Carole Lombard Indianapolis

A Stretch of Desert

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

Frustrating. Torturous. Maddening. She forces her legs down the steps of the DC-3 Sky Club for the umpteenth time. She’s so weary she can’t even remember all the stops, but among them have been St. Louis, Kansas City, Wichita, and, of course, Albuquerque. Petey is practically a statue at this point and is not speaking to anyone or even getting off the plane most stops—except this time in Las Vegas she’s stretching her legs if not actually participating in conversation.

They’re so close to home. So painfully close. All that separates her, Petey, and Otto from their own warm beds is one last stretch of desert out there in the blackness of night. She’s told it’s only one hour by air from McCarran Field in Las Vegas to Burbank where Pa will be waiting for her, and Stuart for Petey and Jill for Otto. They’ll all be there, and she and Pa can finally make up for their knock-down-drag-out of a week earlier. Can it be a week already since he had left for New York? Yes, a week exactly, and how much she has seen and done since then, including this latest cross-country adventure courtesy of TWA. She can’t wait to tell him about all of it—every last story she’s been saving day by day. They’re already on their third set of pilots and third time zone in a long and grueling passage. They hadn’t slept at all Thursday night, and sleeping hasn’t really been possible today given the cold at 10,000 feet and the relentless screaming of the engines of the plane on either side of the cabin.

Coca-Colas and cigarettes have kept her going as they always do, and she is tired and hungry despite having just eaten on the plane, and boy does her posterior hurt. Everything hurts after going a million miles an hour yesterday in Indianapolis and then 180 miles an hour on the plane ever since. But finally the end is in sight after fog, headwinds, turbulence, mail delays, passenger delays—17 hours coast to coast my ass.

Nightfall has been chasing them west for quite a while and finally swallowed the plane up prior to landing here at this desolate little piece of nowhere. Las Vegas is fit for an Army base maybe but not for much else except coyotes. They’ve waited what seems like forever for fuel in the little Western Air building, the passengers milling about, including 15 Army boys that started out full of energy but have quieted down a bit. Her own companions sit there under thunderclouds, but at least Petey and Otto understand now: She had been right to ditch that stupid train in favor of a quick—well, everything’s relative—straight shot from Indianapolis to Hollywood. Two solid days on the train versus less than one by air? No contest!

She knows she hasn’t been her usual self today, and Petey has every right to be furious with her for needing to get home to a cheating husband as fast as possible. Petey has worked very hard to give Clark a chance and Petey likes Clark, but he is what he is, which amounts to a long set of pluses and an important set of minuses. Plus number one: He is Clark Gable, deemed the most attractive and marketable man in the world. Minus number one: He is Clark Gable, who draws women like a magnet and doesn’t have a whole lot of willpower to turn them down when propositioned, and that happens every single day when he’s out of her sight.

Still, she has so much to live for, work toward, and dream about. Sooner or later she’ll be able to carry a child to term, and that will change everything. It has been so much fun since Fieldsie has a little boy and Freddie does too and how Pa will love being a, well, pa. They’ll find the right formula sooner or later. And her career is rebounding, with a new picture previewing in three days that she believes might be her best yet and certainly is the most important yet given the world situation, plus she has two more lined up after that, both romantic comedies. So many people in her life need her and she loves to be able to help her family and friends. Loves it more than anything. So it’s important to keep making pictures and keep the money coming in, so she can help.

Then the big thing. The biggest thing. The war means new responsibilities, and she has already seen how important she can be and how much she can contribute and needs to contribute.

The station man calls the passengers to line up to board. A couple of the Army fellows ask her for autographs and she smiles as genuinely as she can given everything and signs, and then the door opens and they file out into the cold night air to the plane. She puts an arm around Petey on one side, and Otto puts a hand under Petey’s elbow to steady her up the steps on the other. What a godsend Otto is. She gets Petey in her seat and then settles into her own and fastens her seat belt. One more hour, then in the arms of her man. She’s going to talk his ear off all right, and he will kid her for not shutting up for the first hours they are together again. But driving him crazy is half the fun.

She can see the pilot up there working the controls and hears the engines sputter to life. One more hour. So much to live for. Almost home.


Unexpected. Overwhelming. Astonishing. She steps out of a car at the Indiana State Capitol to a sea of bundled souls. If they’d been locusts they’d constitute a plague; if bees they’d be a swarm. But they’re people and they’ve besieged the Capitol. A military honor guard from the Culver Academy stands at attention 30 strong in present-arms. Police officers with batons keep a watchful eye of the cordons. A raft of newsreel cameras on tripods is ready along with a firing squad of photographers facing the platform where she will speak to the nation. When she climbs the steps onto the platform alongside Indiana’s governor, the mayor of Indianapolis, and others, all she can see are humans stretching back along the plaza all the way past the cross street and buildings beyond, a full fraction of a mile. Thousands of people—maybe tens of thousands.

It’s Thursday, January 15, 1942, and Carole Lombard has arrived. In every sense of the word, she has arrived. Never the most popular actress. No Academy Awards. A penchant for headline-grabbing that puts some in Hollywood off. A social climber, others say, for marrying king-of-the-movies Clark Gable. But today she will just be herself and let the chips fall, here in her home state among thousands of friends and family, people with her sensibilities and values.

For the next eight hours she will be in constant motion, deliver five speeches of varying lengths, shake thousands of hands, remember every name of every person she just met 10 minutes earlier, charm wallets into the open air, and sell four times the pre-event estimate in U.S. war bonds.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

Leaving the Capitol after a speech and frenzy of bond selling. [©2013 by GoodKnight Books. All rights reserved.]

It had been a long road traveled to reach this point for the girl born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, quiet unassuming Jane who had been transplanted from Indiana to Southern California at an early age and caught the acting bug as a teenager at a time when motion picture studios had been a ravenous people mill. Jane-turned-Carole managed to get a few parts that impressed no one, and then her face had been torn up in a car crash that, it was assumed, had ended the journey. But those who believed her to be finished didn’t know this iron-willed girl who accepted the facial scars from the accident and moved on to start over in Hollywood.

The life that followed had been a full one, with its share of successes, failures, and controversies. No one so unconventional as to be labeled “Hollywood’s profane angel” would be universally loved, but all who truly knew her would be won over. Now here she stands in the spotlight in what she recognizes will be the high point of her life. If she lives another 40 or 50 years there will never be a day to top this one, when the self-acknowledged “ham” will kill more flashbulbs and magazines of film than any other celebrity on the planet. She’s in her glory, so on message, so keyed up, at times nervous to say the right thing. But all eyewitnesses will agree that she never once slips or fails to live up to the demands of the moment. She nails it. She hits every mark and delivers every line from the first public appearance at the train station to the last, a cameo at the Indiana Roof ballroom next door to her hotel where she steals the mic and makes a final plea to “buy a bond!” Every take is Cut and Print, to use the lingo she understands so well.







These are words used most often to describe Carole Lombard this day. As revealed in an audio recording that surfaced recently courtesy of Lombard enthusiast Brian Anderson, Carole is heard displaying all the poise of her hero FDR in a speech in front of 12,000 who are all but hanging from the rafters at the giant Cadle arena in downtown Indianapolis.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

Hours later still going strong with Otto by her side as she chats with an official. [©2013 by GoodKnight Books. All rights reserved.]

An hour later she’s running on pure adrenalin in her Claypool Hotel suite greeting cousins and friends from Fort Wayne. Her mother, the 65-year-old Petey, is all-in but not Carole. Carole knows what she’s just accomplished and she pronounces it enough. Tomorrow morning she’s to appear at Wasson’s Department Store down the street to sell more bonds but she knows she’s already raised $2 million. In other words she’s done her duty, as have the people of Indianapolis. It’s a wrap. Rather than depart on the train tomorrow, Carole pronounces that she, Petey, and Otto Winkler the PR man are packing and leaving tonight, and not by train, by air. Eight hours of absolute power have corrupted absolutely. They’re taking the first available flight west, Carole proclaims to the shock of Petey and Otto. Both protest, but Carole knows how safe air travel is these days, and she swears they’ll both thank her when tomorrow night at this time they are snug in their beds at home and not in the middle of nowhere on some damn train. Otto digs in his heels so she turns magnanimous and offers to leave it to the fates. A coin flip. Call it, Otto, heads—or tails?

With furious packing, consternation, and hurt feelings, the most successful day of her life ends. With a vengeance.

Learn all about Carole Lombard’s life and death in the expanded trade paperback edition of Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by GoodKnight Books.

Those Damn Peaks

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

Carole Lombard and dignitaries just off the east steps of the Indiana State House in Indianapolis on January 15, 1942. As of now, she had less than 36 hours to live.

If you’ve read Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3, you know the significance of January 16; a year ago, since the date coincided with the fall of weekdays culminating in Friday January 16, I conducted a Twitter campaign to take you minute by minute through Carole Lombard’s last hectic 36 hours of life in real-time. That exercise taught me just how fast she careened toward her own death. It’s 11:30, she’s here; it’s 12:15, she’s there; 2:05, time for a wardrobe change to be here at 2:15. She had spent Thursday January 15, 1942 dashing and appearing. Make a speech, sell bonds, dash a few blocks to raise a flag, change clothes, go to a tea, change clothes, go to dinner uptown, then motorcade to the evening “gala.”

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

Mary Anna Johnson was a young federal researcher when she saw Carole Lombard board TWA Flight 3 in Indianapolis. Mary would be bumped from Flight 3 before it crashed, and tell me all about the experience 70 years later.

Last year’s Twitter recreation of the timeline for today, January 16, took a more linear turn. Imagine you’re flying west on a TWA red-eye, and it’s the middle of the night and you stop in lonely Indianapolis. Modern air travelers have no frame of reference for what a DC-3 interior was like. Basically you sat in the equivalent of a big tin can, sloped uphill, in terrific noise. You can’t imagine the noise of two commercial transport engines on either side of you, so if you got on the plane at LaGuardia or Newark and hopped your way west, by the time you reached Indianapolis, you were bushed. Sleep, when it came at all, was fleeting and fitful. Then as you sit in the silence of a darkened tarmac (the tinnitus of those engines still in your ears), your flight attendant, known then as an “air hostess,” announces that a VIP is boarding and please respect her privacy. Onto the plane steps Carole Lombard, her mother, and their PR man, with Lombard still wired from all she had experienced in the last 18 hours, from her first appearance in Indianapolis on.

As I write this I guess she’s somewhere over Missouri and now she’s sleeping fitfully and fleetingly while flying beside and in front of two passengers who are spitting mad at her for making them travel by air at all. Spitting mad. This is one of many aspects of the story that people don’t quite get because there are no photographs to depict it and few eyewitnesses spoke of it, but this party was Unhappy with a capital Un. Carole’s mother, whom she knew as “Petey” sometimes and “Tots” most of the time, would go to her fiery death furious at her daughter. PR man Otto Winkler would spend his last day trapped on the tin can and anticipating an air disaster because he had dreamed it would happen. So here he is right now over Missouri, expecting the worst after he had expended all his energy in Indianapolis and then hadn’t slept all night. Imagine, just imagine…

Stop after stop followed as the TWA’s transcontinental Flight 3 hedge-hopped west, stopping to pick up and drop off passengers and mailbags and to top off the tanks for the next leg. Then there’s another aspect of the thousand aspects to the story: the Army Air Corps guys. They had gotten onto the plane in dribs and drabs and by the last stop, the unscheduled stop in Las Vegas, there were 15 of these fliers on the plane as passengers, and only four civilians. One of the reasons I decided to write the manuscript I’m finishing today, Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe, is because of the affinity I feel for the Air Corps boys after writing Fireball. Newspapers reporting the crash of the plane gave the impression these young men were all pilots, but they weren’t. They were also co-pilots, navigators, radio men, and engineers. They were parts of flight crews in the Ferrying Command who took medium and heavy bombers east to the war, then snagged commercial flights back to California and did it over again. In the coming months these young guys were expecting transfer to American bases where they would train Air Corps conscripts because experienced Air Corps fliers were in short supply. Then after promotions they’d head to Europe or the Pacific as senior-level officers or non-coms.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

A TWA DC-3 transcontinental Sky Club of the kind that crashed on this date in 1942 killing the flight crew, 15 Army Air Corps fliers, and four civilians, including Carole Lombard.

The life of an army aviator wasn’t easy because their ships were reliable and yet not at all reliable. We were then just out of the era of the biplane and still figuring out multi-engine aviation. Here’s something else to think about: When TWA Flight 3 took off into the Las Vegas darkness on this night, January 16, the 15 fliers sat there in the noise analyzing climb rate and engine performance. They could feel the overweight ship laboring to reach altitude because this is what they did for a living—they flew multi-engine planes. And since they were flying out of McCarran, an army airfield, they all knew Vegas and the dangers of the surrounding mountains and must have been wondering where those damn peaks were. But some of them also knew the pilot, Capt. Wayne Williams, because he had been teaching classes for the Army in multi-engine flying so they’d figure, with Capt. Williams up there, we’re OK.

They weren’t OK. A whole bunch of little things happened along the way that conspired to put Mt. Potosi in the way of Flight 3 as she power-climbed to altitude. The result: fireball—the image in my mind for years as I’d fly through Vegas and look over at Potosi and imagine what the people of Las Vegas witnessed in the western sky this night at about 7:30 local time. From 30 miles off they saw a little pinpoint of light that represented 22 humans going up in flames. I’m very fond of, and feel close to, all of them, not just Carole, Petey, and Otto, and on this January 16, with the trees barren and the sky appropriately gray, I’ll look at my watch and think about where they were and what they were doing on this, the last day of their lives.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

Mt. Potosi, Nevada. Imagine TWA Flight 3 coming into view from the right and power climbing toward the distant peaks. At just about dead center in the photo she hit the rock cliff walls just below the peak in the dark at 185 miles per hour.

Mystery Within the Mystery

News of the death of my friend Kenneth Keene has hit me hard. I mean, come on, I’m not telling tales out of school when I say the man drank liquor a quart a day and knew the word exercise only as a theoretical experience. But he was one of the most extraordinary humans I have ever met, and his passing has left a hole in my heart.

As you will recall from a post dated last October, Ken Keene owned Tuckaway, an Indianapolis National Landmark and a home tied to the death of Carole Lombard. Ken Keene insisted, Ken Keene swore to me, that Carole Lombard stood at the front door of Tuckaway the day before her death and was warned by scientific palmist Nellie Simmons Meier “not to take the plane.” Ken learned this from the lips of Nellie’s niece Ruth, making it more than legend. It was oral history. But the fact of the matter is, I have not been able to find evidence that Lombard managed to sneak off to Tuckaway, located on the north side of Indianapolis, on the hectic day of the bond sale on January 15, 1942. If you followed my Twitter campaign of January 15 and 16 of this year, when I recounted Lombard’s day selling war bonds minute by minute, you know how frantic was her time in Indianapolis.

I would say to Ken that I needed evidence of her Tuckaway visit, and he would respond, “You don’t believe me!” I assured him that yes, I did believe him, but I needed verification to put it in print. But Ken had heard it from Ruth, and Ruth had heard it from Nellie, so it was incomprehensible to Ken that I needed more than that.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

The dark and mysterious interior of Tuckaway. Ken is barely visible at center of photo, beside the lamp.

Now, about Ken. He was a dark-haired man with a puppy-dog-sad face. According to the feature obit in the Indianapolis Star, he was 69 or 70. He mentioned that he was the son of Army Air Corps Brigadier General Ken Keene, although the subject only came up because he asked me what I was working on and I told him a book about James Stewart in World War II. He said, “Oh, my father knew him and used to tell stories about the two of them in the war.” It was then he showed me a picture of Gen. Keene and his wife Gigi, the stunning woman who was Ken’s mother. But knowing the unorthodox Ken, I sensed that there was a lot of discontent among parents and child, because he was the last guy to be thought of as a chip off the ol’ block of Gen. Keene. Another sign of problems was the fact that Ken had no interest in recounting his father’s experiences with James Stewart.

Ken was often bombed from all the scotch, but a brilliant conversationalist at all times. He tracked every word that anyone said and had an immediate response, even after a full tumbler of scotch. I mean a big glass of scotch and ice. He might slur a word or two, but the man had his faculties and his brain processed like a NASA supercomputer.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

The “other” Lombard autographed portrait that I found on Ken’s wall.

Ken’s passion was Tuckaway, and Carole Lombard was among his favorite Tuckaway topics. He would point out the autographed portrait of her hanging at the bottom of the stairs, which had become famous over the years through newspaper coverage. As Mary and I wandered through the house, I found another Lombard inscribed and framed portrait hanging in the library, which didn’t really look so much like her so it was no wonder it had been overlooked. It was taken off the wall and handed to Ken, who fixed his hazy eyes on it and said, “Oh yes, I had forgotten about this one.”

It turns out that I spoke to Ken by phone within a week of his death on February 18. He had asked me when I would be out for a visit—he always asked that—and I promised to get there in the spring. I was thinking about planning that visit the day I learned about his passing, just hours after thinking about him, this past Tuesday.

I interviewed Ken extensively about his connection to the story in Fireball, this incredible missing piece of the Fireball timeline, so it’s not as if his death has affected the historical record. But I so admired this guy for being gracious, and brilliant, and determined to show visitors to Tuckaway the time of their lives. I admired him for his warmth at all times, whenever I’d call. Above all he was a brilliant individualist who lived life on his own terms and never compromised. He never skimped on the liquor bill and never condescended to see a doctor even when it was obvious he should. What good does it do now to scold the guy? I’d rather celebrate this life brilliantly lived, and pursue the clues he left me about what is potentially a chilling moment in the last days of Carole Lombard’s life when she was warned what was ahead and for some reason ignored the warning and hurried to her doom.

Carole Lombard: As It Happens

Attention readers of this column and Carole Lombard fans everywhere. Join me on Twitter tomorrow and Friday for a very special event: “Carole Lombard: As It Happens,” with live Twitter feeds as we follow her realtime through her planned day in Indianapolis selling war bonds. We will then follow her home for a reunion with Clark Gable. Coverage begins early tomorrow morning, Thursday January 15, and continues Friday January 16 on Twitter. Join me at @Robert Matzen. For those of you not currently on Twitter, here’s your chance to sign up and get acquainted.


Who’s up for another live-event hurrah for Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3? How about coming to hear me speak at the Fort Wayne History Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Sunday, October 5, 2014, at 2 p.m? I’m an introvert and a cranky pain in the ass, and yet I’m told I’m a good speaker when I get going on the topics contained in Fireball. I make no bones about this: Audience members have been known to pull out wallets and shower me with cash after a lecture. I guess it’s possible they are using money to shut me up, but I choose to believe that they’re moved to purchase based on the many compelling themes in Fireball. As a result, I think it would be worth your while to book plane reservations or get in your car and commute to Fort Wayne and incur all the expenses such a weekend would entail just to step in the middle of this incredible story and visit the place of Carole Lombard’s birth.

Before and after my lecture, tours will be conducted of the Peters family home on Rockhill Street where Jane Peters (who would become Carole Lombard) was born on October 6, 1908 and lived to age six. Her father continued to live there after his wife and three children had split for California. Two special guests are already confirmed for the October 5 lecture and house tours: my very good friend Carole Sampeck, director of the Carole Lombard Archive Foundation and Hollywood historian who was quoted at several points in the Fireball narrative, and Marina Gray, Lombard expert and one of my two Jedi Ninja researchers on Fireball. Carole is flying in from Dallas and Marina from Seattle, so you begin to understand what a special weekend this will be.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

My Indianapolis triumph: turning around a disgruntled teen. I never did get their names, but it was a positive experience for the three of us.

I’ve talked previously about the many lectures and signings that comprised the tour, starting in Santa Monica and Hollywood, California, and moving on to locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and culminating in Indianapolis, where Lombard spent what was the most intense, satisfying day of her life, and Las Vegas, Nevada, where that life ended 24 hours later. I especially like focusing on the skeptics in the audience—people dragged to the event, like the teenaged girl in Indianapolis who had been brought to a Sunday afternoon lecture by her enthusiastic dad. How sullen she started out; I felt bad for her. But by the end, I had her in the palm of my hand. Poor kid didn’t know what hit her as she took in this story of love, romance, betrayal, sacrifice, patriotism, tragedy, and grisly post mortems. This story is irresistible.

The most recent lecture was to 75-or-so people at a film convention in Columbus, Ohio, and here I found both aviation buffs and Hollywood authorities and that’s the best part for me—the Q&A. The people who raise their hands for questions test my knowledge and challenge my assertions. They bring new information to the table, like the woman who tipped me off to a significant and forgotten incident in Indianapolis, or the woman in Las Vegas who possessed deeply buried information about Carole Lombard’s faith. This is all new information worthy of the revised trade paperback second edition of Fireball due out next spring.

Oh, yeah, by the way, the first printing is nearing sellout and demand is still strong. A second printing of Fireball is in order, so why not add in some more facts where possible?

The new book project is starting to suck me in, but there’s work to be done on Fireball first. I owe it to the 22 souls aboard Flight 3, people I bonded with on the mountain and people who haven’t left me since. I could feel them about me that first night in Santa Monica, and they’ve been nearby many times since. I’ll be curious to see if I feel anything special when I’m standing in the room in which Carole Lombard was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It’ll be a special weekend and I invite you to join me there, so save the date: Sunday, October 5, 2014.

Scarface Comes Across

I have a question in the category of “How the hell did they do that?” I’ve got a couple of appearances coming up in Indianapolis, this Sunday at Indy Reads Books on Massachusetts Avenue at 3:30 P.M., and Monday morning on Indy Style at 9 A.M. on WISH-TV. (Come out and see me!) In preparing for these appearances I’ve been studying the Myron Davis photos of Carole Lombard selling war bonds at the Indiana State House the day before she died. Davis took several shots of Lombard, one after another as she handed out receipts for bond sales. He was using his Speed Graphic camera, the most famous press camera of its day, with Kodak film, and the detail of these shots is incredible.

It was while studying the digital files that had been processed at 800 dpi from the original Kodak negatives that I realized, in some of the shots, you can see one of the scars on Carole Lombard’s face. It’s common knowledge that Carole’s face was sliced up by windshield glass in a freak car crash just after she turned 17. She had nearly bled to death that night, cut to the cheekbone on one side, upper lip nearly severed, and deep cuts close to the left eye. She had been put back together by a cosmetic surgeon, but the wounds were so egregious that for a long time afterward, she was despondent and wanted to die.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

Detail of one of the Myron Davis photos shows the boomerang-shaped scar beside Carole Lombard’s left eye.

Here I was looking at the candid bond shots taken by Myron Davis, and I started to be aware of the scar by her left eye. It runs up beside the eye in the shape of a little boomerang, broad and milky as scars can be, and a good inch long. There are others that are visible now and again in photos, the big one on her cheekbone and another dimply scar beside her mouth. What astonishes me is that I can see the eye socket scar in these Davis photos, but you don’t notice them in motion pictures of the day. Granted she worked with hand-picked directors of photography who knew how to photograph their way around the scars but still, given all the physical comedy she did, all the closeups, where are the scars?

So that’s my “How the hell did they do that?” question of today. This was 60 years before the invention of computer software that would obliterate such imperfections in motion pictures performers, frame by frame. Somehow in the 1930s they did it with lighting that smoothed out the skin, and angles that hid the damage. And there was a lot of damage, as is evident by the shots taken in Indianapolis.

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen

The same scar is visible in this screen capture from 1939, as is the scar on her cheek.

One of the first things people who met Carole Lombard face to face must have remarked to themselves was, “Whoa! Look at the scars!” Bogey had that scar on his lip, a souvenir of World War I. You’ll see a divot here and divot there on other stars too, and there are the painfully obvious examples of Montgomery Clift and Van Johnson, their boyish good looks butchered in car crashes worse than Lombard’s. But for a glamorous leading lady of the 1930s to be sporting facial scars and not caring, not letting them get in the way of a thriving career, allowing cameras to get in so very close—that’s something. Carole’s pal Alice Marble said, when asked about the scars, that they only accentuated her beauty, and I can see that. They were character lines, visible in life and once in a while on film. It’s interesting that scars are not what people saw when they looked at Carole Lombard. They saw something genuine that transcended flawless skin. Granted the girl had help from camera and lighting geniuses. She also had guts, and a personality that made sense of an occasional railroad track on her face. I just wonder if she would be given a chance today, when the press and style gurus are so quick to judge and label a woman as hideous for the slightest deviation from some standard of beauty that they themselves could never attain. I think Carole Lombard would have a quick two words for such people, and I think you know what those two words would be.