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Putting a plaque where it rightly belongs   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.26 at 19:40

Current mood: happyhappy

carole lombard the bicycle flirt 03

The site where Carole Lombard honed her comedy chops while making “The Bicycle Flirt” and other shorts for Mack Sennett — following in the footsteps of numerous legends — today received its accurate recognition in film history, more than sixty years after a mistake regarding the proper location of the site.

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And here are pics of today’s event commemorating the revamped marker, including folks in period gear (the lady second from right in the top pic is Karie Bible of Hollywood Forever Cemetery):

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The plaque is (and was) on Glendale Road in the Edendale district of Los Angeles. The top part was presented to Sennett in 1954, when he was honored on the “This Is Your Life” television series, and he was told it was to be part of an obelisk commemorating the site of his studio for the 1910s and much of the 1920s. There was just one problem…it was put on the site of the Selig studio lot up the street. (Film history research wasn’t much in those days, folks.) I have no idea whether Sennett actually visited the site before his death in 1960.

Anyway, the elements contributed to the deterioration of the obelisk — and the plaque. (According to one of today’s speakers, the plaque could easily have been removed, such was the flimsiness of the original.) Thankfully, it wasn’t:

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Now the plaque, as well as a recent one commemorating the studio’s history, are where they should be — 1712 Glendale Boulevard. The studio is long gone, of course, and the site now hosts a Public Storage. Give the company credit for recognizing the history and enabling the city and Hollywood Heritage to get this done after seven years of work.

Oh, and the site isn’t completely long gone. One of the buildings Sennett used is still up, converted into storage facilities. If you go up to the third (top) floor, you can see some of the studio ceiling, including space for pulleys and other technical necessities:

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I rent space from a Public Storage — but I use the one on Sixth Street, not far from where I live. Had I known of the historical sense of this site, I’d have stored my things there (and perhaps could have psychically contacted Carole’s spirit).

Finally, I couldn’t resist having my photo taken with the plaque. It’s wonderful to see a mistake righted.

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Posted February 26, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Some 16mm home movies. Some special 16mm home movies…   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.25 at 17:15

Current mood: productiveproductive

carole lombard hunting trip 01a

…as in Clark Gable and Carole Lombard home movies. You’ve probably seen some of these images before on documentaries about the couple, or perhaps as extras on DVDs starring one or the other. But now, the personal home movies of the Gable household — featuring highlights of his marriage to Carole, as well to his two subsequent wives — are up for auction.

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This collection of film includes the original, uncut, no-fade Kodachrome movies of Gable and Lombard on one of their hunting trips with select friends. It also contains premiere footage from “Gone With The Wind” and newsreel footage not used but prepared for Gable’s archive. Note the films will not be broken up.

Here’s the list of the footage being offered:

1. Hunting Trip – Lombard, Gable + family – 9 Minutes
(0:00 to 9:20)
2. Lady Sylvia Ashley honeymoon – 6 Minutes
(9:20 to 15:20)
3. 1949 Guaymas deep sea fishing trip – 4 minutes
(15:20 to19:30)
4. Kay Spreckels Home Movies including John Clark Gable ceremony at school and family members “Doing the twist” – 40 minutes, 30 seconds
(19:30 to 1:00)
5. Skiing Footage (reversed) 1 Minute
(1:00 to 1:01:40)
6. Sound – Gone with the Wind premiere – Hotel Georgian Terrace – Mayor Presiding | Star Arrivals at Airport; Focus on Gable and Lombard, Leigh, Olivier, Selznick, De Havilland et al – 8 minutes
(1:01:40 to 1:09:00)
7. Gable Newsreel – GWTW stars of the movie touring Atlanta
(1:09:00 to 1:19:00).
8. Sound and Commentary – Gable receiving his military diploma and wings – 30 seconds
(1:18:00 to 1:19:00)
9. Sound and Commentary – Newsreel of Lady Sylvia Ashley and Gable just before they leave for their honeymoon – 4 Minutes
(1:19:00 to 1:23:00)
10. 1957 Academy Awards – Gable presenting on stage with Doris Day and Bob Hope – 4 Minutes
(1:23 to 1:27)

As you can tell, there’s quite a bit of Lombard and “Gone With the Wind” stuff here. (Aside from the top image, which was taken by me today upon seeing some of this footage — there was some glare that I cropped out — all of the images above are from the reels.)

These films have been handled with the utmost care, as the image below confirms…

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…and anyone seeking to purchase these should be a serious private collector, preferably familiar with 16mm film.

The minimum bid is $800, and the auction is scheduled to close at 10:37 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you’re truly interested in these films and can do them justice, find out more by visiting

Posted February 25, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

For Lombard and Barrymore, what a ride   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.24 at 22:20

Current mood: cynicalcynical

carole lombard twentieth century 055d

The (figurative) train ride “Twentieth Century” wasn’t an altogether new experience for John Barrymore; he long had been accustomed to getting good reviews (even if some weren’t quite as universal as what he received here). But for Carole Lombard, used to being considered little more than a clotheshorse on screen, the reviews she received were unlike anything she’d ever experienced, and for her, it was pretty heady.

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Columbia, sensing it had another comedy blockbuster on its hands following the unexpected success of “It Happened One Night,” pulled out all the stops for this one:

carole lombard twentieth century film daily

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In the end, Columbia learned it couldn’t quite duplicate the achievement of “It Happened One Night,” as stories of Broadway really didn’t resonate in the heartland (although “Twentieth Century” was quite popular in urban markets).

Posted February 25, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

More demure than ‘sexy,’ but nonetheless beautiful   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.23 at 21:34

Current mood: creativecreative

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I’m not certain whether I’ve run this photo of Carole Lombard before — I have a feeling I have, though at this stage of the day I really have no desire to check. All I know is that this pic probably is from between 1932 and 1934 (I’m pretty certain the “C” in the lower right-hand corner stands for Columbia, and the thick, shiny stockings Carole is wearing are typical of her hosiery at that time), and it’s rather stunning.

The photo is from the original negative, although the print is a new one. The seller adds it’s 8″ x 10″ and in “excellent condition … with one light crease in the upper left corner. The photograph is fiber-based paper and shows some light age toning.”

It’s being sold, not auctioned, for $19.95; if unsold, the sale will continue through 6:13 p.m. (Eastern) next Monday. Bid or learn more by visiting

Posted February 24, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Nothing Sacred,’ including Bruins and Trojans   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.22 at 22:20

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard nothing sacred blu-ray 01d

No, Carole Lombard isn’t ruminating about the just-concluded Academy Awards (perhaps it’s the rain pelting Los Angeles at the moment this is written, but my normally-clear signals to Hollywood heaven can’t discern her thoughts on who won and lost). It’s a shot from “Nothing Sacred,” and that’s the subject of this entry.

The Technicolor comedy feature opened in Los Angeles on Dec. 1, 1937 — we know from this ad, promoting its premiere at Grauman’s Chinese on Hollywood Boulevard and at Loew’s State downtown:

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In what LA newspaper did this run? In this case, none of them. It came from, of all things, a football program.

Dec. 1 was a Wednesday, and three days later, Southern California and UCLA battled each other at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This flyer was tucked inside the program, which went unopened until recently.

carole lombard nothing sacred flyer 01b

The flyer measures 6″ x 10″, and according to the seller “is in beautiful, unused condition with light toning due to its age and is single-weight paper,” adding the “flyer has never been displayed and would look amazing if it were framed.”

It’s the flyer -- not the program — which is up for auction, with an opening bid of $135.95. The auction is scheduled to end at 6:20 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If interested, visit

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As for the game — only the fourth between the crosstown rivals (UCLA wasn’t founded until 1919) — SC jumped to a 19-0 lead, but UCLA rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns behind Kenny Washington (carrying the ball above), the Bruins’ first black football star, several years before Jackie Robinson. However, the Trojans halted a late drive and secured a 19-13 victory.

Posted February 23, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

In Hollywood on Oscars eve   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.21 at 23:48

Current mood: happyhappy

carole lombard george hurrell 09b front

We’re less than 24 hours away from this year’s Academy Awards — and they’re a long way removed from the ceremonies Carole Lombard attended. For one thing, the event’s predominant media coverage will come from television, not radio, print or newsreels. For another, they’ve been stationed in one spot for about a dozen years now…the Dolby (neeKodak) Theater, part of the huge Hollywood-Highland complex.

Since this is the first Oscars I’ve witnessed as a Los Angeles resident, I made my way to Hollywood Boulevard today, getting off at the Hollywood/Highland station. (The stop will be closed all day Sunday.) As soon as I made my way outside, here’s what I saw…

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..a huge version of Oscar, as well as two billboards for the event. Yes indeed, this is Hollywood’s (figurative) high holy day.

Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Orange has been shut down for a week to set things up for both the press and for those stars who’ll walk along the red carpet…

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As the overcast morning continued, I kept playing tourist by photographing the Walk of Fame stars — including this one, of course:

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But other stars were snapped as well, such as Roger Ebert (I’m still ticked off the fine bio-documentary “Life Itself” did not receive an Oscar nomination)…

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…as well as another fine writer and an upstate New York hero of mine, Rod Serling:

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Across the street at Grauman’s Chinese, I photographed the footprints of William Powell and Myrna Loy…

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…Doris Day and Joan Crawford (not a team, just concrete neighbors)…

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…Joan Blondell…

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…Marion Davies…

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…Jean Harlow…

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…and Constance Talmadge, who with sister Norma helped start the tradition:

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It should be a wide-open Academy Awards, though I must confess I have no real rooting interest this year (unlike a few years back, when I was pulling for “The Artist”). All I know is that I’m currently learning the ropes of screenwriting, and one of these years I hope to give an acceptance speech for winning Best Original Screenplay. Keep your fingers crossed.

maryland women's basketball big ten champs 2014-2015

Meanwhile, I’m delighted to deliver this news: The University of Maryland women’s basketball team are the 2014-2015 Big Ten champions in their initial season in the conference…and they didn’t even have to play Saturday to clinch the crown. That’s because Ohio State knocked off second-place Iowa, the only member with a chance of even tying the Terrapins. (How remote were the Hawkeyes’ chances? Maryland still has three games to play.) The Terps, ranked fifth nationally, are currently 15-0 in the B1G, bidding to become the first team to go 18-0 in conference play since Ohio State did it 30 years ago.

Posted February 22, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A picture palace, UK style   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.20 at 20:02

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard 1933 divorce 00b

It’s mid-August 1933, and Carole Lombard stands on the steps of the courthouse in Carson City, Nev., as she gets a divorce from William Powell. And as Hollywood columnists attempted to figure out whom her next husband might be, little did they — or she, for that matter — know the answer could be found “across the pond” in one of Great Britain’s most illustrious film venues.

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Yes, some 2 1/2 years before they became “an item,” Lombard and Clark Gable were heating up the Stoll Picture Theatre in London…a venue that required plenty of heat (well, maybe not in August), as it seated 2,440 and by 1933 already had a great history to it.

The Stoll opened in November 1911 as the London Opera House, a project of American theater impresario Oscar Hammerstein, who wanted his own version of the fabled Royal Opera House:

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The interior was equally gorgeous:

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Hammerstein’s intentions were good, but he didn’t have the connections or resources to compete with home-grown rivals and closed it in June after undergoing substantial financial losses. A French group took it over in December with similar lack of success, and in 1916 Oswald Stoll gained control and made it a cinema house — just at the time movie attendance was beginning to boom. It remained a popular venue during the 1920s and for much of the 1930s, showing at least one other Lombard film, the classic “My Man Godfrey”:

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Wartime posed problems for the Stoll, and it stopped showing movies in September 1940. It reopened the following year as a live theater, including a nearly two-year run of “Kismet” with Alfred Drake in 1955:

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However, the Stoll closed for good on Aug. 4, 1957, as Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh starred in Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” A development company had bought the property, razing the building in 1958 and putting up an office building in its place. For many British theater and architecural buffs, the loss of the Stoll was one of the West End’s great tragedies.

Now that you know about the Stoll and its history, would you be interested in the program that featured “No Man Of Her Own”? An Oct. 6 baby is on its cover — though it isn’t Carole, but Janet Gaynor:

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And here’s the back page:

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The program measures 8.5″ x 5.5″ and according to the seller is in good condition, with some “very light ageing.” Bidding begins at $9.99, with the auction set to close at 7:10 p.m. (Eastern) next Thursday. For additional information or to place a bid, visit

Posted February 20, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized


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