Vincent at Carole & Co (click the poster on my sidebar to visit the site to get more info) is hosting a Carole-tennial through the 9th.
When Vincent asked me a few weeks ago if I would join in I jumped at the opportunity, after all who doesn't adore Carole Lombard? In the beginning while thinking about what my contribution would be my first thought was to do one of my snarky photo reviews. The only problem was I couldn't think of a bad Lombard film nor did I want to rip on Carole. (Again, everyone loves her) I spoke to my mom about it a couple of days ago and I asked her if she could think of a stinker that Lombard was in. After a short pause she said "No, I just can't" Then I brought up the fact that I love My Man Godfrey and how it's hands down my favorite of her films. My mom agreed and before I knew it we had been laughing and reminiscing about the film for over 30 minutes. Carole just has that affect on you and with William Powell by her side they were magical!
I thought I would share my favorite Carole Lombard photograph from my collection. What man could look into those eyes and not want to give that girl the world? (click on photographs for a closeup view)
The back which I found interesting since the stamp reads "In Morgue", Deceased 1-16-1942 with a description. I assume this was placed in a newspaper or a magazine upon her death or perhaps in doing a tribute article on her.
When I think of Carole I think of a few things.
Her beauty and the way she wore clothes like no other! Dressed to the nines
or wearing one of her signature floppy hats while lounging in her backyard, she was simply PERFECTION!
The relationship that she had with her husband Clark Gable
The looks that they gave one another would make any woman jealous. You can't stare at a photo of them without wishing you could be a part of what they were smiling about or feeling. You get the feeling that although they could be in a room of 100 people the only ones they could see were each other.
Even though Carole looked like a delicate flower she could probably out curse you, drink you under the table while smoking all of your cigerettes, shoot a shotgun better than most men, ride a horse better than you, then leave you in a winded heap on the tennis court. She certainly wasn't one to make excuses or hide the fact that she lived her life to the fullest. Nor was she one to spend her down time in a quilting circle and if you didn't agree with her carefree, tomboy lifestyle that was your own darn problem.
My Man Godfrey was the first of her films that I saw and it was when I was about 12. It was with my mother of course and just having seen a few of The Thin Man films (my mother is obsessed with them) I couldn't wait to see it. I've seen most of her films since then and although I love all of her screwball comedies I keep going back to Godfrey as the best of the lot. She wasn't called "The Queen of Screwball Comedies" for nothing.
Of course when we think about Carole we can't help but think of her tragic death. Another life cut short way to soon. Once WWII started some actors were donating their free time at the Hollywood Canteen (you can see my article about that HERE) or dedicating time touring with the USO (I've also written about that HERE) Carole fell in love with selling War Bonds and she was great at it, selling over $2 million dollars worth in the few months that she traveled around putting her heart into the cause. The military and grateful Americans would not forget this effort nor that she gave her life for it as the first female casualty of WWII.
At the beginning of 1941 the U.S. started building more Liberty ships that were based on a 1879 British ship. They obviously weren't built for 'style point's' since President Roosevelt referred to them as the "Ugly Ducklings' of the fleet but they were equipped with anything our Armed Forces would need to fight the enemy and to support our allies. At a cost of $1.6 million dollars each they were built in pieces all over the country then assembled in a quick 16 days. The first one being launched at the end of 1941, the Patrick Henry. At a length of 441 feet long and 56 feet wide, 206 vessels were commissioned between 1941 and 1944. The Liberty SS Carole Lombard was launched in 1944. The above video shows Irene Dunne, Robert Montgomery and Clark Gable at the ships launch.
Liberty ships sailed with no name painted on their bows so as to give the enemy no hint as to their mission or cargo. Sadly, about 200 Liberty ships were lost to torpedoes, mines, explosions, kamikaze's etc during WWII. I can only imagine the honor and pride that Clark Gable felt upon learning that the military would pay tribute to Carole by commissioning a ship in her name, especially after having joined the U.S Army Air Forces shortly after her tragic death.
Carole Lombard, a true beauty, a style icon, an actual star, a comedic risk taker, a guys gal, a loving wife, a humanitarian and a LEGEND!