clark gable

A reader’s letter in a fan magazine, from August 1942:


An Open Letter to Clark Gable

Dear Clark,

First of all, I want to extend to you my deepest sympathy. I can imagine, to some small degree, how much Carole meant to you, how you miss her cheery companionship, her contagious sportsmanship. We’ll all miss her—so please feel that we are eager to share your sorrow.

But I want to ask you to think of us—the millions of your friends and hers—and beg you not to make that loss twofold. We can’t bring Carole back, but we can try to persuade you not to leave us. Won’t you please stand by? The papers said the other day that you wouldn’t make any more pictures. Please don’t do that to us.

I think Carole herself would be the first to urge you to be a good soldier and not desert us. We wait for your pictures; we see your broad grin and you make us forget our troubles with that wicked twinkle in your eye.

You can do more for morale by giving us laughs than by enlisting, as it is also rumored you may do—and I’m not discounting the fact that your services would be very valuable to Uncle Sam. But what I’m trying to say is, we need you here. Maybe, Clark, in helping us to forget, you’d be helping yourself, a little, too.

Mrs. Marjorie Truitt, Snowden, NC

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3 Responses to Gossip Friday: A Fan’s Plea to the Widower

  1. Westerngirl says:

    What an absolutely selfish and insensitive letter. I am appalled that someone wrote that and that someone else actually published it.
    “Oh, never mind that you’re grieving, Clark and that there is a war going on and you are noble and heroic enough to want to give your service to the country. Just stay in the movies so I can watch you!”

    That letter should have gotten no further than the bottom of a bird cage.

  2. admin says:

    I think it came from a good place, trying to encourage him to carry on as normal and move on, but you are right, it does come across as very insensitive.

  3. Ginger says:

    I think the magazine editor or publisher wrote the “fan” letter for publication and not a real “fan”. First, there is no United States zip code for Snowden, North Carolina. It may be a small community in North Carolina, but why would someone list that as their address when they could not receive mail there? Secondly, the letter is WAY too informal to be written by someone from the south in 1942. Under manners of that day and time, it would have been very presumptuous and rude to open a letter with “Dear Clark” if the writer was not a personal acquaintance of Mr. Gable. The references to “Carole” and “Clark” in the letter only would have been used by someone who was a personal friend of either person. If I wrote this letter today to try to persuade the intended audience, I would have the courtesy to call Clark “Mr. Gable” and Carole “Miss Lombard” since I do not know them personally. Thirdly, why would the author send a plea such as this to a fan magazine?!? There is no guarantee that Mr. Gable would even see it, and I doubt that he spent his free time reading fan magazines. If I wanted to make a plea to him, I would send it to his studio where at least an office assistant or mail clerk might read it and possibly pass it on to Mr. Gable. Finally, and this is a very minor point, I was bothered by the signature “Mrs. Marjorie Truitt”. “Mrs.” indicates that she was married. In 1942, married women typically became known as “Mrs. Clark Gable” rather than “Mrs. Carole Gable”. That is a minor point, but, even in this modern day and age, I know some older women who refer to themselves as “Mrs. (insert husband’s name).”

    I think this was the fan magazine’s way to express its opinion, but to pass it off on a “fan.” Mr. Gable sold many, many magazines during that time period because of his incredible popularity. One has to reason that the fan magazines hated the thought of him leaving the motion picture business because that would equate to a loss in sales for them.

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