Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Carole's Suit From Four Jills In A Jeep

In 2013 I bought a two piece suit that Carole Landis wore in the film Four Jills In A Jeep. It was sold at Julien's Hollywood Legends auction. The suit was designed by Yvonne Wood. Four Jills In A Jeep was released on March 17, 1944. Carole wrote the book the movie was based on and played herself.

Phil Silvers, Carole, and Kay Francis

Kay Francis, Phil Silvers, Mitzi Mayfair, Carole, and Martha Raye

Phil Silvers, Mitzi Mayfair, Martha Raye, Kay Francis, and Carole

 Kay Francis, Martha Raye, and Carole

Here is a clip of Carole wearing the suit ...

Monday, September 28, 2015

NEWLY Discovered Letters

We recently found a rare collection of personal letters Carole wrote to her dear friend Lieutenant Troy in England. The last letter was written on July 2, 1948 just two days before her death. Thank you to Carole's fan, Flora Jenner, for sharing these letters with us. If anyone has any information about Lt. Troy please write to us at LovesHollywood@gmail.com
Carole and Captain Troy in 1947

 "2-7-48 To my dearest friend - Sorry that it's taken so long for me to reply but an awful lot has been happening at the moment. I'm sorry this is such a short note but I'm very tired tonight. I promise to call sometime next week- love - Carole"

 "30-5-48 My darling - Thank you so much for my most beautiful present. I promise I shall get you something in return next time I see you. I'm so sorry that you're felling unwell - I promise to come & visit as soon as possible. Yours forever, Carole"

 "15-1-47 Darling - Just a brief note but I'm just dying to know if you've read that book I sent you yet. And if so - what did you think? Don't you think Mr. Maugham is one of the greatest writers ever? If you like I could find you more. I heard Warner Brothers are doing a picture of "Of Human Bondage". Anyway I'm going for a dip in the pool - All the best, Carole"

 "16-7-45 My darling -you are the greatest friend and love I could have ever have dreamed of. I'm sorry if my actions have ever hurt you in the past. You will always be my dearest love and I pray one day we will be together always. I just had to write this for I fear you are upset. Carole"

"5-12-44 Why didn't you write sooner? I've been tearing the place up with worry. If you need or want all you need you do is request and I'll get if for you anything. Are the hospital taking good care of you? If it's difficult for you to write please get a nurse or someone to write for you. I can arrange a specialist to come look at your eyes, though I'm sure they'll get better. Even the doctors agree there will be little worry so I'm sure you're sight will heal just as well. Please try to reply as soon as possible, and don't worry my darling - Carole"

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Carole's Final Recording

On July 2, 1948 Carole went shopping and wrote some letters. She told a friend "I've never been so happy in all my life. The sun's shining. It's a wonderful day!". That afternoon she went to Star Records at 6525 Sunset Boulevard to make a recording for her fans. Tragically just three days later Carole would be found dead after taking her own life. You can listen to Carole's final recording here ...


Friday, September 25, 2015

Carole At Warner Brothers (1937-1938)

In the spring of 1937 eighteen year old Carole auditioned for director Busby Berkeley. He was impressed with her dancing and her beauty. Busby gave her a small role in Varsity Show, the Warner Brothers musical he was directing. Carole appeared as in a few scenes and was featured in the musical finale. Off screen she started a highly publicized romance with Busby. He helped Carole get a contract at Warner Brothers for $50 a week.

She was given bit parts in more than a dozen films including Hollywood Hotel, Gold Diggers In Paris, Blondes At Work, and The Patient In Room 18. While working at the studio she changed her hair from platinum blonde to brunette. In 1938 Carole starred in a Warner Brother Academy radio show and appeared on the cover of Pic magazine.

Listen to Carole on the Warner Brothers Academy radio show

Unfortunately her estranged husband, Irving Wheeler, decided to sue Busby for alienation of affection. He lost the case but the bad publicity didn't help Carole's career. When her contract ended after one year Warner Brothers decided not to renew it. Shortly after her relationship with Busby also came to an end.

 Carole and Busby Berkeley

Carole and Rosemary Lane in Gold Diggers In Paris

 Carole on the Warner Brothers lot (Courtesy of Tammy Powell)

 Carole and Suzanne Kaaren in Blondes At Work

 Carole and Sterling Holloway in Varsity Show

 Carole is on the left

Carole is last on the left

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Carole's Early Years (1919-1935)

Carole at age eight

Carole's early days were filled with heartache and dreams of stardom. She was born on Janaury 1, 1919 in Fairchild, Wisconsin. Her real name was Frances Lillian Ridste - she had been named after her Polish grandmother Francis Sentek. She was such a beautiful baby that everyone called her "Baby Doll". Carole was the youngest of five children. Her father, Alfred Ridste, abandoned the family and her mother Clara married a farmer named Charles Fenner. There are rumors that Charles is Carole's biological father. Clara divorced Charles in 1921 and took the children to San Bernardino, California.

 Carole at age three

 Left to Right: Carole's brother Lewis, her brother Lawrence, Carole, her mother Clara, her sister Dorothy 

The family moved into a tiny home at 175 Bryant Street. They were very poor and Carole's older sister Dorothy often watched her while their mother worked. According to family sources Carole was sexually molested by a relative during her childhood. Tragically two of her brothers died very young. Sixteen month old Jerome was killed in 1917 when a pot of boiling water fell on him. Ten year old Lewis died in 1925 after he was accidentally shot with gun. At the age of nine Carole ran on stage during a local talent show and began singing That's My Weakness Now.

Listen To That's My Weakness Now sung by Helen Kane

Carole with her mother Clara in 1923
Left to Right: Carole's brother Lewis, her sister Dorothy. her father Alfred, Carole, her brother Lawrence

Carole loved watching movies and covered her walls with photos of Mary Astor, Russ Columbo, and Clark Gable. Using make-up tricks to look older she started entering beauty pageants when she was twelve. Carole won a pair of silk stockings but her mother made her stop competing because she was too young. She attended Sturges junior high school where she was"boy crazy" and often skipped her classes. Carole loved to play sports especially baseball and volleyball. She even tried to start an all girl football team!

Left to right: Carole's sister-in-law Helen Ridste, her sister Dorothy, her mother Clara, and Carole 

Carole was raised a Catholic and attended church every Sunday. Her philosophy was "Pass the good deed along". To earn extra money she worked at a hamburger stand and a movie theater. She married her first love, twenty year old Irving Kay Wheeler, on January 14, 1934. Because Carole was only fifteen her mother had the marriage annulled. The couple got married again (with her father's consent) but Carole walked out on Irving three weeks later.

   Carole, her first husband Irving Wheeler, and her sister Dorothy in 1933

In 1935 Carole left home to become an actress. She later said "Although I avoided dramatics - and everything else - in school. I wanted to be a success on the stage, the screen, or the radio. So I saved my money and when I had bus fare and $16.82 over, I told my mother, Clara, I was going to leave home. She was heartbroken, but she believed in me." When Carole became a star her father said "When she was five years old we knew she had unusual talents. Without any professional training whatever she learned to sing an dance beautifully - and we were confident she would achieve her goal to become an actress."

Carole at age fifteen

Carole with her Polish grandparents Ludvig and Francis Sentek
This is Carole's brother older Jerome who died tragically in 1917 two years before she was born

 This is Carole's father Alfred Ridste who was rarely a part of her life