Carole Lombard : The Hoosier Tornado
I recently picked up a Lombard biography at a local thrift shop that I wasn’t familiar with titled The Hoosier Tornado by Wes D. Gehring. Just for the record, thrift shops are great places to find discarded books and movies in case you have never looked. Quite often they can be in perfect shape like this edition was. I doubt it was ever read before. The copyright on the book is 2003.
I realize there is a new Carole bio currently on bookshelves now titled Fireball. With a little luck it’ll turn up in my travels on sale somewhere. Who doesn’t love a deal?
As for the bio I did read, it’s compact and does a nice job at giving an overview of her career including a brush with fame in 1921 when spotted by director Allan Dwan to her working with Mack Sennett and his comedy troupe of which I was not aware she had participated in.
One of the reasons I like to read bios is they either remind me of forgotten films I had previously enjoyed or help me to discover more titles I am not really aware of or perhaps haven’t made an effort to see. With Carole there are plenty left to discover. While this book doesn’t go for too much of the behind the scenes contracts and studio issues in detail, it did inspire me to look at more of her work that I have neglected despite currently having 17 of her films in my collection. I have pulled a few of them out and placed them closer to the DVD machine in hopes of getting to them. Films like Twentieth Century, Supernatural and Hands Across the Table among others.
The book does of course go into her marriages to both William Powell and Clark Gable followed by the circumstances that led to her untimely death while raising funds for the war effort.
As is the case with many of these Hollywood bios, they serve as a window into the not too distant past and the early days of Hollywood that I find so fascinating. If you’re like me and not too familiar with Carole other than the marriage to Gable and her tragic death, this bio serves as a nice introduction to one of comedies most memorable leading ladies.