Thursday, October 6, 2011

Celebrating Carole Lombard: My Carole-tennial Contribution

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!



  1. It's grim as all heck, Page, but I love that "in morgue" stamp on your pic, I haven't seen that notation before!

    Excellent stuff as always, love the snark but always happy to see you go another way once in awhile too! I'm actually not a huge Lombard fan (don't beat me up!), but Godfrey has always held a special place for me. Also enjoy her quite a bit in Nothing Sacred and To Be or Not to Be.

    Thanks for showing off all of these pics, I absolutely agree that she was a beauty!

  2. Cliff,
    I'm glad you like my serious side too! Of course following me on twitter you probably wish I would 'lighten up' once in awhile over there. Ha Ha

    There are a few stars that I can honestly say were knock your socks off stunning. Carole was one of them and you might laugh but I feel that way about Loretta Young. I can't wait to do a post on her to show off some of her glam shots.

    I'm glad you found that photo interesting too.

    Thanks for stopping by and for always taking time to read my posts. You're the best!

  3. The very talented comedienne Carole Lombard, was one of my favorite actress. You listed some of my favorite films of, Carole Lombard's. I really enjoyed reading your entertaing post.

  4. Great job, and a truly worthy contribution to "Carole-tennial(+3)!"

    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."

    I then presume she has never seen "Fools For Scandal." While Carole looks beautiful in it, the story simply doesn't work, as Warners had no feel for screwball comedy. Lombard herself called "The Gay Bride" the worst movie she ever made, but at least it delivers some laughs and has that MGM sheen about it. In contrast, "Fools For Scandal" goes nowhere.

  5. I very much enjoyed your post, and I especially appreciated your inclusion of the video footage of the christening of the SS CAROLE LOMBARD. I've seen still photos but hadn't seen the newsreel footage before.

    Best wishes,

  6. Great photos and clips, thanks for a fun post.

  7. @Dawn,
    Thanks for stopping by for my Carole-tennial contribution.

    @Vincent I'm so glad you approve of my post and thanks so much for inviting me to celebrate the life of Carole. I'll make sure to skip the two films you've listed if I come across them.

    Thanks for the comments. I love old news reels too so this one was a fun find. Glad you stopped by to celebrate Carole.

    Always great seeing you here. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  8. Page, I didn't necessarily say skip them, merely watch them only once.

  9. Lovely tribute to a beautiful, funny, trash-talking, hard-living woman who looked like a porcelain doll! She must have been a lot of fun to be friends with. I've never been a huge fan of screwball comedies, but I do like My Man Godfrey. I think my favorite of her movies is "In Name Only" with Cary Grant, and it really is not a comedy at all. She did really well with drama!

    My favorite of your great pics is the glamour shot in the white satin lounging outfit. Wow! And of course, this is my favorite part of your article: "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" -- tell your Mom I know just how she feels -- when you really love an actor, nothing they do is ever totally bad! Great job, Page! Carole would love it...

  10. @Becky,
    Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed my Carole contribution.

    I agree that it's hard to dislike a movie of a loved star. I'm trying to think about Cary Grant and if there are films of his I don't care for. Yep! I am no fan of Penny Serenade and Operation Petticoat.
    I just don't think my moms memory is what it used to be.

  11. Page,

    In the photo of them looking at each other you can just tell they were in love. A great tribute to a wonderful talent whose life was cut short by war!


  12. @John,
    Thanks for stopping by! I'm so glad you enjoyed my tribute to Carole.

  13. Page, what a lovely tribute to Carole Lombard! She always struck me as the kind of gal I'd have wanted to pal around with if I'd been born back then. No wonder she and her hubby Clark Gable were so crazy about each other. Damn stupid war, taking the life of such an amazing woman -- weren't there enough casualties of that terrible war? Anyway, Page, your wonderful post had me both crying and laughing -- great job, my friend!

  14. Dorian,
    Thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I got a bit choked up when writing it too. (We're softies). I think Carole would have been a riot to play poker with or just hang out with while having a couple of cocktails. (She might have to be served sparingly though)