From November 1936:
Guess who really has gone Garbo on us in a big way? It’s none other than our own party-loving Carole Lombard, who hasn’t been seen out publicly in many a day. What’s more, Carole doesn’t want one single word printed about her romance with Clark Gable. Her close friends say it is still going on and much more serious than Carole wants the world to believe. And it was only yesterday that wild horses couldn’t have kept Carole home for an evening. It must be love.
As we head towards the end of the year, there’s more Gone with the Wind-related events happening!
Ruth’s Journey, an authorized prequel of sorts to GWTW that focuses on Mammy’s life (Yes, apparently her name was Ruth?!) has been released. It was written by Donald McCaig, who also wrote Rhett Butler’s People a few years ago. This new book doesn’t seem to sit well with diehard GWTW fans. I haven’t read it yet (frankly don’t know if I will at all) but Kendra over at vivandlarry.com did.
The Scarlett Letters: The Making of the Film Gone with the Wind has just been released as well. It’s by John Wiley Jr., who examines the making of GWTW through the eyes of its author, Margaret Mitchell, via her letters. I’m not sure how much new information is here since Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind Letters has been around for decades, but it looks promising nonetheless.
The Making of Gone with the Wind event at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas is going on right now! Ending January 4, this is a rare opportunity to see such rarities as the actual curtain dress worn by Vivien Leigh, David Selznick’s memos, rare wardrobe and makeup stills, on the set photographs and much much more. I am extremely jealous of anyone getting to attend! Unfortunately I just can’t make a trek to Texas before January. If you can’t make it like me, you can at least buy the event catalog!
And always check out GWTW Showtimes to see if GWTW is playing on a screen near you!
An incredibly sweet, yet sad, footnote to this is that Clark continued to wear the bracelet for years after Carole died.
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!
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