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Plenty to ‘Confess’ about   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.07.28 at 19:10

Current mood: impressedimpressed

That’s a charming photo of Carole Lombard on the phone from “True Confession” (1937), her final film at Paramount. Even better, it’s an original, and here’s the snipe on the back:

Six other images from that film also are up for auction, and here they are:

That’s Una Merkel — every 1930s film heroine’s best friend — with Lombard in the first and third pictures, third-billed John Barrymore in the first and second, and co-star Fred MacMurray in the fourth and fifth.

As of this writing, the top pic has had one bid, for $10; the other photos have initial bids of $8 to $10, and auctions for all seven end on Sunday. You can bid or find out more by visitinghttp://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=mangiamo&item=321816431141&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR4.TRC1.A0.H0.Xtrue+confession.TRS0&_nkw=true+confession&_sacat=0.

Posted July 28, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

For the next two days, plenty of Mr. Powell   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.07.27 at 20:15

Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

Carole Lombard is shown with new husband William Powell in June 1931, as they set sail for a Hawaii honeymoon only hours after they had tied the knot in Los Angeles. While the marriage ended little more than two years later, the friendship didn’t, and Bill and Carole remained close for the rest of her life.

Just as Lombard is my all-time favorite actress, Powell is my all-time favorite actor. The epitome of debonair, his smooth way with words is an idealized version of the man I wish I could be — classy, smooth, erudite, charming. (Yes, Cary Grant had those qualities, too, but there always seemed something superhuman about Grant, beyond the reach of mortal men. Powell, in contrast, was someone the everyman could project himself of becoming if supplied with a little extra education, some etiquette books and such.)

Tomorrow and Wednesday (the latter the 123rd anniversary of Powell’s birth), Turner Classic Movies in the U.S. salutes the man Roger Ebert once described as being to diction what Fred Astaire is to dance. It opens Tuesday with three samples of Powell’s most famous role, dashing detective Nick Charles, in the first three films of the “Thin Man” series — “The Thin Man” (1934, 6:15 a.m. Eastern), “After the Thin Man” (1936, 8 ET) and “Another Thin Man” (1939, 10 ET).

What made these whodunit films so special weren’t so much the cases themselves — although Powell would always find a novel way of fingering the culprit — but the interplay between Nick and Myrna Loy’s wife Nora Charles as they lived (and loved) married life while working on the case, with canine Asta adding some personality. That’s why any discussion of Johnny Depp remaking the Dashiell Hammett story for the big screen probably is self-defeating unless he can find an actress with Loy-like qualities to be his Nora. (Good luck with that.)

Wednesday, it’s back to more Powell movies, eight of them, in fact. The day will begin with two films from 1932 co-starring the actress who probably was his best-known leading lady until Loy arrived, Kay Francis — “Jewel Robbery” (6 a.m. Eastern) and the brilliant romance “One Way Passage,” a still of which is below (7:15 ET):

From there, it’s Powell as Philo Vance in “The Kennel Murder Case” (1933, 8:30 ET), the rarely-seen “Rendezvous” with Rosalind Russell (1935, 9:45 ET) and the huge musical “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936, 11:30 ET).

The Powell portion of the day concludes with three comedies — “Life With Father” (1947, 2:30 ET), “The Heavenly Body” with Hedy Lamarr (1943, 4:30 ET) and Bill and Myrna once again in the amnesia comedy (“I Love You Again” (1940, 6:15 ET):

Powell always is a joy to watch, whether it be in comedy or drama, and invariably exudes a splendid presence. Make sure and check him out.

Posted July 27, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A ‘White Woman’ in sepia   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.07.26 at 20:06

Current mood: hothot

This is an 8″ x 10″ original sepia print of Carole Lombard, held by Charles Laughton, from the 1933 Paramount potboiler “White Woman.” The photo is said to be in fine condition.

The image is selling for $95 at eBay, and will be available through 11:42 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday. If you’d like to add this to your Carole collection, find out more by visitinghttp://www.ebay.com/itm/White-Woman-Original-Photo-1933-Laughton-Carole-Lombard/201393875349?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D29979%26meid%3D3afa4b3082ae4fa499e3690afe71acf8%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D201393875349.

Posted July 26, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘True Confessions,’ August 1934: Carole Lombard — is she man-proof now?   Leave a comment

Posted July 26, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Kristin’s starry birthday present   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.07.24 at 20:54

Current mood: bouncybouncy


Carole Lombard and Kristin Chenoweth may be separated by several decades, and that Kristin is renowned for her singing and Carole had to be prodded into vocalizing (only in “Swing High, Swing Low,” at the insistence of director Mitchell Leisen, did Lombard actually sing on screen rather than be dubbed). But both portrayed tempestuous diva Lily Garland — Carole in the 1934 film “Twentieth Century,” Kristin in the recently-completed Broadway revival of the ’70s musical “On The Twentieth Century,” following in the footsteps of Madeline Kahn.

But as of today, Lombard and Chenoweth have something else in common: Both have stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I attended the ceremony this morning, and it was, as you might guess, plenty of fun. It was the “first” Walk of Fame ceremony I’ve been to since moving west. (Why do I use quotation marks? When I visited Los Angeles in September 1996, I saw an ersatz ceremony, complete with honorary Hollywood mayor Johnny Grant, as part of a TV series filming starring Jack Carter.)

The Walk of Fame normally attempts to place a performer’s star in an appropriate place, either close to someone they worked with or were married to (Betty White and Allen Ludden’s stars face each other, as they should) or near where they performed. Kristin’s star, in the theatrical category, is between the Pantages Theater and the famed Frolic Room on Hollywood Boulevard (it’s across from the Hollywood/Vine Metrorail station).

Several guests were on hand to welcome the 4-foot-11 dynamo to the fold, including Carol Burnett, who said if she were doing her series today, Kristin would be part of every episode. (Remember, Burnett began in musical theater and had considerable success on Broadway before becoming a TV icon. Later this year, she’ll get a life achievement award from SAG-AFTRA.)

I took a few photos, and although my vantage point wasn’t the best, a few turned out OK:




This was the first time I’d ever “met” Chenoweth, and she’s every bit as advertised — a delightful sprite whose enthusiasm is contagious and genuine. (Oh, and in the third of the four photos above, she’s flanked by her parents, who came from their native Oklahoma for the ceremony.) Chenoweth is the 22nd Oklahoman to earn a star, joining the likes of Kay Francis, Glenda Farrell, James Garner and of course Will Rogers, and her star is the 2,555th on the Walk of Fame.

All in all, one heckuva birthday present. And next Friday, Kristin — whose persona is sweet and light (think Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked”) — gets a chance to go bad when she plays Maleficent in the Disney Channel TV movie “Descendants.”

Playbill magazine has honored Chenoweth’s birthday by compiling an array of her performances over the years. Find them at http://playbill.com/news/article/celebrating-kristin-chenoweths-birthday-with-our-favorite-performances-from-wicked-and-beyond-354287.

Posted July 24, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Tales from the pioneers of Hollywood   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.07.23 at 20:19

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

When 12-year-old Jane Alice Peters, the future Carole Lombard, went before motion picture cameras for the first time in the summer of 1921 to make “A Perfect Crime,” the industry of movies — which she would come to know and cherish for the rest of her brief life, beginning about 1924 — was undergoing amazing growth in her new hometown of Los Angeles, specifically the section of the city known as Hollywood.

While the movies had settled in southern California about a decade earlier, it wasn’t until World War I scuttled Europe’s dominance of the craft that American movies — headquartered in Los Angeles/Hollywood by war’s end — assumed global leadership. U.S. filmmaking became the envy of the world, led by personalities such as Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and director D.W. Griffith, the quartet whom would found United Artists.

But what was Hollywood like for those who came west and got off the train (and nearly all of them arrived in that fashion)? A new book tells their stories, through one of film’s best historians and authors.

In “My First Time in Hollywood,” Cari Beauchamp collects and annotates stories of these pioneers’ first trip to Tinseltown before there was tinsel. Actors, writers, directors, cinematographers, all tell their tales of their initial visits to this strange new work. Arrival times range from 1909 to 1929, the close of the silent era.

Beauchamp spoke at the fabled Book Soup bookstore in West Hollywood Wednesday to discuss (and sign) her book, noting that she had accumulated so many stories, from a variety of sources, that a second volume — focusing on the talkie era — is likely.

Beauchamp was joined at the event by director and film history buff John Landis, who did a reading from the book. Both noted that when movie industry people began their influx to Hollywood, it was difficult to find housing because many landlords wanted nothing to do with them (“No Jews, actors or dogs allowed”). That changed once it became apparent motion pictures were a legitimate growth industry and weren’t going away anytime soon.

As the back cover notes, Beauchamp collected her recollections “from letters, speeches, oral histories, memoirs and autobiographies.” Together, they comprise a fascinating portrait of a community largely born and developed through motion pictures. (Photos of early-day Hollywood also are included.) I’m having a ball reading stories from the likes of Pickford, Harold Lloyd, Lillian Gish, King Vidor, Gloria Swanson, Ben Hecht and so many others. I highly recommend this volume.

Posted July 23, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

The appeal of Lombard is ‘Transparent’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.07.22 at 12:22

Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

The image above proves Carole Lombard could look gorgeous in male attire. That thought came up recently, when I happened to see this picture:

That’s the Carole Lombard Building on the Paramount Pictures lot, although an examination of a studio map from 2009 reveals it’s in the section of the lot that initially belonged to RKO (where Lombard later worked for), then was purchased from Desilu many years later (see the lower left-hand corner):

And note what is headquartered in the building — the offices of the acclaimed Amazon Studios series “Transparent,” the award-winning dramedy about a retired male college professor who now tells his family he identifies as a woman. Its second season will be streamed later this year, and last month it was picked up for a third season, with plans for a five-season run.


One wonders what Lombard would think of not only this series, but the awakening transgender movement — something largely unimaginable in her time. We know Carole had a live-and-let-live philosophy regarding gays, and there was a tradition of female impersonators in the entertainment industry, so she might not have been fazed a bit by all this.

But it’s not meant as any slander of transgenders that anyone born in either gender would have difficulty emulating this:

Posted July 22, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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