A brief little post here on our trip to Dennison.
Dennison, Ohio is a little town of about 3,000 people about 23 miles from Cadiz. Our sole purpose for visiting was the Immaculate Conception Church.
Clark Gable’s mother, Adeline, was a devout Catholic. She was very ill after his birth and had psychotic episodes and seizures. In one of her lucid moments, she pleaded for her only child to be baptized Catholic. There was no Catholic church in the little town of Cadiz at that time, so a neighbor named John Conway and his wife took baby Clark to the closest church—Immaculate Conception in Dennison. He was baptized there on July 31, 1901. Father Patrick M. Heery officiated, and at first balked at baptizing the infant without his parents and was irritated that little Clark had gone nearly six months without being baptized. He apologized for his complaints when he was apprised of the situation.
Built in 1871, it is still a beautiful church. Across the street is the Catholic elementary school, and we could hear children reciting Bible verses through the windows as we walked by!
It was a weekday and no one was in to open the doors for us, and so I only have pictures of the outside.
I have done Carole Lombard Month the past five years and I know how past posts get lost in the shuffle, so here is a round-up of past items about Carole Lombard:
Articles in the Article Archive:
→ Is Carole Lombard in Love At Last? | Liberty, November, 1936
→ A Heart to Heart Letter to Carole Lombard and Clark Gable | Screen Guide, November 1936
→ The Evolution of a Wow| Movie Mirror, December 1936
→ She Gets Away with Murder | Photoplay, 1937
→ The Utterly Balmy Home Life of Carole Lombard | Motion Picture, February 1937
→ How Will the Gable-Lombard Romance End?| Hollywood, June 1937
→ Clark Gable’s Romantic Plight | Photoplay, September 1937
→ Can the Gable-Lombard Love Story Have a Happy Ending? | Photoplay, May 1938
→ Hollywood Diary | The Family Circle, May 20, 1938
→ What’s Become of the Good Scout? |Modern Screen, August 1938
→ Happiness Ahead for Clark and Carole | Picture Play, August 1938
→ Why is Carole Lombard Hiding Out from Hollywood? | Screenbook, October 1938
→ Lombard–as She Sees Herself | Motion Picture, November 1938
→ Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives | Photoplay, January 1939
→ Hollywood’s Goofy Gal Goes Glamorous Screen Book, February 1939
→ Will Clark Gable Ever Marry Carole Lombard? | Motion Picture, February 1939
→ Lombard Unlimited | Radio Mirror, April 1939
→ Blonde Beauty Grows Up | Photoplay, May 1939
→ Do Hollywood Women Spoil Their Men? | Photoplay, May 1939
→ Can the Gable-Lombard Romance Last? | Modern Screen, May 1939
→ How to Get Your Own Clark Gable | Movie Mirror, June 1939
→ Best Wishes, Carole Lombard Gable | Photoplay, June 1939
→ Will Carole Lombard’s Marriage End Her Career?| Motion Picture, July 1939
→ Our Home, Our Work–And Children | Movie Mirror, November 1939
→ Subject: Lombard | Photoplay, January 1940
→ Mr. and Mrs. Clark Gable | Ladies Home Journal, May 1940
→Two Happy People Part 1 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Two Happy People Part 2 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Two Happy People Part 3 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Two Happy People Part 4 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Help Kill Crazy Rumors About Me! Says Carole Lombard (Mrs. Clark Gable)| Screenland, May 1940
→ How Clark Gable and Carole Lombard Live| Photoplay, June 1940
→ At Home with the Gables | Modern Screen, August 1940
→ Carole Lombard | Movie Stars Parade, Autumn 1940
→ It Looked Good for a Laugh at the Time | Silver Screen, January 1941
→ Hollywood’s No.1 Menace | Movie Mirror, February 1941
→ She Knew What She Wanted | Screen Life, March 1941
→ The Gags of the Gables–Like Crazy! | Photoplay, April 1941
→ Goodbye, Carole | Modern Screen, April 1942
→ What the Loss of Carole Lombard Means to Clark Gable | Photoplay, April 1942
→ A Letter to Heaven | Screenland, April 1942
→ Carole Lombard’s Life Story Part 1 | (excerpt),1942
→ Carole Lombard’s Life Story Part 2 | (excerpt), 1942
From September 1937:
Carole Lombard tells this one on herself. It seems that during the Los Angeles run of “Idiot’s Delight,” Clark Gable took Carole to see Lynn Fountanne and Alfred Lunt in this latest of their plays. Upon being introduced to Carole backstage after the play, Miss Fontanne asked Carole, quite naively: “Are you English?” Whereupon Carole replied she was not. “Oh,” said Miss Fontanne, “are you in pictures then?” Carole smiled in her best Gracie Allen fashion and replied, “Yes–I’m just around–” And we’d give a pretty penny to learn what Miss Fontanne’s reaction was when she found out to whom she’d been speaking!
Carole Lombard was known for her menagerie of animals. Her home in Bel-Air was affectionately referred to as “the Farm,” because of its diverse residents: a rooster, cats, dogs, doves and ducks. In early 1937, Clark Gable had some time between films and set off on a hunting trip to Arizona. This was before they were married thus it was inappropriate for Carole to accompany him, so she flippantly requested he bring her back “a wildcat or two.” Little did she know that Clark would take her seriously…
He returned from his trip with a seventy-five pound mountain lion cub, complete with sharp claws and teeth and a personality to match. You can read the story of how he caught him here. Carole was rather flabbergasted by the gift and promptly encouraged Clark to donate the cat to MGM’s backlot zoo, which he did, no doubt in exchange for posing for some photos with the ill-mannered feline for MGM publicity.
Well, at least this is one of those pranks that there is actually photographic proof of!
Photos from the November 1939 edition of Silver Screen magazine:
They really live on a ranch, but Carole and Clark call it “The Farm.” It has fourteen acres in Encino, California, and they bought it from Director Raoul Walsh, who used to live there. Their house isn’t very large, but it’s built for comfort and informality. Carole and Clark did all of the furnishing and decorating themselves. There’s a large main living room with a small adjacent bar; a cozy dining room off which is the kitchen and butler’s pantry; two small cellar rooms, one of which Clark calls his “gun room” and the other “the office” because that’s where they keep all bills and data bout their farm. Upstairs are two bedrooms, two baths and two dressing rooms and that’s all. They raise chickens and flowers mostly. Clark has taken over the actual management of the place and knows exactly what he’s about., since originally he came from a farm. Just about every fruit and vegetable you can think of grows on the place. They couldn’t be happier, these typical farmers, which is well to remember as you see Clark in “Gone with the Wind” and Carole in “Vigil in the Night.”
Let’s begin our walk in Clark Gable’s footsteps through Ohio at the beginning, shall we?
Cadiz, Ohio is a small town, with no mega-malls, no Starbucks, not even a supermarket–just a Dollar General and a convienence store. It does indeed seem like it’s in the past–I have no doubt that many of the buildings that are there now were there when Clark’s parents moved there.
The homes are all older and mostly unassuming, with some Victorians here and there. The most impressive building is the looming city hall, pictured above, that was built in 1894, so Clark’s birth would have been recorded here. Cadiz-ians are quite proud of their hometown boy and they will also be quick to tell you that General Custer was also from Cadiz.
Some pictures around Cadiz:
William “Bill” Gable and his new wife Adeline “Addie” Hershelman Gable left their home in their native Meadville, Pennsylvania and traveled by train to Cadiz in early 1900. Cadiz at that time was quickly drawing new residents because of a new oil field erected there. Bill Gable always went where the oil was, and so on to Cadiz it was. Booming with oilmen, rental space was hard to come by, but the Gables soon rented a house near Charleston Street, which was not far from the center of town. Addie was described as “odd” by many of the townspeople and the local doctor, Dr. John S. Campbell examined her for diagnosis of a “behavioral disorder.” His prescription? To have a baby (I’m serious.) Addie heeded his advice and soon became pregnant. After heading back to Pennslyvania to spend a few months with her parents, she returned home to Cadiz.
Clark Gable Birth Home Museum
In the fall of 1900, the landlord of the Gables’ little home decided to re-plaster the walls. Rather than endure the hassle of that process, the expectant parents decided to move. Tom and Jennie Reese, friends of the Gables, told them that the apartment above theirs on Charleston Street was vacant. So in the Gables moved, to the top floor of a charming two-family house. To reach their apartment, one had to navigate a rather steep outdoor staircase, which was especially hazardous to pregnant Adeline in the icy and wintery months, so she hardly left the house. The apartment was quaint, with a kitchen, a walk-in pantry, bedroom, nursery and sitting room.
On January 31, 1901, Adeline asked the iceman to make sure to bring ice for the icebox the next day as her baby would be arriving. And right she was. She was in labor for over 15 hours, but at 5:30am the following day gave birth to William Clarke Gable, who tipped the scales at ten and a half pounds.
Adeline never recovered from Clark’s birth and could not care for him very well. Modern biographies list her terminal condition as being everything from epilepsy to schizophrenia to a malignant brain tumor. She suffered convulsions and exhibited psychotic behavior. As her condition deteriorated, the new family of three moved to another home on Lincoln Ave, then eventually back to Meadville, Pennslyvania, so the ailing Adeline could be with her parents and siblings. It was there that she died, on November 14, 1901, leaving behind her husband and ten month old son.
The people of Cadiz were not quick to latch onto being known as the hometown of Clark Gable. In fact, it was not really something that most people knew until February 1, 1984–what would have been Clark’s 83rd birthday. A radio talk show host called the Cadiz post office and asked them if they knew it was Clark Gable’s birthday and what was his hometown doing to celebrate it. When the answer was no, they had no idea and the town was doing nothing to celebrate its native son, the town decided that was shameful and decided from then on to celebrate its place in Hollywood history. The next year, February 1 was declared Clark Gable Day in Cadiz and the Clark Gable Foundation was formed to preserve his memory. By the following year an inscribed granite monument was installed in the empty lot on Charleston Street where the house he had been born in used to be (it was demolished, without fanfare, in the 1970’s because it was unsound for habitation).
Some years later, a local woman left $300,000 to the Clark Gable Foundation in her will, which allowed them to rebuild the birth home of Clark Gable using the original floorplan. The museum was opened to the public on January 30, 1998 by his son, John Clark Gable.
The bottom level of the museum is the gift shop, with many Clark Gable items for sale–everything from t-shirts and mugs to vintage magazines.
The upstairs is the actual museum, in what would have been the Gables’ apartment. There were no pictures allowed upstairs so forgive me (can’t say I blame them, why would you visit if you could see all the pictures on the internet). Jackie was our guide for the museum tour and she could not have been nicer. She seemed relieved that we didn’t need a retelling of Clark’s birth story and instead we chit chatted about each item and she told great stories about where they had come from and how they had acquired them. Some of the items in the museum include:
Original pitcher that Adeline had given to a neighbor as a gift
Clark’s pajamas with his initials embroidered on them
Original signed photographs, letters and checks
Original report cards and school records
Clark’s pipe and standing ashtray
Letter signed by Josephine Dillon Gable
The pantry area has been devoted to Carole Lombard, with several original photographs, her compact with her initials engraved on it, one of her beaded hairclips and pieces from her plane crash.
And the biggest item in the museum is outside in a nearby garage: Clark’s 1954 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Oh what a pretty car!
Typical of Clark, this car had all the modern conveniences for the time, including a foot pedal to control the radio and even air conditioning.
How do you put gas in this car? By opening up the tail light! Who knew?
Jackie told us that it does indeed still run perfectly and they keep it in working condition.
Outside the museum is the original well, where the Gables would have gone to get their water.
And beyond that are a few concrete slabs where some of the Gone with the Wind co-stars who have visited over the years have left their names and handprints Grauman Chinese Theater-style:
Daniel Selznick (son of David)
When Clark returned to Ohio with his father and new stepmother in 1903, it was to the nearby town of Hopedale, where he would spend the majority of his childhood. Coming up next!
From May 1936:
It is not often that you can get a gasp of surprise out of the famous Fieldsie, Carole Lombard’s best friend and secretary, for she knows all the tricks and all the answers, but when she read in the gossip column of several chatter writers the other morning that Miss Carole Lombard had attended the swanky Turf Ball on Saturday night looking perfectly devastating in white and with Clark Gable she nearly fell out of bed. For it seems that on that Saturday night all done up in cold cream and looking anything but devastating Li’l Missy Lombard played double solitaire with Fieldsie until two in the morning. It would appear that you can’t even trust a columnist these days.
This article is one of many memorial pieces printed in April 1942, the first month after Carole Lombard’s January death that most of the magazines caught up to the news. It is written by someone named “Romayne,” who says they worked with Carole. Pretty sure that’s a pseudonym, but a touching piece nonetheless…
You said you were coming to our set to visit us next week. You said we’d have fun like we had before. So I looked forward to a lot of laughter. You said that Clark, Ruggles, you and I would have our pictures taken together and that we’d call that ‘little number our anniversary.’ That was last week. You said we’d celebrate too! We’d talk our heads off. I betcha money, this is what we’d have talked about—
Ten years ago a picture started and went brilliantly along all that first morning. Then the company “called lunch.” Now, there’s nothing startling about going to lunch. And we all returned from lunch. All except the leading lady. In a roundabout way we found that she thought the leading man was too much competition for her. While everybody was tearing their hair and saying they’d have to rewrite the story for somebody else, a girl was getting ready to come to the studio. She had just finished a picture and was fixing to go away on a little trip.
Everything was quaintly mournful as we proceeded to “shoot around the girl,” which means we did the scenes with all the other players. Then the producer arrived on the set with the girl who was going on her vacation. Listen, my friends, you should have been there! But you would probably have been knocked down, as I was, in the rush. I never saw people fall over each other faster. Arms waved and dialogue flew and the lights hung aimlessly from rafters. The boys were hailing Miss Carole Lombard. And believe me, Miss Carole Lombard was hailing them!
By three o’clock the lady wasn’t going on vacation anymore. It was suggested that she take the following day to get new clothes. “What’s the matter with trying on the dress ‘Whosis’ was going to wear, for the starter, so you won’t be held up?” she wanted to know. With a pin here and a stitch there, she turned around and said, “How do you like it?” At four that afternoon she was rehearsing and at four-thirty we got the first shot. I forgot to mention that somebody introduced her to the leading man—Mr. Clark Gable. Is it any wonder Carole has had a place in our hearts that NOBODY can replace?
And then we started to have fun. With a whirl of merry gags for which only Carole had the genius of creation. We called her “Bernhardt,” and with knowing amusement, she gave Clark a nickname, too. She had the prop man get the biggest ham she could find. On it we pasted a big picture of Clark. She presented it to him. “Here, Ham,” she said. “Lady, you mean, here’s a ham—don’t you?” he asked. “No. I mean—here—HAM!” He took it. That same day a large package was delivered to Miss Lombard on the set. She looked at Clark and said: “NOW—I REALLY smell HAM!” When she opened it, there was an old circus-size pair of shoes. He grinned. All the rest of the day Carole hobbled around the set in those shoes. There came a happy friendship that all of us were part of. That picture was the first establishment in her niche for comedy. She went up, up, up from them on.
Things were good and dull after we finished. She became a law of comparison to our group. Whenever we were getting ready to start another “opera” we’d say to each other of the feminine angle, “Do you think she’ll be anything like Lombard?” The question still goes.
“Ruggles” was Charles Ruggles, who directed Clark and Carole in their only onscreen teaming as well as Clark in the movie he was filming at the time of Carole’s death, Somewhere I’ll Find You. It’s rather funny that the name of the girl whom Carole replaced in the film is shrouded in secrecy here, as it is well known (even then, as press had already announced her casting) as Miriam Hopkins. The story of the ham and the circus-sized shoes are well known as well, but not any less adorable when told by someone who observed them firsthand!
It’s so funny that sometimes it has been said that these two didn’t get along at all on set. I think the pictures prove otherwise!
..if by chance you don’t know it—here’s a little look into that which made her world the more perfect place to live…Carole didn’t know a darn thing about guns and fishing poles. But she learned. And with the vital determination that was hers, she learned RIGHT! She was the glamour girl who liked comfort—dim lights, warm places, and a clean face. So, she put her hair in pigtails—her legs in trousers, a gun on her shoulder and went places with her man in their station wagon. That was her big time. You’ve probably heard about their home in the valley. It was designed by the Gables and “Brownie,” the art director at the studio who has done most of the sets for Clark’s pictures. Clark and Carole knew every flower that was planted and together they watched them grow. When their trees were in bloom we made jam from the fruit of their garden. Carole laughed when I told her we marked it “Plum-Jam-Gable.” One day they went out and found a little calf running around. “I refuse to have anything to do with you,” Carole said to him, “so when we stew you I won’t feel guilty.” But one look into her face made you know that he’d never make stew for the Gables. Maybe you don’t know that Mrs. Gable knew how to run her house. And the recipes she used to give were no good for a girl who was trying to reduce.
Everything they did was a special occasion. The nights they took themselves away from their fire and went to the local movie house she’d sparkle and say: “Pappy and I are going to the movies!” They’d go on picnics and there’d always be little surprises for each other. And we’d scream when she’d tell the combinations they ate. “It would poison ordinary people—but we’re crazy—so nothing hurts us!”
And such a disposition. That’s what made her so beautiful. Her thoughtfulness was ever talked about. Months before Christmas she’d start making lists to buy presents for those she loved. She always shopped herself—always knew what everybody needed. Her room would be piled high to the ceiling. She remembered the things that should be remembered. She wrote every note herself—answered every letter. There was never anything half-way about Carole.
I know many of the people with whom she had business dealings. They worshipped her. Nothing was ever wrong—everything was just right.
She was friend to the little fellow. “They’re the ones who make pictures,” she’d often say.
Sometimes you’d think these stories of generous, gracious, loyal friend Lombard were made up—but what stops you from believing that is that the stories are so frequent. “There was never anything half-way about Carole.” I love that.
Clark called a day after you left and asked: “What time do we start our picture in the morning?” “Eight o’clock.” “Holy cats,” he yelled, “that’s the middle of the night—I haven’t worked for four months—maybe I won’t be able to make it!” That tickled me. At seven-thirty your Clark was there. And he started the picture—was in the very first shot—with twenty-one kids from nine years down. They pulled at his coat and yelled “Bang, bang” in his ears and they interrupted his dialogue. He worked. He was swell. You know he would be! The next day, Friday, all day long we talked about you, Clark, Ruggles and I. I asked him how all your pets were. He laughed, “Wait till ‘Maw’ finds out that the two dogs and the cat slept with me last night.” I knew you’d get a bang out of that. He called the air office every hour to see if you’d be on time. He was planning such funny jokes for your homecoming.
Friday afternoon, just before we stopped shooting, the boys pulled a gag on Clark. He was to enter the scene carrying a Gladstone bag. The boys loaded it with five dozen books. Ruggles said: “Okay, Clark, just come in and throw the bag across the room.” Clark put his hand down to grab the case. We were all watching. “Holy smokes!” he shouted, “I’m nailed to the floor!” I knew you’d get a kick out of that, too.
You know, Clark is a sweetheart, Carole, dear. After ten years of great success, he’s just like he was—only nicer. That’s because he knows you.
Outside they’re yelling something about a beautiful girl killed in a crash. She was coming home from a mission of mercy. Her mother too.
You were coming to visit us next week…
Now, about Clark. He couldn’t be with people who loved you both more. Besides that, he’s with all the boys who have been around him since he first started here at MGM. They will dog his tracks to help him through.
We’ll cry. We’ll cry lots. None of will want the other to know how much. And then we’ll be laughing again because we’ll be talking about those crazy, dear moments you let us share with you. You are blessed with all the fullness of a complete life, for to know you is to love you. There is no one in all this world who can ever take your place. So, you’ll be with us, I betcha money.
Wherever you are at this moment, darling, the place is good. And those therein are made brighter with your laughter.
You can read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.
Quotes from Rhett Butler, Part 2:
“Would you satisfy my curiosity on a point which has bothered me for some time?….Tell me, Scarlett, do you never shrink from marrying men you don’t love?”
“And to think you could have had my millions if you’d just waited a bit longer. How fickle is woman.”
“What a woman!”
“You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”
“You’ve been married to a boy and an old man. Why not marry one the right age, with a way with women?”
“Forgive me for startling you with the impetuosity of my sentiments, my dear Scarlett–I mean, my dear Mrs. Kennedy. But it cannot have escaped your notice that for some time past the friendship I have felt for you has ripened into a deeper feeling. A feeling more beautiful, more pure, more sacred. Dare I name it? Can it be love? ”
“This is an honorable proposal of marriage made at what I consider a most opportune moment. I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands!”
“I want you to faint. This is what you were meant for. None of the fools you’ve ever know have kissed you like this, have they? Not your Charles, or your Frank, or your stupid Ashley. ”
“I’m very drunk and I intend on getting drunker before this evening’s over.”
“You have her duds ready or I warn you…I have always thought a good lashing with a buggy whip would benefit you immensely!”
“It seems we’ve been at cross purposes, doesn’t it? But it’s no use now. As long as there was Bonnie, there was a chance that we might be happy. I liked to think that Bonnie was you, a little girl again, before the war, and poverty had done things to you. She was so like you, and I could pet her, and spoil her, as I wanted to spoil you. But when she went, she took everything.”
“Take my hankerchief. Never at any crisis in your life have I known you to have a handkerchief.”
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
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