Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.16 at 08:47
Current mood: sad
Today marks the eighth year I’ve had to write an entry I annually dread, commemorating the anniversary of Carole Lombard’s passing. This year holds a double whammy of sorts in that it coincidentally falls on a Friday, as it did in 1942, and it’s my first year in Los Angeles.
As I write this, it’s a sunny morning and today’s highs are expected to reach the 70s, typical for southern California in mid-January. Was it like this on Jan. 16, 1942, as not only Clark Gable, but others in the entertainment industry, awaited her return from a successful kick-off to the national war bond drive?
Yes, this entry is difficult to write, as we mourn the loss of all 22 aboard that doomed flight, but this year I am comforted by many things. First is the overwhelming success of Robert Matzen’s book about the tragedy, “Fireball” (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/664505.html). Its thorough research and strong storytelling has made it the definitive resource on this incident, and it’s been so well received that a second edition is planned, with additional material Matzen has gathered through his travels promoting the book.
Second, the genuine affection people have for Lombard — who for the vast majority of us died before they were born, and for whom now only a handful ever met or knew — continues to grow, not merely for her movies but for whom she was. Few film stars of the classic era generate that kind of reaction, and I like to think it’s not only because of her external beauty (which indeed was considerable), but the beauty she possessed inside. Carole would be the first to admit she was no saint, but in terms of personality, vivacity and generosity, her pluses far outweighed her minuses. And those qualities speak to us today, unlike many of her more publicized contemporaries or stars who came later (and perhaps were influenced by her). Lombard will always be modern; timelessness is part of her DNA.
Third, much of that affection has carried over to this site, and for that I am thrilled. When Carole & Co. began in mid-2007, it was merely meant as a way to pass the time — run some pics, tell a story or two every now and then, not much more than that. However, it’s become much, much more, leading me in paths (both figuratively and literally) I never would have expected some 91 months ago. I’m rather honored that many now consider me a definitive source on Lombard (maybe asource, certainly not the), and promise that for as long as I run this site, I’ll try to be worthy of such trust. I owe it to Carole, whom in some ways has become as much a part of my life as friends or relatives who I actually know or have known.
So thank you, Carole Lombard, someone still mourned, missed — and loved. (And that goes not only for you, but your mother, MGM publicist Otto Winkler and the others who left that mortal coil 73 years ago today.)