Friday, March 9, 2012

Images of Nancy Carroll

My good friend David Strebe has written his first book. IMAGES OF NANCY CARROLL. Coffee tables are crying out for this compendium. A Hollywood glamor girl who made 39 films between 1927 and 1935. These include delightful little romantic comedies such as Child of Manhattan (1933) and Hot Saturday (1931) with Cary Grant. She played opposite Phillip Holmes and Lionel Barrymore in the poignant and haunting 1932 film, Broken Lullaby (also known as The Man I Killed). That same year, she starred opposite Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in Scarlet Dawn. During her career, she co-starred with George Raft, Frank Morgan and Jack Benny.

By 1935, her popularity started to fade. She was said to be temperamental and difficult to work with. She missed out on great roles that could have helped her career, often because with her red hair, beautiful blue eyes and round face, she was too "cute" to be considered for serious dramatic parts. It was rumored that the screen rights to A Farewell to Arms was bought with her in mind, but at the last minute the title role went to Helen Hayes.

After her screen career was over, she returned to the stage, where she enjoyed success throughout the 1940s. She was very active in entertaining the troops during World War II. In 1950, at the age of 45, she appeared in the early television series, The Aldrich Family.

As David points out, "The image of a young nancy Carroll will remain with us forever through the many vintage photographs that have survived." And David certainly pulled a large number of archival photographs from his personal collection to present a collection of 150 plus photo stills, sheet music, cigarette cards and post cards of Nancy Carroll for his book.

David makes no attempt to out-do Paul Nemcek's 1969 book, The Films of Nancy Carroll, published by Lyle Stuart. Instead, David wants us to act like men and glance over the photographs and treat the actress like eye candy. I cannot blame him. You should see my photo collection of Veronica Lake. Personally, I could build a shrine for the actress.

I first caught a glimpse of Nancy Carroll singing and dancing in the 1930 Paramount revue, Paramount on Parade (1930), when it was screened at the second annual Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. She ultimately worked for all the major studios, but since most of her films were contracted through Paramount, and we all know how those early flicks are rarely seen except at film festivals, Nancy Carroll has been overlooked by a number of film buffs, and many reading this might question: "Who is Nancy Carroll?" Get a copy of this book and you'll soon know the answer to that question.

I am not saying this is a kick-butt reference guide, which some might expect because of my endorsement. It is clearly a coffee table book with beautiful reproductions of photographs on glossy (not cheap) paper. It's available exclusively from Cover Out ( which has, over the past two months, begun offering hard cover editions of books available in paperback elsewhere (including a few of my books). So check out Cover Out and get your copy today. David is one of those people who deserves recognition, and besides, he's a great guy that makes the world a nicer place. Now if I can convince him to do the same for Veronica Lake...

Randolph Scott and Nancy Carroll in HOT SATURDAY.