Carole Lombard, that zany blonde actress who happened to marry Clark Gable and was arguably the love of his life, was born 108 years ago today in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Here’s some newspaper blurbs from her birthday over the years her and Clark were together:
Carole Lombard had a birthday.
Firecrackers exploded under her chair.
There was a rubber spider in her makeup box.
Carole ate cotton-stuffed candy.
Carole struck a match–it exploded.
Carole lit a match –it exploded.
Carole sat down–the chair collapsed.
Carole shook the salt shaker–it contained sugar.
Carole’s wondering if it isn’t a pretty high price to pay to maintain her reputation as moviedom’s leading practical joker.
On Carole Lombard’s birthday she had to report to work for “Vigil in the Night,” so Clark Gable, for a rib, had the Western Union’s singing operators call her every half hour.
I’m told Clark Gable spent a month’s salary on those new diamond earrings you’ll see hanging from Carole Lombard’s lovely lobes. Only the best for his bride on her birthday!
When bigger and better pranks are played in Hollywood, you can be sure of one thing–Gable and Lombard will play ’em. When Lombard’s birthday rolled around, Gable had made an enormous cake carefully iced on top–“To Ma–on her 75th Birthday”. When Carole cut the cake, imagine her surprise to hear coming from the cake’s innards a conversation between Clark and a friend.
“Now Clark, the gag is for you to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Carole.”
“What? Me sing? Nothing doing,” said Gable’s voice. “Next thing you know the studio will have me in singing films.”
“Well,” came back the friend’s voice, “you could do worse. Remember ‘Parnell.’”
Whereupon Clark sang Happy Birthday to Carole, who was so touched she offered to get him a job with Western Union, if he wanted it.
Of course it was a concealed record playing inside. Carole is keeping the record.
And here is that recording:
Happy Birthday Ma!