clark gable ria franklin

This article from 1932 appeared in the same magazine and was by the same writer as last week’s article, appearing nearly a year later. Oh and what a difference a year makes!

Just the year before, she was asking him what kind of woman he preferred. Not anymore! Now he is being painted as the perfect husband and family man.

“The divorce rumors about Mrs. Gable and me are absurd!” says Clark Gable. “They are really funny. Hollywood can never break my marriage. I say that positively. It is impossible. I certainly have not changed, so far as my personal life is concerned. I still want the things that are most important to me—my wife, my family. They are all that mattered to me then—and they are all that matters to me now.”

This is Clark Gable’s answer to those who say that a divorce is impending between his wife and himself. This is his answer to those who claim that he is no longer the Clark Gable he was a year ago. This is the upshot of a frank, straight-from-the-shoulder talk I have just had with him.

And if this man isn’t a square-shooter, happily married and totally unspoiled, then I belong in an institution for the blind. For I believe every word he said to me. I believe his honest, unwavering gray eyes. I believe that he tells the straightforward truth, and nothing else. I don’t believe that he is capable of beating about the bush, of evading, of fictionizing. I believe that, off the screen, he is no actor at all. That’s why men like him.

I asked him if he thought he had changed. I asked him what this year of fevered fame had done to him.

And he said, honestly, “Of course, I have changed. Bound to—a little. But I believe it is only a little—and in little ways. Some of the changes have been forced on me.

“For instance, I can no longer prowl up and down Hollywood Boulevard, the way I used to. I’m known, naturally. Also naturally, people stare. It makes me uncomfortable. I liked being unknown better than I like being known, at times like those. My freedom is curtailed. I have to stay away from public places unless I want to feel like an ass, which I don’t.

“Fortunately for me, I like to stay away from most public places. I dislike big parties. I dislike mixing with strangers. I never go to big parties and never give them. We go, Mrs. Gable and I, to see our friends, of course—Irving Thalberg and Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., the Beerys, one or two others. I still like to fool around in the garden, digging, planting things. I still prefer to take long rides in my car, play tennis, and ride horseback better than any other things I might do.

“I’ve changed in one other respect, very drastically. A year ago, when you first talked to me, I didn’t want a home. I didn’t want things. Now I do. I’m going to build a home, a place I can be proud of, a place the family will enjoy. Naturally, I’ve come to feel that I want to see some of the fruits of all this. I never get a kick out of doing things for myself alone. I can’t watch myself alone enjoying things. A home will be for all of us.

“And I’ve changed in one other particular—I know, now what it is all about.”

And that, I’m telling you, is a change. Because, just one year ago, Clark didn’t know what it was all about. He told me so. His exact words were, “I don’t know what to think—I don’t know what it’s all about—I’m just an actor with a job, that’s all—“

This change in attitude was necessary because now that he had been forced to marry Ria, he had better pretend to be happily married OR ELSE. And so he did. Also he and Ria had moved from their simple apartment to a rented house on ritzy San Ysidro Drive in Beverly Hills, near the infamous Pickfair mansion, home to Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford. So I suppose he’d be a real hypocrite if he was still playing the tune of someone who didn’t want “things.”

Interesting he mentions him and his wife socializing with Joan Crawford and her husband, as Joan and Clark were embroiled in quite the heated love affair around this time!

Despite the fact that the title of the article is “Gable Denies Divoce Rumors,” only a few paragraphs are devoted to Clark insisting his year-old marriage is solid. The rest is spent talking about how much he’s changed in his first year of stardom.

He said, “I’ve been hungry—and I remember what it feels like to be hungry. I was unwanted and I remember the humiliation of closed doors and averted faces. I not only remember these things—they live with me. They are as much a part of the present as they were a part of the past. I know that a man who has been hungry once can be hungry again. I know that those of us who rise up can also fall down. I am not only what I am now, you know; I am also what I was then—“

I asked him if he had the same fiends as he used to have, in those lean days.

He said, “No. I’m sorry to say I haven’t. It is not my fault. That is, it is not by my desire. I suppose it is, in a way, my fault. Somehow, my old friends, with one or two exceptions, won’t come around as they used to. They seem to feel something—I don’t know what it is—some strange self-consciousness or embarrassment or something. I invite them to have dinner with us. Sometimes they accept—but very often they don’t show up. It’s one of the changes that have been forced on me—and I dislike it intensely.

“I don’t believe there have been any other changes. I suppose I like money and the things that money can do better than I thought I would a year ago. I’ve found what pleasant things it can do for other people. It’s fun having it.”

And that is a change, too.  Because just one year ago he said to me (again I quote his exact words): “I don’t want money. Not a great deal of it. I don’t want things. I’m not that type of person at all. I wouldn’t be happy living as some of the stars out here live. I don’t care anything about luxuries and servants and swimming pools and big parties. I wouldn’t fit. I couldn’t handle them. It’s important to me to be happy—in my own way.”

As I said above, he was definitely now living the life of a star, with a Beverly Hills address. He famously hated the dinner parties Ria often threw, usually either disappearing early on or not showing up at all.

You can read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.