making “Fast And Loose” at Paramount’s Astoria studios in Queens, N.Y. According to the seller, “By the number of the still at the bottom, I know that this shoot was attributed to the famous photographer Eugene [Robert] Richee.”

If this seller has a complete list of photographers of Lombard’s p1202 pics, I’d love to get my hands on it, but I’m guessing it is indeed Richee’s work. He’d been at Paramount since 1921, and his most famous subjects of 1920s stills included Clara Bow and Louise Brooks, including this iconic shot of the latter:

In the ’30s, he became identified with portraits of both Lombard and Marlene Dietrich.

For an idea of how different p1202-41 appeared at the time, look at its immediate predecessor, p1202-40, in contrast — an image that has 1930 all over it:

carole lombard p1202-40b

P1202-41 is a linen-backed double weight measuring 9.75″ x 7.75″, with no marks of any kind on the back. The seller says it’s in “Overall nice condition with a small indented dot, some scratching to the image, and some creasing to the corners.” Nevertheless, it’s gorgeous.

Interested in this vintage portrait? You can buy it for $39.99. Go to

Posted May 23, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Shown reading a photoplay…but it’s not in a ‘Photoplay’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.22 at 01:11
Current mood: weirdweird

carole lombard 2557b front

Here’s one of Carole Lombard’s more studious photo stills, as she’s shown perusing a script. Which one? Since the back of the picture is available, we can venture an answer:

carole lombard 2557a back

It’s from the library of Photoplay magazine, and since the stamp date is from early 1937 (Jan. 19, then Feb. 15), it’s pretty certain Carole’s examining the script of her latest film, “Swing High, Swing Low.” There’s also another marking: “April — Study In Scripts.” A check of the Media History Digital Library revealed the April 1937 issue was available, so let’s see how Photoplay used the picture.

Well, it turns out that issue didn’t feature anything called “Study In Scripts” — but there was a two-page spread called “Lining Up Their Lines.” And there indeed is a photo of Carole from “Swing High, Swing Low,” but not only is she in it, but so are co-star Fred MacMurray and director Mitchell Leisen:

carole lombard photoplay april 1937aa
carole lombard photoplay april 1937ba
carole lombard photoplay april 1937ab

The photo that didn’t make the cut is now up for auction at eBay; it’s an 8″ x 10″ glossy single-weight, and according to the seller, its condition is “Very good with some edge wear and a repaired tear.” As of this writing, five bids have been made, the highest for $31, and bidding ends at 8:48 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. You can get in on the action by visiting

Before we leave the April ’37 Photoplay, there’s something else from that issue that fascinates. It’s a history of the fabled Cocoanut Grove at the Hotel Ambassador, both of which now are lost to legend…and as many of us know, the teenage Carole Lombard of the mid-1920s was a regular participant in its dance contests. This not only tells us more about her days there, but features an image of the young Lombard I’ve never seen before:

carole lombard photoplay april 1937ca
carole lombard photoplay april 1937da
carole lombard photoplay april 1937ea
carole lombard photoplay april 1937fa
carole lombard photoplay april 1937ga
carole lombard photoplay april 1937ha

I never realized there had been a feud between Bing Crosby and Cocoanut Grove management (you learn something new every day!). As is our wont, let’s focus on the Lombard stuff:

carole lombard photoplay april 1937db
carole lombard photoplay april 1937eb

Since photos of Carole from her time at Fox show her with dark hair, the story about the Westmores turning her blonde has some credence. And from what we know about Lombard and Crawford, is anyone really surprised that Joan was reluctant to laugh at her past?

Posted May 22, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Next month, board the Metro   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.21 at 08:55
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard the gay bride 06a jack conway chester morris

Not “Metro” as in Metrorail (which people do in my former home grounds of Washington and my future home of Los Angeles), but as in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, arguably the best known of classic Hollywood studios (it turns 90 this year), and one Carole Lombard was fairly familiar with.

The blog Silver Scenes ( will host a blogathon late next month dedicated to the classic era of the lion’s lair…

mgm blogathon banner 01amgm blogathon banner 00a

(I couldn’t decide which of Carole’s husbands to choose as a banner, so I’m using both.)

MGM is a studio with a fascinating history, with both boosters (“more stars than there are in heaven,” unparalleled production values, Irving Thalberg’s work as an executive) and detractors (too much emphasis on producers rather than directors or writers, the often stultifying influence of Louis B. Mayer, particularly after Thalberg’s death).

Obviously, my entry will take a Lombard angle…so which of her MGM films should I feature? Fortunately, history makes that choice easy, for believe it or not, she made only one at that famed Culver City complex — “The Gay Bride” in the latter part of 1934. (In the photo above, Carole is between director Jack Conway, left, and co-star Chester Morris.)

But she had far more of a presence at MGM than that one relatively obscure movie, thanks in large part to her relationship with Clark Gable. Here they are at the 1939 studio picnic:

carole lombard clark gable 1939 mgm picnic 00a

There are other things that tie Lombard to MGM…but what are they? You’ll have to wait until late June to find out. Learn more about the blogathon at

Posted May 21, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

She’s back ‘Under The Stars’ (and so, at last, is Bill!)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.20 at 19:24
Current mood: excitedexcited

carole lombard to be or not to be 56b

We’ve known for some time that “To Be Or Not To Be,” Carole Lombard’s final film, was scheduled to air Aug. 10 as part of Turner Classic Movies’ “Essentials Jr.” — but since August also is the time for TCM’s beloved month-long extravaganza, “Summer Under The Stars,” this led to conjecture…which star was going to have 24 hours of his or her movies airing that day?

Would it be Jack Benny, who made quite a few films during his career, though his genius was best channeled on radio and, to a lesser extent, television? No.

Would it be Robert Stack, who rose from juvenile status to become a reliable leading man during the 1940s and ’50s before finding lasting fame as Eliot Ness on TV? No.

And no, it’s not any of the fine character actors who populated this Ernst Lubitsch classic.

It’s Carole, who for the third time is receiving SUTS honors (she was part of the lineup in both 2006 and 2011). Here’s the lineup that day, which I presume is in chronological order, from 6 a.m. (Eastern)/3 a.m. (Pacific):

“Virtue” (1932)
“No More Orchids” (1932)
“In Name Only” (1939)
“Lady By Choice” (1934)
“Twentieth Century” (1934)
“The Gay Bride” (1934)
“Made For Each Other” (1939)
“Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (1941)
“To Be Or Not To Be” (1942)
“True Confession” (1937)
“Nothing Sacred” (1937)
“Vigil In The Night” (1940)
“Fools For Scandal” (1938)

There are 13 films on this year’s schedule, compared to 15 in 2011; additions are “Made For Each Other” and “True Confession” (which either is a TCM premiere or hasn’t aired on the channel in quite some time), while subtractions are “The Racketeer” (no great loss), “Brief Moment” (an okay film, nothing special), “Hands Across The Table” (increasingly regarded as one of Lombard’s best movies) and…”My Man Godfrey.” (It was the “Essentials Jr.” selection on Aug. 28, 2011.)

While it’s always good to see 24 hours of Lombard, one wishes some of her lesser-known Paramount programmers could get an airing, films such as “It Pays To Advertise,” “Up Pops The Devil,” “No One Man,” “Sinners In The Sun,” “From Hell To Heaven,” “Bolero” or “Rumba.” Some may not be worth seeing, but you can make a similar argument for “The Racketeer” or “Fools For Scandal.” Either TCM can’t secure rights from Universal (which owns most pre-1948 Paramount product), the films aren’t yet in fully restored condition, or both. (And I haven’t even brought up “I Take This Woman,” which may have been rescued from extinction but hasn’t received anywhere near the exposure a pairing of Carole and fellow legend Gary Cooper deserves.)

What makes this all the more intriguing is that the day before Carole is celebrated, her first husband finally will get the “SUTS” treatment:

william powell 007a

Why did it take TCM until the 12th SUTS to honor William Powell, one of the channel’s most popular stars? Well, Powell was born on July 29, 1892, and I’m guessing that it gave him a birthday salute at least a few times over the years. Here’s what TCM will be showing Aug. 9:

“Road To Singapore” (1931)
“Jewel Robbery” (1932)
“Lawyer Man” (1932)
“Double Harness” (1933)
“Manhattan Melodrama” (1934)
“Libeled Lady” (1936)
“Double Wedding” (1937)
“I Love You Again” (1940)
“Love Crazy” (1941)
“The Thin Man” (1934)
“After The Thin Man” (1936)
“Crossroads” (1942)
“Mister Roberts” (1955)
“The Girl Who Had Everything” (1953)
“High Pressure” (1932)

No “Godfrey” there, either (or his two other films with Lombard, “Man Of The World” and “Ladies’ Man”). And I’d have loved to put the wonderfully romantic “One Way Passage” somewhere. But seven straight movies with Myrna Loy, including “The Thin Man” (which I’m guessing will be “The Essentials” selection)? Who can complain about that? (Oh, and get up early for “Jewel Robbery,” where you’ll see Bill engage in drug humor, pre-Code style.)

Now that you know Powell and Lombard will be part of SUTS, let’s give you the whole lineup for August:

1. Jane Fonda
2. David Niven
3. Walter Pidgeon
4. Judy Garland
5. Barbara Stanwyck
6. Paul Muni
7. James Stewart
8. Jeanne Moreau
9. William Powell
10. Carole Lombard
11. Marlon Brando
12. Alexis Smith
13. Cary Grant
14. Charlie Chaplin
15. Faye Dunaway
16. Herbert Marshall
17. John Hodiak
18. Claudette Colbert
19. Paul Newman
20. Thelma Ritter
21. Lee Tracy
22. Audrey Hepburn
23. Ernest Borgnine
24. Gladys George
25. Dick Powell
26. Sophia Loren
27. Edmond O’Brien
28. Arlene Dahl
29. Joseph Cotten
30. Betty Grable
31. Alan Ladd

Your typical SUTS blend — old reliables (Garland, Stanwyck, Stewart, Grant, Colbert), a silent-era favorite (Chaplin) and some overlooked stars (Alexis Smith, John Hodiak, Thelma Ritter, Gladys George, Edmond O’Brien, Arlene Dahl). And the TCM programmers must have a sense of humor, because on Aug. 21-22, we get back-to-back days of Tracy and Hepburn…only it’s Lee Tracy (his SUTS debut) and Audrey Hepburn.

tcm summer under the stars 00a

It should be plenty of fun, and soon we’ll get the channel’s SUTS theme for this year and its promotional push. Stay tuned.

Posted May 20, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Sold! The story of a gown   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.19 at 09:15
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard gown 00

Recently, I’ve thought about this image of Carole Lombard in the context of its near-replication as part of a transportation mural at Union Station in Los Angeles, my likely future home ( But there’s more to it…not in Lombard’s pose, but in what she’s wearing.

The photo was taken by Paramount’s Otto Dyar in 1931 — and the gown she’s in was part of an auction of Hollywood memorabilia held last month in Beverly Hills by Julien’s Auctions:

julien's auctions logo 00a

I apologize for not being on top of this at the time, but the backstory still makes for fine reading. (And unless my readership is far more upscale than I imagine, chances are none of you were going to end up with it anyway.)

First of all, here’s what the gown looks like:

carole lombard gown 01

It’s a pale green — the designer of the mural, working off that Dyar black-and-white, envisioned it as sort of a beige-flesh color — and as you can tell, the work is quite intricate (although largely invisible in the Dyar pose). Here’s a closeup of the top:

carole lombard gown 02

And here’s how it was described in the auction guide:

carole lombard gown 03

“The gown is believed to have been created for Lombard for ‘No Man Of Her Own’ (Paramount, 1932).” Er, probably not. Assuming the photo is indeed from 1931, at that time Carole had not been cast in that film, nor was it known by that name — it was seen as a Miriam Hopkins vehicle called “No Bed Of Her Own” ( By the time Lombard became involved with the project, it was the latter part of ’32.

I’m guessing “No Man Of Her Own” was confused with the somewhat similarly titled (and far more obscure) “No One Man,” released in early 1932. However, I’ve never seen the gown in any stills from the actual film. Also note that the gown at first was associated with actress Florence Vidor before provenance tied it to Lombard.

The gown was among 99 lots from former MGM archivist Glenn Brown, who had bought the item at a Christie’s auction in 1990 for $1,000.

The Los Angeles Times reported what then happened:

Although only about 10 people sat in the gallery — and few were bidding — a slight man in a yellow baseball cap perked up when the auctioneer called out Lot 274. He cradled an iPad, and the auction catalog in his lap was filled with neon Post-it notes.

The item, a pale green beaded gown worn by actress Carole Lombard, loomed large for Brown. He’d acquired the dress at a Christie’s auction in 1990 for $1,000. At the time, it was described as having been worn by actress Florence Vidor in “Doomsday,” he said. But Brown later researched the gown and found a publicity image of Lombard wearing it, establishing a higher-profile provenance.

Bidding began at $3,500 and increased in $250 increments. At first the contest was between several online and phone bidders, but most dropped out when the man in the yellow cap entered the fray at $6,000. From there, he went up against a bidder who was on the phone with [Julien’s executive director Martin] Nolan.

The price shot past $10,000 and kept rising in $1,000 increments. The man in the cap signaled his bids with a nod, or by calmly raising his hand.

The phone bidder pressed on, and Nolan whispered into the microphone of his mobile phone’s headset, keeping his client apprised.

When Nolan’s bidder offered $27,500, auctioneer Tim Luke set his sights on the man in the cap.

“I need an even $30,000, looking for $30,000, one more at $30,000,” Luke intoned. “Are we done? Fair warning….”

The gavel cracked. Phone bidder No. 825 had won the dress.

But the man in the cap didn’t come away empty-handed. He later won a costume from “Singin’ in the Rain” for $3,250 and another worn by Julie Andrews in “Darling Lili” for $3,000, in addition to other items.

Bought for $1,000…sold 22 years later for more than 27 times that amount (and certainly the power of the Lombard name helped).

So, who came away with the gown? Hard to say, although several museums — including the Hollywood Museum and the planned Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum, the latter set to open in 2017 — are said to be potential candidates for such items. Or it could be in the hands of a private collector. We will see.

Posted May 19, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Entries, 5/11-5/18   Leave a comment

Set pieces

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.18 at 17:01
Current mood: artisticartistic

carole lombard 2554bI don’t have the specifics on this portrait of Carole Lombard fine-tuning her appearance on a soundstage, but judging from her hairstyle, it’s either from her Pathe period or early on at Paramount. It’s one of two photos of Lombard on the set; here’s the other one, definitely from later on in her career:

carole lombard 2553a

Both are stylish, and either (or both) can be yours from the same seller at eBay (neither photo is an original). Each measures 8.5″ x 11″, and each sells for $6.99 (as of this writing, two of each are available). For the first photo, go to For the second, visit

carole lombard 06

Mission (apparently) accomplished

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.17 at 04:57
Current mood: happyhappy

Will you settle for one happy Carole Lombard fan? It appears all systems are go for my move to an apartment in Los Angeles; all the remains now are the specifics (dates, etc.). While nothing will be finalized before I leave to go east today, I’ve been assured by the person overseeing the property that details, and things for me to sign, will be emailed in the very near future. All hurdles are more or less cleared.

A move of this magnitude marks a major change in anyone’s life, but I have faith I am doing the right thing — not just as a fan of classic Hollywood who enjoys researching the Golden Age in general and Lombard in particular, but someone who’s comfortable with LA as the American city of the 21st century, blending elements of the Pacific Rim and Latin America with traditional U.S. society. True, at times the city can be as exasperating as it is exciting, but that’s part of the process.

My last full night in SoCal for now was spent not in Los Angeles but in Orange County, watching the Angels take on Tampa Bay. It was my first time in the ballpark since the home finale in 1996 — the last game there before the football seating was taken out. Now, Angel Stadium has a classic ballpark feel to it…and in the distance you can see the Honda Center, where the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks were meeting Friday in a deciding game 7.

Neither home team had much to celebrate. The Angels’ offense was meek in a 3-0 loss, and on the ice LA stormed to an early 4-0 lead and never looked back in a 6-2 triumph over their arch-rivals.

More games in Anaheim may be in my future; we will see. For now, I’m…

carole lombard 05

My last full day in LA (for now)

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.16 at 12:03
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

Much of my time in Los Angeles has been spent like Carole Lombard’s, except I’ve never had a luxurious dressing room and Carole never worked with a cell phone. I’ve been taking care of just about everything I can in order to pin down that apartment, because about 24 hours from the time I write this, I’ll be on a plane at LAX, minutes before take-off east. (I’ll spend a night in northern Virginia, then board a train home.)

While I doubt everything will be resolved before I leave Los Angeles, I have faith I’ve done all I can to satisfy whom I hope will be my future potential landlord. If everything is finalized, I then can begin plans for a move west — probably in two stages, sending some of the essential items west, then coming back east after a few weeks to clear out my old place and store some things in LA. It will be nerve-wracking at times…but it goes with the territory.

For now, I’ll just relax for a bit once my laundry is done and play tourist for a few hours. But no, I don’t plan to visit Paramount Pictures; on that tour, you never know whom you may run into (literally).

carole lombard 04

Ever so close, and closer, and closer…

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.15 at 22:36
Current mood: anxiousanxious

Well, I’m nearly at the point where I’ll have something in common with Carole Lombard — a Los Angeles address. (But unlike the former Jane Alice Peters in that photo at the city Hall of Records in late 1936, I have no plans to change my name.)

I cleared another hurdle today as far as documents were concerned, and need only one or two more things taken care of before I should have an apartment lease approved. Will I be able to get them done tomorrow, my final full day in LA before heading east? We will see…but at this time, I feel in good shape.

Privacy reasons make me reluctant to give more details on where this potential domicile is located, but I will say it’s a bus ride away from the fabulous Farmers Market — which I visited for the first time today. It’s a quintessential LA experience. Imagine an open-air equivalent of such standout city markets as Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia or Lexington Market in Baltimore, then add some California and Hollywood flair to the equation.

That’s Ben Affleck and his daughters shopping there some months ago. I didn’t see them today (or any other celebs, for that matter), but I did have some tasty New England clam chowder along with a Pecific favorite, fish tacos, at Tusquellas Fish and Oyster Bar. Yummy. In July, the market celebrates its 80th anniversary, and at that time, we’ll go into more detail on the place. For now, provide some psychic support to make this California dream come true.

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The waiting indeed is the hardest part

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.14 at 23:38
Current mood: hothot

Tom Petty was right, so I’m guessing somewhere along the way he was sweating out whether he could move into a new apartment. (Today, of course, his holdings may well include a few apartment buildings.)The place I’m eying in Los Angeles as home base for Carole Lombard and classic Hollywood research is oh so close, but there are a handful of things that must be okayed before I can sign that dotted line for the lease. ago when he I think my chances are good, and the apartment manager is in my corner, but we’re not there yet. I should know more tomorrow. Send some positive psychic energy my way, please.

Meanwhile, I’ve been roaming between the Dodgers-Marlins game at Chavez Ravine and game six of the Kings-Ducks Stanley Cup series. Of the former, Vin Scully put it so succinctly a few minutes ago when he said, “If you missed the second inning, good for you.” It was brutal, all right, as Miami took advantage of shoddy LA fielding to score six runs and give the Fish a 6-0 edge after three innings. (Incidentally, the Dodgers’ flagship station, KLAC, is a Fox Sports Net affiliate. The mix of the erudite Scully with Fox “attitude” is like blending chardonnay with Cholula hot sauce.)

A few miles south at the other end of downtown, the Kings — needing a win to keep their season alive — lead the Ducks 2-1 after two periods. It has become one of the NHL’s best rivalries, as anyone who saw their outdoor game at Dodger Stadium in January can attest.

If you’ve been following the news, you’re aware of the heat and winds leading to fires in southern California, particularly around San Diego. But did you know that above-average temperatures in Los Angeles in the summer of 1963 led to one of Motown’s early hits? LA disc jockeys began playing the following record, and it became a national success. We’re referring to Martha and the Vandellas’ classic “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave.”

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Keep those fingers crossed

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.13 at 19:10
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

I’m hoping that in a few days, my reaction will echo that of Carole Lombard…because I think my chances are good that I finally am going to land an apartment in Los Angeles.

I won’t tell you much more right now — I’ve been wrong before about these things — but the vibes I’m getting from the meeting I had today are good ones. The person in charge of the complex was helpful, and told me not to worry about some of the potential hurdles. With some luck, and psychic support for many of you, my dream of relocating to LA well may be assured by the end of the week.

So while that’s being worked on, some news about what I did last night.

I went to Dodger Stadium and sat in the fabled top deck; it only set me back $10, with a spectacular view of the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. It’s something every baseball fan should experience at least once. The boys in blue beat Miami 6-5 behind a mammoth three-run homer from Cuban star Yasiel Puig. (His bobblehead is tonight’s giveaway, and the place will be packed.) At game’s end, the unofficial team anthem was played, Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” Here’s the original video, including the opening lines (only the chorus is played at the ballgames). It’s typical wry Newman humor — the person saying these lines is a typical L.A. booster — but Randy’s having fun here, and he probably believes in some of the lyrics, too:

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Hands across the table, Los Angeles style

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.12 at 13:07
Current mood: excitedexcited

Carole Lombard played a manicurist at a posh New York hotel in the 1935 romantic comedy “Hands Across The Table.” This morning, I was in that sort of environment, only in downtown Los Angeles. Not at the hotel I’m currently in, but in one Lombard knew well — the Biltmore, at Pershing Square:

That hotel, which opened in 1923, is where several Academy Awards ceremonies were held, including the 1937 event where Carole was nominated for “My Man Godfrey” the year before.

This morning, I needed a haircut to face the world (or apartment supervisors), so I looked for a place, and found the Visage Aveda salon. Men’s haircuts, regularly $40, were now $25, so I thought I’d take advantage of a bargain.

I got the haircut, but first waited for a charming lady originally from the Midwest, now living in Uruguay, while she got a pedicure and manicure. Then I was serviced, and the staff did a superlative job. Now, shorn of once-shaggy locks, it’s time for me to look for am apartment. Again, wish me luck.

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Greetings from LA (again)

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.11 at 18:32
Current mood: amusedamused

I have returned to Los Angeles to resume my apartment search; that’s the good news. The bad news is that my hotel, while wonderful (the room features a refrigerator and freezer, great for an insulin-storing diabetic), lacks wi-fi, and thus I’m typing this entry on one of two hotel computers; the other is as slow as molasses and features a mouse with a broken ball.The flights (I changed planes in Detroit) were comfy, and the Flyaway bus from LAX arrived at Union Station just as I was listening to Hanley Ramirez homer with two out in the ninth to tie the arch-rival Giants — and quite a few fans that already had boarded the Dodger Stadium express buses to Union Station were waiting to go home. (Were their parents among those who left Chavez Ravine early when Kirk Gibson homered off Dennis Eckersley in game one of the 1988 World Series? Check a video of that moment and you’ll see plenty of tail-lights in the outfield parking lots.) It serves them right that San Francisco scored three runs in the top of the 10th to win 7-4 and take three of four in the weekend series. (It’s a great time to be a SoCal sports fan, as the Clippers waged a phenomenal comeback to beat Oklahoma City and tie their best-of-seven series at 2-2. That’s the same status as the first-ever Kings-Ducks playoff series, in which the visiting team has won all four games. Game five is in Anaheim Monday.)

Carole Lombard’s mural greeted me at the Union Station Metro stop, and I hope she brings me luck this time as I seek a place to call home in her hometown. The search begins tomorrow, and I’ll keep you posted. Please send good vibes my way.

Oh, and happy Mother’s Day, while I still can say it. This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom, and I miss her.

Posted May 18, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

In ‘Transit,’ in a big way   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.05.10 at 07:17
Current mood: excitedexcited

carole lombard marriage in transit lobby card 01 larger

We don’t have much left of “Marriage In Transit,” Carole Lombard’s first film by her new screen name, made at Fox in early 1925 when she was all of 16 years old, yet looking sufficiently mature to portray a character getting married (to star Edmund Lowe) and thus apparently several years older. The film is lost — indeed that’s the sad fate of all of Carole’s films made before her automobile accident in early 1926 — and not many samples of it remain.

But one rarity has popped up on eBay…and it’s a lot of rarity. It’s a half-sheet poster for the movie, measuring an astounding 22″ x 28″:

carole lombard marriage in transit half sheet 00c

By the standards we use for movie posters, this one looks as if it’s merely a lobby card on steroids; it’s simply a larger version of the wedding scene. Let’s focus at part of the picture, and you can see Lombard arm in arm with Lowe:

carole lombard marriage in transit half sheet 01b

The half-sheet is in unrestored condition, with some heavy age wear on the borders. Nevertheless, it’s quite a find and a definite rarity. It’s being sold for $200, and I hope whomever buys it does justice to a Carole collectible nearly 90 years old. If that someone is you, go to

As was the case for part of last month, many of the following entries will be minus illustrations, as I’ll be using my laptop while back in Los Angeles to seek future housing (keep your fingers crossed). Back in LA…that phrase got me thinking of its use in a song, from one of the town’s signature bands, the Doors. The comparatively obscure “Runnin’ Blue,” from the 1969 album “The Soft Parade,” was released as a single and had minor success. At its start, Jim Morrison laments “poor Otis (Redding), dead and gone,” not known that within two years he would be, too. From there, it goes in typical solid Doors style, with one curious exception: That’s Rob Krieger, in ersatz Dylan tones, singing on the bridge. “Runnin’ Blue” doesn’t get much airplay on classic rock stations these days, but it’s two-and-a-half minutes of fun.

Posted May 10, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized