Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3

by Robert Matzen
Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3

Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3

by Robert Matzen


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This fresh look at Hollywood's "Queen of Screwball," Carole Lombard, presents a first-ever examination of the events that led to the shocking flight mishap that took her life on the side of a Nevada mountain in 1942. It also provides a day-by-day account of the struggles of Lombard's husband, Clark Gable, and other family, friends, and fans to cope with the tragedy. In effect, having just completed the first sale of war bonds and stamps in the nation following its entry into World War II, Lombard became the first Hollywood start to sacrifice her life in the War. The War Department offered Gable a funeral service with full military honors, but he refused it, knowing that his wife would not approve of such spectacle. Based on extensive research rather than gossip, this investigation further explores the lives of the 21 others on the plane, including 15 members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, and addresses one of the most enduring mysteries of World War II. On a clear night full of stars, with TWA's most experienced pilot at the controls of a 10-month-old aircraft under the power of two fully functioning engines, why did the flight crash into that Nevada mountainside? This gripping page-turner presents the story of the people on the plane, the friends and families left behind, and the heroic first responders who struggled up a mountain hoping to perform a miracle rescue. It is a story of accomplishment, bravery, sacrifice, and loss.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780996274098
Publisher: GoodKnight Books
Publication date: 01/16/2017
Edition description: Expanded
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 206,996
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Robert Matzen is the author of bestselling books about Hollywood history, including Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe and Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3. He is a former NASA contractor, where he worked as a writer and filmmaker. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Prologue: All Uphill ix

1 A Perfectly Routine Friday Night 1

2 Perpetual Motion Machine 9

3 The Radiating Halo 14

4 The Long Road 21

5 A Long and Grim Weekend 41

6 Merely Physical 44

7 A Perfect Flying Experience 57

8 Inflexible Fate 62

9 Jimmy Donnally Lands His Plane 67

10 Calculated Mayhem 73

11 Flight 3 Is Down 82

12 A Man in a Man's Body 87

13 The Plane That Fell 100

14 Somber Hymns and Cold Marble 103

15 Hoping Against Hope 111

16 Certified Bombs 115

17 The Plain, Black Night 123

18 Malaise 125

19 Road King 137

20 A Flame to Many Moths 140

21 Fool's Errand 150

22 The VIPs 152

23 Gleaming Silver 175

24 The Coin Flip 178

25 The Computer 183

26 Stranded 189

27 The Glamorous Life 193

28 I Won't Be Coming Home 211

29 There's No Rush 220

30 Caring Enough to Climb a Mountain 227

31 The Entire Gang Showed Up 234

32 Groaning Pines 238

33 Unfixable 243

34 I Still See It in My Dreams 247

35 The Fatal Flaw 256

36 The Complication 260

37 Just a Few Yards Apart 265

38 All in a Day's Work 272

39 The Little Boy Was Gone 277

40 Flying with Full Acceptance 281

41 The Under Side 286

42 Even the Unfortunates 294

43 The Cream of the Crop 299

44 Skyrocketing 305

45 Mangled 310

46 If I Can Do It, So Can You 335

Epilogue: High-Energy Impact 346

Acknowledgments 354

Chapter Notes 357

Selected Bibliography 376

Index 379

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