Archive for September 2014

Looking tasty in ranch dressing   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.30 at 11:14
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

carole lombard they knew what they wanted 38 front larger

Carole Lombard looks out over her Encino ranch while dressed in an outfit meant to call to mind her upcoming role in “They Knew What They Wanted,” much of which was set in the California countryside. We learn from the back of the photo that it was taken by RKO’s Alex Kahle…

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…and that it was part of a four-picture series from the studio (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any of the other three) for newspapers to run in their women’s section. The topic? Summer fashion — and Lombard looks luscious in the warmth of the sun. (And yes, ladies and gentlemen, that one-of-a-kind RKO studio typewriter is back on this snipe.)

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The seller describes Carole’s appearance as “casual beauty,” and who would disagree? The photo is oversized (10 1/2″ x 13 1/2″) on a double-weight glossy paper stock, and is said to be “in very fine condition with only minimal edge wear as seen. Just stupendous.” (As is Lombard.)

As of this writing, two bids already have been made, topping at $11.50 — but don’t expect it to stay in that neighborhood for long, since the auction doesn’t end until 8:57 p.m. (Eastern) on Oct. 8. Want it, and think you can keep up with opposing bidders? Then go to


Posted September 30, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

More on next Sunday’s event in Fort Wayne   1 comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.29 at 22:29
Current mood: pleasedpleased

carole lombard 011542 indiana v for victory large

Carole Lombard flashes the “V” for victory sign at a war bond rally at the Indiana state capitol in Indianapolis on Jan. 15, 1942 — the last full day of her life. On the 16th, Lombard, her mother Elizabeth Peters, MGM press agent Otto Winkler and 19 others died in a plane crash in Nevada.

We’ve already announced that Robert Matzen, whose book “Fireball” investigates the mysterious accident involving TWA Flight 3, will give a lecture Sunday, Oct. 5 (the day before the 106th anniversary of Carole’s birth as Jane Alice Peters) at the history center in Fort Wayne, Lombard’s hometown ( But we have more information on the event, which is free:

* The Carole Lombard Archive Foundation, whose founder is my good friend Carole Sampeck, will exhibit a number of Lombard items, including the black lace scarf Lombard wore at the Indianapolis bond rally (I believe it’s pictured below)…

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…hunting licenses that belonged to Lombard and second husband Clark Gable…

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…and the famed George Hurrell portrait of Carole (signed “Pa, I love you. Ma” on the back) which Gable kept in his dressing room:

carole lombard george hurrell pa dear i love you ma

* Once the lecture is over, a free tour of the Victorian house at 704 Rockhill Street where Lombard was born will take place.

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* Additional info about the event can be found in a Fort Wayne News-Sentinel article from Sunday, which also includes a sidebar about Sampeck and the Carole Lombard Archive Foundation (, as well as an entry at Matzen’s fine blog (

This promises to be a special event for any Lombard fan who can make it to Fort Wayne that day. I only wish I could join you.

Posted September 30, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Simply seductive negativity, and a sensational end to a no-hitter   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.28 at 21:59
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard p1202-274b

Over the years, Carole Lombard posed for many a come-hither portrait, but this ranks with the best of them. From that sensual glance in her eyes to several inches of stockinged ankle, this pose defies any mortal man to resist her siren song. And indeed, many wouldn’t resist — provided Lombard hadn’t (figuratively) reduced them to quivering gel by the time they reached her.

It’s a new image to my online collection of Carole’s Paramount p1202 portraits; this one, specifically is p1202-274. (The seller labels it from the “late ’30s,” although from the p1202 number, it likely is from 1932.) And the original 8″ x 10″ negative of this rarity now is available…though it’ll cost you. Bidding opens at $189.95; the auction closes at 6:12 p.m. (Eastern) next Sunday, or you can buy it straight up for $249.95. You can bid, buy or find out more by visiting×10-Negative-Late-1930s-/281453220831?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4187eb53df.

The seller also has this negative available:

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No ID number was listed, but a check of my online files shows it matches p1202-226, also from 1932. The same buying and bidding conditions apply, although this auction will end four minutes earlier. Learn more information at×10-Negative-Late-1930s-/281453220831?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4187eb53df.

Finally, yesterday marked the end of the 2014 regular season in major league baseball, and while much of the focus was on Derek Jeter’s final game (both his New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were playing out the string) or the conclusion of Chicago White Sox slugger Paul Konerko’s career, the big news came out of Washington, where a no-hitter was thrown by the Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann. It’s the first no-hitter by any Washington MLB pitcher (Senators or Nationals) since 1931, and the final out was next to miraculous. Rookie left fielder Steven Souza Jr., put into the game for defensive purposes, ran to the wall and snared the ball hit by Miami’s Christian Yelich. A fan recorded the sequence from left center at

Here’s the video from the Nationals broadcast:

The MLB Network’s “Ballpark-cam” focused on Zimmermann after Yelich made contact. Watch his doubt turn to jubilation:

Oh, and I missed it because I went over to Dodger Stadium for Fan Appreciation Day and my last live look at baseball this season, rather than stay home and watch it on Now on to the playoffs, with hopes the Nats can bring Washington’s long-suffering baseball fans their first World Series title since the 1924 Senators. (Don’t tell Dodger fans of my D.C. loyalties.)

Posted September 29, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Motion Picture,’ July 1934: Springing a surprise   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.27 at 06:54
Current mood: surprisedsurprised

carole lombard motion picture july 1934ja

As spring turned to summer in 1934, Carole Lombard indeed sprang a surprise to movie fans. Heretofore known as an attractive actress of no perceived distinction, this clotheshorse had suddenly transformed herself into a comedic dynamo in “Twemtieth Century” (which will air next Saturday night on Turner Classic Movies’ “The Essentials” series) — and the July 1934 issue of Motion Picture magazine was spreading the news.

One of the keys to her Pygmalion-like change was that film’s co-star, John Barrymore…and it just so happened a story on him was in that issue. It turns out that helping him liberate Lombard from her previous self was his own liberation in playing the flamboyant impresario Oscar Jaffe, and he talks about it to William F. French:

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I’m especially surprised that the rather racy photo of Barrymore and Lombard is atop the second page — the one where Carole is showing lots and lots of leg, in a photo reportedly banned by industry censor Joseph Breen ( If it in fact was banned, Barrymore perhaps provided a copy to French.

Let’s focus on what Lombard had to say about the process:

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Just as Carole’s character in the film is taught proper acting procedure through a pin poked into her derriere, so did Lombard learn the ropes via Barrymore’s intimidation. It was a drama lesson she never would forget — and she proved it three years later by insisting Barrymore, by then down on his luck thanks to John Barleycorn, get a key supporting role in “True Confession,” not to mention third billing.

Another article, also written by French, asks stars throughout the industry just which actors of the opposite sex have “it” (sex appeal). The responses often are surprising:

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French quoted Barrymore as saying Carole had a “totally unexpected” glamour and fascination, but Lombard’s selection was Ronald Colman (“because he looks so experienced — and so scornful”). She never worked with him on-screen, but years later they would be castmates on NBC radio’s short-lived “The Circle.” (Meanwhile, John was chosen by Claudette Colbert.)

Lombard’s previous film, “We’re Not Dressing,” was reviewed:

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This issue, featuring Margaret Sullavan on the cover…

carole lombard motion picture july 1934 cover ebay large

…is up for auction at eBay. Bids open at $19.99, and the auction closes at 6:02 p.m. (Eastern) Friday. If you are interested, visit

Posted September 27, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.26 at 13:47
Current mood: lethargiclethargic

carole lombard 2585b

Back in the day, long before the Surgeon General’s report, Carole Lombard smoked cigarettes; at the time, the vast majority of American adults did. It was deemed to exude an air of sophistication — at least that was the (mis)information tobacco companies provided through incessant advertising.

Above is a languid Lombard with a smoke, and here’s another portrait of her, cigarette in hand:

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Each of these images, 8″ x 10″ reproductions in mint condition, are up for auction at eBay, with an opening bid of $4.99. Bidding closes next Friday. For the photo on top, go to; for the one below, visit

We earlier mentioned advertising, and Lombard herself participated in tobacco ads ( One of them, for Old Gold in 1934, has been reproduced as a metal sign:

carole lombard old gold ad reproduction 00a

The seller notes this “gives the effect of aging with its simulated rusted edges and scratched and faded paint. It has smooth rounded corners and includes mounting holes.” However, it measures a mere 7″ x 10″, so if you purchase one and anyone asks if it’s genuine, just reply that people were smaller then. (Also, it’s made of .040 gauge aluminum.)

It’s being sold for $16.95, nearly one-third off its regular $24.95 price, and at last check more than 10 were available. To buy yours, head to

Posted September 26, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

For Friday, lots and lots of (pre-Code) Loretta   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.25 at 11:38
Current mood: cynicalcynical

carole lombard virtue 36b

Few of you may remember this, but three weeks ago Friday, Turner Classic Movies showed Carole Lombard (shown with Mayo Methot) in “Virtue” (1932), one of the first movies in its series of 24-hour pre-Code marathons the channel is airing this month. That was the only Lombard movie on the 66-film schedule, which makes sense; Carole rarely is perceived as a pre-Code actress (“Twentieth Century” technically is one, but like “It Happened One Night” instead is seen as an early example of screwball comedy), and many of the pre-Coders she made for Paramount are unavailable to TCM.

Anyway, the pre-Code festival concludes this Friday, and the day’s top star is none other than another favorite of this site…

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…Loretta Young, whose pre-Code work has been a revelation to those of us who only were familiar with her more sedate films at 20th Century-Fox or her TV anthology series. Two of her films previously were part of the pre-Code package (“Taxi!” and “She Had To Say Yes”), but on Friday, she shows up six times –– including five films in a row. Here they are (all times Eastern):

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* 10:45 a.m. — “Loose Ankles” (1930). If the title isn’t sufficiently enticing, note the premise as stated at (, “‘Loose Ankles’ is the stoner movie for the 1930s, with the only minor difference being the drug of choice. This is a movie about how awesome it is to be drunk. … Replace this movie’s ‘wink wink punch’ with a plate of pot brownies and you may as well have ‘I Love You Alice B. Toklas’ or a season of ‘That ’70s Show.’” Co-starring Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

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* noon — “They Call It Sin” (1932). Loretta, playing a southern belle who follows her love (David Manners, above) back to New York, is as ethereal as ever. Chances are many of you will deem the ending a bit of a cop-out, however. With George Brent.

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* 1:15 p.m. — “Heroes For Sale” (1933). This William Wellman-directed film primarily is a vehicle for Richard Barthelmess (seated), who’s superb as a war veteran who falls into all sorts of problems (drugs, finances) through no fault of his own. (It has much the same feel as the previous year’s “I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang.”) Young’s solid supporting role ends tragically, and Aline MacMahon, a member of that great Warners stock company, delivers a standout performance.

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* 2:30 p.m. — “Employees’ Entrance” (1933). Warren William, as sympathetic a cad as you’d ever want to meet, is at his unscrupulous best as a ruthless department store executive who gives homeless Loretta a job but has some other plans for her as well. Alice White, a big star at the start of the decade, has a fine supporting role, as does the reliable Ruth Donnelly.

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* 4 p.m. — “Midnight Mary” (1933). Before her passing in August 2000, Young called this her favorite pre-Code performance, and many would agree with her assessment. Made at MGM rather than Warners and directed by Wellman, Loretta is excellent as a girl falls in with the wrong crowd. She’s aided by Una Merkel in another of her heroine’s best friend roles (she also appeared in “They Call It Sin”) and Ricardo Cortez, everyone’s favorite oily pre-Code target (

The last Loretta film doesn’t air until late, and you’ll understand the reason why the minute you see it:

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* 3:45 a.m. — “The Hatchet Man” (1932). Eighty-plus years ago, political correctness did not exist as a concept, and this proves Myrna Loy wasn’t the only Caucasian actress of the era who played Asian roles. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, this Wellman-directed drama — with an all-whites-playing-Chinese cast — also stars Edward G. Robinson(!), Tully Marshall and Charles Middleton (was this a warmup for his iconic Emperor Ming in the Buck Rogers serials?).

Some other films worth noting are on the TCM schedule Friday. “A Free Soul,” the film that made Clark Gable a star with, along with Norma Shearer and an Oscar-winning performance from Lionel Barrymore, airs at 6 a.m.; “Ladies They Talk About,” a fun women’s prison romp starring Barbara Stanwyck, is on at 9:30; the gangster triumvirate of “The Public Enemy,” the original “Scarface” and “Little Caesar” are slated for 6:30, 8 and 9:45 p.m. respectively; and a TCM premiere, Clara Bow’s “Call Her Savage,” runs at 2:15 a.m. Learn more at

Posted September 25, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Oh brother, it’s time to wed   1 comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.24 at 02:00
Current mood: lovedloved

carole lombard william powell stuart peters wedding 00a front

When Carole Lombard married William Powell in 1931, her brothers Frederic and Stuart Peters attended the ceremony; a year later, when Stuart got hitched, the Powells returned the favor. On the snipe, this Paramount photo, taken by Irving Lippman, identifies all the parties:

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I’m sure some of you with a geneaology background can fill me in on whether Stuart and Rosemary had any children; I do know that Stuart, like Frederic and Carole as well as their mother, Elizabeth Peters, is at Forest Lawn:

carole lombard forest lawn stuart peters

The 7 3/4″ x 10″ photo is up for auction at eBay. The seller labels it in “Good condition. Folds in the corners. Small surface details only seen if direct light is applied. The photo has been trimmed in the borders.”

Bids for this relative rarity begin at $48.50, with bidding slated to close at 8 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. Interested? Then visit

Posted September 24, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized