Archive for June 2014

Giving an endorsement…and getting one, too   1 comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.18 at 08:50
Current mood: happyhappy

carole lombard publicity 00b

Perhaps more than any other actress of her time, Carole Lombard understood not only the value, but the workings of the publicity process — going so far as to spend a week handling PR for Selznick International Pictures in July 1938. (She’s shown with the studio’s renowned publicity maven, Russell Birdwell.)

I like to think some of that rubbed off on me, because I recently made one of the more renowned entertainment columnists aware of this site. Even better, I helped publicize another site, too. And it can all be credited to…Billy Wilder, or should we say his film “Sunset Boulevard”:

billy wilder 01c
gloria swanson sunset boulevard 00a

The 1950 movie was screened May 31 at the historic Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles, and the special guest was Nancy Olson, who played the screenwriter’s girlfriend. She was interviewed by Alison Martino, a Facebook friend who administers the superb site Vintage Los Angeles.

The event was duly noted by Liz Smith, a familiar byline to New York newspaper readers for decades who now works for a site called New York Social Diary:

carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 02a
carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 03

I was pleased to see that (wish I could have been there)…but Alison’s not the only one in her family with a fun Facebook site. Her mother, Judi, a former American Airlines flight attendant (that’s how she met Al, the pop singer-actor who became her husband) runs a site called Stewardesses of the 1960s and ’70s, where the high-flying sisterhood of the golden age of air travel recall those halcyon days. So I emailed Liz, also adding that I had a site of my own (the one you’re reading).

This was the result — first, the site I publicized:

carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 01a

Next, my own:

carole lombard liz smith new york social diary 00a

Very good…Judi and I are both publicity winners. Alas, I’m a bit uneasy to note that Liz ran the items one after another, as I probably wouldn’t juxtapose news about a site dedicated to stewardesses with one on a celebrity who was the victim of an aviation accident. (It’s why I never give out Carole & Co. business cards while on a flight.)

Oh, and speaking of flight, I’ll be doing that tomorrow as I begin the first stage of my move to Los Angeles. Today, the van arrives to take some essential items — bed, desk, chair, computer, TV — out to the Coast, though it will take a few days for it to reach my new apartment. I’ll arrive in LA Thursday night, stay a few days in a hotel, then begin moving in, returning back east near the end of the month to clear out the old place. And yes, I am thrilled.

Here is Alison’s complete interview with Nancy Olson — it runs some 22 minutes and is delightful:

Posted June 18, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘To Be’ twice as ‘Essential’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.17 at 07:57
Current mood: pleasedpleased

carole lombard to be or not to be 32b front

Carole Lombard’s final film, “To Be Or Not To Be,” will air at 8 p.m. (Eastern) June 28 in Turner Classic Movies’ “Essentials” series. While this Ernst Lubitsch classic of dark comedy certainly deserves such an honor, what makes this all the more intriguing is that come Aug. 10, it will again pop up on TCM as part of the “Essentials”…

tcm essentials jr 00
tcm essentials jr. 2014 bill hader 00

…”Essentials Jr.”, that is, hosted by former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Bill Hader. (Note he’s wearing glasses this year.) While the two “Essentials” series have aired identical movies before, this is the first time I can recall the same film airing on both in the same season.

The June showing kicks off a three-film tribute to Jack Benny, who may be best known for his radio genius but had some success in movies as well. (“The Big Broadcast Of 1937” and “College Holiday” will follow.) The August airing will be part of 24 hours of Carole on TCM’s “Summer Under The Stars.”

I’m looking forward to not only the film, but how it is introduced — first by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore on “The Essentials,” then by Hader (a classic Hollywood buff) on “Essentials Jr.,” a series designed to introduce the younger generation to films of a bygone era.

tcm essentials 2014 robert osborne drew barrymore 00a

Osborne and Barrymore will introduce another Lombard film Oct. 4 (two days before the 106th anniversary of Carole’s birth), when “Twentieth Century” (featuring a virtuoso comedic performance from Drew’s grandfather John Barrymore, one Lombard matches stride-for-stride) is featured.

carole lombard twentieth century 059d

One hopes Drew might have some hitherto untold family stories about the making of the movie (then again, John died some 34 years before she was born). No matter, her perspective — both as a Barrymore and someone who’s probably a fan of Lombard’s — should be fascinating.

Posted June 17, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A trio of Carole clippings   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.16 at 21:31
Current mood: curiouscurious

carole lombard clipping 00a

No, I have no idea why Carole Lombard is leaning atop a portrait of a rabbit (though what she has on indicates it might have something with “They Knew What They Wanted,” as her waitress character Amy wears a blouse with such stripes in the film). But it’s a clipping, one of three (probably all taken in the early 1940s) on sale at eBay for $5.49. You can claim it at×10-1pg-P7542/380930346552?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D7671463299168134934%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D380930346538.

Next, Carole stands next to her signature:

carole lombard clipping 01a

Can’t see it? We’ll isolate it for you:

carole lombard clipping 01b

Find it at×10-1pg-P7543/380930346598?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D7671596007181768589%26pid%3D100033%26prg%3D20131017132637%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D380930346552.

Finally, a clipping with two images:

carole lombard clipping 02a

It’s at×10-1pg-P7544/380930346538?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131017132637%26meid%3D7671622629330714364%26pid%3D1.

Posted June 16, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Screen’-ing two more fanmag uploads   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.15 at 12:56
Current mood: excitedexcited

carole lombard modern screen january 1932b covercarole lombard silver screen may 1932ca

To those of you who like to immerse yourself in the 1930s Hollywood inhabited by Carole Lombard and other legends (or at least the Hollywood the studios wanted readers to believe existed), a double dose of good news. The Media History Digital Library has added extensive runs of both Modern Screen and Silver Screenmagazines, only a few months after doing likewise with Screenland. (Lombard is shown above on the January 1932 Modern Screen and the May 1932 Silver Screen, her first cover appearance for each magazine.)

The online library features Modern Screen goes from November 1930 all the way to 1960 (though a few early issues are missing), while Silver Screen also begins in November 1930 and lasts through October 1940. Their addition now means the library has sustained or close to complete runs of eight screen fanmags, in addition to a 1931-1937 run of Movie Classic. You can find them at

In ensuing months, I’ll extensively mine this motherlode of fanmagdom, seeking to separate the fool’s gold (aka studio puffery) from the real thing. (At times they co-exist.) For now, however, let’s look at Lombard’s first extnnsive appearance in each magazine. We’ll begin with the February 1931 Silver Screen, and a handsome pic of her taken late in 1930:

carole lombard silver screen february 1931c

Carole was mentioned several times (without an illustration) in an article elsewhere in that issue on a familiar conceit — stars’ figures, something Photoplay also did about that time ( This story also compared stars to Venus, the mythical ideal of physical beauty:

carole lombard silver screen february 1931da
carole lombard silver screen february 1931ea
carole lombard silver screen february 1931fa

None of the stars’ measurements are fully provided, so alas we don’t have yet another candidate in the long-running debate regarding Lombard’s height. (As for the star whose figure most resembled Venus, Joan Crawford was the winner by default, although if Constance Bennett — whom some wags tagged “the human clothes-hanger” — had added a dozen or so pounds to her 98-pound frame, she might have claimed the honor.)

Move six months ahead to Lombard’s first appearance of note in Modern Screen, a portrait where she certainly evokes Venus or any other Grecian goddess at a time when it appeared she was going to be among the stars in “The Greeks Had A Word For It.” (Illness forced Carole to bow out of the production, and the film would be renamed “The Greeks Had A Word For Them.”)

carole lombard modern screen august 1931aa

Also in the August 1931 was a story on the preview to her film “Up Pops The Devil,” and look who’s on hand to provide support…husband-to-be William Powell. (This photo was taken before their marriage in late June.)

carole lombard modern screen august 1931ca

The preview was held at the Alexander Theater in Glendale; its name was later shortened to Alex, and it’s used today for performing arts events, including the Loretta Young tribute held this past January ( Here’s what a Hollywood preview looks like, as well as a response mailed to Paramount from someone who saw the film (and has nice things to say about Carole):

carole lombard modern screen august 1931ba
carole lombard modern screen august 1931bb

Some other notables, both actors and executives, came out to Glendale…even a few who had nothing to do with the film:

carole lombard modern screen august 1931da
carole lombard modern screen august 1931ea
carole lombard modern screen august 1931fa

I’m definitely looking forward to using these fanmags as a resource.

Posted June 15, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Half a dozen heralds for Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.14 at 02:48
Current mood: draineddrained

carole lombard sinners in the sun herald 00

Those of you who collect Carole Lombard heralds — two-sided sheets, usually folded into four pages, “heralding” an upcoming attraction at that theater — are in the midst of a surfeit of riches. Six heralds from as many Lombard films are up for auction at eBay, such as one for “Sinners In The Sun” above. Here’s the flip side:

carole lombard sinners in the sun herald 01

That herald — probably from Great Britain, since the film was set to run in March 1933 and it premiered in the U.S. the previous summer — already has one bid, for $10. That’s the minimum bid for the herald offered by the same seller, from the Lombard-William Powell film “Man Of The World” (note the back side is left blank):

carole lombard man of the world herald 00
carole lombard man of the world herald 01

The seller has three heralds where bids open at $15 — from “Swing High, Swing Low”…

carole lombard swing high, swing low herald 00
carole lombard swing high, swing low herald 01

…”Nothing Sacred”…

carole lombard nothing sacred herald 05
carole lombard nothing sacred herald 06

…and “The Gay Bride”:

carole lombard the gay bride herald 00a
carole lombard the gay bride herald 01a

The auctions for the first four end Sunday between 10:21 and 11:56 a.m. (Eastern) Sunday, while “The Gay Bride” auction concludes at 5:01 p.m. (Eastern) Thursday. Bid or find out more about these and other Lombard items from this seller (a total of 40 were listed) by visiting

But wait, there’s more! Another seller, from India, has this fascinating herald from Lombard’s second film at Paramount, “Fast And Loose”:

carole lombard fast and loose herald 01a
carole lombard fast and loose herald 00

Some interesting things here. Not only note that Lombard’s first name is listed as “Carole,” which it became for good in the fall of 1930 (and isn’t that a lovely shot of her on the phone?), but she’s received second billing, behind Miriam Hopkins, but ahead of Frank Morgan. According to a calendar check, “Saturday, April 2nd” didn’t come until 1932, so by then Paramount management probably wanted to give Carole more attention than Morgan.

Bids for this rarity begin at $40, with the auction slated to end at 5:02 a.m. (Eastern) Friday. Interested? Find out more by going to

carla laemmle 00

In closing, some happy and sad news. First, we note the passing Thursday of Carla Laemmle at age 104; she was part of the Laemmle family of Universal lore and an actress and dancer dating back to the silent era. Carla remained a vital part of classic Hollywood to the end, regularly appearing at shows and festivals.

los angeles kings 2014 stanley cup 00

On a more cheery note, Lord Stanley is returning to Los Angeles for the second time in three years. The Los Angeles Kings — who won their first three playoff series this year with Game 7 victories on the road — clinched the Stanley Cup before the home folks with a 3-2 victory in double overtime, beating the New York Rangers in five games. (Two years earlier, L.A. won the Cup by beating the team from the other side of the Hudson, the New Jersey Devils.)

It caps a stunning season for southern California hockey, including the Kings’ sold-out January game at Dodger Stadium against the Anaheim Ducks (they would meet in the playoffs for the first time, with the Kings winning in seven after rallying from a three-games-to-none deficit against San Jose in the first round). Want to celebrate? The Kings’ championship parade will begin downtown Monday at noon at Figueroa and 5th Street and end 30 to 45 minutes later at Staples Center.

Posted June 14, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A love letter, from a site turning seven   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.13 at 08:04
Current mood: lovedloved

carole lombard p1202-840d

Dear Carole Lombard,

I wonder if you’re aware of the power you still wield over people more than 70 years after you left this mortal coil (and eight decades after the Paramount portrait above, p1202-840). Take me, for instance.

It was seven years ago today that I began this site, called Carole & Co. — focusing on you in particular and classic Hollywood (you know, that era you experienced) in general. Thought it would be a fun endeavor (and it has been), but it’s turned out to be much more.

You cast a spell, like a kindly witch from another realm, and left me wanting to know more about you…and more, and more. Thankfully, technology that at times seems like magic has enabled me to do just that, uncovering all sorts of items left unknown for years — and the good news is that you continue to fascinate.

carole lombard beach stuart and frederic 00

But it goes beyond that. In a few weeks, I’ll be making your beloved Los Angeles my home as well, just as you and your mother and brothers did a century ago this fall. There, thanks to the area’s unparalleled resources, I’ll be able to do even more research about not only your life, but film history. I don’t know if you willed me to LA — I’ve considered moving to southern California long before the site began — but now this dream is about to come true, and I’m certain you at least had a hand in it.

Administering Carole & Co. over the past seven years has been a joy, and I’ve met all sorts of wonderful people through it. (You’ll be pleased to know it has several hundred followers.) Recently we passed the 2,700 mark in entries; that’s more than one per day. In an online universe where blogs and sites are started and routinely abandoned, seven years is deemed definite staying power, and you can be certain I’ll do everything possible to keep it going for at least a few years more.

In short, you’ve changed my life — pretty remarkable considering there were more than 13 1/2 years between your exit and my entrance. But thanks to motion pictures, you’ll live forever and continue making friends of people who never met you…like me. Thank you.


carole lombard p1202-1300a

Posted June 13, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

In the mood for some Danish?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.12 at 19:55
Current mood: pleasedpleased

carole lombard true confession danish novel program 00b

Carole Lombard film memorabilia, that is.

Above is the cover of a movie novel program of “True Confession,” which we learn was issued in May 1938:

carole lombard true confession danish novel program 01a

I know next to nothing about the Danish language, but I can tell you that according to the seller, this measures 5 1/2″ x 8″, roughly the size of a herald that U.S. theaters would have issued at the time. But this is far more thorough; it runs some 42 pages, including the front and back covers, and apparently is sort of a novelization of the movie, including photos such as this:

carole lombard true confession danish novel program 02a

The seller describes it as “really rare and collectible,” and I definitely concur. Bidding on this item opens at $45, and the auction is set to close at 10:18 p.m. (Eastern) next Friday. It looks like the type of collectible that transcends language, and if you’re interested, go to

The same seller has a similar item from Carole’s first film of 1939, “Made For Each Other”:

carole lombard made for each other danish novel program 00b
carole lombard made for each other danish novel program 01a
carole lombard made for each other danish novel program 02a

This is more of a straight program than a novelization, as it runs for only 12 pages and measures 5″ x 7″ (with a pair of punchholes; someone evidently stored it in a notebook). The minimum bid here is $30, and it closes 14 minutes later than its counterpart. Find out more by visiting

Posted June 12, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Come to a movie palace’s rescue   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.11 at 21:00
Current mood: optimisticoptimistic

carole lombard clark gable fannie brice 1938a test pilot

What’s Fannie Brice (left) doing with Carole Lombard and Clark Gable? All three are either at a preview or premiere of Clark’s 1938 movie “Test Pilot.” I’m not certain what theater this was taken at, but it almost certainly was taken at a theater…and that’s the basis of today’s entry.

Yesterday, we wrote about “Hands Across The Table” showing tonight at the restored Elsinore Theatre in Salem, Ore. But another West Coast theater from the mid-twenties — one in southern California, in fact — is a bit down on its luck, and in definite need of a makeover. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena…but before we show you its current condition, some pictures of it over the years since its opening in 1925:

rialto theatre south pasadena 00b
rialto theatre south pasadena 02a
rialto theatre south pasadena 04a

Now, some pics of the Rialto in more recent times; considering it hasn’t been restored nor been open in about four years, it’s actually in pretty decent condition. As someone recently wrote at its Facebook site (, “Yes, it has been closed for years for safety and fire code violations, Yes it needs a lot of upgrades and improvements (and cleaning!) to make it competitive with other theatres, but the Rialto theatre is in remarkably original shape. Much of the interior is as it was in 1925, or could easily be restored.”

rialto theatre south pasadena 05a
rialto theatre south pasadena 06a
rialto theatre south pasadena 11a
rialto theatre south pasadena 10a

What caused the Rialto’s decline? The usual suspects, to be sure (suburbanization, growth of multiplexes and television, etc.), but there are some other factors, too. It’s been owned by the same family since 1930s; the bad news is that they didn’t put all that much upkeep into the place, but the good news is that it left the Rialto largely in one piece, not divided into separate cinemas. Now, that family has finally agreed to sell the property (which is on the National Register of Historic Places, making it difficult if not impossible to tear down), with hopes a buyer can revitalize the place and convert it into a performing arts center, as has been the case with many vintage theaters (such as the Alex in nearby Glendale).

While some struggling theaters have found new life (converting to digital, etc.) via Kickstarter and other firms, an endeavor of this magnitude probably will need much more than that. Those who are interested should visit the Facebook site listed above to learn more about this landmark. I spent nearly a decade in Westfield, N.J., where there was, and is, a theater named the Rialto (its lineage dates back to 1922, even further than its South Pasadena namesake) has helped revitalize downtown and win the town awards…

rialto theatre westfield nj 00a

I’d like to see the western Rialto — which has been used for commercial and video shoots — similarly thrive.

Was the Rialto in South Pasadena ever used for a Hollywood preview, and did Lombard ever visit? Which of her movies may have been shown there? Until I can find proof, we only can conjecture. But we know at least one of her second husband’s films played there:

rialto theatre south pasadena 09a

Let’s hope that marquee once more will light up the South Pasadena sky.

Posted June 11, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Clap ‘Hands’ for Carole at a classic theatre   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.10 at 09:25
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard hands across the table 49

Few things bring greater joy to a Carole Lombard fan than to watch her cavort, larger than life, on a theater screen in a group experience with fellow audience members. It’s even better to see her in action in a venue that conceivably could have shown that film when it initially ran.

Lombard fans in Oregon’s capital of Salem have a chance to do just that tomorrow night when “Hands Across The Table,” one of her better comedies — and arguably her best film for Paramount — is shown at the historic Elsinore Theatre, which nearly was a decade old when “Hands” was released in the fall of 1935.

Most movie palaces of the ’20s had an exotic appearance to them. In contrast, when the Elsinore opened in 1926, its exterior resembled a Tudor Gothic cathedral (a la Elsinore in “Hamlet,” hence its name), attractive yet austere:

elsinore theatre salem oregon 1926a

Its interior was similarly Gothic in tone, but seeing it today, restored and in color, makes one realize just how spectacular it must have been, and is now:

elsinore theatre salem oregon interior 02
elsinore theatre salem oregon interior 01
elsinore theatre salem oregon interior 03

The Elsinore was threatened with demolition in 1980, but a “Save The Elsinore” committee kept it from the wrecker’s ball and held a series of free events to promote the venue during the ’80s. It had been kept in reasonably good shape over the years, so while renovations were made, they were minimal compared to other classic-era theaters, and a fully restored Elsinore was opened in 2004.

The theater seats 1,275, and while it’s mostly used for concerts these days, films are an integral part of its schedule. “Hands” is part of a classic movies series held on Wednesdays, and tickets are only $5. That Wurlitzer organ played by Rick Parks in the last of the three interior shots will be heard May 18, when the Elsinore presents a trio of silent comedies — Harold Lloyd in “Now or Never” (1921) plus Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy in “That’s My Wife” (1929) and “Putting Pants on Philip” (1927). For more information on the series, go to

elsinore theatre salem oregon interior 04

I don’t know whether that’s the size of the screen the Elsinore uses for its movies…but in a wonderful venue such as this, in the midst of an enthralled audience, that screen certainly will seem bigger when “Hands” plays on it.

Posted June 10, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

At last, we can confess about that dress   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.06.09 at 07:08
Current mood: enviousenvious

carole lombard true confession 19b

We have finally learned which of Carole Lombard’s dresses from “True Confession” is being featured at the just-opened exhibit “Designing Woman: Edith Head at Paramount, 1924-1967” at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio ( It’s the one above, which Carole’s character, Helen Bartlett, wears when she takes a job as a secretary…which turns out to be a pivotal moment in that 1937 comedy, Lombard’s last for the studio.

We have proof from longtime Carole & Co. reader Debbie Plummer Moore, an Ohio resident who went to the exhibit Sunday and posed with the dress:

carole lombard true confession dress debbie plummer moore 00a

Debbie is also seen in front of the building, which is in downtown Lancaster, Ohio, near Columbus:

debbie plummer moore decorative arts center 00a

Thanks for solving that “mystery,” Debbie. Now, some more images of the dress as seen in the film, the last group of which is from the British publication Cinegram:

carole lombard true confession 12b
carole lombard true confession 04b
carole lombard true confession cinegram 02c

Had I been a sleuth with a bit more sense, I would’ve been able to guess which Lombard “True Confession” dress was being featured. It turns out that in late 2012, the Hollywood Heritage Museum — located at the famed barn Cecil B. De Mille used for “The Squaw Man” more than a century ago — exhibited that dress…and I had those photos in my collection, including one of it at the exhibit as well as a close-up:

carole lombard true confession dress hollywood heritage museum 00c
carole lombard true confession dress hollywood heritage museum 01a

But this also was among those pics — and it claims “parentage” not from Edith Head, but from another famed Paramount designer, one who’s far more associated with Lombard:

carole lombard true confession dress hollywood heritage museum 02a

That leads to yet another mystery.

Posted June 9, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized