This article is from the Gone with the Wind-publicity period and is supposedly unique because it tells a woman’s perspective on Clark. I don’t know how unique this article is but it is rather gushy.
This fellow is unimpressed by all he has acquired; with his importance as a star. Luck, he insists, was with him: “Anyone who has ears and can speak and understand words of one syllable can do it,” he shrugs. “It might have been any other guy; it just happened to me.”
Even his bosses are set back on their heels at unexpected moments by his passion for facing facts. In Atlanta, at the super-swank premiere of “Gone with the Wind,” he bumped into his Uncle Charlie Gable, a down-to-earth character of 72 years. Arrangements were being made for the old gent to be photographed with his famous nephew when a cautious studio super-numerary tried to halt the proceedings.
“We can’t do that!” he hissed in horror. “Look at the old man’s EARS!” Uncle Charlie’s ears, it was observed, were twice the size of Clark’s well-publicized aural appendages. Taboo. It might make Clark look ridiculous. Clark thought not.
“Why not?” he demanded in a clear voice. “Mine haven’t done so badly for me!” The picture was shot.
The screen Gable dominated by his appearance and competency as an actor. Women see him as a Great lover—a notion aided by his trapping, six-foot-one physique; his steady blue-gray eyes; his heavy thatch of dark brown hair graying at the temples; his generous nose and full mouth, and his deep voice with its slightly harsh overtones. He suggest to them a dashing fellow who has the world by his tail, someone who would take what he wanted, where and when he wanted it. He is a romantic shot in the arm.
The Uncle Charlie story has been told several times, but I don’t know how true it is that the publicist didn’t want them to have their picture together because of the ears. What, nobody noticed before now that Clark has big ears? And Clark was photographed with his father on numerous occaisons, who shared the same affliction!
Off-screen, Gable dominates by the sheer force of his personality; here his good looks are secondary. He has an unlabored, natural charm, born of his complete sincerity as a man. Fame and wealth have brought him no arrogance; he dresses better now and has more possessions, but in essence he is the same modest person who said “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” to his first interviewers!
Unexpected shyness shows itself when he is forced to talk about himself. Or when his wife suddenly jumps in his lap and affectionately embraces him in front of friends at home. He loves it, but his cheeks flush with embarrassment and he glances quickly around the room to make sure that no one has paid any attention. He hates the spotlight. He goes to unusual lengths to avoid it in any gathering.
There is a “champ” quality about him, not unlike that in Dempsey. You sense in him the determination and ability to be first in whatever he does. Six years ago, for instance, he couldn’t hit the wide side of a barn with a rifle. Today he can pick the leaf you choose off a tree with a .22 at 150 yards. None too proficient at present in the use of sidearms, he undoubtedly will be a crack pistol shot in another year; he practices weekly on the police range under the tutelage of the detective lieutenant who was the nation’s Number One shot last year. It is the same with whatever he does; he gives his concentrated interest or none at all.
I for one love the image of Carole jumping into a blushing Clark’s lap and only wish there were pictures of it!
He is a man of very few words, and he makes every word count. On a locket gave Carole he had inscribed simply, “I love you, Ma.” She took the tip and had “So do I, Pa.” engraved on the other side. When they don’t address each other as Ma and Pa, it’s simply “Mr G.” and “Mrs. G.”
This may be an apocryphal story, but it paints Clark Gable as he is today. Carole is said to have telephoned him at home from downtown. Bessie, the maid, answered. Apparently she neglected to cover the mouthpiece, for Carole clearly heard her yell:
“Hey Pa! Ma is on the phone!”
This passage is particularly funny because not too long ago, an article I posted here mentioned how this very story is hogwash:
Hollywood, which despite all of its smartness is still a bit naïve and a country town dressed in its Sunday best, has made a great deal over the fact that the Gables are supposed to call each other Ma and Pa. Some folks think that “Ma” and “Pa” sound democratic. Perhaps Mr. Gable calls Mrs. Gable “Ma” and she calls him “Pa” for the benefit of publicity. But I never heard it. They might call each other Ma and Pa in kidding, but the Ma-and-Pa legend really is just that and nothing more.
One story goes that Mrs. Gable recently telephones her husband a servant answered. The servant is reported to have shouted to the master of the manor, “Hey, Pa, Ma is on the wire.”
I don’t believe it. The Gables would not allow their servants to be so familiar. Most persons in Hollywood, even strangers, call Mr. Gable, Clark, and Mrs. Gable, Carole. Seldom do they call her Mrs. Gable.
They did call each other Ma and Pa, but I don’t think their servants referred to them that way! You can read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.
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