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Looking back: April 1933 - Terps in Big Ten

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April 23rd, 2012


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01:47 am - Looking back: April 1933


Compared to the tumult Carole Lombard experienced in March 1933 -- an earthquake, a (briefly) lost ring and more -- April was a placid month for her. Privately, there may have been troubles in her marriage to William Powell, but both managed to put up a good front about it.

There was no mention of any marital troubles in Hearst columnist Louella Parsons' report on Powell's contract talks with Warners (this ran in Hearst's San Antonio Light April 8), just a note that Bill and Carole would have to postpone a trip to Europe that ultimately never took place:



In the Hollywood Reporter that day (a Saturday), it was noted that Mr. and Mrs. Powell were hosting a party at the Little Club of the Ambassador Hotel that evening:



It was one of the couple's favorite haunts, as they're shown with an unidentified woman (I do not know whether this was taken at the April 1933 event):



How'd it turn out? Apparently very well, if Harrison Carroll's syndicated column that ran in the April 17 San Mateo Times was accurate:



Carole -- whose dancing prowess dated back to her days at another Ambassador venue, the Cocoanut Grove -- got to show off her skills in the Ironwood (Mich.) Daily Globe on April 12, as she helped demonstrate "the Hollywood Tango" with its creator, Gene La Verne:



On April 5, Film Daily reported La Verne called Lombard one of the three best dancers in Hollywood:



We recognize one of the other two, of course, but who was Marion Shockley? Like Jean Harlow, she hailed from Kansas City, was born in 1911 and was petite (5'1"); unlike Harlow or Lombard, she was a WAMPAS Baby Star (for 1933). However, she worked almost exclusively in short films and left the business to marry Bud Collyer (radio voice of "Superman" and later host of "To Tell The Truth"). They had three children, and she died at age 70 in 1981.

The trades reported that Lombard and Cary Grant were to play the leads in the Paramount property "Gambling Ship." A blurb ran in the New York-based Film Daily April 13:



But the day before, the West Coast-based Hollywood Reporter ran that Lombard would not participate at all:



Carole's replacement, Frances Dee, would herself ultimately be replaced by Benita Hume. "Gambling Ship," among the lesser-known films in Cary's canon, was released in late June.

Several other possible projects for Carole evaporated in April. Two were reported on the same day, April 17, by the Hollywood Reporter:




I have never heard of either "Half Married" or "The Trumpet Blows," but Lombard would both team with Raft and be loaned out to MGM the following year. Harrison Carroll reported Carole would be making a film with Gary Cooper in the April 22 San Mateo Times:



As for "One Sunday Afternoon." Gary made it, Carole didn't. Fay Wray -- probably pleased to once again be working with a tall leading man of the same species -- took the female lead.

Louella resurfaced with some Lombard news in the April 28 San Antonio Light:



Here's where things get confusing (or maybe it's just another editorial goof on Parsons' part). Paramount indeed made a film called "All Of Me" in 1934, and George Raft was indeed in the cast, but it was a drama starring Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins, not a Broadway backstager with music. (And, needless to say, this has nothing to do with the 1984 body-switch comedy "All Of Me" with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin.)

Now for something even more bizarre. Check out this April 7 ad from the Alton Democrat in northwest Iowa:



Lombard never made a film called "Billion Dollar Scandal," you say, and you'd be right. But this wasn't a one-shot, because exactly one week later, something similar ran in the Bedford (Pa.) Gazette:



Constance Cummings was the female lead opposite Robert Armstrong, not Lombard.

Speaking of Armstrong, the runaway success of "King Kong" may have led RKO to dust off a few of his earlier Pathe films in order to cash in (wonder if studios did the same thing with Fay Wray product?). That's the only explanation I can see for the Lombard film "The Racketeer" running on the bottom half of a double feature in Massachusetts, advertised in the April 17 Fitchburg Sentinel, nearly four years after its release:



Finally, this note from Bob Thomas' syndicated column from the April 10 Edwardsville Intelligencer in southern Illinois, about Lombard's pride in her athletic prowess:



Speaking of athletics, in this week's LiveJournal header, Carole gets to scamper in her scanties -- wearing heels to boot -- in this racy (pardon the pun) scene from 1932's "No Man Of Her Own."
Current Mood: weirdweird

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