Early 1930′s fan magazine articles aren’t exactly a pleasure to read, for the most part. In my experience, most articles from this period are so fluffy, drawn-out, pointless and so unbelievably long that you wonder if they had a word count that had to be met in each magazine so they just filled it with junk with the occaisonal hidden gem.
That being said, I actually like this article. True to form, it is entirely too long–nearly 4,000 words total! I can’t even imagine PEOPLE magazine or something of that sort printing an interview with a star that is 4,000 words. A few months prior, MOTION PICTURE magazine had an order form in its pages that you could fill out and mail in to ask Clark Gable a question. Now, this is of course back in the day before internet and constant media coverage of celebrities. Back then, all you knew about your stars was what you read in fan magazines and saw on the screen. And the fan magazines were usually four months behind at that! Apparently the magazine received thousands of questions for Clark and then sat him down to ask him many of them. It’s absolutely hilarious to me the questions they actually asked him and took the time to print in the magazine! It really makes me wonder what questions they could have possibly skipped.
From the trivial, and well, downright ridiculous:
When and how did you learn to swim and dive?
When I was a boy on the farm near Hopedale. In the “old swimmin’ hole.”
Do you brush your teeth three times a day and see the dentist twice a year?
I brush my teeth more than three times a day and see the dentist more than twice a year.
Do you play the pipe organ?
What is your favorite color?
Why do you wear Jodhpurs? I thought they were only for girls.
Really, I’ll have to look into this.
How much does Joan Crawford weigh and what are her measurements?
I guess Miss Crawford will have to answer that one.
Why do you wear those turtleneck sweaters? Don’t you know they’re frightfully unbecoming to you?
Perhaps they are, but I think comfort is more important than appearance.
To the oddly specific:
Do you remember a druggist from Akron named Louis Grether, the one you left your mother’s pictures with?
Certainly I remember Louie. Please tell him I’m writing to him immediately.
Do you remember Harvey and Merle Parks, the boys you used to go hunting with and play basketball with when they were kids in Hopedale, Ohio?
I’m certainly glad to hear indirectly from Harvey and Merle. If you have time, I’d be happy for further news about the boys.
Were you, on July 4, 1925, measuring timber in Clinton, Montana, with a group of boys from St. Paul? I have two snapshots of the boys and one is like you in every detail.
I’m sorry, but I couldn’t have been in your snapshots. I was in Los Angeles at that time.
To the strangely self-serving:
If a young fellow came to you and asked for advice, meaning life in general, what are the points you would particularly stress?
A strong will, ambition, and plenty of courage.
What is the easiest and quickest way for a girl to get into the movies?
Via the stage. Motion picture scouts are always watching the legitimate theaters for new talent.
How can I sell a scenario I’ve just written?
I can’t advise you on that. The studios do not read unsolicited scenarios.
There isn’t a lot of “meat” here, but I hear his voice in it. It doesn’t sound like all studio spun-fluff. It’s interesting to hear a Clark Gable who is still a newbie at the fame game answering questions.
I find a stark contrast in the answers about Mrs. Gable as there would be just a few years down the line with the next Mrs. Gable. Here, he answers about her rather stoically and talks of going fishing and hunting and golfing during his free time, with no mention of Ria. Whereas just a few years later the answers would have been “Carole and I will get in the station wagon and go fishing…”
Is married life happier than a single one?
Yes, certainly. Although I guess there are exceptions to that rule.
How do you spend your week-ends?
When I’m not working, I usually play golf or go to the desert or the mountains.
Are you really a cave man or are you a quiet husband who likes to stay home evenings with your wife?
I spend most of my evenings at home—in my own cave.
And then there’s this question….
Why is it that you are the only man in the world that I have any desire to kiss or be kissed by?
You can read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.
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