DORIS DAY, AND HER UNDYING LOVE FOR ANIMALS

 

“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”

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A consummate actress and musician, who enchanted millions with her golden voice, and indelible flair for comic artistry, Doris Day epitomized superstar success, and embodied all the ideals of the perfect role model.

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Doris Day may have called Hollywood her home for many years. She was highly revered in the film industry, and she had immortalized several classics during her tenure as an actress, but, first and foremost, the legend born, Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff had another interest that was of greater importance than her distinguished status as a movie star. She was passionate about animals, and instead of keeping in the spotlight, she enthusiastically embarked on a new career that would have her caring for the welfare of those four-legged creatures with the same degree of exhilaration that she approached stardom with many years earlier.

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Many people have often wondered why Doris Day, the quintessential star of motion pictures would abandon Hollywood to pursue a career as an animal activist? The truth is that this is something that seemed to motivate Day. She had always wanted to get to the core of her strong adoration for her beloved companions. The actress’s lifelong passion for animals can be dated back to her teenage years when Day was a victim of a car accident in 1937, which left her confined to her bed for months. Distraught at the prospects that her dreams of becoming a professional dancer may be curtailed, Doris spent these torturous months in darkness. The only thing that had the power to cheer Day up was her dog, Tiny, who was always present during that difficult time. Doris later recalled the incident in her autobiography and stated, “He never left my side, understood my moods and gave me the kind of companionship that only a dog can bestow… It was during this time that I began a lifelong love affair with dogs, a sentiment known only to dog lovers – and cat lovers, too. Their affection and caring is a relief from tensions and anxiety.” From that moment on, Doris Day instilled the notion that all creatures must be protected.

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Although it would be many years before Doris Day would form her own animal foundation, she never forgot about her passion, and she always inhabited the aspiration that one day she would change the lives of all creatures, big, and small. During her years as an actress, Day’s passion was clearly apparent, and in all most all of her movies her character owns a pet. She was also notorious when it came to the way the animals were being handled and used in the films, but while she was generally happy with the way they were treated, she had enough authority to pull rank whenever she witnessed something that was not up to her standards.

“I’ve never met an animal I didn’t like, and I can’t say the same thing about people.”
( Doris Day )

Luckily for Doris, the motion picture industry has strict regulations for the hiring of animals in filmed entertainment. However, one famous case almost sparked a war between Doris and the production company while she was in Morocco filming Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Man Who Knew Too Much. Day, who always modeled civility, and who was known for being easily accessible, was appalled when she noticed the deplorable condition the animals were in. Disheartened with Hitchcock, and the fellow crew members for allowing the animals to be malnourished, Day refused to continue working on the film unless the animal welfare measures were drastically improved. At this stage of her career, Day was at the pinnacle of her fame, and the production company couldn’t afford to lose an esteemed star, so they went ahead and complied with her requirements, while Doris oversaw the feeding and care of these animals. Doris later stated, “By the time our photography was finished, I had succeeded in fattening up the animals used in the picture.”

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As the 1960’s progressed, Sexual Liberation in the United States was beginning to take charge. The films being made displayed a strong emphasis on sex, and audiences were detouring away from Doris Day films. With her popularity waning, Day only appeared in a few more motion pictures before retreating to the television medium, but when she realized that she will no longer be at the top of her zenith, Day ventured into the animal territory, which was an uncharted landscape at the time.

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The animal world was a far cry from the bright lights of Hollywood, and all that glamour that was associated with being a star. After retiring from acting in 1973, Doris was free to devote her time to animal welfare activism. However, she did return to the television medium in 1985, when she hosted, Doris Day’s Best Friends, but even then the focal importance of the show relied solely on the animals, and to give Day the chance to address the subject of animal welfare to the public eye.

“I’m going to do as much as I can for the animal world, and I’ll never stop.”

The show was a commercial success. Viewers were enthused to see Doris Day step out of semi-retirement to host her own television program. They were even more elated to see some of Day’s real life friends, including, Rock Hudson, Howard Keele, and Kaye Ballard, among others make guest appearances. Despite the worldwide publicity that it received, Doris Day’s Best Friends was cancelled after twenty-six episodes. This occasion marked the final time that Doris Day’s presence would showcase television screens.

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Doris Day, and Rock Hudson.

For Doris Day, helping and rescuing animals was her pursuit of happiness. She knew right from the start that saving the lives of helpless dogs and cats, and bringing them joy and comfort would be more rewarding than the recognition she achieved as a motion picture actress. In 1971, Day became a co-founder of Actors and Others for Animals, an organization that eliminates pet overpopulation, and protection for pet companions.

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Actors and Others for Animals was initially conceived by actor, Richard Basehart and his wife, Diana. Basehart, who shared the same passion as Day, made it his mission to make sure that all pets are properly cared for. Since its establishment in 1971, this organization has become one of California’s leading animal care facilities.

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Despite the fact that Doris Day was miles away from Hollywood soil, and was now permanently established in Carmel, where her primary endeavor was her beloved pets, and the care and nurturing of animals, the challenge became quite overwhelming. Because of her work, Day was prominently featured in news articles and entertainment magazines, which gave readers great insight into the actress’ life now, and what it was like to live in an 11 acre property in Carmel that was surrounded by dogs. For many pet owners this became their invitation. Doris found that her home was becoming a refuge for stray and abandoned pets. People were dropping their dogs and cats over her property gates at night, and each morning Day was greeted to a deluge of unwanted pets, who were in need of homes. Even though the task was quite perplexing, she got all the animals the veterinary care they required, and found them loving homes.

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This was a common occurrence for Doris, and even though she welcomed every pet she received, and always found them homes, she realized that the possibilities of encountering turbulence was imminent. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of the animals, and the best way to do this was to open up her own foundation.

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In 1978, Doris Day founded the Doris Day Pet Foundation, which is now known as, The Doris Day Animal Foundation. Focusing on animal rescue, and spay/neuter, the organization continues to maintain a caring interest in animal health and welfare, while making it their mission to place all animals in a compatible environment with people who love them.

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The Doris Day Animal Foundation were rescuing a large number of animals a year. More lives were being saved, and more pets were being adopted into loving families, but Doris was still not satisfied with her efforts, and felt that a lot more could be done. She wanted to get to the core of homeless pet overpopulation. The key to addressing this issue was through spay/neuter. As a result, she set up a grassroots campaign, and in 1987, she formed The Doris Day Animal League, another nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting animals through policy initiatives, education, and corporate engagement.

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As time progresses, Doris Day continues to be actively involved in helping animals from all walks of life. In 1995, she created the annual event known as, World Spay Day, and in the most recent years she formed, The Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center, which is located at, Cleveland Amory’s Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas. In addition to her foundation work, and her other animal engagements, Doris, who is now 95 years of age finds joy in taking care of her many four-legged friends at her Carmel estate. She has often been quoted as saying, “Maybe I might make a movie just to take a rest.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALF: FAVORITE TV EPISODE BLOGATHON

“On Melmac, we have 1st class, 2nd class and ham.”

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The motion picture industry has certainly had their fair share of films featuring extraterrestrials who raid the earth and spark a war on humanity, but when the movies introduced E.T, a new form of alien, who is lost on earth and forms an inseparable bond with a young boy, the television medium tried to duplicate its success with a similar story, where a 229 year old alien must adapt to a family environment.

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The name of the television series is ALF, a science fiction situation comedy that ran on NBC from September 22, 1986 to March 24, 1990, and lasting for four seasons. Although not as successful as E.T: The Extra Terrestrial, ALF, provided viewers with quality entertainment, and a good dose of laughter that was ineffectual in real life for a lot of people at that time.

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The idea of having a television show featuring an alien as the protagonist first came to the fore in 1984, when Paul Fusco created the character of ALF, by employing an alien resembling puppet that he used as a house prop to irritate his family and friends. The puppet served as great annoyance to those close to him, but Fusco who was attached to the toy saw potential in him, and realized that children and adults alike would get pleasure out of a television series where an alien is the central figure. When Fusco approached the famed American producer, Bernie Brillstein with his proposed idea, he was automatically introduced to Tom Patchett, who agreed with this concept, and together Fusco and Patchett started conjuring up ideas for their upcoming project.

“To get a couple back together on Melmac, we’d recreate the happiest moment of their marriage.”

Their final decision was their most intelligent, and so, after much negotiation, the television industry familiarized audiences with ALF, a furry and cute alien from the planet Melmac, who is forced to become accustomed to life on earth when his spacecraft makes a crash landing in the garage of a suburban American family in California’s San Fernando Valley.

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It didn’t take long for audiences to fall in love with ALF, the cantankerous alien, who despite of his cravings for the family cat, became a welcoming presence in the Tanner home. All most every episode revolves around the dilemmas that the Tanner family face when ALF causes some perplexing crisis, but no matter how many times ALF gets himself into mischief, the Tanner’s will always remain loyal to him, and will do all they can to protect and hide him from the outside world.

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By the time the second episode titled, Strangers In The Night aired, ALF was already a household name. In this episode, Kate and her daughter Lynn ( Anne Schedeen & Andrea Elson ) are booked to attend a wedding ceremony, which means that Willie ( Max Wright ) has got the job of minding the house, but when Willie is unexpectedly called into work, the Tanner’s are forced to hire a babysitter, which proves to be difficult with ALF in the house. Faced with a last minute emergency, they call their snoopy neighbor, Mrs. Ochmonek to watch over their son Brian who is asleep in the back bedroom. While Mrs. Ochmonek is there, ALF is required to stay in the bedroom, but ALF, who is known for his immoral acts and pranks, decides to cause a stir by creating trouble that has Mrs. Ochmonek on the edge of her seat.

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ALF was a delightful and entertaining television experience for audiences, but the filming process was less than pleasurable. The strong demands and onerous nature of having hand- operated puppets was technically difficult for the lead players. The constant challenge of getting everything right fueled high levels of tension on the set. In a 2006, interview for People magazine, Max Wright stated that he despised supporting a technically demanding inanimate object that received most of the good lines of dialogue, and later admitted that he was “hugely eager to have ALF over with.”. Anne Schedeen, who played Kate Tanner, recalled an incident on the last night of filming, and said “There was one take and Max walked off the set, went to his dressing room, got his bags, went to his car and disappeared… There were no goodbyes.”. In the same interview, Schedeen herself recounted the numerous nightmares that were endured on the set. The whole process was like torture. “There was no joy on the set, and nobody ever shared a laugh. It was extremely slow, hot and tedious”. However, Schedeen did talk about the close relationship she had with her screen children, but the constant adversities and the differing personalities of the adults seemed to eclipse the fond memories that she shared with Andrea and Benji.

“I don’t want to be an orphan. I saw “Annie.” Orphans have to eat gruel and tap dance with mops.”

The time on the set was not a joyous occasion for Andrea and Benji either. During the second season, Andrea Elson was suffering from Bulimia, which exacerbated the process of shooting. She later stated, “If ALF had gone one more year, everybody would have lost it.”. On the other hand however, Max Wright finally conceded that “It doesn’t matter what I felt or what the days were like, ALF brought people a lot of joy.”.

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The artistic approach that was employed in ALF is to be commended. To create the set they used a high platform that was raised four feet above the ground, with trap doors that was constructed at many points so that ALF could appear almost anywhere. On almost all occasions, a puppet was usually used for ALF. However, there are quite a few scenes that show ALF doing physical movement, such as walking or running around. This was achieved by the help of, Michu Meszaros, the Hungarian born actor, who worked as a stuntman for a part of his career. Meszaros masqueraded around in a costume for these scenes, but because the costume was thick, hot, and uncomfortable, he couldn’t do it for long periods of time under the bright studio lights.

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Despite the fact that filming days were frustrating due to the technical difficulties that ensured, there is no doubt that the cast members found the process fascinating. Benji Gregory, who was only eight years old when he started his stint on ALF, later stated that he enjoyed watching the way that Fusco operated ALF from underneath. He also remembered Fusco using his right hand to control ALF’s mouth, while he used his other hand to control ALF’s left arm. Assisting Fusco along the way was Lisa Buckley and Bob Fappiano, who both pitched in ideas of how to go about controlling other movements, etc.

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A few years after ALF went off the air, DIC Entertainment tried to capitalize on the success of the series by producing a spin-off animated series that took place on ALF’s home planet of Melmac before it exploded. There was no way that the show could surpass its predecessor, but audiences were entertained with the new story-line that revolved around ALF, and his relationships with his family, friends, and girlfriend, Rhonda.

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ALF may have came to its cessation back in 1990, but the series still lives on through its never-ending deluge of merchandise. My brother and I were lucky enough to attain an ALF doll years ago, and to this day we still deeply cherish it. We are also proud to say that ALF was the first television series that we were introduced to when we were children.

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TRIVIA

The name of every episode is also the name of a song. Each is relevant to the episode’s plot.

The character ‘ALF’ was ranked #8 in TV Guide’s list of the “25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends” (1 August 2004, Vol. 52, No. 31) and appears on one of three collectible covers.

ALF’s name is Gordon Shumway, and he’s from the planet Melmac.

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CAST

Max Wright: Born, George Edward Maxwell Wright, on August 2nd, 1943, in Detroit, Michigan.

Anne Schedeen: Born, Luanne Ruth Schedeen, on January 8th, 1949 in Portland, Oregon.

Andrea Elson: Born Andrea Elson, on March 6th, 1969, in New York, New York.

Benji Gregory: Born, Benjamin Gregory Hertzberg, on May 26th, 1978, in Los Angeles, California.

THE SECOND ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON HAS NOW ARRIVED

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I can’t believe how fast the time has gone since I first announced this blogathon. These past few months have not been easy for my family due to the death of my aunty on New Years Eve, and because of it I’ve been taking a break from blogging, but now I’m back, and I’m anticipating another successful blogathon dedicated to the inimitable Bette Davis.

During the course of the next few days a plethora of bloggers will be paying tribute to Bette Davis and her illustrious career by writing about all facets of her life. A big thank you to all participants. I look forward to reading all the entries.

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THE SECOND ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON ENTRIES:

Cinematic Scribblings: In This Our Life ( 1942 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Bette Davis and Errol Flynn

Thoughts All Sorts: All About Eve ( 1950 )

Silver Screenings: Phone Call From A Stranger ( 1952 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Mr. Skeffington ( 1944 )

 Taking Up Room: Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

Old Hollywood Films: Bette Davis, and the Hollywood Canteen.

Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews: The Whales Of August ( 1987 )

Finding Franchot: Bette Davis and Franchot Tone.

Classic Movie Treasures: Dead Ringer ( 1964 )

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Deception ( 1946 )

Taking Up Room: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

The Stop Button: The Little Foxes ( 1941 )

Karavansara: Death On The Nile ( 1978 )Death On The Nile ( 1978 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

Christina Wehner: Kid Galahad ( 1937 )

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Bette, hats and reviews

Goose Pimply All Over: Bette Davis on the Dick Cavett Show.

Life’s Daily Lessons Movie Blog: Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

Taking Up Room: Bette’s real life involvement with the war effort.

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: Burnt Offerings ( 1976 )

Whimsically Classic: Whatever Happened To Baby Jane ( 1962 )

Critica Retro: Bette Davis and William Wyler.

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: The Letter ( 1940 )

Pop Culture Reverie: Satan Met A Lady ( 1936 )

The Dream Book Blog: Career vs. Family in All About Eve & The Star.

ANNOUNCING THE JUDY GARLAND BLOGATHON

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As some of you would know, my aunty passed away on New Years Eve. Even though it was expected, the shock of seeing her make her transition has left me emotionally scarred. As a result I’ve taken a long hiatus away from blogging, but after a few months of not writing anything, I’ve started to miss blogging, and I now feel that I am ready to get back into the fold, and what better way is there to return than hosting a blogathon?

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I have always been a movie enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I have marveled over the likes of many talents, but nobody has ever had the effect on me that Judy Garland has had. She was the first person who I obsessed about, and she was the one star who established my profound interest and sheer passion for classic cinema. I have often said that if it wasn’t for Judy Garland, I may still be watching the productions from today’s popular culture, but luckily Judy came to my rescue, and now I couldn’t be happier.

Some people may think it strange, but Judy Garland has shaped my life in many ways. At a time when I was lonely and despondent, I could always rely on Judy to cheer me up. All of my friendships were formed because of Judy, and my biggest goal of traveling to New York was achieved because of Judy. I will always be in debt to Judy for all she had done. It is because of this reason that I am hosting a blogathon dedicated to this legendary figure of the stage and screen who has influenced me in every way possible.

Judy Garland was born on June 10th, 1922, so hosting a blogathon is the ideal way to celebrate this special day. I wanted to hold this event last year, but all other blogathons were cropping up on those dates, which prevented me hosting it. Because Judy was my first love, I am excited about this blogathon, and I’m hoping that it’s a success.

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BLOGATHON RULES:

1. Participants are welcome to write about any subject relating to Judy Garland or any aspect of her life and career. As long as the topic relates to Judy or her filmography, I’ll accept it.

2. Because Judy Garland has an extensive resume of films, I will be allowing no more than two duplicates. There are a wealth of topics to go around. Remember, your choice doesn’t have to be a movie. Judy wasn’t just an actress. She was an entertainer who performed numerous concerts, and she was a person whose life was an interesting story in itself. I encourage people to think outside of the box.

3. When: The Blogathon will be held on June 8 – 10, 2017, so please post your entries on either of these dates.

4. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog, along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. Once you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners, so grab yourself a banner, and let’s celebrate the unparalleled talents of Judy Garland.

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ROSTER, WITH THE LIST OF PARTICIPATING BLOGS:

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: My memories of attending Judy In New York in 2011, and Judy At Carnegie Hall.

Goose Pimply All Over: Judy Garland in Summer Stock ( 1950 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: A Star Is Born ( 1954 ) and Gay Purr-ee ( 1962 )

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Judy Garland Tribute ( A Vaudevillian Legend of the Screen )

The Flapper Dame: A Star Is Born ( 1954 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Movies: The Clock ( 1945 )

Back To Golden Days: The Wizard Of Oz ( 1939 )

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: My Judy Garland and Wizard Of Oz collection.

Champagne For Lunch: The Harvey Girls ( 1946 )

Caftan Woman: Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry ( 1937 )

Pop Culture Reverie: The Clock ( 1945 )

Critica Retro: Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli.

Old Hollywood Films: The Pirate ( 1948 )

Silver Screenings: Babes In Arms ( 1939 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: TBA

Taking Up Room: Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, Judy’s homes, and John Fricke’s Judy books.

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows ( 2001 )

Christina Wehner: Girl Crazy ( 1943 )

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: A Child Is Waiting ( 1963 )

Karavansara: Judgement At Nuremberg ( 1961 )

The Stop Button: The Wizard Of Oz ( 1939 )

Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews: Meet Me In St. Louis ( 1944 )

Lauren Champkin: Judgement At Nuremberg ( 1961 )

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: In The Good Old Summertime ( 1949 )

Finding Franchot: The similarities between “A Thousands Cheer”, and “Star Spangled Rhythm”.

Life’s Daily Lessons Movie Blog: The Pirate ( 1948 )

Thoughts All Sorts: Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” to Margaret O’Brien in “Meet Me In St. Louis” ( 1944 )

LA Explorer: Presenting Lily Mars ( 1943 )

Apocalypse Later: A Child Is Waiting ( 1963 )

Peyton’s Classics: Love Finds Andy Hardy ( 1938 )

Portraits By Jenni: Judy’s appearances in the Andy Hardy films.

Oh So Geeky: For Me And My Gal ( 1942 )

Big V Riot Squad: Judy’s film debut in “The Big Review” ( 1929 )

Tranquil Dreams: The Wizard Of Oz ( 1939 )

I Found It At The Movies: Easter Parade ( 1948 )

Whimsically Classic: Judy Garland and Gene Kelly.

Because We Have The Stars: The Judy Garland Show.

Little Bits Of Classics: Meet Me In St Louis ( 1944 )

The Dream Book Blog: Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich

CAROLE LOMBARD TRIBUTE

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A vivacious blonde with a zest for life, and who was graced by her own unique brand of comic artistry, Carole Lombard was an immensely talented and a wittingly funny human being whose heart of gold earned her many valuable friendships and lured her into the arms of Hollywood’s iconic legend and movie king, Clark Gable.

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It is these innumerable qualities that made Lombard’s popularity hard to surpass. She was the highest paid actress in Hollywood during the late 1930’s, and she was often placed alongside the other acclaimed stars of the day in the top ranks of the movie industry, but away from the cameras, Carole Lombard led a totally different life than the characters that she portrayed on screen. For years she endured heartache and adversity, and was always determined to pick herself up, only to fall back into the deep-end every time she was faced with another challenging obstacle that proved to be more difficult than those she previously encountered. When she married Clark Gable, she was inflicted with the struggles of infertility, which left a sorrowful mark on their lives, and just when they were in the midst of creating a life of their own, a tragedy so catastrophic occurred that Clark Gable would forever be torn by the premature death of his beloved wife ( Lombard ) in an airline disaster while returning home after a successful war bond rally in her home state of Indiana.

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The plane crash that extinguished Carole’s young light was devastating news, and shattered the lives of those close to her, but the impact that her tragic death had on society generated quite a media frenzy that even today the legend known as Carole Lombard still continues to evoke interest in popular culture.

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Many fans of all ages and from all walks of life express their love for this lively and energetic actress whose beauty will never fade. Unlike a large majority of the later generation of fans, I wasn’t introduced to Carole Lombard through family or from the way she died. I had developed a profound interest in classic cinema ever since discovering Judy Garland, and when I started to pursue the other notable stars of the day, Lombard was one of the first along the line. Her comical touch combined with her freshness and charm was something that I marveled at. After witnessing Lombard’s considerable talents in a diverse range of roles, I realized that she could metamorphose herself from a crazy maniacal heroine in her trademark screwball comedies to more in-depth roles where she played characters who led turbulent lives or struggled with marital difficulties and hardships.

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For an actress who was always held in high esteem, Carole Lombard never attained an Academy Award. She did however receive a Best Actress nomination for her portrayal of Irene Bullock in My Man Godfrey, but unfortunately lost to Luise Rainer, who obtained the gold statuette for The Great Ziegfeld. For Carole, this was a tremendous loss. She had been hoping that her performance would be so rightfully merited, but as with the case of many screwball comedies, this was a genre where the stars very rarely garnered the recognition for their efforts. It was also the last time that Lombard would be in for a chance. She did continue to pursue parts that she felt she would succeed in, and while some of them boasted the appeal to be a commercial success, Lombard at best would be lauded by critics, though it wasn’t enough to warrant an Oscar nomination.

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After years of being associated as the ‘Queen of Screwball Comedy’, Carole Lombard was eager to seek out more dramatic roles that would display her true potential as an actress and unleash her seriousness. Lombard did get some exposure in more heavier parts that required a wide spectrum of emotions, but while she excelled in the two marital dramas, Made For Each Other and In Name Only, Lombard was cast in commercially unsuccessful productions like Vigil In The Night and They Knew What They Wanted, which didn’t do anything to enhance her appeal as a dramatic actress, and instead only left her feeling like an unwanted addition to challenging vehicles.

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Inhabiting the thought that audiences only connected with her comedic roles, Lombard returned to her farcical roots as a screwball actress, and became the instrumental force behind Alfred Hitchcock directing Mr. & Mrs. Smith, his most atypical film. The end result was a spectacular outing for both Lombard and Robert Montgomery, and it put Lombard back on the radar.

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Now that Carole Lombard was back on the pedestal, she was determined to stay there. Following the success of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Lombard took a long hiatus away from filming to focus on her marriage to Clark Gable and their Encino ranch. When she did return to the movie cameras she would do her homework before committing to a film, and if she thought that a certain production would tarnish her career she would decline. It was almost a year before Lombard would find a part that she knew would ascend her star status to an even higher pinnacle. The film was Ernst Lubitsch’s proposed production, To Be Or Not To Be, a dark comedy which satirized the Nazi German invasion of Poland.

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To Be Or Not To Be was a triumphant success, and it was expected to open a door full of endless possibilities and new achievements, but sadly Carole Lombard met her doomed fate before the films release, and was killed instantly in the TWA Flight 3 airline disaster that crashed into Potosi Mountain on January 16th, 1942.  The Queen of Screwball Comedy was gone, and missed out on the chance to further mature as an actress, but what she left behind is a lifelong legacy of films, and a screen image that will never fade.

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Seventy-five years since her passing, Carole Lombard is remembered as an endearing cinematic icon who embodied all the qualities that would transform her into one of America’s most beloved screwball queens. She exuded warmth and vitality as well as epitomizing glamour and sophistication. She will forever be embedded in the hearts of classic film enthusiasts worldwide.
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The following article is an interview by Carole’s photographer Myron H Davis during the War Bond Rally.

INTERVIEW WITH MYRON H. DAVIS. CAROLE LOMBARD’S PHOTOGRAPHER FROM THE WAR BOND RALLY.

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Can you talk about the context in which these images were made?

Well, you have to remember that there was a huge amount of patriotism at that time. People were shocked about Pearl Harbor and believed that we were an innocent country that had been viciously attacked. Lombard was very patriotic herself, and was, I believe, the first big Hollywood star to sell raise money for the war effort. Later, of course, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were noted for traveling to overseas bases and putting on big stage shows for the soldiers. But this was the first war bond rally in the country, and I think Lombard’s death inspired other Hollywood stars to follow her example.

Take me through some of her activities on this tour.

Lombard didn’t like flying, and had taken a train from Los Angeles that was bound for Chicago. The train made a brief stop in Salt Lake City on January 13, where she spoke to people waiting on the platform and sold some war bonds.

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A photo of Lombard with two servicemen in Salt Lake City on Jan. 13.

Then she got back on the train and proceeded to Chicago, where she sold more bonds and did some interviews. From Chicago she flew to Indianapolis on Wednesday evening, and met her mother at the train station the next morning.

Her first official appearance that day was at the Indiana statehouse. Also attending were the governor [Henry F. Schricker], the publisher of the Indianapolis Star [Eugene C. Pulliam] and Will Hays, who was responsible for the notorious Hays Code of film censorship. The governor made a speech while Lombard stood on a stepstool and personally performed the flag-raising ceremony. She was wearing a fur coat, on account of the cold weather, but she was very down to earth. She didn’t have any “actress” airs about her. After the flag-raising, she signed the first shell fired by the United States in World War I, gave a short speech and then signed autographs for the crowd. I remember that she and the governor and Hays stood in a row at one point and gave the “V for victory” sign for a newsreel camera crew.

Lombard raises the flag as Indiana Gov. Henry F. Schricker addresses the crowd.

Then everybody went inside the statehouse building, where Lombard sold war bonds for about an hour or so. She was very good with the crowds, and very spontaneous. She handed out special receipts to everyone who bought a bond. These receipts had her picture and signature printed on them, plus a special message. I still have one, in fact. It read: “Thank you for joining me in this vital crusade to make America strong. My sincere good wishes go with this receipt which shows you have purchased from me a United States Defense Bond.”

The Lombard war bond rally receipt.

She was then driven to the Claypool Hotel, where she was staying, for another flag-raising event. I think it might have been to commemorate the opening of an armed forces recruitment center. After that she went to the governor’s mansion for a big formal reception — busy day! And then that evening, she appeared at another war bond rally at the Cadle Tabernacle, where she gave a patriotic speech to get the crowd fired up. The last thing she did was to lead the crowd in singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Did you have much personal interaction with her during the tour?

I was with Lombard for three days, traveling all around. She put in a lot of long hours, and I tried to go wherever she went. We passed a few words here and there, but she knew enough about photography to just let me do my job, and I just let her do her thing and documented it.

Your most famous shot of Lombard is the one in which she’s singing the national anthem onstage.

I knew that the Cadle Tabernacle was the last place that she was to perform publicly before heading back to the West Coast. It was this huge auditorium that was standing room only and filled with patriotic signs put up everywhere. When I got up on the stage I saw way back on the far wall this big sign that read, “Sacrifice, Save and Serve.” That pretty much summed up the mood of the country right then, and I said to myself, “Wow. I’ve somehow got to get that sign as part of the image.”

What equipment did you use for this image?

I used my Speed Graphic and Eastman Kodak Double XX film. I had a battery-powered Heiland flashgun on my camera fitted with a reflector and a #3 Wabash Super flash bulb, which was the most powerful one on the market back then. I framed the shot to illuminate both Lombard and part of the audience to her left. I also had a couple of stagehands point flashtubes with #3 flashbulbs at the front and middle rows to help light what was a really large crowd. Fortunately I got a pretty good negative, but when I had to make an 11 x 14 print for Life magazine, I had to dodge and hold back some of the sign in the background to make it legible.

I understand you had a close encounter with Lombard at the airport before she got onto her plane.

I was pretty doggone tired after taking that last picture of her, not realizing what a historical moment it was going to represent. I had to catch a plane at the Indianapolis airport at around three or four in the morning. I took a cab there and arrived early. I was practically the only passenger there. So I’m sitting on this wooden desk, half-asleep, when I sensed somebody come in and sit next to me. I felt a fur coat pressing against the side of my leg. Well, of course I knew it must be a woman, but I was so surprised when I opened my eyes and here was Carole Lombard sitting right next to me! We were so close together it was almost like we were boyfriend and girlfriend. I was so startled that it made her laugh, and then I laughed, too. I guess both of us were the kind of people who tried to see the sunny side of life.

Davis captures Lombard’s ability to connect with people from all walks of life.

I had sensed from the start of working with her that she was a wonderful, down-to-earth lady. Being in Hollywood and being a star and being married to Clark Gable hadn’t gone to her head. So we just sat there and talked about a few of the day’s events. I thanked her for being so cooperative and letting me follow her around and do my thing. And she said, “Well, I was happy to do it, Myron.” I don’t think I called her by her first name. I probably called her Miss Lombard. Being the kind of lady she was, she said early on, “Just call me Carole.” It was a very sincere personal exchange between the two of us thanking each other for working on a job that we both thought was necessary for the country at that time.

Her mother and a Hollywood press agent [Otto Winkler] were also there, standing in front of me. Neither of them spoke much. Carole and I were doing all the talking and laughing until they called her plane. We weren’t there together very long. I would say I talked to her for about five to ten minutes. Her plane was called shortly before mine, and then I got on my plane and fell asleep right away.

Did she talk about her fear of flying?

Yes. She told me she was really afraid of flying, but that she didn’t want to spend three days — and she used this expression — on a choo-choo train to go back to California. So this is another tragic part of it. It was almost like she had a premonition of some kind.

Ever the professional, Lombard held this V for Victory pose until Davis could make the shot.

You didn’t take any photographs of her at the airport?

No, my equipment was checked in, except for my Leica, but I wasn’t going to bother her anymore. I’d been following her around with my camera for three days and nights, and it was obvious that she and her mother were tired, like I was. I always tried not to impose on people.

So your Cadle Tabernacle pictures are the last ones that anyone took of her.

Yes, I’m convinced that’s true. I don’t remember seeing any other photographers at the auditorium. And I don’t think anybody else was at the hotel waiting to take her picture after the event wrapped up. I’m certain that the “Sacrifice, Save and Serve” picture Life ran was the last one taken of Carole Lombard while she was alive.

It must have been quite a shock to hear the news about her death.

I was married at the time and living on the south side of Chicago. We hadn’t been married all that long. I was still in bed trying to get some sleep from all this round-the-clock stuff, when my wife comes in, shakes me, wakes me up and says, “New York is on the phone. They want to talk with you.” It turned out to be Life magazine calling. They said, “Myron! You’re sleeping? Where are your Lombard pictures?” I said, “Well, they’re here with me. What about them?” “Oh, you don’t know? There was a plane crash and she was killed. We want those pictures here. Go downtown, develop the negatives and make four 8 x 10 prints. We’ve arranged for you to go to the Associated Press offices, and they will transmit the pictures to us. We’ll look at them and tell you which one we want. Then go back to the darkroom and make an 11 x 14 print, and then go down to the Donnelly printing plant — which was on 22nd Street just off the lake — and deliver this personally. And you’ve got to do that as fast as you can.” So that’s what I did.

Lombard puts on the charm at the governor’s mansion prior to her final public appearance.

Once the editors in New York knew that the plane had crashed and that Carole Lombard, her mother and her agent had all been killed, they stopped production of the issue they were working on. At that time the editions for the entire country were printed here in Chicago at the R.R. Donnelly printing plant, and then shipped to the New York and the East Coast and the West Coast. They stopped production on that entire issue until I did what they wanted me to do. That may be the one and only time that Life stopped production on an issue.

As it happens, Life ran just the one image of Lombard. Did you try to do anything else with the pictures you took of her?

Some time after it had happened and after I had gotten over the shock of it, I went to the Life darkroom on the fifth floor of the Carbon and Carbide building on Michigan Boulevard. I spent hours making 11 x 14 prints that I had taken during her tour, maybe 25 or 30, boxed them up and sent them to Columbia Studios with a letter addressed to the top executives. The letter read: “This may not be the time to deliver these to Clark Gable. There may, in your opinion, never be a time to deliver these pictures to Clark Gable. But I’m leaving this up to your decision. If you think he might want to have these sometime, please deliver them to Mr. Clark Gable.” I never found out whatever happened to them. I never got a response, not from the studio, and certainly not from Gable. But I don’t believe these shots would have been tossed out.
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Some observations:

* It’s fascinating to hear Davis say Lombard was concerned about flying by air. particularly since we know she had regularly flown with Gable and, in the mid-thirties, even taken flying lessons. She may have been concerned about flying without Clark by her side, or perhaps it was because she was with her mother, who had never flown before.

* I’m not sure why Davis would have mailed the prints to Columbia, where Gable hadn’t worked since making “It Happened One Night” in early 1934. Might Lombard have been discussing her upcoming film, “They All Kissed The Bride,” a Columbia production?

* In Larry Swindell’s biography “Screwball,” he maintains this was the last photo ever taken of Lombard (with her mother):

I do not know whether Davis took this photo; it may have been taken at the Claypool Hotel after the rally and before they left, which would mean it wasn’t taken by him.

Dean Brierly interviewed Davis in 2009. Like Lombard, Davis would be victim to an accident, dying on April 17, 2010 from injuries incurred during a fire at his apartment in Hyde Park, Chicago. He was 90 years old.

Lombard singing God Bless America

Carole Lombard leads a packed house in singing “God Bless America” at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis on January 15th, 1942. The last full day of her life. Sadly Carole was killed alongside her beloved mother the very next day after this photo was taken. They boarded the TWA, DC3 plane, to return home to Los Angeles, but they never made it. The plane crashed into Potosi Mountain, and all 22 passengers on board the plane were killed instantly.

This post was written for Carole Lombard: The Profane Angel Blogathon, which was hosted by Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Moviesand myself from In The Good Old Days Of Classic HollywoodTo view the other entries being exhibited during the event, please click here.

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CAROLE LOMBARD: THE PROFANE ANGEL BLOGATHON HAS NOW ARRIVED

 

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Today is a sad say for classic movie enthusiasts worldwide, as it was on this date seventy-five years ago that Carole Lombard met her doomed fate on the catastrophic airline disaster that extinguished her young and illustrious light.

It is for this reason that Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Movies and myself have decided to keep her memory alive by hosting a blogathon ( which commences today ) in her honor.

Once you have finished your posts, please send them to either Laura or myself, and we’ll happily link your post to that days recap. Once again thank you to those of you who are participating. We look forward to reading your entries.

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THE ENTRIES:

Mike’s Take On The Movies: Virtue ( 1932 )

That William Powell Site: Carole Lombard – Immortal

The Old Hollywood Garden: Twentieth Century ( 1934 )

Taking Up Room: My Man Godfrey ( 1936 )

Carole and Co: Fireball ( the revised edition )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: Mr. and Mrs. Smith ( 1941 )

Critica Retro: Now and Forever ( 1934 )

Silver Screenings: Nothing Sacred ( 1937 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Hands Across The Table ( 1935 )

Wide Screen World: Made For Each Other ( 1939 )

 The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog: Lady By Choice ( 1934 )

The Stop Button: Vigil In The Night ( 1940 )

Back To Golden Days: Carole Lombard’s final hours

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Carole Lombard’s childhood home, and the Great Flood of 1913

Whimsically Classic: Carole Lombard and Lucille Ball

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: The Princess Comes Across ( 1936 )

Classic Movie Hub: Carole Lombard and Clark Gable pictorial

Cinema Cities: To Be Or Not To Be ( 1942 )

Karavansara: To Be Or Not To Be ( 1942 )

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: Nothing Sacred ( 1937 )

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Carole Lombard’s sapphires 

Christina Wehner: Made For Each Other ( 1939 )

Movie Rob: To Be Or Not To Be ( 1942 )

Movie Rob: Made For Each Other ( 1939 )

Old Hollywood Films: Carole Lombard: Screwball Queen

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: My Man Godfrey ( 1936 )

The Flapper Dame: In Name Only ( 1939 )

ANNOUNCING THE SECOND ANNUAL BETTE DAVIS BLOGATHON

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A virtuoso of motion pictures, Bette Davis was an indomitable actress whose versatility and scripted brand of artistry was showcased in an array of memorable productions that have left an indelible mark on cinematic history.

Earlier this year I hosted the Bette Davis Blogathon, which took place over her birthday weekend in April. Because the blogathon was such a success, I have decided to make it an annual event. This time however, I’m bringing the blogathon forward to March. The reason for this is that Bette shares a birthday with three other legendary icons from the silver screen, and some might consider it unfair that I honor Bette with a blogathon while the other three get left out. I also decided to hold it on these dates because March 26th marks the 79th anniversary of the release of Jezebel, the film in which Bette received her second Academy Award for her performance.

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BLOGATHON RULES:

1. Participants are welcome to write about any subject relating to Bette Davis or any aspect of her life and career. As long as the topic relates to Bette or her filmography, I’ll accept it.

2. Because Bette Davis has an extensive resume of films, I will be allowing no more than two duplicates. There are a wealth of topics regarding Bette. Remember, your choice doesn’t have to be a movie. If you have a subject in mind, act fast.

3. When: The Blogathon will be held on March 24th – 26th, 2017, so please post your entries on either of these dates.

4. To express your interest in participating in the blogathon, leave a comment on my blog, along with the name and URL of your blog, and the subject you wish to cover, or you can always register by email at: carolelombardforever@yahoo.com. For those of you who wish to register by email, please be sure to include the name and URL of your blog, and the topic you wish to cover. Once you get confirmation, please spread the word about this blogathon by advertising the event on your blog. Below are a few banners, so grab yourself a banner, and let’s celebrate the unparalleled talents of Bette Davis.

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ROSTER, WITH THE LIST OF PARTICIPATING BLOGS:

In The Good Old Days Of Classic HollywoodTBA

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: The Letter ( 1940 )

Christina Wehner: Kid Galahad ( 1937 )

Smitten Kitten Vintage: Jezabel ( 1938 )

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Bette Davis and Errol Flynn movies.

Gary Pedroni: Guest post on In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Bette Davis as Margo Channing in All About Eve ( 1950 )

A Shroud Of Thoughts: Now Voyager ( 1942 )

The Dream Book: Bette Davis in All About Eve ( 1950 ) and The Star ( 1952 )

Real Weedgie Midget Reviews: Burnt Offerings ( 1976 )

Silver Screenings: Phone Call From A Stranger ( 1952 )

Back To Golden Days: Dark Victory ( 1939 )

The Stop Button: The Little Foxes ( 1941 )

Taking Up Room: Now Voyager ( 1942 ), Bette’s real life involvement with the war effort, and the Hollywood Canteen, and Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

Old Hollywood Films: Bette Davis, and the Hollywood Canteen

The Flapper Dame: The Man Who Came To Dinner ( 1942 )

Katrina Selby: Guest post on In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Bette Davis: Pint Sized Pioneer.

Critica Retro: Bette Davis and William Wyler

Lauren Champkin: The Letter ( 1940 )

The Old Hollywood Garden: The Petrified Forest ( 1936 )

Goose Pimply All Over: Bette Davis’ appearance on Dick Cavett

Karavansara: Death On The Nile ( 1978 )

Life’s Daily Lessons Blog: Of Human Bondage ( 1934 )

Silver Scenes: The Corn Is Green ( 1945 ) and The Catered Affair ( 1956 )

Cinematic Scribblings: In This Our Life ( 1942 )

Thoughts All Sorts: All About Eve ( 1950 )

Whimsically Classic: Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? ( 1962 )

Finding Franchot: Bette Davis and Franchot Tone career and personal connections

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies: Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins

Girls Do Film: The Old Maid ( 1939 )

Critica Retro: Bette Davis and William Wyler

Wolffian Classic Movies Digest: Deception ( 1946 )

Charlene’s Mostly Classic Movie Reviews: The Whales Of August ( 1987 )

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: Mr. Skeffington ( 1944 )

Classic Movie Treasures: Dead Ringer ( 1964 )