Lombard Horseman Shield Mount

Lombard Horseman Shield Mount

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Early life and education Edit

Lombard was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on October 6, 1908 at 704 Rockhill Street. [1] Christened with the name Jane Alice Peters, she was the third child and only daughter of Frederic Christian Peters (1875–1935) and Elizabeth Jayne "Bessie" (Knight) Peters (1876–1942). Her two older brothers, to each of whom she was close, both growing up and in adulthood, were Frederic Charles (1902–1979) and John Stuart (1906–1956). [2] Lombard's parents both descended from wealthy families and her early years were lived in comfort, with the biographer Robert Matzen calling it her "silver spoon period". [3] The marriage between her parents was strained, however, [4] and in October 1914, her mother took the children and moved to Los Angeles. [5] Although the couple did not divorce, the separation was permanent. [4] Her father's continued financial support allowed the family to live without worry, if not with the same affluence they had enjoyed in Indiana, and they settled into an apartment near Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles. [6]

Described by her biographer Wes Gehring as "a free-spirited tomboy", the young Lombard was passionately involved in sports and enjoyed watching movies. [7] At Virgil Junior High School, she participated in tennis, volleyball, and swimming, and won trophies for her achievements in athletics. [5] At the age of 12, this hobby unexpectedly landed Lombard her first screen role. While playing baseball with friends, she caught the attention of the film director Allan Dwan, who later recalled seeing "a cute-looking little tomboy . out there knocking the hell out of the other kids, playing better baseball than they were. And I needed someone of her type for this picture." [8] With the encouragement of her mother, Lombard happily took a small role in the melodrama A Perfect Crime (1921). She was on set for two days, [8] playing the sister of Monte Blue. [9] Dwan later commented, "She ate it up". [10]

Career beginnings and Fox contract (1921–26) Edit

A Perfect Crime was not widely distributed, but the brief experience spurred Lombard and her mother to look for more film work. The teenager attended several auditions, but none was successful. [11] While appearing as the queen of Fairfax High School's May Day Carnival at the age of 15, she was scouted by an employee of Charlie Chaplin and offered a screen test to appear in his film The Gold Rush (1925). Lombard was not given the role, but it raised Hollywood's awareness of the aspiring actress. [12] Her test was seen by the Vitagraph Film Company, which expressed an interest in signing her to a contract. Although this did not materialize, the condition that she adopt a new first name ("Jane" was considered too dull) lasted with Lombard throughout her career. She selected the name "Carol" after a girl with whom she played tennis in middle school. [13]

In October 1924, shortly after these disappointments, 16-year-old Lombard was signed to a contract with the Fox Film Corporation. Lombard's mother contacted Louella Parsons, the gossip columnist, who then got her a screen test. [14] According to the biographer Larry Swindell, Lombard's beauty convinced Winfield Sheehan, head of the studio, to sign her to a $75-per-week contract. [15] The teenager abandoned her schooling to embark on this new career. [13] Fox was happy to use the name Carol, but unlike Vitagraph, disliked her surname. From this point, she became "Carol Lombard", the new name taken from a family friend. [16]

The majority of Lombard's appearances with Fox were bit parts [13] in low-budget Westerns and adventure films. She later commented on her dissatisfaction with these roles: "All I had to do was simper prettily at the hero and scream with terror when he battled with the villain." [16] She fully enjoyed the other aspects of film work, however, such as photo shoots, costume fittings, and socializing with actors on the studio set. Lombard embraced the flapper lifestyle and became a regular at the Coconut Grove nightclub, where she won several Charleston dance competitions. [17]

In March 1925, Fox gave Lombard a leading role in the drama Marriage in Transit, opposite Edmund Lowe. Her performance was well received, with a reviewer for Motion Picture News writing that she displayed "good poise and considerable charm." [18] Despite this, the studio heads were unconvinced that Lombard was leading lady material, and her one-year contract was not renewed. [19] Gehring has suggested that a facial scar she obtained in an automobile accident was a factor in this decision, however this is not the case, as the accident occurred nearly two years later on September 9, 1927. [20]

According to historian Olympia Kiriakou, on the night of the accident, Lombard was out on a date with a young man named Harry Cooper. As they were driving down Santa Monica Boulevard, Cooper crashed into another car the windshield shattered and shards of glass cut "Lombard’s face from her nose and across her left cheek to her eye." [21] Lombard underwent reconstructive surgery, and faced a long recovery period. For the remainder of her career, Lombard learned to hide the mark with make-up and careful lighting. [22] At the time of the accident, Lombard was already under contract with Mack Sennett. In October 1927 Lombard and her mother, Bess, sued Cooper for $35,000 in damages, citing in the lawsuit that "where she formerly was able to earn a salary of $300 monthly as a Sennett girl, she is now unable to obtain employment of any kind." The lawsuit was settled out of court, and Lombard received $3000. [23] Although Lombard feared that the accident would put an end to her career, Sennett pledged to help her get back on her feet. He gave her "lucrative film roles and ample publicity," including a nickname "Carole of the Curves." Kiriakou explains that "the nickname simultaneously drew audiences’ focus away from her facial scars and worked harmoniously with the physicality and female sensuality that were emblematic of Lombard’s performances" in Sennett's films. [24]

Breakthrough and early success (1927–29) Edit

Although Lombard initially had reservations about performing in slapstick comedies, the actress joined his company as one of the "Sennett Bathing Beauties". [25] She appeared in 18 short films (all as Lillian Smith in the Smith Family series) between September 1927 and March 1929, [26] and greatly enjoyed her time at the studio. [27] It gave Lombard her first experiences in comedy and provided valuable training for her future work in the genre. [28] In 1940, she called her Sennett years "the turning point of [my] acting career." [29]

Sennett's productions were distributed by Pathé Exchange, and the company began casting Lombard in feature films. She had prominent roles in Show Folks and Ned McCobb's Daughter (both 1928), [30] where reviewers observed that she made a "good impression" and was "worth watching". [31] The following year, Pathé elevated Lombard from a supporting player to a leading lady. [32] Her success in Raoul Walsh's picture Me, Gangster (also 1928), opposite June Collyer and Don Terry on his film debut, finally eased the pressure her family had been putting on her to succeed. [33] In Howard Higgin's High Voltage (1929), her first talking picture, she played a criminal in the custody of a deputy sheriff, both of whom are among bus passengers stranded in deep snow. [34] Her next film, the comedy Big News (1929), cast her opposite Robert Armstrong and was a critical and commercial success. [35] Lombard was reunited with Armstrong for the crime drama The Racketeer, released in late 1929. The review in Film Daily wrote, "Carol Lombard proves a real surprise, and does her best work to date. In fact, this is the first opportunity she has had to prove that she has the stuff to go over." [36]

Paramount contract and first marriage (1930–33) Edit

Lombard returned to Fox for a one-off role in the western The Arizona Kid (1930). It was a big release for the studio, starring the popular actor Warner Baxter, in which Lombard received third billing. [37] Following the success of the film, Paramount Pictures recruited Lombard and signed her to a $350-per-week contract, gradually increasing to $3,500 per week by 1936. [38] They cast her in the Buddy Rogers comedy Safety in Numbers (also 1930), and one critic observed of her work, "Lombard proves [to be] an ace comedienne." [39] For her second assignment, Fast and Loose (also 1930) with Miriam Hopkins, Paramount mistakenly credited the actress as "Carole Lombard". She decided she liked this spelling and it became her permanent screen name. [40] [note 1]

Lombard appeared in five films released during 1931, beginning with the Frank Tuttle comedy It Pays to Advertise. Her next two films, Man of the World and Ladies Man, both featured William Powell, Paramount's top male star. [44] Lombard had been a fan of the actor before they met, attracted to his good looks and debonair screen persona, [45] and they were soon in a relationship. [44] The differences between the pair have been noted by biographers: she was 22, carefree, and famously foul-mouthed, while he was 38, intellectual, and sophisticated. [46] Despite their disparate personalities, Lombard married Powell on June 6, 1931, at her Beverly Hills home. [47] Talking to the media, she argued for the benefits of "love between two people who are diametrically different", claiming that their relationship allowed for a "perfect see-saw love". [45]

The marriage to Powell increased Lombard's fame, [47] while she continued to please critics with her work in Up Pops the Devil and I Take this Woman (both 1931). [48] In reviews for the latter film, which co-starred Gary Cooper, several critics predicted that Lombard was set to become a major star. [49] She went on to appear in five films throughout 1932. No One Man and Sinners in the Sun were not successful, [50] but Edward Buzzell's romantic picture Virtue was well received. [51] After featuring in the drama No More Orchids, Lombard was cast as the wife of a con artist in No Man of Her Own. [51] Her co-star for the picture was Clark Gable, who was rapidly becoming one of Hollywood's top stars. [52] The film was a critical and commercial success, and Wes Gehring writes that it was "arguably Lombard's finest film appearance" to that point. [53] It was the only picture that Gable and Lombard, future husband and wife, made together. There was no romantic interest at this time, however, as she recounted to Garson Kanin: "[we] did all kinds of hot love scenes . and I never got any kind of tremble out of him at all". [54] [note 2]

In August 1933, Lombard and Powell divorced after 26 months of marriage, although they remained very good friends until the end of Lombard's life. At the time, she blamed it on their careers, [56] but in a 1936 interview, she admitted that this "had little to do with the divorce. We were just two completely incompatible people". [48] She appeared in five films that year, beginning with the drama From Hell to Heaven and continuing with Supernatural, her only horror vehicle. After a small role in The Eagle and the Hawk, a war film starring Fredric March and Cary Grant, she starred in two melodramas: Brief Moment, which critics enjoyed, and White Woman, where she was paired with Charles Laughton. [57] “We would have married,” said Carole Lombard during her interview with magazine writer Sonia Lee for Movie Screen Magazine in 1934 about her relationship with Russ Columbo, the famous singer killed in a tragic accident whose movie and radio career she had been guiding.

Success in screwball comedies (1934–35) Edit

The year 1934 marked a high point in Lombard's career. [58] She began with Wesley Ruggles's musical drama Bolero, where George Raft and she showcased their dancing skills in an extravagantly staged performance to Maurice Ravel's "Boléro". [59] Before filming began, she was offered the lead female role in It Happened One Night, but turned it down because of scheduling conflicts with this production. [60] [note 3] Bolero was favorably received, while her next film, the musical comedy We're Not Dressing with Bing Crosby, was a box-office hit. [58]

Lombard was then recruited by the director Howard Hawks, a second cousin, [62] to star in his screwball comedy film Twentieth Century [63] which proved a watershed in her career and made her a major star. [64] Hawks had seen the actress inebriated at a party, where he found her to be "hilarious and uninhibited and just what the part needed", [65] and she was cast opposite John Barrymore. [66] In Twentieth Century, Lombard plays an actress who is pursued by her former mentor, a flamboyant Broadway impresario. Hawks and Barrymore were unimpressed with her work in rehearsals, finding that she was "acting" too hard and giving a stiff performance. The director encouraged Lombard to relax, be herself, and act on her instincts. [67] [note 4] She responded well to this tutoring, and reviews for the film commented on her unexpectedly "fiery talent"—"a Lombard like no Lombard you've ever seen". [68] The Los Angeles Times' critic felt that she was "entirely different" from her formerly cool, "calculated" persona, adding, "she vibrates with life and passion, abandon and diablerie". [69]

The next films in which Lombard appeared were Henry Hathaway's Now and Forever (1934), featuring Gary Cooper and the new child star Shirley Temple, and Lady by Choice (1934), which was a critical and commercial success. The Gay Bride (1934) placed her opposite Chester Morris in a gangster comedy, but this outing was panned by critics. [70] After reuniting with George Raft for another dance picture, Rumba (1935), Lombard was given the opportunity to repeat the screwball success of Twentieth Century. [71] In Mitchell Leisen's Hands Across the Table (1935), she portrays a manicurist in search of a rich husband, played by Fred MacMurray. Critics praised the film, and Photoplay's reviewer stated that Lombard had reaffirmed her talent for the genre. [72] It is remembered as one of her best films, [71] and the pairing of Lombard and MacMurray proved so successful that they made three more pictures together. [73]

Critical recognition (1936–37) Edit

Lombard's first film of 1936 was Love Before Breakfast, described by Gehring as "The Taming of the Shrew, screwball style". [74] In William K. Howard's The Princess Comes Across, her second comedy with MacMurray, she played a budding actress who wins a film contract by masquerading as a Swedish princess. The performance was considered a satire of Greta Garbo, and was widely praised by critics. [75] Lombard's success continued as she was recruited by Universal Studios to star in the screwball comedy My Man Godfrey (1936). William Powell, who was playing the eponymous Godfrey, insisted on her being cast as the female lead despite their divorce, the pair remained friendly and Powell felt she would be perfect in the role of Irene, a zany heiress who employs a "forgotten man" as the family butler. [76] The film was directed by Gregory LaCava, who knew Lombard personally and advised that she draw on her "eccentric nature" for the role. [77] She worked hard on the performance, particularly with finding the appropriate facial expressions for Irene. [78] My Man Godfrey was released to great acclaim and was a box office hit. It received six nominations at the 9th Academy Awards, including Lombard for Best Actress. [note 5] Biographers cite it as her finest performance, and Frederick Ott says it "clearly established [her] as a comedienne of the first rank." [80]

By 1937, Lombard was one of Hollywood's most popular actresses, [81] and also the highest-paid star in Hollywood following the deal which Myron Selznick negotiated with Paramount that brought her $450,000, [82] more than five times the salary of the U.S. President. [83] As her salary was widely reported in the press, Lombard stated that 80 percent of her earnings went in taxes, but that she was happy to help improve her country. [84] The comments earned her much positive publicity, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent her a personal letter of thanks. [85]

Her first release of the year was Leisen's Swing High, Swing Low, a third pairing with MacMurray. The film focused on a romance between two cabaret performers, and was a critical and commercial success. [86] It had been primarily a drama, with occasional moments of comedy, [87] but for her next project, Nothing Sacred, Lombard returned to the screwball genre. [88] Producer David O. Selznick, impressed by her work in My Man Godfrey, was eager to make a comedy with the actress and hired Ben Hecht to write an original screenplay for her. [89] Nothing Sacred, directed by William Wellman and co-starring Fredric March, satirized the journalism industry and "the gullible urban masses". Lombard portrayed a small-town girl who pretends to be dying and finds her story exploited by a New York reporter. [90] Marking her only appearance in Technicolor, the film was highly praised and was one of Lombard's personal favorites. [91]

Lombard continued with screwball comedies, next starring in what Swindell calls one of her "wackiest" films, True Confession (1937). [92] She played a compulsive liar who wrongly confesses to murder. Lombard loved the script and was excited about the project, which reunited her with John Barrymore and was her final appearance with MacMurray. Her prediction that it "smacked of a surefire success" proved accurate, as critics responded positively and it was popular at the box office. [93]

Dramatic efforts and second marriage (1938–40) Edit

True Confession was the last film Lombard made on her Paramount contract, and she remained an independent performer for the rest of her career. [94] Her next film was made at Warner Bros., where she played a famous actress in Mervyn LeRoy's Fools for Scandal (1938). The comedy met with scathing reviews and was a commercial failure, with Swindell calling it "one of the most horrendous flops of the thirties". [95]

Fools for Scandal was the only film Lombard made in 1938. By this time, she was devoted to a relationship with Clark Gable. [96] Four years after their teaming on No Man of Her Own, the pair had reunited at a Hollywood party and began a romance early in 1936. [97] The media took great interest in their partnership and frequently questioned if they would wed. [98] Gable was separated from his wife, Rhea Langham, but she did not want to grant him a divorce. [99] As his relationship with Lombard became serious, Langham eventually agreed to a settlement worth half a million dollars. [note 6] The divorce was finalized in March 1939, and Gable and Lombard eloped in Kingman, Arizona, on March 29. [102] The couple, both lovers of the outdoors, bought a 20-acre ranch in Encino, California, where they kept barnyard animals and enjoyed hunting trips. [103] Almost immediately, Lombard wanted to start a family, but her attempts failed after two miscarriages and numerous trips to fertility specialists, she was unable to have children. [104] In early 1938, Lombard officially joined the Baháʼí Faith, of which her mother had been a member since 1922. [105] [106]

While continuing with a slower work-rate, Lombard decided to move away from comedies and return to dramatic roles. [107] She appeared in a second David O. Selznick production, Made for Each Other (1939), which paired her with James Stewart to play a couple facing domestic difficulties. [108] Reviews for the film were highly positive, and praised Lombard's dramatic effort financially, it was a disappointment. [109] Lombard's next appearance came opposite Cary Grant in the John Cromwell romance In Name Only (1939), a credit she personally negotiated with RKO Radio Pictures upon hearing of the script and Grant's involvement. [110] The role mirrored her recent experiences, as she played a woman in love with a married man whose wife refuses to divorce. She was paid $150,000 for the film, continuing her status as one of Hollywood's highest-paid actresses, and it was a moderate success. [111]

Lombard was eager to win an Academy Award, and selected her next project—from several possible scripts—with the expectation that it would bring her the trophy. [112] Vigil in the Night (1940), directed by George Stevens, featured Lombard as a nurse who faces a series of personal difficulties. Although the performance was praised, she did not get her nomination, as the sombre mood of the picture turned audiences away and box-office returns were poor. [113] Despite the realization that she was best suited to comedies, [114] Lombard completed one more drama: They Knew What They Wanted (1940), co-starring Charles Laughton, which was mildly successful. [115]

Final roles (1941–42) Edit

Accepting that "my name doesn't sell tickets to serious pictures", [116] Lombard returned to comedy for the first time in three years to film Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941), about a couple who learns that their marriage is invalid, with Robert Montgomery. Lombard was influential in bringing Alfred Hitchcock, whom she knew through David O. Selznick, to direct one of his most atypical films. [117] It was a commercial success, as audiences were happy with what Swindell calls "the belated happy news . that Carole Lombard was a screwball once more." [118]

It was nearly a year before Lombard committed to another film, as she focused instead on her home and marriage. [119] [note 7] Determined that her next film be "an unqualified smash hit", she was also careful in selecting a new project. Through her agent, Lombard heard of Ernst Lubitsch's upcoming film: To Be or Not to Be (1942), a dark comedy that satirized the Nazi takeover of Poland. [121] The actress had long wanted to work with Lubitsch, her favorite comedy director, and felt that the material—although controversial—was a worthy subject. [122] Lombard accepted the role of actress Maria Tura, despite it being a smaller part than she was used to, and was given top billing over the film's lead, Jack Benny. Filming took place in the fall of 1941, and was reportedly one of the happiest experiences of Lombard's career. [121]

When the U.S. entered World War II at the end of 1941, Lombard traveled to her home state of Indiana for a war bond rally with her mother, Bess Peters, and Clark Gable's press agent, Otto Winkler. Lombard raised more than $2 million in defense bonds in a single evening. Her party had initially been scheduled to return to Los Angeles by train, but Lombard was eager to reach home more quickly and wanted to travel by air. Her mother and Winkler were afraid of flying and insisted that the group follow their original travel plans. Lombard suggested that they flip a coin they agreed, and Lombard won the toss. [123]

In the early morning hours of January 16, 1942, Lombard, her mother and Winkler boarded a Transcontinental and Western Air Douglas DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport) aircraft to return to California. [note 8] After refueling in Las Vegas, TWA Flight 3 took off at 7:07 p.m. and crashed into Double Up Peak near the 8,300-foot (2,530 m) level of Potosi Mountain, 32 statute miles (51 km) southwest of the Las Vegas airport. All 22 aboard, including Lombard, her mother, and 15 U.S. Army soldiers, were killed instantly. [125] Lombard was 33 years old. The cause of the crash was attributed to the flight crew's inability to properly navigate over the mountains surrounding Las Vegas. As a precaution against the possibility of enemy Japanese bomber aircraft coming into American airspace from the Pacific, safety beacons normally used to direct night flights had been turned off, leaving the pilot and crew of the TWA flight without visual warnings of the mountains in their flight path. [126] [127]

Aftermath Edit

Lombard's funeral was January 21 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. She was interred beside her mother under the name of Carole Lombard Gable. Despite remarrying twice following her death, Gable was interred beside Lombard when he died in 1960. The crash remains are still on Potosi, although they are very difficult to find due to slope and brush.

Lombard's final film, To Be or Not to Be, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and co-starring Jack Benny, a satire about Nazism and World War II, was in post-production at the time of her death. Allegedly, it's been said that film's producers decided to cut a line in which Lombard's character asks, "What can happen on a plane?" out of respect for the circumstances surrounding her death. [128] However there is no indication that this line existed and was removed posthumously, according to the film's PSA file. [129]

At the time of her death, Lombard had been scheduled to star in the film They All Kissed the Bride when production started, she was replaced by Joan Crawford. [130] Crawford donated all of her salary for the film to the Red Cross, which had helped extensively in the recovery of bodies from the air crash. Shortly after Lombard's death, Gable, who was inconsolable and devastated by his loss, joined the United States Army Air Forces. Lombard had asked him to do that numerous times after the United States had entered World War II. After officer training, Gable headed a six-man motion picture unit attached to a B-17 bomb group in England to film aerial gunners in combat, flying five missions himself. In December 1943, the United States Maritime Commission announced that a Liberty ship named after Carole Lombard would be launched. [131] Gable attended the launch of the SS Carole Lombard on January 15, 1944, the two-year anniversary of Lombard's record-breaking war bond drive. The ship was involved in rescuing hundreds of survivors from sunken ships in the Pacific and returning them to safety.

In 1962, Jill Winkler Rath, widow of publicist Otto Winkler, filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the $2,000,000 estate of Clark Gable in connection with Winkler's death in the plane crash with Carole Lombard. The suit was dismissed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Rath, in her action, claimed Gable promised to provide financial aid for her if she would not bring suit against the airline involved. Rath stated she later learned that Gable settled his claim against the airline for $10. He did so because he did not want to repeat his grief in court and subsequently provided her no financial aid in his will. [132] [133]

Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and Mrs. Elizabeth Peters, mother of Carole Lombard (1939)

Irene Dunne and Louis B. Mayer christen SS Carole Lombard while Clark Gable and Mrs. Walter Lang, who was Lombard's secretary, look on.

Crypt of Carole Lombard, in the Sanctuary of Trust of the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn Glendale

Author Robert D. Matzen has cited Lombard as "among the most commercially successful and admired film personalities in Hollywood in the 1930s", [134] and feminist writer June Sochen believes that Lombard "demonstrated great knowledge of the mechanics of film making". [135] George Raft, her co-star in Bolero, was extremely fond of the actress, remarking "I truly loved Carole Lombard. She was the greatest girl that ever lived and we were the best of pals. Completely honest and outspoken, she was liked by everyone". [136]

Historian Olympia Kiriakou identifies Lombard as a progressive, feminist studio-era star. She describes Lombard's politics as "proto-feminist," explaining that "many of her political and social statements pre-date the second-wave feminist movement, yet were very much in line with the second wave’s focus," particularly her views about women's roles in the home and workplace. [137] Lombard's independent star persona balanced her femininity and screen glamour with "male business sense." [138] She was described by Photoplay columnist Hart Seymore as the "perfect example of a modern Career Girl," which was based on Lombard’s capability to “live by the logical premise that women have equal rights with men." [139] In 1937, Photoplay published an article about Lombard's business acumen entitled "Carole Lombard tells: 'How I Live by a Man's Code'," in which she offers readers rules for how to be successful in business and at home such as "“play fair [with men]. don’t burn over criticism - stand up to it like a man." [140] Notably, in the article Lombard tells readers that she “doesn’t believe in a man’s world,” and encourages women to “work - and like it," adding: “All women should have something worthwhile to do, and cultivate efficiency at it, whether it be housekeeping or raising chickens. Working women are interesting women." [141] But as Kiriakou explains, such an article was published in order "to elicit a specific response from the fan magazine readers - namely, to view Lombard’s independent star as indistinguishable from the Lombard heroines they saw on screen." [142]

Moreover, according to scholar Emily Carman, Lombard’s independent female star persona was able to emerge only when she “attained greater professional autonomy in the mid-1930s," ultimately leading her to become one of the first stars of the studio-era to go freelance. [143] Freelancing gave Lombard more autonomy over her career decisions, and the types of roles she was able to play. Additionally, Lombard was the first Hollywood star to propose profit participation: in 1938, she negotiated with Selznick International Pictures to take a reduced salary of $100,000 in exchange for a 20 percent cut of the distributor’s gross of $1.6 to $1.7 million, and subsequent smaller percentages as the gross increased. [144] Carman explains that this contract also included a "no-loan out" clause, the right to employ Travis Banton as her costume designer of choice, as well as all legal rights to her image. [145] Carman concludes that Lombard's strategic business sense and easy-going nature were central to her independent star persona, and the control she maintained over her career was a challenge to the “paternalistic structure” of the studio system. [146]

Lombard was particularly noted for the zaniness of her performances, [147] described as a "natural prankster, a salty tongued straight-shooter, a feminist precursor and one of the few stars who was beloved by the technicians and studio functionaries who worked with her". [148] Life magazine noted that her film personality transcended to real life, "her conversation, often brilliant, is punctuated by screeches, laughs, growls, gesticulations and the expletives of a sailor's parrot". [149] Graham Greene praised the "heartbreaking and nostalgic melodies" of her faster-than-thought delivery, whereas The Independent wrote, "Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé, Lombard wriggled expressively through such classics of hysteria as Twentieth Century and My Man Godfrey." [150]

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Lombard 23rd on its list of the 25 greatest American female screen legends of classic Hollywood cinema, [151] and she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6930 Hollywood Blvd. Lombard received one Academy Award for Best Actress nomination, for My Man Godfrey. [152] Actresses who have portrayed her in films include Jill Clayburgh in Gable and Lombard (1976), [153] Sharon Gless in Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980), Denise Crosby in Malice in Wonderland (1985), Anastasia Hille in RKO 281 (1999) and Vanessa Gray in Lucy (2003). [154] Lombard's Fort Wayne childhood home has been designated a historic landmark. The city named the nearby bridge over the St. Mary's River the Carole Lombard Memorial Bridge. [148]


The Four Horsemen Positioning

From the mechanics of the Horsemen marks, each Horseman must be taken to a separate corner, and tanked there. Whilst having one Mark stack up will do too much damage and kill you, it is possible to have all 4 marks stack to a lesser extent and survive. 4 Marks of Mograine (3000 damage per tick) hurt a lot more than one Mark from each (no damage at all).

This means tanks must be rotated in and out, otherwise they will die from the Mark stacking too much. A second tank must then be ready to taunt the enemy off the original tank as soon as the debuff becomes fatal. The range of these debuffs is

50 yards, making rotation timing key.

12 Unsolved Murders in Illinois since 1974

While it is the job of police in Illinois to solve crimes committed in the state, not every crime ends with an explanation and a conviction. The Illinois State Police has a list of 24 unsolved murders since September 1974, in hopes that it may lead to new information, tips or leads from the public.

Here are the details surrounding 12 of those unsolved crimes from the Illinois State Police website. If anyone has information regarding these cases, specific contacts are listed for each unsolved crime. Emails can be sent to [email protected] or by contacting your local ISP District.

24. Atkinson

  • Where: Inside her Atkinson home
  • When: Sept. 9, 1974
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Mary Ann Becker (15,000 reward)

On Sept. 9, 1974, between the hours of 5:45 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., Mary Ann Becker was discovered dead inside her home in Atkinson. The circumstances of Mary Ann Becker's death resulted in a homicide investigation involving multiple police agencies. The investigation into Mary Ann Becker's death is currently ongoing. Mary Ann was a 16-year-old high school student in Atkinson at the time her life was taken.

  • Where: 602 S. Fell St. Normal
  • When: Dec. 23, 1975
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Carol Rofstad (1,000 reward)

Carol Rofstad, who was 21 when she was killed, lived in Normal while attending Illinois State University. She was found beaten unconscious about noon Dec.23, 1975, outside her sorority house at 602 S. Fell St. The suspected murder weapon, an 18-inch piece of railroad tie, was found nearby. Rofstad wasn't found until roughly 12 hours after the attack. She died Christmas Eve as a result of head injuries.

Two men, one of whom carried a club, were seen between 10 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. on Dec. 22, 1975. Both were white males and between the ages of 18 and 25.

At the time of the attack, most students had already left campus for the holiday break. Instead of returning to Elk Grove Village, though, Rofstad had stayed in the Twin Cities to work at a retail store. Money was found in her purse and there was no evidence of sexual assault. Two women, in the sorority house, neither saw nor heard anything unusual.

Anyone with information in this case can call the Normal Police Department at (309) 454-9526, or Crime Stoppers of McLean County at (309) 828-1111.

22. Massac County

  • Where: Near Macedonia Church Rd and US Highway 45 in Massac County
  • When: March 30, 1984
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Lisa Ann Carnes

Carnes' body was found in a field in rural Massac County near Macedonia Church Road and U.S. Highway 45.

Anyone who has information that may be helpful in solving this crime is asked to contact ISP Sergeant Chad Brown at (618) 845-3740, extension 282.

21. I-88, 120 miles west of Chicago

  • Where: Near mile marker 28.5, off of I-88 approximately 120 miles west of Chicago
  • When: May 20, 1986
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Kathleen A. Goebeler, aka Kathleen Johnson

On May 20, 1986, ISP District 01 responded to an area of abandoned railroad tracks located on the south side of I-88, milepost 28.5, wherein a citizen had discovered the decomposed skeletal remains of a white female now identified as Kathleen A. Goebeler. Kathleen's maiden name is Johnson. Her last known address was Mckees Rocks, Penn., which is a suburb of Pittsburgh. Kathleen was last seen between April 11th and 18th, 1986, in Mckees Rocks, Penn.

It is known that Goebeler would hitch-hike as a means of transportation. Goebeler was known to have worked in strip clubs in the Pittsburgh area, Atlantic City, N.J. area and possibly the northwest West Virginia area.

Geographic information regarding the area wherein the female was found: I-88 is an east/west tollway which connects the Quad Cities with Chicago, Illinois (very rural in nature). This location was approximately 120 miles west of Chicago. At the time of death, I-88 was still Illinois Route 5, a four-lane highway. The body was found approximately 45 feet south of the roadway across a barbed wire fence in a sparsely wooded area.

If you have any information please contact Special Agent Nate Macklin 815/632-4012 Ext. 229.

20. Jarvis Township, Collinsville

  • Where: Lebanon Road, 1/10th of a mile west of the Troy and O'Fallon Rd. in Jarvis Township, Collinsville
  • When: July 20, 1990
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of unidentified female

On July 20, 1990, at 1:25 p.m., an unidentified, white female body was found in a bean field approximately 40 feet north of Lebanon Road, 1/10th of a mile west of the Troy and O'Fallon Road in Jarvis Township, Collinsville. The victim's death resulted from multiple cutting and stab wounds to the neck and torso her fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries were missing. Evidence of surgical removal could not be determined. No defensive wounds were found on the victim. The body appeared to have been placed at the site two to three days prior to discovery.

Anyone with any information regarding the identification of the unidentified victim is urged to contact Detective Leonard Suhre, Madison County Sheriff's Department at (618) 692-4433 or (618) 692-0871.

19. Lawrence County, Miss.

  • Where: I-44 in rural Lawrence County, Miss., between Springfield and Joplin, Miss.
  • When: Aug. 23, 1992
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Tammy J. Zywicki

On Aug. 23, 1992, Tammy J. Zywicki departed Evanston for college in Grinnell, IA, where she was expected to arrive that evening. Later that day, Zywicki's car was found by an Illinois State Trooper and ticketed as being abandoned. On Aug. 24, 1992, the vehicle was towed by ISP. On that same evening, Zywicki's mother contacted the ISP and advised them that her daughter had not arrived at college. On Sept. 1, 1992, Zywicki's body was located along Interstate Highway 44 (I-44) in rural Lawrence County, Miss. which is located between Springfield and Joplin, Miss. She had been stabbed to death.

Zywicki was reportedly last seen with her car on I-80 at mile marker 83 in LaSalle County between 3:10 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Aug. 23, 1992. It was also reported that a tractor/trailer was seen near Zywicki's vehicle during this time period. The driver of the tractor/trailer is described as a white male between 35 and 40 years of age, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair. Some of the victim's personal property is known to be missing, including a Cannon 35mm camera and a musical wrist watch with an umbrella on its face and it played a tune.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact S/A Jorge Fonseca, ISP at (815) 726-6377 Ext 286.

18. Jefferson County

  • Where: Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County
  • When: Jan. 24, 1993
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of unidentified female

On Jan. 27, 1993, the head of a white female was found in a wooded area in the Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County. Postmortem examination revealed the victim had approximately shoulder length reddish-brown hair.

Analysis by the University of Illinois Anthropology Department indicated the victim's age ranged between 30 to 50 years. Unusual skeletal characteristics of the skull and upper front cervical vertebrae indicate the victim suffered from chronic spasmodic torticollis, or wryneck, a condition which causes stress on the muscles which are responsible for maintaining upright head posture. Evidence of a healed traumatic lesion on the skull suggests this condition may have been preceded by head trauma this would have resulted in the victim maintaining a leftward tilt of the head.

Anyone with any information that would help identify this unidentified victim is urged to contact Jefferson County Sheriff's Department at (618) 242-2141 or ISP, M/Sgt Myron Pansing at (618) 542-1137.

17. Williamson County

  • Where: Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County
  • When: June 29, 1993
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Keith L. Brown

On Feb. 3, 1993, the wife of Keith L. Brown, 34, of Buckner, reported her husband was missing. Brown's blue 1989 Plymouth hatchback, (IL. Reg. KWA682) was located two days later in a remote area near Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County. On June 29,1993, Brown's skeletal remains were found in a hay field near Crab Orchard Lake by a farmer. Brown had been shot several times.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Master Sergeant Stanton Diggs, ISP, at (618) 542-2171 ext.8090.

  • Where: I-90 in Elgin
  • When: July 24, 1993
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Carmen Charneco (5,000 reward)

Carmen Charneco was found murdered on July 24, 1993 on I-90 in Elgin. The ISP is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Edwin Acevedo Rodriguez, a 42-year-old Hispanic male.

Rodriguez is a wanted fugitive who fled the Elgin area in July 1993 and is wanted for questioning in the death of Charneco. Rodriguez should be considered armed and dangerous. Rodriguez has a history of drugs and weapons and has been identified as a member of the street gang "Maniac Latin Disciples." Rodriguez has relatives in and has been sighted in Brooklyn, Bronx, New York, New York and the areas surrounding Aguada, Aguadilla Puerto Rico. He was also sighted in Hialeah, Florida. Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican male, approximately 5 feet, 3 - 5 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes. When last seen, his weight was approximately 132-150 pounds, but this description is dated. Rodriguez has several tattoos including ones on his left and right thighs, right arm, forearm, and shoulder.

The attached photograph shows Rodriguez as he looked in 1993 (the last photo shows what he might look like today).

  • Where: House for sale in Macon County
  • When: Aug. 5, 1994
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Sherry Lewis (10,000 reward)

On Aug. 5, 1994, 30-year-old Sherry L. Lewis, a Decatur realtor, was found deceased in a Macon County residence that was for sale which she had an appointment to show. The family of Sherry Lewis is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder.

Anyone with information regarding the Lewis murder should contact the Macon County Sheriff's Office at (217) 424-1337.

14. Cook County

  • Where: Sanitary Shipping Canal, one mile east of Routes 83 and 171 in Cook County
  • When: Oct. 10, 1994
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Jeffery W. Archer

The ISP, District Chicago Investigations is seeking assistance regarding the death of Jeffery W. Archer. He was last seen leaving his 1990 Plymouth Voyager, Illinois Registration TU5880 on Oct. 10, 1994, at approximately 5:00 p.m. in the area of 6900 South Wolf Road, Indian Head Park. His body was recovered on Oct. 16, 1994, from the Sanitary Shipping Canal, one mile east of Routes 83 and 171.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact ISP Zone 1 Investigations at (847) 608-3200 to provide any additional information.

  • Where: 527 South Maple, Nokomis in Montgomery County
  • When: Nov. 1, 1995
  • Case details: Homicide investigation of Shana M. Jaros

The ISP, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, and the Nokomis Police Department are seeking assistance regarding the homicide of Shana Marie Jaros, of Nokomis. Just before 7:00 a.m., on Nov. 1, 1995, Jaros' deceased body was discovered in her apartment of one week at 527 South Maple, Nokomis. A neighbor reported she heard a scuffle in Jaros's apartment at approximately 4:46 a.m. The neighbor did not observe anyone leaving the victim's apartment immediately thereafter. Jaros received more than 50 stab-cutting wounds from just above her breasts to her neck. Death resulted from massive blood loss.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Sergeant Mike Sheeley, ISP, District 18 Headquarters at 217/324-2515 or Analyst John Roman, ISP, Field Support Section at (888) 375-9611, or [email protected]

Check out Reboot Illinois to see 12 more recent unsolved crimes, including deaths in 2010 and 2007. Remember to contact the Illinois State Police with any information about these unsolved crimes.

General strategies

All trash and bosses can be handled by two or three tanks no special composition is needed. Due to the number of mobs attacking in many trash waves, good AoE tanking is required. Consequently a paladin tank was often preferred during the Burning Crusade expansion, but this is no longer a great concern due to changes in tanking class balance.

Trash waves

On most trash waves, it's a good idea to set up an AoE kill zone, particularly for ghouls. Some of the incoming mobs can be kited by hunters to be killed by the NPCs, e.g. the Banshees. Melee players can attack the airborn Frost Wyrms by standing within their hit box directly underneath, but gargoyles must either be silenced while casting a gargoyle strike or kited by ranged DPS until they descend to the ground, where they can be reached by melee. Make good use of the NPCs, as they can add significantly to the overall raid DPS.


Three rogues rotating usage of [ Distract ] once a boss has spawned can give the raid an indefinite amount of time out of combat to resurrect the dead and eat and drink. Anecdotal evidence suggests that staying at the side of the boss and also placing the distracts at his side decreases the chance for resists.

Most bosses have AoE abilities for which the the raid must spread out. It's good standard practice to put all ranged damage dealers and healers well distributed in a wide circle around the main tank position.

Lombard Horseman Shield Mount - History

Hi all, would like to hear your opinions on this. I don't think I found better horse to use other than the battanian thoroughbred. Anyone else found a better one?

Stat comparison of Nahasawi and Asaligat compared to Battanian Thoroughbred)

Basically Aserai Horses only a bit better in every way. And Aserai Horses are no slouches to begin with.

Super rare, though. I think the only one I've found was stealing it from my Aserai wife.

There's horses that take 90 riding but most of them aren't exactly direct upgrades to the 60 riding war horses. They're also not designated as war horses either.

Battanian Thoroughbred

I like my Aserai <sp?>. It's got "turbo-boost" and "drifts." :) Fastest thing on the battlefield most of the time.

Steppe Warhorse is pretty darn awesome, though.

In Warband, I always went for "Charge" value and hitpoints. That's much less important in Bannerlord since Barding is available and any horse basically already has a pretty powerful "Charge" effect right now.


Horses are available as mounts in Skyrim, and improve your movement speed. They are somewhat slower than horses in Cyrodiil but are better at combat and have more endurance. If you fast travel to a city, then an owned horse you are riding will move to the stables outside the city an unowned horse will return to its starting point. Only an owned horse will stay where you left it when you dismount. Horses you do not own will begin to travel back to their normal locations if you dismount them.

Horses can be purchased from stables, located outside each major city. All horses have the same speed, stamina, and health, varying only in color. The only two exceptions to this are Shadowmere and Frost.

Stealing horses is considered to be a crime. To steal a horse, simply mount it and start riding. Stealing a horse incurs a 50 gold bounty in that hold which stacks every time a guard notices (or is told about) you mounting a stolen horse (even if you dismount and then mount the same stolen horse). However, stealing a horse while hidden in sneak mode allows you to ride the horse without incurring a bounty. It is still considered a stolen horse, so dismounting and then mounting the horse in plain sight will incur a bounty. Note that most horses you encounter are likely to be owned by someone, even if you find the horse in the middle of the wilderness. When dismounted, owned horses will stay in the spot you left them, but stolen horses will run home.

Several horses can be freely borrowed from their owners once you befriend the stable owners. Although you are free to ride these horses, as soon as you dismount the horse will start to return home (occasionally sliding/moving so quickly that it is impossible to catch up with the horse). They may reappear after you fast travel. Locations include:

If the owner of a horse, such as a hunter, dies by a hand other than yours, their horse becomes a free horse and you can use it without it being considered a crime. [verification needed] The horse will still not be owned by you and will not follow you or stay put after dismounting. The same holds true for horses stabled at forts captured during the civil war quests. There is a guaranteed unowned horse at an unmarked hunter camp on the northern coast of Winterhold near Bleakcoast Cave. There is also a random encounter which consists of a dead bandit on the ground and a horse which is free to ride. Also, most of the military camps have two horses at them some of those horses are free to ride as well, even if you are on the opposite side from the camp (e.g. if you are a member of the Legion, the horses in the Stormcloak camps are still free to ride). Finally, most of the other unowned horses follow a walking route, with a spawning point and a final destination. When you fast travel, all unowned horses are reset to their original spawning positions this means that if you fast travel to a location where a horse spawns, you can reliably mount that horse if you do so quickly, before the horse leaves on its route.

Unique Horses Edit

There are three unique horses available to you:

    has substantially more health and somewhat more stamina than a normal horse, extremely high health regeneration and a unique look. He also returns from the dead at the place where he was first obtained ten days later, if killed. He is obtained during the Dark Brotherhood quest The Cure for Madness. Note that to obtain this horse you must participate in the Dark Brotherhood questline—if you destroy them instead, this horse will never be available. has more health and stamina than a regular horse, but is otherwise not unique. He can be obtained during the quest Promises to Keep started in Riften. DG is a spectral undead horse added with the Dawnguardadd-on. He can be summoned for 60 seconds, but will remain with you until you dismount even if past the time limit. You must complete the Soul Cairn Horse Quest in order to obtain the Summon Arvak spell.
  • A fourth unique horse, Karinda, is available on PC via the Console, but does not otherwise appear in-game.

Purchasable Horses Edit

City Stables Hostler Color BaseID RefID
Markarth Markarth Stables Cedran (Banning) Piebald 00109e41 0003f351
Riften Riften Stables Hofgrir Horse-Crusher Dapple Grey 00109e40 000984ab
Solitude Solitude Stables Geimund (Horm) Palomino 00109e3e 000ce66f
Whiterun Whiterun Stables Skulvar Sable-Hilt (Jervar) Black 00109e3d 00068d74
Windhelm Windhelm Stables Ulundil (Arivanya) Bay 00109ab1 0009848c
Heljarchen Hall Heljarchen Hall Personal Steward Black xx010fbe xx010fbc
Lakeview Manor Lakeview Manor Personal Steward Dun xx00f9a8 xx007a8e
Windstad Manor Windstad Manor Personal Steward Dapple Grey xx010fbb xx00be1a

Tamable Horses CC Edit

The Wild Horses Creation adds the ability to tame wild horses. When you encounter one, you will have to chase it down and mount it, prompting the following message:

Wild horses will buck until tamed. Stay mounted until they submit. If you are thrown, try again. Once tamed, you can add a saddle and rename them at any stable. When changing horses, tamed horses will return to the location where they were found.

You will need to remain mounted on the horse until it is successfully tamed. It has a chance to ragdoll you when bucking, which will force you to chase down the fleeing horse once you get back on your feet. Once tamed, the horse is yours. Most wild horses will return to the original location they were found, but the Unicorn will instead return to the College of Winterhold.

There are eight wild horses in total. All except the Unicorn are named "Wild Horse", but are distinguished here based on their miscellaneous objective name:

Norman Knights: 10 Things You Should Know

Illustration By Angus McBride.

Posted By: Dattatreya Mandal November 23, 2016

The resplendent image of a medieval ‘knight in shining armor‘ is even a trope of popular culture. But beyond visual magnificence and social elitism, the foremost historical factor that can be associated with a knight obviously relates to his martial prowess on the battlefield. This ambit of ardor, mobility, and even ruthlessness was kick-started by none other than the Normans, who initially hailed from Normandy, but carried forth their Viking legacy, and carved up a plethora of kingdoms and political entities in distant parts of Europe and even the Levant. So without further ado, let us take a gander at the ten incredible things you should know about the Norman knights.

1) The Lance –

Source: Pinterest

In one of our previous articles about the medieval knights, we talked about the importance of swords, both from the symbolic perspective (given how the cross-guard and the grip together resembled the cruciform) and its association as an instrument of status (a cultural factor that was possibly adopted from the ancient Celts and Germanic tribes). However, the weapon that truly transformed the knights (especially the Norman knights) into a battlefield force to be reckoned with, pertains to the lance.

But what exactly is a lance, especially in its historical context? In simple terms, from the 10th to 11th century, the lance wielded by a Norman knight generally comprised a straightforward stout spear, with its plain ash shaft fitted with a leaf-shaped iron-head and pretty long socket. In essence, the weapon form (in the early middle ages) harked backed to the kontos-type spear used by the heavy cavalry of the ancient times and late antiquity, like the famed ‘Companions’ (Hetairoi) of Alexander and the renowned Savaran cataphracts of Persia.

Now intriguingly enough, the Bayeux Tapestry shows how many of the Norman knights held their lance overhead, which might be interpreted as a stabbing action. However in few cases, the spear is shown as being thrown mid-air, thus suggesting the use of some lance-like weapons (or short spears) as javelins from the horse-back (though the view can be disputed). In any case, the status of the lance as a knight’s weapon was mirrored by the ones fitted with tailed pennons that often carried forth the heraldry or symbols associated with the carrier, like the raven standards depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.

2) The ‘Weight’ Of Squires –

Mounted Knight gear, Siege of Jerusalem (1244 AD). Credit: Thom Atkinson

Now while our popular notion suggests that squires were essentially knights in training, and thus by virtue were of noble birth, historicity states that the Norman knights also employed a large number of young men of ‘non-noble’ origins as their attendants. As a matter of fact, many of these ‘squires’ were actually paid in money, though the sum was offered quite irregularly. In any case, the job of a medieval squire was quite unenviable, with his foremost duty requiring him to carry the heavy burden of his master (knight), including the luggage and hefty weapons. He did this with an aid of a pack-horse or rouncy and led the mighty destrier warhorse of his master through the routes.

During times of campaign, the squire was charged with setting up the tent of the knight. At times he also had to set forth at a moment’s notice for foraging and locating water holes that would sate the logistical requirements of the heavily armed and noble horsemen. And as many of the pop-cultural aficionados would know, the squires (of noble birth) were also burdened with the duty of dressing up the knights in their panoply before the commencement of a battle.

And since we brought the scope of a battle, in spite of his position as a ‘helper’ of a knight, the squire was expected to actively take part in military encounters, especially when the knight was dismounted and thus needed his reserved war-horse in the midst of the fray. Moreover at times, few of the noble squires even put forth their claims to join the fight in protracted siege battles, thus mirroring a bloody rite of passage pertaining to their future knighthood.

3) The ‘Slap’ And Knights-Errant –

Like most of their European counterparts, the Norman knights were basically ‘chosen’ based on their lineage, and thus the 8-10-year-old boys (puers) were sent to a lord’s household to taking their training in combat and (most importantly) following orders. Beyond the age of 14, many teenagers were inducted into the ranks of the squires. And finally, by the age of 21, they were dubbed as knights – with a seemingly odd initiation rite where the young man was given a hefty blow about the ears. He had to take on the blow without retaliating, thus symbolically suggesting that it was the only physical blow after knighthood that he was going to willingly endure.

These unmarried youths (known as juvenis) were the renowned knights-errant of numerous medieval songs and poems, who supposedly followed the rigors of chivalry to seek fame, fortunes and noble wives. In practical terms, many of the young men were retained as household knights, while the others plied their trade as mercenaries. Many of the younger sons, who had little chance of inheriting their predecessor’s properties, tried their best to marry the rich heiresses whose patrimonies they can lay claim to.

Additionally, by the 11th century, the young Norman knights took part in tournaments that entailed free-form exercises (like the French melee) in open fields. These ‘encounters’ almost played out like actual gruesome battles, with opposing team of knights fighting against each other in their full panoply while being armed with sharp weapons. The defeated knights, as a rule, had to forfeit their warhorse and rich armor, thus providing an incentive for many a cash-strapped knight errant of the period, in spite of the imminent physical danger.

4) Training Since Puberty –

Via Crystal Cave Chronicles.

While the puers were possibly inducted into a lord’s household by the age of 10, a knight’s real combat training only started after the age of 12 or 13. One of the first exercises the that the child teenager was taught entailed riding a horse, thus mirroring the contemporary remark (paraphrased by eminent French historian Marc Bloch) – ‘he who has stayed at school till the age of twelve, and never ridden a horse, is fit only to be a priest’. To that end, it was no easy task to maintain control over the imposing and mulish stallions, especially when maneuvering had to be done with a shield in the left hand and a thrusting weapon (like a lance) in the right. Now when riding the war-horse, the left hand was obviously used to hold the rein but during the heat of the combat, the shield had to be kept still, and hence the rein was often laid on the horse’s neck, which suggests a delicate balancing act on the part of the rider.

And while the shield was an important part of Norman’s knight panoply, it was the lance and its momentum that made these heavy horsemen truly effective on the battlefield (especially with the posture of couched lance). However, at times, the sheer impact of the lance and its consequent shock could even dismount the knight-in-training from the horse-back. Suffice it to say, many practice runs resulted in serious injuries and even rare fatalities among the trainees. So over time, training was more focused on the ‘optimized’ gripping of the lance that allowed the rider to stay on the horse after a successful charge.

In that regard, 14th-century manuscripts depict particular constructs of wooden horses with wheels. The trainee was mounted atop the construct, while his companions would pull the horse at full speed, hurling the rider towards a shield pinned along with a post. The trainee had to aim for that shield with his lance, and the wooden horse was continued to be dragged even after the impact was made, thus preparing the knight to brace (with the help of his legs) after the momentum shock.

Other training methods involved practicing swords cuts and parries, often with the help of wooden posts. And interestingly, harking back to the ancient Romans, many of the blunt weapons used for training were often of double weight, thereby increasing the stamina and fortitude of the trainees, which in turn compensated for their heavy gear in actual battle scenarios.

5) The Dangerous Hunts –

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The martial ambit of medieval Norman culture, partly inherited due to their Viking origins, was not just limited to the rigorous (and often brutal) training fields. Much like the near-contemporary Mongols, the Norman military took particular pride in their hunting skills. The primal side of this scope was obviously related to gathering food. But as for the elite sections of the Norman society, including the knights, hunting provided them with the opportunity to practice their horsemanship and endurance, especially on the rough terrains of the countryside.

And on rare occasions, hunting was also the way one could showcase his courage and martial skill when the prey tended to be dangerous like wild boar, stag or even brown bear. To that end, Richard of Normandy, the second son of William the Conqueror, was possibly killed by a stag while hunting in the New Forest, a tract of heath-land and woods that was proclaimed as a royal forest by William himself. Interestingly enough, by the later years, many of the Norman knights even practiced their archery skills on the quicker prey – as the bow was raised to being a prestigious weapon after the Norman conquest of England.

6) The Tactic Of Couched Lance –

Credit: ArtCentral

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, the martial scope that differentiated the medieval Norman knights (and their European counterparts) from the ordinary soldiers was directly related to the momentous charge they could mount on a battlefield. And the Norman penchant for fast and brutal warfare was rather fueled by the tactical development and adoption of the couched lance (circa late 11th century AD), which was gripped firmly between the upper arm and the chest.

This allowed the knight to mount a forceful charge through the ranks of enemy infantry (who were often loosely formed), with the heavy lance epitomizing the momentum of the heavily armored cavalryman in his full motion. And as can be surmised from this description, the infantrymen (especially the lesser trained ones) also had to deal with the devastating psychological impact of an imposing band of war-horses and their expert riders in their full panoply and armament, riding towards them in their greatest speed and momentum.

This tactical ambit of the medieval battlefield may seem simple and brutal, as aptly described by Anna Comnena, a Byzantine princess (and historian) who effusively spoke of how the knights of the First Crusade could punch through the walls of Babylon with their devastating charge. However when it came to organizing massed charges, much had to do with the discipline and training imparted in each of the Norman knights participating in the maneuver.

For example, before mounting a charge, the group of heavy horsemen was assembled in numbers of 25 to 50, known as the conrois. The conrois kept its formation very tight, so much so that it was said that even an apple could not pass through the gaps between the horses. Initially, the knights also kept their lances upright and their horses on a trot, so as not to loosen the formation. And only on the final yards were the horses made to gallop (and lances put forward), thereby preserving their strength and initiative for the momentum of impact.

Now when it came to practicality, some historians are still not sure if the same ‘charging’ tactic (and its psychological impact) could be mounted against the war-hardened infantry forces with tighter formations and better nerves. But without the doubt, the couched lance posture in itself was complemented (possibly in the later years) by innovations such as a higher-set war saddle with the protective pommel, a cantle for the hip, and a breast strap for absorbing the shock.

7) Weakness Against Arrows –

Courtesy of maxwell.syr.edu

Interestingly enough, our popular notion presents the scenario where the armored knight was the undisputed master of the battlefield in medieval Europe from the 12th-14th century. But historically only a part of this scope was true. In that regard, while the Norman knights were without a doubt the ‘game-changer’ on the actual battlefield, they had their fair share of weaknesses. One of the primary ones among them had to with the projectiles aimed at the knights. Horses were especially vulnerable to the enemy arrows since most of them were unarmored. On top of that, the impact of the arrows on the horseman in his full momentum could pose significant challenges, with few well-placed volleys even leading to the dismounting of the knight from his horse.

The Crusaders learned it the hard way when faced with the incredible mobility of Turkic horse-archers in the battlefields of Levant and Anatolia. As a result, the predominately Norman knights of the Principality of Antioch relied more on coordination between their different contingents and troops-types, to counter the agile foes. One of such maneuvers entailed the ‘partnership’ system between the heavy cavalry, infantry, and crossbowmen, who planned and progressed together to keep the mounted enemies at bay.

With the passage of time and influence from Eastern armies, the Normans (and their Crusader brethren) also adopted the tactics of ambushing, maintaining a reserve body of knights for counter-flanking, and occasional retreating (behind a solid wall of infantry). And as the maneuvers became more complex, the Norman knights practiced the habit of repeated charging and harassing in smaller groups, as opposed to a grandiosely conceived single massed charge.

8) The Feigned Flight –

Source: Scout.com

Unlike many of the contemporary European elite societies, the Norman knights were not averse to adopting the tactical advantages of other cultures. One of such examples might have related to the use of feigned flight in the midst of battles, probably inspired by the 9th century Bretons. Now while ‘knightly’ culture and its values of chivalry detested retreat (if even feigned) from the battlefield, the Norman formations entailing a smaller group of horsemen (conrois) were suited to such flexible ruses. In essence, the feigned flight was made to lure out the enemy soldiers (mostly their horsemen), which in effect disturbed the opposing tight formations of knights or heavy infantry, thus providing the initiative to strike for the Norman side.

And while the notion of luring out the enemy forces might seem straightforward, in practical circumstances, the stratagem required intense levels of training and coordination among the Norman knight conrois participating in the maneuver. Furthermore, the sight of flight (of the knights), even if used as a gimmick, could have demoralized the common soldiers of the army. So such tactical gambits were possibly decided before the commencement of the battle, by keeping various modes of communication open for most of the commanders on the Norman side.

9) The ‘Different’ Norman Knights –

Illustration by Christa Hook.

As we fleetingly mentioned in one of the earlier entries, the Norman knights didn’t really pertain to a particular group of soldiers with uniform bearing. Once again mirroring the societal values of medieval Western Europe, the knights of Norman origin were found in different walks of the military, spread across various estates, fiefs, and even kingdoms. To that end, it was the eldest son who inherited the patrimony and thus continued the hereditary generations of land-holding knightly class in the feudal society. But the options were not so clear for the younger sons, who either chose a military career or went the path of monkhood.

Considering the first choice, some opted to become vassals of the great lords. They were counted among the household knights and given prime parcels of lands around the lord’s estates. In return, these knights held up the tradition of loyalty, one of the enduring legacies of ancient cultures such as the Celts and Germanic tribes. Others took the more ‘diplomatic’ route of settling down and making their fortune, by marrying potentially rich heiresses. A few even went on to make their fortune through tournaments.

But arguably the most important group of Norman knights, at least from the historical perspective, were the soldiers of fortune who took upon themselves to carve their own kingdoms, in the regions of Italy, Sicily, and even upper Levant. Interestingly enough, in the initial years of 11th century AD, a major percentage of the Normans arriving in Sicily were actually employed as mercenaries by the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

10) Culture And Christianity –

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In most of medieval Europe, the elite status of Norman knights, along with their association with ‘higher’ martial pursuits, made them the crème de la crème of military endeavors, especially when it came to expansionist feats. And strengthened by the ideals of Gens Normannorum (an indigenous sense of identity and even destiny), many of the Normans did display their set of distinct cultural attributes. Some of these were intrinsically ‘Norman’, as their penchant for adaptability and military resourcefulness, while some were clearly inspired by other cultures, like the notions of chivalry and romanticism borrowed from southern France.

Intriguingly enough, the Normans, with their very name being derived from the Latin Nortmanni – denoting the Northmen (or Norsemen) raiders from Scandinavia, were descendants of the Vikings who settled in the north-western French province of Neustria (later termed as Normandy, after the Normans). But in a twist of history, in spite of their pagan heritage, future generations of Norman knights turned out to be the ‘sword arm’ of Christianity, with their conquests and influence reaching the far-flung corners of Europe and even the Levant.

Interestingly, the Normans also established a long-standing yet transparent relationship with the Papacy, as is evident from William the Conqueror’s alliance with the Vatican. In that regard, many of the ecclesiastical leaders of the church came from the Norman aristocracy, while secular Norman lords quite freely founded medieval monasteries in their realms. Many of these ‘church lands’ owed military service to their Norman overlords and as such resource-rich abbeys probably funded the first knights.

Book References: The Normans in Sicily: The Normans in the South 1016-1130 and the Kingdom in the Sun 1130-1194 (By John Julius Norwich) / The Normans (By David Nicolle) / Norman Knight 950-1204 AD (By Christopher Gravett) / Anglo-Norman Warfare: Studies in Late Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman Military (By Matthew Strickland)

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Personal Life

Gable was a ladies’ man both on and off-screen, and he was married five times over the course of his life. His wives included his first theater director Josephine Dillon, socialite Rhea Langham (Maria Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham), actress Carole Lombard, Lady Sylvia Ashley and actress Kay Williams Spreckels. Spreckels and Gable had one son, John Clark Gable, who was born after Gable’s death.

Gable also had a “secret” daughter, Judy Lewis (born on Nov. 6, 1935), from an affair with actress Loretta Young. Young had kept her pregnancy secret to protect both their careers and the scandal that would result as Gable was married at the time of the affair. Until Young confessed the truth to Lewis in 1966, she had not acknowledged that Lewis was her biological daughter. Young continued to keep the truth hidden from the public and only disclosed it in her authorized biography, 𠇏orever Young,” published after her death in 2000. Gable and Lewis didn’t have any father-daughter relationship over the course of their lives. Lewis died in 2011 at the age of 76.

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