Was Carole Lombard’s Final Film Edited Due to the Circumstances of Her Death?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Carole Lombard’s death led to an edit in her last film.

Carole Lombard was a beautiful and popular actress of the 1920s and 1930s (plus the beginning of the 1940s)…

Her most famous role is probably in the film My Man Godfrey, which she did with her ex-husband, William Powell…

In the late 1930s, she became involved with movie star Clark Gable.

The two would eventually marry and as far as anyone can figure, the pair were very happy together…

Well, in 1941, Lombard filmed a movie called To Be or Not to Be, along with Jack Benny. The movie is about a troupe of actors in Occupied Europe who use their acting skills to mess with the Nazis (think Hogan’s Heroes).

In late 1941, after the filming had finished, Lombard flew to her home state of Indiana with her mother and her press agent and raised money for War Bonds. She raised over $2,000,000 dollars!

She returned home to Gable in January of 1942. When the cross country journey stopped in Las Vegas to re-fuel, passengers were asked to get off the plane to allow 15 U.S. Army Air Corps personnel headed to California ride on the plane in their stead. Most every passenger got off, but Lombard convinced them that she was, in effect, working with the war effort, as well, so she should be allowed to stay. They eventually agreed and Lombard and her mother and her agent boarded the small plane along with the 15 Air Corps men.

Sadly, the plane never got to Burbank, California, as it crashed soon after leaving Las Vegas.

The release of her last film was delayed a month, and when it WAS released, one line had been removed.

In the film, Robert Stack plays a Polish pilot who is enamored with Lombard’s character. When he asks her to fly with him, she remarks, as a joke, “What can happen on a plane?”

The line was removed from the film when it was released in 1942…

Similarly, when 1940’s “A Wild Hare,” the first cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny (although not named Bugs in the cartoon itself)…

was re-released in 1944, a scene where Elmer Fudd and Bugs play a guessing game (you know, Bugs covers Fudd’s eyes and says “Guess who?”) was edited from Fudd saying “Carole Lombard?” to Fudd saying “Barbara Stanwyck?”

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

One Reply to “Was Carole Lombard’s Final Film Edited Due to the Circumstances of Her Death?”

  1. Clutch – Single, no kids, graying at temples and a bit overweight. I'm an Aries, a romantic, a naive idealist, temperamental and passionate about love and justice, a lapsed Catholic who dwells more on the spiritual and altruistic aspects of religion. Neither fully liberal nor conservative, I am a progressive, be it politics or rock music. Born in NYC. Raised in Cadiz, Spain from 1974 to 1981. Living in Anaheim off and on since 1973, 1981, 1989. Some former stomping grounds: Miami and Chicago/Woodridge from 1984 to 1989. Inspirational folks: Presidents Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Carter, Barack Obama, statesmen Benjamin Franklin, Dean Acheson, Bob La Follette, Henry Wallace, Ted Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller, Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee, Clement Attle, Lester Pearson, Bob Hawke, justices Louis Brandeis, William O. Douglas, Earl Warren, William J. Brennan, philosopher Bertrand Russell, economist Paul Krugman, Historian Eugen Weber, and Popes Leo XIII, John XXIII, John Paul I, John Paul II, Francis. Interests include: Reading, writing, net surfing, blogging, history, politics, geography, photography, collecting 70's, 80's, and some modern comic books, old and new action figures, watching 60's to 90's TV series, classic U.S. and British science fiction, and anything vintage. Favorite artists include illustrators/painters Earl Norem, Gene Day, Joe Jusko, Michael Netzer, John Byrne, Grant Miehm, Bob Larkin, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Brett Breeding, George Perez, Russ Heath, Neal Adams, Mike Vosburg, Brian Bolland, Bob Layton, Herb Trimpe, Geoff Isherwood, Bob McLeod, Greg LaRocque, Ian Akin & Brian Garvey, classical painters Gustave Caillebotte, James Tissot, Auguste Toulmouche, Edward Steichen, Gustave Courbet, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and Edmund Gray, glamour photographers Stephen Wayda, Richard Fegley, Arny Freytag, Pompeo Posar, Frank Eck, and Byron Newman. Movies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, For a Few Dollars More, A Fistful of Dollars, Things Change, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, In the Heat of the Night, Amadeus, Twelve Angry Men, The Shawshank Redemption, Magnum Force, The Wild Bunch, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Sling Blade, Le Professionnel, White Heat, Commando, Robocop, Enter the Dragon, The Best Years of Our Lives, F/X, Tron, Logan's Run, Most Bond films from Connery to Dalton, Scarface, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Reservoir Dogs, Armageddon, Goodfellas, Love Potion #9, Predator, Jaws, Beverly Hills Cop, North by Northwest, Bambi, Inception, Seven Samurai, Umberto D., The 400 Blows, Love on the Run, The Defiant Ones, The Great Escape, Stalag 17, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Harry and Tonto, The Killing Fields, The Untouchables, Picnic. Music: 70's and 80's rock, classic jazz, soul, Bossa Nova, R&B, pop, disco, progressive rock, 80's and 90's smooth jazz. From A-Z: Artists include The Alan Parsons Project, Ambrosia, America, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Barbra Streisand, Bee Gees, Bill Conti, Billy Goldenberg, Boston, Bread, Chicago, Chuck Mangione, Christopher Cross, Commodores, Crusaders, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Dave Grusin, David Gates, Doobie Brothers, Don Henley, Earl Klugh, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Elmer Bernstein, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Ennio Morricone, Fattburger, Fleetwood Mac, George Benson, Genesis, Gino Vanelli, Glenn Frey, Godley & Creme, Herb Alpert, Huey Lewis, Isaac Hayes, Jefferson Starship, John Cavacas, J.S. Bach, Journey, Kansas, Kenny Loggins, Kool & The Gang, Level 42, Lionel Richie, Little River Band, Madonna, Manhattan Transfer, Marvin Gaye, Michael Franks, Michael McDonald, Mr. Mister, Nat King Cole, Odyssey, Orleans, The Outfield, Patti Austin, Peaches & Herb, The Police, Richie Havens, Robert Palmer, Roberta Flack, Sadao Watanabe, Simply Red, Stan Getz, The Stylistics, Tears For Fears, The Temptations, Toto, Zager & Evans, 10cc and untold others. Books: Politics, biographies, WWII and military, world history, English and Spanish poetry, art, Impressionist paintings, photography, illustration, advertising, pin-up, hardcover and trade paperback comic book reprint collections. Authors: Gene L. Coon, Robert Holmes, Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks, Jack Finney, Jules Verne. Poets: Robert Frost, Luis Mario, Jorge Luis Borges, Jose Batres Montúfar, Jose Angel Buesa, José Agustín Balseiro, Arturo Doreste, Juan Guzmán Cruchaga, Jose Maria Souviron, Amado Nervo, Baldomero Fernández Moreno. Fantasy: Roger Stern, John Ostrander, Jim Shooter, Steven Grant, Peter David, Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Bill Mantlo, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, Stan Lee, David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, Mike Baron, Mark Waid, Denny O'Neil, David Michelinie, Bob Layton, Mike W. Barr, Bob Haney, Chuck Dixon, Alan Grant, John Wagner, Tony Isabella, Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Martin Pasko, Carl Potts, Larry Hama, James Roberts, Bob Budiansky, Paul Levitz and much more to come.
    Clutch says:

    Carole Lombard’s death was a tragic loss for Hollywood. If you notice her acting style, she was much ahead of her times.

    Sad to realize now that she also never got to watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon. RIP.

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