Long before Madonna and even before the legendary Marilyn Monroe, there was Jean Harlow...the original Blonde Bombshell! Sexy and funny too, she quickly became a Hollywood superstar in the 1930s and the jewel in MGM's crown. I remember my grandmother telling me about her when I was a child - in particular, she told me how shocked she had been on hearing the news of her sudden death. In fact, this gorgeous uncirculated vintage movie star postcard was issued in 1936, only a year before Harlow died at the very height of her fame aged 26. Dozens of movie roles, a troubled childhood followed by three marriages, combined with a sudden, tragic demise have all contributed to make her an archetypal Hollywood legend. Modern audiences were reminded of her most recently when Gwen Stefani portrayed her, albeit briefly, in Martin Scorsese's 2004 biopic The Aviator starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.
This Italian postcard carries the name of the Florence-based postcard company Ballerini & Frattini (active from 1912 to the present day) who also distributed the real photo German-printed Ross Verlag film star postcards in Italy.
As was often the case during the dark days of Italian Fascism, the date on the back of the card uses Roman numerals and is printed as "Anno XIV" rather than "1936". It seems incredible now, but Mussolini seriously attempted to replace the Anno Domini system in those years and instead used Roman numerals with year "I" indicating the establishment of the Fascist government in 1922, making 1936 in this particular case, year XIV.
Here's a great montage of images of Jean Harlow. Click here to go to YouTube or watch below:
Find more vintage postcards over at Beth's postcard blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy and join other collectors on Postcard Friendship Friday.