A book that’s the cat’s meow   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.12.02 at 16:20

Current mood: mellowmellow

carole lombard with cat 03b

The affection Carole Lombard and other classic Hollywood stars felt for cats is profiled in a new book, the latest tome on the film industry’s fondness for felines.

hollywood cats cover 00b

Several books on Hollywood cats have been issued over the years, but this one’s official title is “Hollywood Cats: Photographs From the John Kobal Foundation,” a companion to a similar book on dogs issued not long ago. In the introduction to this 160-page volume, author Gareth Abbott notes that while poses with canines were regularly done by both sexes, star portraits with cats largely was a female domain. (Whether this is because cats traditionally have been more identified with female, or that many men have never warmed to cats because they’re largely unable to be trained, is for you to decide.) And as befitting a book using Kobal images, they are both visually stunning and illuminating in interest.

Carole is featured twice in the book. The first pic is from early in her Paramount career (late 1930, early 1931); it’s p1202-30, showing her holding a rather mangy-looking black cat:

carole lombard p1202-30b

About a decade later, Carole and second husband Clark Gable each pose with a Siamese, as the cats were part of the menagerie on their San Fernando Valley ranch:

carole lombard clark gable cat 00a

After making his first postwar film, “Adventure,” Gable again was friendly with a Siamese, though we don’t know whether this was one of the cats in the 1940 shot:

clark gable cat 00a

And Cary Grant talks to a black cat in between takes on 1934’s “Kiss And Make Up,” but is the feline listening? We don’t think so, either:

cary grant cat 00a

Cats who appeared in films (think Kim Novak’s Pyewacket in “Bell, Book And Candle” or Audrey Hepburn’s Cat in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”) are featured, too.

“Hollywood Cats: Photographs From the John Kobal Foundation” is available at bookstores or through online outlets.

As I write this, Los Angeles is in the midst of its first considerable storm since February, rainfall drought-stricken southern California desperately needs. However, some of the hillier parts of the region, bereft of vegetation after earlier fires, run the risk of mudslides and other catastrophes. As I look out my window to a rain-soaked city, this early Randy Newman composition — brilliantly heartfelt, covered by scores of artists over the years — came to mind:

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Posted December 2, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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