Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Thursday, January 09, 2014

2014's First Must-Read


Fireball Tells a Harrowing Carole Lombard Story

The best film histories capture drama of subjects they address, most notably where raw material lays waiting for a right author to make most of it. For Robert Matzen, it was remains of Carole Lombard's crashed plane still scattered over a Nevada mountainside that lured him toward inquiry of this most tragic and mysterious of celebrity deaths. The wreckage has sat seventy years for someone to climb up and finally reveal its secrets. What boots-to-ground Matzen achieves with Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery Of Flight 3 is froze earth explore of an air disaster not properly explained at the time of its happening or up to now. Facets he found will stun those who figured to know what took place that disastrous night of 1/16/42. There were paragraphs I read twice to grasp one-after-other revelations that spiral Fireball toward rendezvous a beloved actress had with a dark peak she seemed destined to fatally encounter.


I was fortunate enough to be with author Matzen when the concept was sprung. He'd not only tell Lombard's life story, having dealt with the subject in a bio-bibliography of the actress, but would incorporate and explain complex companions, both famed and plain-folks, that made up Lombard's inner circle. There is Clark Gable, William Powell, Russ Colombo, these and others dealt with sympathetically and with great insight. The aftermath impact of Lombard's death on Gable is a heart-rending read. In fact, get emotions ready for a wringer once you start Fireball, and know too that putting it down is something you'll not do short of the house catching fire or being bit by a snake (which Matzen nearly was during scale of inhospitable Table Rock Mountain).


The author's own climb clinches Fireball ring of truth. There are still unanswered questions, many, for Matzen refuses to speculate without hard fact to back him up. This is the best kind of investigative dig, one where no relevant document or living interview subject goes unaccounted. Carole Lombard was Hollywood's first casualty of World War Two. From so many decades distant, we can't fully know the impact her passing had, but Matzen gets closer than anyone to outpour of shock resulting from the crash. He also gathered stills that have never been published of Lombard's war bond tour that vividly show esteem mobs felt during this last of her public appearances. You will not believe the pile-up of ironies and grim chance that inexorably led this woman to her fate. Matzen tells how it all finally came down to flip of a coin. Be warm when you read this part, because it gives off distinct chill, as does the whole of this real-life riveter to make movies Lombard or anyone did pale by comparison.

Fireball is available at Amazon, and HERE is a fascinating video with footage of Robert Matzen exploring the Nevada crash site.

3 Comments:

Blogger aldi said...

I cannot wait to read this! One of the most bizarre theories the FBI turned up when they investigated the crash was that the plane may have been brought down by a UFO. Extracts from the FBI file here:

http://www.el-hai.com/blog/2012/8/29/the-fbis-file-on-carole-lombard.html

2:48 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer recalls Orson Welles' theory of what happened to Carole Lombard's flight:


Orson Welles' table talk in the 70s touched upon what really happened when Lombard died. According to him, there were scientists aboard her plane, which made it a target for the enemy agents who shot it down.

Orson was at pains to be an entertaining conversationalist, of course. Mere facts sufficed only if they were sufficiently outrageous, and if they weren't, well, he was opinionated, too.

I suppose the true facts are more mundane and all the more tragic for that.

But I'll certainly look forward to reading the Matzen book.

Daniel

8:03 PM  
Blogger iarla said...

Wasn't Gable spooning with Turner back on the MGM lot?

6:52 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016