I need a dog.

You can not walk in Beverly Hills without one. People will give you the stink eye and the 24/7 circling Po Po will stare you down. Pity that my landlord will not allow pets. It would be amazing if I could rent one. Case in point:

A month or so back I was dipping into yesteryear and discovered one of Carole Lombard’s residencies during 1933: 523 North Beverly Drive

The address was on a police report filed by Lombard when her sapphire ring went missing in March of 1933. I decided to venture on over. I walked up and down the street for a good five minutes searching for house # 523, receiving mental pat-downs from the neighbors that drove by. Finally I found the numbers printed on the curb. Folks, this is what I saw:

Carole Lombard House

Impulse took over and I darted toward the construction workers. As nonchalantly as possible I asked,”What are you doing?” No one spoke English. I switched into Spanish gear and the workers told me they weren’t really sure what was happening. Some were tearing down and others building. One of them said he’d get his manager to come talk to me. Sensing this was the time to leave, I retreated to my car.

The manager came, photographed my license plate, and gave me the best “Can I help you?” that I’ve heard in some time.

“I just wanted to know what was happening to the house. Someone important used to live there,” I told him.

There’s a dramatic pause. “Who?”

“Carole Lombard.”

A longer pause. Just as I thought the man didn’t have a clue he blurted, “The actress. Oh yeah. . . Well . . . they are restoring the house . . .”

A few more minutes of awkward conversation followed before we part ways.

Thanks to real estate records we can do a time-dash. The home was build in 1928 by architect Roy Seldon Price for Charlie Chaplin’s wife, Lita Grey Chaplin. The interiors were done by set designer Harold Grieve. Actress Patricia Barry owned the home from 1959 until November 2010 when it looked like this:

Do I want to believe that the current owners are in fact restoring Hollywood history? Absolutely. But the past has taught the pessimist in me better. Based on photographs of the house just two years prior, I have to ask:

What is being restored??????


Sources:
Beale, Lauren. Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2010. Web Access. 1 February 2012. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/15/home/la-hm-0515-hotprop-20100515

Gussman Czako Estates. Web Access. 1 February 2012. http://www.gussmanczakoestates.com/properties/photos/523northbeverlydrive.html

This post is not about the upcoming Ryan Gosling movie. Although I am looking forward to seeing Ryan in any movie these days. This is about an obscure 1928 film directed by Raoul Walsh called Me, Gangster. The films’ release coincided with the coming of sound and so a synchronized soundtrack was added to the silent inter titles. Me, Gangster stars June Collyer and Don Terry. Carole is billed twelfth as “Carol Lombard” in the role of Blonde Rosie.

I’ve never seen Me, Gangster. Unless my memory fails me, I’ve never seen a photo of Carole in Me, Gangster. I’ve been unable to track down a print of the film in any major archive. I have however communicated with someone in Europe who has seen the film via an individual with a massive film collection. Unfortunately for us, this individual wishes to remain private and keep their collection to themselves.

A couple of weeks ago I made a great 99 cent purchase:

Me Gangster

Cheaper than a pack of gum is this photoplay edition of Me, Gangster. It contains the original story by Charles Francis Coe as well as photographs from the William Fox Studio production. Of course, following the pattern of this post- none of the seven images are of Carole. After a brief reading there isn’t even a mention of a Blonde Rosie.

I’m currently scanner-less so please excuse the quality of the photos.

Now for the random. The inside cover is signed in pencil: Dorothy Van Winkle.
Dorothy Van Winkle

A quick search shows that Dorothy Van Winkle was a costume designer during the 1930s and 1940s for Broadway and the Zeigfeld Follies. That’s all I’ve got. My brain isn’t making a major connections but give me time.

Aside from the odd course this post has taken, I’ve learned:

  • A photoplay edition can help shed some light on “lost films”.
  • Even in a tough economy, bargains can be found.
  • Europe has lots of films.
  • I need to make friends with a certain collector.
  • Following up on signatures can yield interesting stories. Or not.

And so the hunt continues. Have any of you seen this film or a even a picture of Carole in it?

A couple of weeks ago I saw Russell Brand perform. He was hilarious. And brilliant. Equally impressive was the magnificent theatre I was sitting in: the Wiltern Theatre located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Los Angeles. The 80 yearold theatre is art deco at its best. It’s stunning. I wish I had taken photos of the interior but it was dark and I was flashless. At one point during the show I remember thinking to myself, “Wonder if Carole came here?” (This is my litmus for historical Hollywood locations these days).

Well I did some sleuthing and found a video of the star-studded grand opening of the theatre then known as the Warner Brothers Western Theatre. On October 7, 1931 Hollywood’s finest came out to support the theatre and see the premiere of Alexander Hamilton. Wilshire was spanned by a bridge which the audiences for the opening crossed over to enter the theatre. Some of the stars included James Cagney, Loretta Young, Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. You’ll also see Mr. and Mrs. Clark Gable- back when it referred to Ria. Finally, there’s Carole. She’s accompanying her husband at the time William Powell. William Powell conducted the dedication as the master of ceremonies. Both are escorted by Moe Silver, General Manager of Warner Brothers. You’ll notice that her name is spelled “Carol.” Old habits die hard. Enjoy!



Uploaded by: mrpitv

Sources:
Schallert, Edwin. Western Theater Opened,Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1931, pg.A9.

The Artist

The film is silent, black and white, and is a masterpiece. It is the best film of 2011 and quite frankly, one of the best I’ve seen in my life.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a silent film would be made and that it would attract so much mainstream interest. If it wins on Oscar night it will be the first since 1929 when Wings took home Best Picture at the ceremony’s inception.

The film takes begins in the late twenties during the rise of talkies and the end of the silent film era and one of it’s greatest stars; George Valentin played by Jean Dujardin. The plot is reminiscent of Singing in the Rain with the transition to talkies, and A Star is Born, with the rise and fall of the two main characters. And yet- it is so much more. The love story is moving, the performances are captivating, the music is mesmerizing, and the cinematography is stunning.

The film is also a love letter to the Old Hollywood I love. Many historical Hollywood locations were used including:

Ebell Theatre | 743 S. Lucerne Blvd.
Kinograph’s office was filmed in the hall where Judy Garland was “discovered” in 1934.
Orpheum Theatre | 842 S. Broadway
The premiere was shot in the 1926 venue.
Los Angeles Theatre | 615 S. Broadway
Peppy’s film plays in the same theatre where Chaplin’s City Lights premiered in 1931.
Bradbury Building | 304 S. Broadway
Peppy meets George on a Blade Runner stairway.
Mary Pickford Residence | 56 Fremont Place
Peppy lives in star’s Hancock Park house.
RED Studios | 846 N Cahuenga Blvd
Kinograph studio scenes where shot at the studio that began as Metro Lot #3 in 1915.

The silent era’s biggest stars were used as inspiration for the characters. Berenice Bejo read Gloria Swanson’s biography to research her role saying, “To me, she represents the American way of life.” She also studied the performance styles of Joan Crawford and the dancing of Ginger Rogers. John Goodman plays a cigar-chomping studio boss resembling Cecil B. DeMille. Jean Dujardin based his character on Douglas Fairbanks saying Valentin “is like Douglas Fairbanks, with a Gene Kelly smile” (Hollywood Reporter, December 21, 2011).

Although Fairbanks was the model for George Valentin, Dujardin says it is Chaplin who set the standard for the transition from silents to talkies. “Chaplin was a genius. He was one of the few who knew how to make the bridge from silent movies to talkies. Other silent-movie actors, like John Gilbert, who had a very high voice, were immediately forgotten. It was very brutal” (WSJ, December, 16, 2011).

In the age of 3D blockbusters, it’s easy to forget the magic of the silent screen. Silent films are universal in language and appeal. They transform the audience into active participants. Silence is golden and The Artist is pure brilliance.

Works Cited:

Goodman, Lanie. The Wall Street Journal. Silence Is Golden in ‘The Artist, December 16, 2011. Web Access. 2011 December 31.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203501304577088053989368884.html

Timberg, Scott. The Making of The Artist, Hollywood Reporter, December 21, 2011. Web Acess. 2011 December 31.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/gallery/the-artist-behind-the-scenes-264565#1

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by Gus Mc Carthy
Screen Mirror, November 1930

carole lombard screen mirror 1930

My favorite line is: “I must be Santa Claus’ adopted child.”

Carole Lombard My Man Godfrey and Twentieth CenturySave the date: December 30, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

I didn’t and now I’m bummed to be missing out on a 35mm showing of My Man Godfrey and Twentieth Century on the big screen of the Aero Theatre this Friday.

The American Cinematheque is hosting a series of Scewball Comedies this holiday season beginning December 28,2011 until January 5, 2012. Eight nights of fast-talking and gag-a-licious hilarity! You even have a chance to win a new Blue Ray disc of Design for Living at its 12/28 showing.

Of course the fest would not be complete with out the Screwball Queen and the Cinematheque is offering two of her funniest films for the price of one.

Sure I’ve seen these flicks more times than I can count but nothing compares to watching them in their full glory on the silver screen. So if you’re in the Los Angeles area, treat yourself to a double dose of laughter and go see both these classic films at:

The Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA, 90403

For more information and to purchase tickets click here > >

carole lombard sleigh bed

Christmas has past but my wish for the bed above still lingers . . .

I want one. Badly. Since moving to L.A. in August I have been on the hunt for a sleigh bed to complete my new boudoir. I’ve found plenty but none with the exquisiteness like the one once owned by Miss Lombard. Behold the modern sleigh bed:

This is Macy’s Chalet sleigh bed. For $1,699 I can get fancy wood that slightly curls at the ends. Carole’s bed was lavishly upholstered with plush padding, had a backing, and detailed decor. In all fairness, I guess what I’m really looking for is a sleigh sofa. Nevertheless, I have scrounged furniture retailers online and by foot to no avail.

Some of you might be thinking, “Go antiquing girl!” Ah. But therein lies another great tragedy: bedbugs. Los Angeles is full of them. It’s heartbreaking really for an old soul like me to have to put a lifelong hobby on pause for fear of catching the bug. And so my friends, I’m back to dreaming. As I imagine the sweet slumber that a swanky sleigh bed could provide I ask each and everyone of you:

Where can I get a Lombard sleigh bed?

MIKE M. just sent me this clip of the 1974 film Airport 1975.The film features Gloria Swanson who plays herself and at around 7min and 35 seconds into the clip Swanson makes a comment about Carole Lombard. Swanson wrote all of her dialogue in the film and in the scene regarding Lombard, Gloria Swanson’s PA refers to the autobiography the actress has just finished writing and asks her to provide the names of two actresses who didn’t cave in to the studios under pressure – Swanson replies, “That’s easy, Carole Lombard and Grace Moore!”

Both Lombard and Moore were very close friends of Swanson and like Lombard, Moore was killed in an airplane crash in the 1940s.

Check it out below:

26 new pictures of Carole Lombard have been added to the Photo Archives. A couple of candids, a few lobby cards, and more pretty portraits like the one below.

Good morning! Kendra was kind enough to scan and share this April 1941 Screen Guide feature with us. The brief and fluffy piece puts Lombard up against another famous blonde: Carole Landis, who actually changed her first name because of her admiration of Carole Lombard. To my knowledge the two never met but Landis, like Lombard, played a big role in the war effort and spent more time visiting troops than any other actress. Landis visited more than 250 military bases across the United States.

Give it a read and if you want to learn more about Carole Landis I recommend you visit the lovely Carole Landis Online.

Landis Versus Lombard

UPDATE: I got in touch with one of Landis’ nieces and she has the following to say:

No, they never met. Carole Landis was a huge Lombard fan and had her picture plastered all over her bedroom wall when she was a child. That’s why she chose the stage name Carole. Some sources say she actually chose Carol out of a phone book and then added the “e” to be like Lombard. There is a quote Carole gave when a reporter told her they looked alike – “If I look like Miss Lombard – and I don’t – please spare her the humiliation.”