Happy Birthday, Carole!
This is my contribution for the Caroletenniel(+3) blogathon at Carole and Co. The blogathon runs from today until the 9th so stay tuned at the Carole and Co Blog (link up there) for the other great posts. I decided to write my post on Carole's actual birthday. My topic will be the five things I love about Carole the most, in no particular order. <3
#5: She was the screwball queen.
Though plenty of actresses did screwball comedy and were quite wonderful at it, Carole excelled in the genre and I would have to say her best films were of this sort - "To Be or Not To Be"? "Nothing Sacred"? "My Man Godfrey"? This is not to say, of course, that Carole couldn't do drama. I'm not all that acquainted with her lesser known films and there might be dramas sprinkled throughout there, but as they say, comedy is harder than drama. She was just really brilliant in playing those glamorous tomboy roles, if that even makes sense. Her screwball comedies are always fun and refreshing. I'm going to have to go with "To Be or Not To Be" as my favorite Carole Lombard picture. Her last film; an excellent screwball comedy, provoking laughter and light in a heavy time in history without being obnoxious or disrespectful. Carole carries an air of more subtle comedy in that film versus the more familiar "let's misbehave!" attitude of screwballs, but hilarious and lovely none the least.
#4: The men she married.
Carole twice married, and to two very awesome people. The first was William Powell, who I love for sure, but the second was Clark Gable. I love it when awesome people hang out together (I've mentioned this several times), but also when they get married! Clark and Carole are an exceptional example of this amazingness and they are really quite adorable together. They made several films but their relationship did not turn romantic until 1938. In fact, the story goes that Clark Gable only did "Gone With the Wind" so he could get the money to divorce his wife and marry Carole. (It has also been said a while earlier, Carole sat down with GWTW, read it, loved it, and sent a copy to Clark with a note saying, "Let's do it!"... Clark took this as an advance and scoffed when he learned she meant for them to do the movie with her playing Scarlett and he Rhett. "I'll never do a picture like that!"). He called her Ma, she called him Pa, which I love. They had their differences - for example, he was staunch Republican while she was staunch Democrat - but they were married at the time of her death and I would have liked to think had she not died so tragically and early, they would have stayed together. Here are some of their home movies:
#3: Her colorful way of speaking.
When Carole got to Hollywood, she decided she didn't want to be pushed around by sexist men who controlled the production studios and companies. She thought that if she had a sailor's mouth, men in power would understand she was a woman who could not be shoved around and therefore she asked her brothers to teach her all the swearwords they knew. Now, I am not the world's biggest fan of profanity. On occasion it is okay if it really needs to be used to express a certain point of frustration, though at the same time I'm not one of those people who will openly tell someone to stop swearing (my shyness, I suppose). It annoys me to hear slang and profanity stabbed through scripts of every single television show and movie today -- though to be fair, even if Classic Hollywood never swore onscreen if you'll look at their bloopers (many of which can be found on Youtube), you'll discover that even the sweetest (like Olivia de Havilland) had their moments of... swearing. HOWEVER, I think if I ever met Carole I'd make an exception for her because it became a part of personality and made her stand out. Lucy in her autobiography wrote that Carole had "a very lively vocabulary", but she got away with it. It must have really shocked the pants off some sexist bigwigs, too, so Carole wins brownie points for that.
#2: Her friendship with Lucy.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a photo of Lucy and Carole together, so we'll just have to settle for this photo of Lucy clutching a magazine with Carole's face from an episode of "The Lucy Show"
Lucy loved Carole Lombard, admired her style of comedy and everything. It is has been said that Carole was her favorite actress (along with Katharine Hepburn) and if you've read her autobiography (PLEASE read it if you haven't because it's AH-MAZ-ING), you can tell her affection for the star - she calls Carole her "idol". The two became great friends. Carole and Clark would come over to the Desilu Ranch all the time and spend weekends with other friends full of swimming and music and good food (cooked by Desi). They even threw Lucy and Desi a wedding party at Chasen's after the two eloped. Lucy felt awful upon learning of Carole's death, but would say that later in life she would ask herself the question "What would Carole do?" if she needed to make a decision. Carole helped out in a very important one: whether or not Lucy should wander into the risky world of television. Carole appeared to Lucy in a dream and told her to "Give it a whirl!". Thanks so much, Carole!! This is one of my favorite things and I think it's awesome that they were such good friends.
#1: Her patriotism.
Carole selling bonds before that ill-fated trip home.
Just about everyone knows how Carole died. She was on a plane back from selling war bonds and the plane crashed someplace in Nevada; everyone on board was killed, including Carole. It was January 1942 and the country was barely a month into World War 2; thus making Carole the first official female causality of the war, as the reason for her plane trip was to sell war bonds. Carole sold, I believe, more than $2,000,000 in bonds on that trip. She was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by the President, and I think Carole was a true patriot - putting effort into selling the bonds, never minding that part of her salary went to taxes because she knew it was all for good causes. What a kind heart she must have had.
Well, there it is for you, my top 5 favorite things about Carole. I am sure there are more and I couldn't include them all (like, for example, her love for animals or the fact she did not request dressing rooms, preferring to chat with the cast and crew). Happy 103rd, Carole, and don't forget to stay tuned with Carole and Co for the entries! This was so much fun to be a part of! (As all blogathons are).