Informal elegance   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.08 at 20:14
Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

carole lombard p1202-1127b front
carole lombard p1202-1127aback

Here’s yet another example of Carole Lombard looking fabulous without looking fancy, in Paramount portrait p1202-1127, probably from early 1936. It’s an original, as witnessed from the stamp on the back, a vintage gelatin silver single-weight portrait measuring 8″ x 10″ in fine condition.

Think you’ve seen this before? Maybe, maybe not. You may have confused it with two other shots from the same session — p1202-1130…

carole lombard p1202-1130a

…or p1202-1133:

carole lombard p1202-1133a

Interested in p1202-1127? Since it’s an original in excellent shape, it won’t come cheaply. Bidding begins at $59.99, with the auction closing at 10 p.m. (Eastern) next Thursday. To place your bid or monitor the item, visit

Posted October 8, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Matinees in style with our man Travis   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.07 at 11:11
Current mood: creativecreative

carole lombard travis banton 02a

Travis Banton is one of the somewhat unsung heroes of the Carole Lombard look. He was chief fashion designer at Paramount during nearly all of Carole’s seven-plus years there, and Lombard liked his work so much that he helped design costumes for films she made at several other studios.

carole lombard my man godfrey page review 82a

One of those films was Universal’s “My Man Godfrey,” and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — where another Lombard gown from “Godfrey” is on display at the future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures site next door as part of its “Hollywood Costume” exhibit ( — is showing the 1936 screwball classic at 1 p.m. Oct. 21 at its Bing Theater. Tickets are $4 general admission, $2 for seniors and LACMA members.

travis banton ampas museum 00
marlene dietrich morocco 01

It’s part of a four-film matinee salute to Banton’s fashion sense, and it gets underway at 1 p.m. today with “Morocco” (1930), Marlene Dietrich’s first movie on American soil. (If you’re in LA, you still have time to get there.)

claudette colbert cleopatra 00a

Claudette Colbert’s “Cleopatra” (1934) follows on Oct. 14 (with apologies to Elizabeth Taylor, whose Forest Lawn vault I passed on the way to visiting Carole’s yesterday, Claudette remains the classic Cleo)…

…while Dietrich concludes with “Angel” (directed by Ernst Lubitsch) on Oct. 28.

For more on the series, visit

Posted October 7, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

To Carole, on her 106th   2 comments

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.06 at 18:27
Current mood: lovedloved

carole lombard p1202-1149a

Dear Carole Lombard:

I hope you’re having a joyous 106th anniversary of your birth today. I celebrated in my own way by visiting your crypt at Forest Lawn in Glendale…the first time I’ve been there in more than 25 years.

Entering the Sanctuary of Trust at the Great Mausoleum — and yes, I came reverently, wearing a shirt and tie, treating you and your fellow forever residents with the respect and dignity they deserve — I noted someone had left you flowers, and was glad. Clark Gable’s vault next to yours also received flowers, as well as a small American flag, probably in recognition of his military service.

carole lombard forest lawn flowers oct 2006a

(The photo above was taken on Oct. 6, 2006, the 98th anniversary of your birth.)

I stood in front of your vault and softly said, “You’ve changed my life, and I will always love you for it.” And that’s the truth. Researching your life, and the lives of those you knew and worked with, led me to move to Los Angeles in July, just as you and your mother and brothers did a century ago this fall — and my apartment not only is a bus ride from neighborhoods you grew up in, but from Forest Lawn as well. (Different bus routees, mind you.)

I understand why you fell in love with Los Angeles and southern California: The scenery is remarkable, the weather for the most part delightful, particularly those cool nights largely devoid of humidity. (I hope it can remain this way; the state is having a dreadful drought, and a condition called global warming spells potential long-term danger.) A friend of mine congratulated me on the move: “Congrats on the courage to follow your dreams — follow those familiar footsteps you’ve never taken, see things through her eyes as well as yours.” That indeed is what I’m trying to do.

los angeles skyline twilight 00a

The city you loved has changed drastically since your mortal self last saw it, and you would be amazed. Skyscrapers now dwarf the City Hall that once towered over the rest of downtown; the Red and Yellow cars are long gone, now replaced by an ever-expanding subway and light rail system that people actually are beginning to use; and whereas Los Angeles once was dominated by emigres from the Midwest (such as your family), it’s now a world-class city with a splendid blend of whites, blacks, Asians and Latinos. It’s become the dominant metropolis of the West, a global powerhouse of both finance and culture.

hollywood boulevard 2013 oscars

And yes, that culture includes “Hollywood” (which still remains shorthand for the entertainment industry, even though so much of it is headquartered in Burbank or Culver City). It’s still the capital for movies and that medium of television you were told was just around the corner, as well as something called video games and other endeavors. The industry is going strong, but may have lost its soul while worshipping special effects and opening-weekend box office. If you made movies today, you probably would be an art-house actress. Some actors, directors and studios are making stupendous sums of money, but the product simply isn’t as fun anymore. Oh, and tell your buddy Lucille Ball that the multi-camera sitcom filmed before a live audience — a format her husband Desi Arnaz helped engineer — is in serious trouble aside from a few series on her old network, CBS. But that’s another story, for another time.

carole lombard paramount p1202-862a

But enough about the city — let’s talk about you, Carole. You may have left this earth more than 13 1/2 years before I arrived, and yet, through watching you on screen, reading stories and interviews in newspapers and magazines of the time, it’s as if I’ve known you since childhood. You are amazing in your timelessness, remarkable for someone who’s been gone more than 70 years. But your personality, and your actions, transcend time — if I could magically snap my fingers and bring you to 2014, you could adjust to today with minimal difficulty.

Moreover, your influence continues, both professionally and personally. You remain the standard by which all comedic actresses are judged, and scores of them study your work and view you as a role model — not just your acting but your business knowhow. You’re even studied in college for both your style and your early feminist views. I think you’d be delighted to see the progress women are making throughout the world, although much more remains to be done.

All this shows how beloved you remain, and how you touch our minds, hearts and souls. Again, I’m so thankful you’ve changed my life.

administrator, Carole & Co.

P.S. My mother left us last December at age 93. She was a fan of yours too, although her favorite actress growing up was Ruby Keeler.

Posted October 6, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Screenland,’ December 1934: The latest about Lombard   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.05 at 12:48
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard lady by choice 22b

“Lady By Choice,” co-starring May Robson and Walter Connolly, was Carole Lombard’s latest film in the fall of 1934, when that December’s issue of Screenland hit the newsstands. It included a somewhat freewheeling interview with Carole, taken that September while she was visiting New York:

carole lombard screenland december 1934ab
carole lombard screenland december 1934bb

Some thoughts on the article:

* I certainly could understand Paramount publicity wanting to protect Lombard from having to speak on Russ Columbo’s passing. From what I gather, this probably was her first visit to New York since making “Fast And Loose” at Paramount’s Astoria studio some four years earlier, and one doubts anyone in the eastern publicity office had more a cursory contact with Carole in the time since.

* I’m a bit skeptical of Lombard’s claim that she had invited Columbo’s ailing mother to the Lake Arrowhead cabin the weekend of his bizarre fatal accident. It’s possible that Lombard was referring to her own mother and that writer Laura Benham, in reviewing her notes to reconstruct Carole’s conversation, made a mix-up.

* Lombard’s comments about her post-divorce relationship with William Powell ring true — especially her statement that women Powell date resent her. Since Bill and Carole had socialized several times following their breakup, the others Bill was seeing understandably were concerned about this unorthodox status of his.

* Carole often expressed a desire to retire from acting after “the short period allotted to any of us at the top,” but in 1934 did she have any concrete idea when that “short period” would end? And was she already mulling other film-related endeavors, such as producing?

* As often is the case with stories regarding Lombard’s early life and career, several errors are made. Carole briefly attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, not Hollywood High, and Benham places her automobile accident after she worked for Mack Sennett, not before. Finally, Pathe was the one place where the “e” in Lombard’s first name was never used.

* A particularly nice part of the piece was Carole’s contemplative thoughts on Lilyan Tashman, a now largely-forgotten actress best known for her fashion sense who had died at age 37 in March 1934. (However, Tashman’s tumultuous personal life was a far cry from the relatively strait-laced Lombard.)

* Carole was confident that a post-divorce Powell could take care of himself — and that same issue of Screenland includes an interview with Bill, whose career had soared in 1934 thanks to the MGM hits “Manhattan Melodrama” and “The Thin Man”:

carole lombard screenland december 1934cb
carole lombard screenland december 1934da
carole lombard screenland december 1934ea

Writer Ben Maddox compliments Carole on influencing Bill’s tastes in post-divorce dates (one of whom was Jean Harlow). However, Maddox declines to name the studio that put Powell in “a series of mediocre pictures” (it was Warners, and in retrospect, most of those movies don’t seem so mediocre). The rest of the piece is typical Powell, revealing little that was new aside from some comments of his on Bill Jr., who would commit suicide at age 43 in 1968.

This December 1934 issue of Screenland is up for auction at eBay, although the seller admits it’s in fair condition and is missing the cover, among other things. That cover — obtained through the Media History Digital Library — was of an actress who was a major boon to Powell’s success in 1934…

myrna loy screenland dec 1934b

…Myrna Loy, of course. And that stunning Charles Gates Sheldon portrait of Loy was the grand prize in a “cover girl” competition:

myrna loy screenland december 1934ab
myrna loy screenland december 1934ba

So, what would your eight words have been?

Screenland editor Delight Evans (like Lombard, a Fort Wayne native) used the pages of her magazine to conduct some audience research…

screenland december 1934aa

…while criticizing Ann Harding for her sudden reluctance to talk to the press:

screenland december 1934ba

That issue showed Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers demonstrating dance steps:

screenland december 1934ca

Films advertised in that issue include Greta Garbo’s “The Painted Veil”…

screenland december 1934da

…Universal’s “Night Life Of The Gods” (from a Thorne Smith novel)…

screenland december 1934e

…and Warners’ “Flirtation Walk,” starring Dick Powell and my mother’s favorite actress during her youth, Ruby Keeler:

screenland december 1934f

Bidding opens at $19.99; the auction closes at 12:33 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday. To bid or learn more, visit

Posted October 5, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

‘Get’ even more Lombard this month   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.04 at 21:48
Current mood: mellowmellow

carole lombard made for each other 66a

You may be aware that “Made For Each Other” is among the eight Carole Lombard films that Turner Classic Movies will air on Monday to commemorate the 106th anniversary of her birth ( But that’s not the only channel where you’ll find it that day. The 1939 domestic drama co-starring James Stewart will be carried by getTV, the channel operated by Sony Entertainment, as one of four Carole films.

Lombard is getTV’s “Icon of the Week,” and the channel gave her a nice salute on its website:

carole lombard get tv 01
carole lombard get tv 02

“Made For Each Other” kicks off the quartet of Lombard’s getTV films at 10:55 a.m. (Eastern), only 25 minutes after it starts on TCM. It’s the only movie both channels are duplicating; the next three on getTV all are from Columbia — “Brief Moment” at 1 p.m. …

carole lombard brief moment 28

…”Virtue” at 2:35…

carole lombard virtue 50a

…and “No More Orchids” at 4:05:

carole lombard no more orchids 22b

Say you’d prefer to watch TCM’s package on Monday — don’t worry. Each of the Lombard films will air at least twice more during October, although only once will they air as a block of four, beginning at 11:25 p.m. (Eastern) Monday, Oct. 27. For the month’s schedule, visit Not sure if getTV is available in your market? You can find out its status by going to

Posted October 4, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

A Pathe that was (and wasn’t) taken   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.03 at 12:00
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard pathe cl-74e

If Carole Lombard is wearing a V-neck sweater with a rooster logo above her left breast, it means that 1) when it was taken, she was known as Carol Lombard, and 2) any Carole & Co. entry that uses it relates to her time at Pathe Pictures in late 1928 and much of ’29.

And that’s the case here, as we examine a color spread from the July 6, 1929 issue of Exhibitors Herald World announcing Pathe’s upcoming productions for 1929 and into 1930.

Some pages of the section promote films of hers that were to come out shortly or later in the year, such as “Big News”…

carole lombard pathe 1929-1930 presentation 01a

…or “The Racketeer”:

carole lombard pathe 1929-1930 presentation 03a

However, others were for films that either Lombard never made or never reached productions — such as “Parachute” with Robert Armstrong…

carole lombard pathe 1929-1930 presentation 04a

…or future Hopalong Cassidy William Boyd, who was to have worked with Lombard in something called “Officer O’Brien”:

carole lombard pathe 1929-1930 presentation 02a

Why didn’t she make these films? The answer might be found by perusing this page:

carole lombard pathe 1929-1930 presentation 00a

Two lines above the names of Lombard and Diane Ellis is that of Constance Bennett, who Pathe had recently signed amidst much fanfare. But before the year was out, Lombard and Ellis were both ex-Pathe players — and there’s long been conjecture that Bennett ordered the two blondes off the roster because she didn’t want competition. Here’s what Pathe was planning for Connie:

pathe 1929-1930 presentation 09a

Another blonde at Pathe, one Bennett probably couldn’t control, was the distinguished actress Ann Harding, whom the following year would star in the original film version of “Holiday”:

pathe 1929-1930 presentation 07a

Other ads here show off beautiful spot color in print and planned use of (two-strip) Technicolor on screen:

pathe 1929-1930 presentation 03a
pathe 1929-1930 presentation 04a
pathe 1929-1930 presentation 05a
pathe 1929-1930 presentation 06a

The last movie, “The Painted Desert,” wouldn’t be made until 1931, and then was shot in black and white. It was, however, among the first films Clark Gable made in that pivotal year.

To see more of this presentation, visit

Posted October 3, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

March into history at next year’s TCM Classic Film Festival   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.02 at 23:39
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard the eagle and the hawk 05a
carole lombard bolero 13b

Why are we leading off this entry with photos from Carole Lombard’s films “The Eagle And The Hawk” (top) and “Bolero”? Well, it has something to do with this...

turner classic movies classic film festival logo large

Turner Classic Movies has announced the dates for next year’s TCM Classic Film Festival…and if you’re worried that the dates will conflict with the start of the 2015 baseball season, good news. On the other hand, those of you into college basketball could run into conflicts with the regionals. That’s because the sixth annual festival will run from March 26 to 29 (Thursday through Sunday), a bit earlier than usual, and once more will be held in Hollywood.

TCM also announced the theme for the 2015 event — “History According to Hollywood.” According to a release from the channel:

“The Old West. Medieval England. Ancient Rome. Hollywood has found endless inspiration in re-creating historical moments and bringing to life the heroes and villains of the past, creating a form of time travel for audiences through the ages and around the world. These films, however, are not always true to the historical record — filmmakers have often created works about the past that are a reflection of the period in which they were made, or change facts to suit their storyline. The 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival will explore how cinema has shaped how we view and remember history.”

Both “Bolero” and “The Eagle And The Hawk” qualify as “historical” pictures since they were set during World War I, about 15 years before their release. Very few other Lombard pictures meet such criteria; Carole appeared in a handful of westerns (all at Fox, and all of them lost other than “The Arizona Kid”), but never was cast in a costume epic. For such roles, her modernity worked against her. (And both “Bolero” and “Eagle And Hawk” are Paramount pictures owned by Universal, which has done little with either — it’s uncertain whether TCM could procure such films, much less work with Universal to bring them up to speed.)

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the 2015 TCMFF will be bereft of Carole. Not every film shown at the festival strictly meets that year’s topic.

tcm classic film festival night 00
hollywood roosevelt 03a

Robert Osborne, Ben Mankiewicz and others from the TCM family will be on hand, of course. And as in the past, the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt — where Carole saw Russ Columbo perform at the Cinegrill and, years later, had the occasional penthouse rendezvous with Clark Gable — will be home base for the festival and site of Club TCM. Next year, the W Hotel Hollywood, near Metro’s Hollywood/Vine station, also will be a partner hotel. To learn more about booking for the 2015 festival, visit (As for passes, they’ll go on sale next month…that’s November, y’know.)

I won’t have to worry about hotel space next March, since I now live in Los Angeles and the TCMFF will be a mere subway ride away; I look forward to seeing you there. To see the official TCM release, visit, which will regularly be updated with additional news.

Posted October 3, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Three from the Continent   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.10.01 at 20:59
Current mood: enthralledenthralled

carole lombard cine monde 062933a

That continent being Europe, of course. and here’s Carole Lombard putting fifty million Frenchmen (OK, so the male population of France isn’t quite that number) under her spell. After all, she is “Une blonde en Amerique!”, and Europeans view American blonde beauties — then and now — as larger-than-life goddesses.

That issue, Cine Monde from June 29, 1933, currently is up for auction at eBay, as are two other European mags with Carole covers, courtesy of the same seller. This one’s also from France –– Mon Cine from Dec. 11, 1930, which uses Lombard’s initial Paramount player portrait, p1202-1:

carole lombard mon cine 121130b

Finally, let’s head to the Netherlands for Femme magazine, which made Lombard its cover subject on April 8, 1934:

carole lombard femme 040834b

The magazine’s editor must’ve been a fan of hers, because there was Carole on the cover barely two months later:

carole lombard femme 061034b

All three have opening bid prices of $4, with auctions closing between 4:45 and 4:51 p.m. (Eastern) on Tuesday.

The Cine Monde is oversize (10 1/2″ x 16″, the better to get all of “super sexy Carole Lombard” on the cover) and in good condition save for some minor chafing on the spine. To bid or learn more, visit

Mon Cine is described as in “Overall good condition but some minor discoloration on the edge.” Additional info is at

The April 1934 Femme also is oversize (10″ x 14 1/2″), and is in “overall good condition with some minor tearing along the spine.” Want to bid, or are curious? Then go to

Posted October 1, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

Looking tasty in ranch dressing   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.30 at 11:14
Current mood: accomplishedaccomplished

carole lombard they knew what they wanted 38 front larger

Carole Lombard looks out over her Encino ranch while dressed in an outfit meant to call to mind her upcoming role in “They Knew What They Wanted,” much of which was set in the California countryside. We learn from the back of the photo that it was taken by RKO’s Alex Kahle…

carole lombard they knew what they wanted 38 back 0b

…and that it was part of a four-picture series from the studio (I’m not sure I’ve ever seen any of the other three) for newspapers to run in their women’s section. The topic? Summer fashion — and Lombard looks luscious in the warmth of the sun. (And yes, ladies and gentlemen, that one-of-a-kind RKO studio typewriter is back on this snipe.)

carole lombard they knew what they wanted 38 back 1b

The seller describes Carole’s appearance as “casual beauty,” and who would disagree? The photo is oversized (10 1/2″ x 13 1/2″) on a double-weight glossy paper stock, and is said to be “in very fine condition with only minimal edge wear as seen. Just stupendous.” (As is Lombard.)

As of this writing, two bids already have been made, topping at $11.50 — but don’t expect it to stay in that neighborhood for long, since the auction doesn’t end until 8:57 p.m. (Eastern) on Oct. 8. Want it, and think you can keep up with opposing bidders? Then go to

Posted September 30, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized

More on next Sunday’s event in Fort Wayne   1 comment

Posted by vp19 on 2014.09.29 at 22:29
Current mood: pleasedpleased

carole lombard 011542 indiana v for victory large

Carole Lombard flashes the “V” for victory sign at a war bond rally at the Indiana state capitol in Indianapolis on Jan. 15, 1942 — the last full day of her life. On the 16th, Lombard, her mother Elizabeth Peters, MGM press agent Otto Winkler and 19 others died in a plane crash in Nevada.

We’ve already announced that Robert Matzen, whose book “Fireball” investigates the mysterious accident involving TWA Flight 3, will give a lecture Sunday, Oct. 5 (the day before the 106th anniversary of Carole’s birth as Jane Alice Peters) at the history center in Fort Wayne, Lombard’s hometown ( But we have more information on the event, which is free:

* The Carole Lombard Archive Foundation, whose founder is my good friend Carole Sampeck, will exhibit a number of Lombard items, including the black lace scarf Lombard wore at the Indianapolis bond rally (I believe it’s pictured below)…

carole lombard 011542 indiana bond rally largest

…hunting licenses that belonged to Lombard and second husband Clark Gable…

carole lombard clark gable 1941 waterfowl stamps 02b
carole lombard clark gable 1941 waterfowl stamps 01c

…and the famed George Hurrell portrait of Carole (signed “Pa, I love you. Ma” on the back) which Gable kept in his dressing room:

carole lombard george hurrell pa dear i love you ma

* Once the lecture is over, a free tour of the Victorian house at 704 Rockhill Street where Lombard was born will take place.

carole lombard house 00a

* Additional info about the event can be found in a Fort Wayne News-Sentinel article from Sunday, which also includes a sidebar about Sampeck and the Carole Lombard Archive Foundation (, as well as an entry at Matzen’s fine blog (

This promises to be a special event for any Lombard fan who can make it to Fort Wayne that day. I only wish I could join you.

Posted September 30, 2014 by vp19 in Uncategorized