Sign in, Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.04.12 at 18:10

Current mood: artisticartistic

Here’s an autographed photo of Carole Lombard now on sale at eBay. The signature appears genuine, and according to the seller, the image measures 5.5″ x 7″ — a size more associated with pictures for autographs than for publicity stills sent out to newspapers or fan magazines.

There’s no p1202 number to show it was part of Paramount’s roster of Lombard poses. In fact, if you look at the lower right-hand corner, no name is seen printed, merely “…in Paramount Pictures” below where Carole would sign. So I’m guessing this was produced by the studio specifically for Lombard to send to fans. (Another hint: The “Cordially” begins to run out of ink near the end of the word, so I’m guessing Carole then found another fountain pen in which to sign her name.)

Note the date at the top — May 22, 1935; according to the seller, that’s the date the collector documented he received or obtained this. It would be consistent with times of similar poses Lombard shot for Paramount, such as p1202-864:

The seller also provides a certificate of authenticity:

As is the case for nearly every Carole autograph, the price is hefty…but at least this seller has a way to lighten the burden. You can get it straight up for $799.99 or for $134 monthly for six months (a difference of only $4.01). Interested? Then go to

Posted April 12, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

All about the Benjamin: ‘Fireball’ strikes gold!   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.04.11 at 19:24

Current mood: pleasedpleased

We’ve known for some time that “Fireball,” Robert Matzen’s thorough account of Carole Lombard’s ill-fated Flight 3 on Jan. 16, 1942, was a winner. Now we have genuine proof.

“Fireball” won the gold award for biography at the Benjamin Franklin Awards, given by the Independent Book Publishers Association on Friday, in Austin, Texas:

Accepting the awards in absentia for Matzen was Carole Sampeck of The Carole Lombard Archive, who made the trip from Dallas on his behalf. For good luck, she wore a necklace that once belonged to Lombard:

It paid off:

Sampeck notes that while she couldn’t be prouder of the book if she had written it herself, credit should go to Matzen, “the one that did all the work! I got a little bit of the adulation and a little bit of the reward, but all I did was help, and the author did everything.” She also praises “the incredible research skills of Marina Gray. She found the last survivor of the few people that were bumped off the flight in Albuquerque. I don’t know of anybody who could’ve done that other than Marina.”

The setting was upscale — the occasion even warranted a harpist:

And we’re proud to note that in Austin, the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world,” the book “Fireball” made some beautiful music as well.

Posted April 11, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Collegiately Carole   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.04.10 at 16:11

Current mood: amusedamused

Return with us now to those halcyon days of raccoon coats, football games with leather helmets and good-natured campus hijinks, with Carole Lombard — playing the college student she never was in real life — the sweetheart of any fraternity. Yes, it’s the 1920s, and three of Mack Sennett’s silent-era idealized vignettes about the college lifestyle from that time are now on DVD.

Two of them, “The Campus Vamp” (from which Carole is shown above) and to a lesser extent “Matchmaking Mamma,” shouldn’t really be labeled as “lost,” as both have been issued as extras on Lombard public domain DVDs. But while both Carole and Daphne Pollard are listed on the front of the case, their most famous campus collaboration, “Run, Girl, Run,” somehow didn’t make the cut.

Instead, the set is rounded out with “The Relay,” a short tale of class rivalry (in this case, it refers to sophomores vs. freshmen!) directed by Wesley Ruggles, who would later direct two of Lombard’s Paramount features, “No Man Of Her Own” and “True Confession.”

This never-opened DVD is on auction at eBay, with a beginning bid of $2. The auction will close at 8:02 p.m. (Eastern) next Thursday. Bid or learn more by visiting

Posted April 10, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

That’s no park bench   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.04.09 at 16:48

Current mood: coldcold

This Carole Lombard image is up for auction at eBay, and it’s headlined “Carole Lombard…Park Bench.” To the untrained eye, one well might think that’s Lombard sitting on a park bench in wintertime, a building behind her.

Turns out that’s not a park bench; it isn’t even an exterior shot. It’s from Lombard’s first all-talkie, Pathe’s “High Voltage” (1929). Lombard and several of her fellow cast members are snowbound in the Sierra Nevada mountains, stranded inside an abandoned church after their bus broke down. Here are a few more stills from that production for proof:

The photo at top — which we profiled a few years back at — is 8.5″ x 11″ and is said to be in mint condition and “beautiful” — though it doesn’t say whether it’s a vintage image. The deadline for bidding is 3:45 p.m. (Eastern) a week from Saturday. Bid, or learn man, by visiting

Posted April 9, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

For my 3,000th entry, returning a compliment   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.04.08 at 15:19

Current mood: impressedimpressed

Above is one of my very favorite Carole Lombard photographs, taken in 1939 or 1940 near the Encino ranch she shared with second husband Clark Gable. The joy on her face is simply spellbinding, a sign all is right with her world.

Today, I share that sort of feeling, because I’m reaching a milestone. This marks the 3,000th entry at Carole & Co. since its debut on June 13, 2007 — that’s slightly more than one per day…including periodic days off for illness, not to mention a prolonged absence in late 2012 when I tore a ligament in my right quad and was away from a computer for nearly three weeks. Nearly all of the entries over the years have been from yours truly (although outside entrants with Lombard or classic Hollywood-related posts are always welcome).

Today, I’m going to celebrate by finally reciprocating one of the nicest compliments this site has ever received. It came courtesy of John McElwee at…

…Greenbriar Picture Shows (, unique among classic movie blogs in that it not only examines the films themselves, but the showmanship and marketing behind them. McElwee also has assembled a list of links,, and look at what he wrote about Carole & Co.:

Needless to say, when I saw this, I felt tall enough to duck through doorways with my feet on the ground (not an easy thing to do when you’re 5-foot-7 on a good day!). Ever since, I’ve felt the need to return the favor, and while I’ve frequently raved about his site (and occasionally noted Lombard-related references), I’ve wanted to do more — and now I can, because I recently purchased McElwee’s book…

“Showmen, Sell It Hot!” is but another reminder that movie marketing is as much “show” as it is “business,” or at least it was until “Jaws” kicked off the blockbuster era and marketing a film became almost entirely corporate. (It helps explain why Thursday has become the most important day of the week for prime-time TV; it’s the night before the weekend movie premieres, and unlike the era when films gradually made their way from the downtown palaces to the “nabes,” or neighborhood cinemas, to the second-run and eventually the revival house, these days opening-weekend box office is everything.)

The book to some extent is a large-scale version of McElwee’s blog entries, focusing on cinematic salesmanship from Erich von Stroheim’s “Foolish Wives” to marketing “Bonnie and Clyde” in 1967, the year “new Hollywood” began to push the previous generation aside (at least until the bean-counters with MBAs took over in the ’80s).

Lombard pops up in occasional places, too. For example, what does her “Love Before Breakfast” character Kay Colby…

…have in common with Dracula and the Frankenstein monster? All have ties to Universal, and in spring 1938 — when studios jumped head-in to the revival of old features — “Breakfast,” “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” were among five features Universal reissued. (The other two were “All Quiet on the Western Front” and the Alice Brady comedy “Lady Tubbs.”)

While a twin bill of “Breakfast” and “Frankenstein” was successful for at least one exhibitor — did Carole’s famed black eye in the film count as horror? — it wasn’t until the monster films were teamed that Universal did truly boffo business. (Reissues play a key role in the book, including RKO bringing back “King Kong” in 1952 and Warners teaming early gangster classics “Little Caesar” and “The Public Enemy” a few years later.)

A wonderful book to accompany a wonderful blog. “Showmen, Sell It Hot!” is available through GoodKnight Books (the same folks who brought you Robert Matzen’s excellent “Fireball”); learn more about it at

John, consider the compliment returned.

Posted April 8, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Carole Lombard, on the ‘Virtue’ of smoking*   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.04.07 at 11:11

Current mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable

(*This entry is not endorsed by the Surgeon General’s office.)

Then again, it was 1932 and Lombard, like most of us at the time, didn’t know any better. Smoking made you look chic and sophisticated — or so we thought — so it’s understandable Carole would wish to purvey such a feeling in a publicity pose. The back confirms the actress, year and film, her first loanout to Columbia:

The image retains a semblance of sex appeal, though perhaps not as much as it did nearly 83 years ago (but Lombard still looks lovely in a sheer blouse), and the original photograph is on sale at eBay. It’s 8″ x 10″, vintage and in very good condition. And you can make it yours in one of two ways — pay $339.95 on the spot or $57 for six months (the latter plan costs $2.05 more, for what it’s worth).

Wish to buy, or learn more? Then go to

Posted April 7, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Play ball!   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.04.06 at 19:33

Current mood: happyhappy

If I’m running that photo of Carole Lombard tossing out the first ball at a Pacific Coast League game at Los Angeles Wrigley Field in 1938, then you know baseball season is here. This afternoon, I was at Dodger Stadium — as were about 55,000 others — to see the boys in blue outlast the San Diego Padres, 6-3, thanks to a tie-breaking home run by new acquisition Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the eighth inning. It still seems weird to see Rollins, a borderline Hall of Famer, in Dodger blue rather than Phillies red, but for today at least he won quite a few fans at Chavez Ravine. (The other team I follow, the Washington Nationals, dropped its opener to the visiting New York Mets.)

Baseball was a major part of Lombard’s life. Ever the athlete, she enjoyed playing ball in sandlot or street games dating back to her youth. While baseball was considered a boys’ game, many girls and women long have loved watching and/or playing it too (

There’s also a cerebral aspect to baseball that probably also appealed to Carole; like chess, it’s a perfect game for pondering regarding strategy. Every pitch leads to a different situation, and a manager continually has to address those situations not just in terms of using personnel, but whether to steal a base, intentionally walk a batter or so on. It’s a part of the game that many of its critics fail to grasp — and what makes it so ideal for second-guessers.

So I hope you make it to the ballpark sometime this season and enjoy what baseball is all about.

Posted April 6, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized


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