‘Hi, Mom, I’m home. And divorced.’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.03.24 at 21:25

Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

No, I don’t honestly believe Carole Lombard used those precise words upon greeting her mother on Aug. 18, 1933 after returning to California following her divorce from William Powell in Carson City, Nev., earlier that afternoon. Whichever words she did use were her first on California soil since traveling to Nevada at the start of July to establish legal residency in the Silver State. Now, her domicile had reverted from Silver to Golden, and she could get back to work as an actress again.

This is an Acme Newspictures photo; here’s what’s on the back:

Roscoe Turner was a renowned 1930s pilot who three times won the Thompson Trophy air race. He also owned a pet lion, though I doubt it accompanied him on this trip.

The photo measures approximately 7″ x 9″, and exhibits light to moderate wear and toning around the edges and corners. The caption has been affixed to the back of the photo and exhibits an Acme Newspictures stamp. (As we all know the ultimate fate of both Lombard and her mother, I apologize if this entry seems too flippant for some.)

The opening bid for this is a mere 99 cents, and the auction is set to conclude at 9:24 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday…so you might have a chance at this. Think you’re interested? Then visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/1933-Carole-Lombard-Returns-To-L-A-After-Divorce-From-William-Powell-Wire-Photo-/351352039600?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51ce36a8b0.

Posted March 24, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Time to celebrate a classic, blogathon style   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.03.23 at 22:06

Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

I think it safe to say most people with any sort of knowledge of Hollywood history would define Carole Lombard’s 1937 film “Nothing Sacred” (she’s shown here with co-star Fredric March) as a classic. Well, it just so happens that in less than two months, a day has been designated to honor such films — in fact, just about any more made before 1970:

That day is May 16, and for the second time in four days, I’ve agreed to participate in a blogathon (the other one, on short subjects, will take place in early May). This one, “My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon,” is set for May 16, and is sponsored by the Classic Film & TV Cafe (http://www.classicfilmtvcafe.com/2015/03/a-blogathon-in-celebration-of-inaugural.html).

Just which Lombard “classic movie” will I choose (I have several favorites)? Not certain yet, but I have plenty of time. As of this writing, 13 blogs have chosen favorite movies, and I’m sure the number will grow. For now, I’ll contribute this way…with a poster suitable for borrowing:

Posted March 24, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Herald-ing South America in the ‘Sun’   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.03.22 at 21:30

Current mood: sleepysleepy

Imagine having Carole Lombard as your date and literally falling asleep on the job! Well, that’s what apparently happened to poor Walter Byron in this scene from the 1932 Paramount film “Sinners in the Sun.” No wonder Carole looks so ticked off.

We bring this up because a rare herald from the movie — one issued for Spanish-speaking South American markets — is up for auction at eBay.


According to the seller, who hails from Argentina, heralds such as this one (which measures 9.5″ x 6.5″ and is in “very good condition”) weren’t common in South America. These “were printed by a local distributor, Max Gluksmann…between 1929 and 1936.”

Check the cast list, and you’ll also note one of the supporting players is (erroneously listed as) “Gary Grant.” This probably wasn’t the first time this mistake befell Cary (it was his second film), and it wouldn’t be the last — although after his 1937 breakthrough with “The Awful Truth” and “Topper,” the “Garys” for Cary diminished significantly.

Bidding for this begins at $14.99, and the auction closes at 9:52 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. Many of you collect heralds, so this may be right up your alley. If so, visithttp://www.ebay.com/itm/SINNERS-IN-THE-SUN-Carole-Lombard-Chester-Morris-Herald-1932/301570573423?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D28797%26meid%3Dd92404099b574b9f984da1bcaff0effb%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26sd%3D301570573423 to bid or find out more…especially since the seller adds, “This item is on auction only once, after auction ends if the item isn’t sold it pass to my store for double or more than this initial price. I don’t relist items, so don’t lose this opportunity, and good luck.”

Posted March 22, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Godfrey’ comes to the plate   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.03.21 at 19:36

Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

No, not as in baseball (though the mind chuckles at the premise of Carole Lombard pitching to William Powell while he bats wearing his “Godfrey” butler’s outfit). The plate we’re referring to is something you eat on, or display (as in “commemorative plate”) — although given the condition of this one, we strongly recommend the latter:

Can’t make out the inscription? Try this:

The plate measures about 6 inches, according to the seller. As you can see, it’s not in the greatest of shape, but some wise care (and a visit to a silversmith) probably could substantially improve the appearance of this item.

This probably wasn’t a collectible for the general public, but one for distributors, exhibitors and such. Universal was under new ownership in 1936, and with “My Man Godfrey” and its runaway success, a tie-in with that film seeded apropos.

One bid, for $24.99, has been made as of this writing; the auction is scheduled to end at 12:30 a.m. (Eastern) next Saturday. Interested in this rarity? Then visithttp://www.ebay.com/itm/My-Man-Godfrey-1936-film-souvenir-Carole-Lombard-William-Powell-Universal-film-/131462266149?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e9bc2fd25.

Posted March 21, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A blogathon designed for short shrift   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.03.20 at 21:30

Current mood: amusedamused

Did Carole Lombard look good in shorts? From the photo above, probably yes…though the gal looks so doggone tired.

Oh, you’re referring to another sort of shorts, the type Lombard didn’t wear but merely performed in — the two- or four-reelers she appeared in for Mack Sennett from 1927 to 1929. We’ll get sort of an answer to that question, among others, in a blogathon hosted by my friend Fritzi Kramer of the blog Movies Silently (http://moviessilently.com/2015/03/20/announcement-shorts-a-tiny-blogathon).

OK, so the above pic is actually from a feature, Marion Davies’ “The Fair Co-ed” (1927, with Marion at right) — but they’re wearing shorts. Get it?

From the pics I’ve run here and the sponsoring blog’s title, you may get the impression that this is limited to silent-era releases. Take my word, that isn’t the case. According to Fritzi, any film under 40 minutes made before 1970 and getting a theatrical release is eligible…which gives potential entrants a world of films to choose from. Shorts made outside the U.S. are welcome too — no clothing tariff here. (OK, no more puns about shorts.) As Fritzi notes, “Comedy, drama, live-action, animation, documentary, indie or mainstream… If it tells its tale in the short format, I want it.”

If I wasn’t writing on the Lombard short “Run, Girl, Run” (1928) — something I feel obliged to do given this blog’s title, and you certainly can write about one of her other Sennett shorts if you so desire — I might have chosen one of Harold Lloyd’s shorts, such as the brilliant “Get Out and Get Under” (1920, shown below with future “Our Gang” member “Sunshine Sammy” Morrison).

As of this writing, none of Max Fleischer’s clever Betty Boop or Popeye cartoons or Walt Disney’s groundbreaking Mickey Mouse ‘toons have been taken (a true shame, because Mickey should be remembered not as a corporate logo but as a delightful animated character). “One Week” and “The Music Box” have been claimed, but there’s plenty else from Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy to examine, not to mention Charley Chase, the Three Stooges and others. How about Frank Sinatra’s 1940s call for tolerance, “The House I Live In”? Short comedies from Robert Benchley, Pete Smith specialties or James A. FitzPatrick’s TravelTalks? The possibilities are endless — check out TCM fare in between its features for inspiration.

Are you a blogger who’s still stumped? Fritzi can come to your rescue. As she notes, “Give me a date range and I will play Shorts Roulette for you, giving you a title and a link to a random public domain short on archive.org or YouTube.” Now what could be easier than that?

Good things do come in small packages, as Kristin Chenoweth has proven for years. So don’t shortchange yourself — join in this blogathon.

Posted March 20, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Saluting the ‘Crew,’ the unsung heroes of L.A. music   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.03.19 at 21:10

Current mood: happyhappy

While Carole Lombard never fancied herself as much of a singer, music was a key part of her life, including her relationship with Russ Columbo, a vocalist, composer and bandleader whose bizarre, premature death in 1934 robbed the music world of a major talent. Even before the end of the 1920s, when sound was fully featured in motion pictures, the development of both radio and the electrical recording process had vaulted Los Angeles into a significant venue in music.

That only amplified as decades went on, and by the start of the 1960s, LA was clearly the hub of the popular music universe, as the iconic presence of the Capitol Records tower, shown still under construction in 1956, made clear.

But in those studios and several other lesser-known recording places elsewhere in town, a group of talented musicians — many of them talented in jazz and other genres — nevertheless were defining the sound of the rock ‘n’ roll era.

I saw their story yesterday.

In the recent behind-the-scenes tradition of “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” and “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” the documentary “The Wrecking Crew,” about these Los Angeles session men (and one woman) has fully seen the light of day after making the rounds for a few years in a series of rough cuts.

Denny Tedesco, son of crew member and ace session guitarist Tommy Tedesco, directed the film — a project that began in 1995 when his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, originated as a 14-minute short and eventually expanded into this feature-length endeavor.

The “Wrecking Crew” (an informal title other musicians dubbed them) didn’t simply go into the studio and do what was told of them. They came up with imaginative riffs and arrangements — anything that would make the recording distinctive and marketable. They took command for some acts who weren’t experienced in that part of the business; for others, such as Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, they helped foster his already impressive creative ability.

Some of the performers, such as famed drummer Hal Blaine, gained some renown (he’s shown by name on a ’60s Las Vegas marquee in support of Nancy Sinatra, and was making about three times as much money for playing Vegas as Irv Cottler, drummer for Nancy’s father Frank). A few, such as guitarist Glen Campbell, made the jump to full-fledged stardom. But others, such as Tedesco and bassist Carol Kaye, remained known to the cognoscenti and few others. (It says something about my views on gender roles — at least where music is concerned — that until recently, I didn’t realize one of these fine guitarists was a woman.) Below is Tedesco, followed by a pic of Kaye and guitarist Bill Pitman:


The Crew was part of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound; the legendary (and eccentric) producer augmented them with many other session musicians to make the records sound even more grandiose.

Screenings of the documentary will appear all over the place over the next few weeks; find out where it’ll play in your area by visitinghttp://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com/screenings.php. And a partial list of songs Crew members appeared on is at http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com/music.php. Let’s hear three of those classics, giving you an idea of the wide-ranging talent that appeared on these records:

Blaine’s signature moment on record unquestionably is the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” arguably the definitive Spector Wall of Sound recording. From the opening, his drum work propels everyone involved to incredible heights:

That came in 1963. In August of ’65, the Crew played for Gary Lewis and the Playboys (who could play their own instruments, but nowhere as impressively as the Crew — nothing to be ashamed of by any means) on “Sure Gonna Miss Her.” In the documentary, Lewis notes that his guitarist complained there was no way he could duplicate the riff the session men came up with…but it made the record a Top 10 hit in early 1966:

By 1968, Campbell had made the leap from ace session guitarist to pop star, and he used his buddies on the Wrecking Crew on his sessions well into the ’70s. Here’s my favorite record of his, Jim Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” — and while it’s Campbell playing that iconic guitar riff on the break, he says in the documentary that Kaye actually came up with it, which he borrowed for the recording:

As the ’70s progressed, the Wrecking Crew’s services were becoming less needed. By now, most musical acts played their own instruments well enough not to need much outside help. Thankfully, their legacy has been preserved through this documentary…one I’m proud to say I aided through Kickstarter. For more on the project — including a trailer for the film, which also can be seen through video on demand and iTunes — go to http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com/index.php.

Posted March 19, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Attending the TCM Classic Film Festival (but it may not feel like one)   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.03.18 at 14:40

Current mood: disappointeddisappointed

tcm robert osborne 00a

That’s because word came out today that a “medical procedure” will prevent Robert Osborne from taking part in next week’s event in Hollywood. (When I don’t run a photo of Carole Lombard with my first shot — a policy I’ve followed for several years now — you know it’s big news.)

I caught some of last year’s festival while in Los Angeles searching for an apartment, and saw Robert interviewing Mel Brooks, among others, at the lobby of the Hotel Roosevelt, so I know how important he is to this event, and his presence definitely will be missed.

I’m particularly unhappy because Osborne was scheduled to interview Sophia Loren on Saturday, March 28 at the Montalban Theater — an interview he said he had been looking forward to doing for several years.

Here’s the release of the news from Robert, via TCM:

To all you members of the TCM family:

I’m Robert Osborne and I want to tell you about a funny thing that happened to me on the way to this year’s Film Festival. I’ve been putting off a minor health procedure (as everyone tends to do now and then). I planned to take care of it as soon as the Festival was over but my doctor said, “enough already, Osborne. Let’s get this done now so that sooner rather than later you can get back to introducing movies on TCM.” So that’s what I’m in the process of doing right now — taking care of that medical procedure.

The downside is that it means I won’t be joining you at this year’s Festival in Hollywood — very disappointing for me because for the past six years the TCM Classic Film Festival has been one of the things I’ve enjoyed most: sharing the Festival with you, the great sense of community we have, the conversations with so many of you Festival goers as well as the gifted actors and artisans who are part of the classic films we show, the pure joy of it all. But as we all know, one’s health is a gift, and has to be protected and put first. Rest assured that the many talented hosts at the Festival, including Ben Mankiewicz, will be helping you have the very best Festival going experience.

I know you’ll enjoy the wonderful films we have programmed, and meeting the gifted artists who are participating in this exceptional event. Enjoy every moment of it and make as many memories and new friends as you can. And rest assured, I’ll be seeing you again, very soon.

But right now: on with the show.

Cheers,
Robert Osborne

tcm classic film festival 2015 buster keaton

We wish Robert well for a full and rapid recovery.

Send your cards of encouragement to:
Robert Osborne
c/o TCM
1050 Techwood Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

If you’ll be attending the festival, there will be a mail box at the info desk, outside of Club TCM, where you can drop off cards.

As stated earlier, it won’t quite seem like a TCM Classic Film Festival without Osborne, a veteran film historian and journalist who’s earned the right to be the face of this wonderful channel. But as he says, the show must go on.

Get better soon, Bob.

Posted March 18, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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