Archive for January 2015

Cheers for a ‘new’ p1202   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.24 at 06:11

Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard p1202-1430a

Uncovering a previously unseen (at least to current fans and collectors) Carole Lombard Paramount p1202 image is always cause for celebration. And while we’ve known of the above pic, p1202-1430, for quite some time, today an eBay seller has one that looks to be from the same session, if the jacket she’s wearing and chair she’s posing with is indicative — p1202-1426, from 1936:

carole lombard p1202-1426a

According to the seller, who’s from Spain, it’s an original measuring 19 cm x 26 cm, which I believe equates to 8″ x 10″ (including the border, which is where we got the 1936 date from). Alas, we don’t have any other information (who took it, was it promoting a film, and if so which one), since the reverse is blank. The seller states it’s in “very good” condition aside from “four small punches in the corners”:

carole lombard p1202-1426c

It probably was placed upon a corkboard with tacks or such.

Bids on this rarity among p1202s begins at $7.99…and bidding isn’t scheduled to end until 11:01 a.m. (Eastern) Feb. 2. (That’s Groundhog Day, and if the wonderful 1993 romantic comedy by that title had been made today, one can imagine Bill Murray’s character going online from his Punxsutawney hotel room, winning that auction over and over again!) If you’re interested, visit


Posted January 24, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The Miriam Hopkins Blogathon: Miriam + Carole…or Miriam vs. Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.23 at 16:25

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard fast and loose miriam hopkins 00a

Above is what may be a rarity — as far as I know, the only image showing Carole Lombard and Miriam Hopkins in the same photo; it’s from “Fast And Loose” (1930), the lone film they made together, and an appropriate way to begin this entry in this weekend’s Miriam Hopkins Blogathon:

miriam hopkins blogathon banner 00

The event began Thursday (see first-day entries at and continues through Sunday, as this extremely talented but often overlooked actress finally gets her due in the blogosphere.

The movie, shot at Paramount’s studios in Astoria, Queens (Carole’s only film in New York) isn’t quite a classic but has more than its share of merits. Others in the cast included character actor par excellence Frank Morgan (second from left), nearly a decade before his most famous performances in “The Wizard Of Oz” and “The Shop Around The Corner,” and future western star Charles Starrett (staring down at Hopkins). Adding to the fun, much of the dialogue was written by Preston Sturges.

Lombard and Hopkins weren’t the closest of chums, but nevertheless were on good terms — somewhat remarkable considering that over the years, they were cinematic competitors. Especially early in her career, Carole (a Hollywood product through and through) envied Miriam for her talent, stage experience and Broadway pedigree; conversely, I have no idea whether the often-tempermental Hopkins ever envied Lombard for anything.

As it turned out, following “Fast And Loose,” their casting paths crossed several times. Here are a few:

That’s the outrageously charming “Jazz Up Your Lingerie” from Ernst Lubitsch’s saucy “The Smiling Lieutenant” — and had Lombard fulfilled her dream, it would have been her, not Hopkins, getting a singing lingerie lesson on how to win Maurice Chevalier’s affections from Claudette Colbert, even doing a bit of “singing” herself (Colbert carries the song over Hopkins, and certainly would have done likewise over Lombard). But the odds were stacked against Carole from the start, and she probably knew it.

In 1931 Hopkins’ resume was far stronger, and an esteemed director such as Lubitsch wanted to work with her. In contrast, Lombard — who already idolized Lubitsch and was beginning a friendship with him on the Paramount lot — still was perceived by many at the studio, Ernst perhaps among them, as a Mack Sennett refugee learning her craft. Finally, “Lieutenant” was shot on Hopkins’ turf in New York (one of the final features filmed in Astoria before the ongoing Depression forced Paramount to shut down the facility).

Think you’ve stumbled into some weird alternate universe? Nope — that actually ran as part of an ad in film trade publications, with Clark Gable starring with Hopkins in a Paramount production called “No Bed Of Her Own.” (And yes, its source was a story by Val Lewton, later a director of 1940s horror films.) Of course, some things changed en route to the finished product, and the ad gives away one of those reasons…here, Hopkins is billed above Gable. That conflicted with a condition of MGM’s loanout of Gable to Paramount (he was to be top-billed). Hopkins nixed the deal, Lombard pinch-hit for her, “No Bed Of Her Own” became “NoMan Of Her Own” (many elements of Lewton’s novel were simply too steamy, even for pre-Code, so an entirely new story was written), and director Wesley Ruggles got to oversee love scenes between Gable and Lombard, not Gable and Hopkins:

Keep in mind that when this was taken late in 1932, Clark and Carole were probably as enthused about each other in real life as Ruggles was watching them pitch woo.

As the 1930s progressed, both Lombard and Hopkins showed remarkable business savvy in setting up freelance contracts with studios, and they rarely contested for the same role. But in 1941, their paths crossed once more, and for that you can thank Jack Benny.

Lubitsch initially planned to have Hopkins (who had also been in his gems “Trouble In Paradise” and “Design For Living”) star opposite Benny in his anti-Nazi dark comedy, “To Be Or Not To Be,” but radio star Benny, thrilled to be in a film directed by Lubitsch, was less enthusiastic about working opposite the tempermental Hopkins. The director complied with Benny’s wishes, replacing Hopkins with Lombard, who had long wanted to work with him. Carole also agreed to provide production money in return for part of its profits…which, as we all know, she never got to see.

A few days before her death, Lombard was in Chicago getting training from federal officials about her upcoming war bond rally in Indianapolis. She met Chicago Tribune Mike Rotunno, who told her about an incident he’d had with Hopkins in mid-1941. Miriam had just walked off a production and flew to Midway Airport; Rotunno was told to meet up with her there. When Hopkins arrived, she refused either to speak to him or pose for a picture, apparently using some of the invective Carole was renowned for. He took a shot of the angry Miriam, and it ran in the Tribune the following day.

Upon hearing this story, Lombard laughed, and added, “Mike, I gotta tell you, before I came here I was with Miriam and she warned me, ‘Be careful when you get to Chicago because there’s a gangster photographer at the airport.'”

Posted January 23, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The return of that ‘tablecloth’ for ‘Breakfast’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.22 at 13:01

Current mood: artisticartistic

carole lombard love before breakfast 25c

“Love Before Breakfast” really isn’t one of Carole Lombard’s most distinctive movies, but one of the truly distinctive things about it is a loud, plaid outfit that almost looks as if she tore it off the kitchen table and remodeled it into a dress. And another image of her in it — and wearing gloves to boot — now is up for auction at eBay:

carole lombard love before breakfast 29b front

Other than the film’s title, nothing is on the back of the photo:

carole lombard love before breakfast 29a back

It’s a vintage 8″ x 10″ with margins on glossy single weight paperstock. According to the seller, it’s “Fine with some edge and handling wear. Crinkled lower left corner and surface scrape from left edge.”

Two bids have been made as of this writing, topping at $6.50, with the auction set to close at 9:38 p.m. (Eastern) a week from today. To get in on the action or merely learn more, visit

Posted January 22, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Postcard perfect   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.21 at 21:21

Current mood: flirtyflirty

carole lombard postcard 00a

Like many other stars of her day, Carole Lombard was a popular subject for postcards, particularly in Europe. Now another postcard pic of Carole has surfaced, this from her RKO days.

carole lombard postcard rko 00

This pose is similar, but not identical to, other images of Lombard I’ve seen from RKO. It’s vintage, unused and measures 3.5″ x 5.5″. Bids begin at $9.99, with the auction closing next Wednesday at 3:49 a.m. (Eastern).

Interested? Then visit

Posted January 22, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

How’d you like to win some ‘Stardust’?   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.20 at 09:25

Current mood: chipperchipper

carole lombard 1357a

Well, you can…specifically a new novel to be released next month where Carole Lombard is a prominent character.

carole lombard a touch of stardust 01c

We’ve already written about “A Touch Of Stardust,” the latest historical novel from Kate Alcott, a pseudonym for Washington journalist Patricia O’Brien (

kate alcott author 00

The premise is that an aspiring screenwriter from Fort Wayne, Ind. (Lombard’s hometown, of course) is hired as a publicist for David O. Selznick; she then in turn is hired as Carole’s personal assistant…at the time Selznick is making a little picture called “Gone With The Wind.” I haven’t yet read the book, but since Lombard is among the most vivid characters in all of Hollywood history — something most in the film industry would have vouched for while she was alive –– I’m sure her portrayal will delight (and have faith Alcott will get all the historical details right).

You can win one of 30 copies by going to and filling out some information; as of this writing, 136 people have submitted requests, but this giveaway has 16 days to go. Good luck!

Posted January 20, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Paying it back via a goofy reunion   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.19 at 19:19

Current mood: giddygiddy

carole lombard twentieth century john barrymore inscribed 00a

I’m not precisely certain when Carole Lombard received this inscribed autographed picture from John Barrymore, but if it was given to her at the wrap party for 1934’s “Twentieth Century,” she may well have floated home that night. Getting approval from Barrymore, one of the industry’s most distinguished actors, was a compliment Carole truly appreciated after several rather undistinguished years as a leading lady.

Three years later, the tables were turned. Lombard had vaulted into a top-tier star, while Barrymore’s dissolute life, fueled by drink, had taken its toll, and his career was in decline. However, Carole hadn’t forgotten how Barrymore coaxed her into a superb performance in “Twentieth Century”; now it was her turn to pay it back.

For what would be her final film at Paramount, “True Confession,” Lombard insisted Barrymore not only play a key supporting role, but be billed third behind Carole and co-star Fred MacMurray. It briefly helped his career, as John sparkled in this farce. Here he is with Lombard (playing a habitual liar), both looking rather silly:

carole lombard true confession 63c

This delightfully zany vintage photo is up for auction at eBay. While the back is blank, here’s the photo with borders:

carole lombard true confession 63

It measures 8″ x 10″, is in good condition, and the seller describes it thus: “Folds in the corners. Small surface details only seen if direct light is applied. Pinhole marks. Fold marks in the borders.”

Bidding begins at $24.50, with the auction ending at 5:10 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. If you’d like to add this relative rarity to your collection or would like to learn more, visit

And today, I admit to being a bit goofy myself, but then again nearly all Washington Nationals fans are feeling this way. Pitcher Max Scherzer, the biggest prize in this year’s free-agent draft, has agreed to a seven-year deal, with half of his $210 million deferred to the following seven years. (This allows the Nats some flexibility in controlling their roster, including its loaded starting rotation, over the next few seasons.) Welcome to the world of the curly “W,” Max, and help bring D.C. its first World Series title since the original AL Senators achieved it in 1924.

Posted January 19, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Kane’ to infiltrate Hearst’s screening room   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.01.18 at 20:58

Current mood: weirdweird

carole lombard san simeon 00a

This image of Carole Lombard (wearing the dark cloche hat) appears to be from 1929 or so and was taken at Hearst Castle, possibly on her first visit to the enchanted palace of San Simeon. (She had dated one of William Randolph Hearst’s sons in the mid-1920s, but I’m not certain when she initially met the multimedia mogul.) Over the years, Carole developed a friendship with Marion Davies and came to the castle several times.

While Lombard was there, she probably sat in one of these seats to watch an array of movies (perhaps even promoting a few of her own) alongside Hearst, Davies and other notable guests in what can only be called the screening room of the gods:

hearst castle movie theater 00a

Since the Hearst family donated what W.R. called “the ranch” to the state of California in the late 1950s, mere mortals such as myself have been able to enter this legendary theater on tours; often, films relating to this marvel of art and architecture are shown. Now, this fabled screening room is about to cross the final cinematic frontier on March 13, when it will show…

citizen kane title 00a

You may be saying to yourself, “Didn’t he write something on this a few years ago? What makes this different?” The answer to the first question is “yes” (, the answer to the second is that the 2012 showing of “Kane” took place at the Hearst Castle visitors center some two miles away, not in the San Simeon screening room. (I don’t know whether the film was privately screened in front of Hearst and Davies when it first was released, possibly at the behest of his powerful Hollywood columnist Louella Parsons, leading to Hearst’s unsuccessful campaign to suppress the movie.)

As was the case in 2012, this is part of the San Luis Obispo Film Festival (, and while the earlier showing was a hot ticket, this viewing — in a theater seating 50 — will be ultra-exclusive (tickets are $1,000, with proceeds going to both the festival and Friends of Hearst Castle). But you’ll get a lot for your ticket, provided any still are available:

The film will be introduced by TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz, whose grandfather Herman Mankiewicz co-wrote its Oscar-winning screenplay with star and director Orson Welles, and W.R.’s grandson Steven Hearst, who got all this in motion in 2012 by giving the family blessing for “Kane” to be shown on the grounds, will be among those participating in a special tour. There are even a pair of Hearst Castle party packages being auctioned — a movie night for 10 and a pool party for 10 at the indoor Roman Pool — with bidding starting at $7,000. (For those who have forgotten the splendor of said pool, a photo below.)

hearst castle roman pool 00

Of course, part of the fun of attending this event will be to experience the vibes of seeing Welles’ subversive work of genius in the lair of one of his satirical targets, though unfortunately Davies was caught in the cinematic crossfire ( It’s been said Hearst was more angered with the portrayal of Susan Alexander Kane as an untalented harridan than any attacks on his supposed alter ego. Might there be some supernatural reaction of sorts that night? Those several dozen lucky to attend will find out.

In some ways, this will be similar to how Lombard herself viewed the film, at a private screening hosted in the fall of 1941 by Welles, a good friend. Legend has it that Carole loved the movie, other than its portrayal of the ersatz Davies, but husband Clark Gable fell asleep during its showing.

Posted January 18, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized