clark gable carole lombard75 years ago today, on March 29, 1939,  Clark Gable married Carole Lombard in Kingman, Arizona.

clark gable carole lombard

Clark’s description of the day himself:

It has been written since then that Carole and I had that wedding day planned out for months in advance, but that’s not true. It happened this way. On the afternoon of March 28, I was finished with my scenes [in “Gone with the Wind”] about three in the afternoon. While I was taking off my make-up, the assistant director came over and said I didn’t need to work the next day. I called Carole at once and with the aid of a close friend, we headed out that night to Kingman, Arizona. We took Otto [Winkler] along, not only to untangle any difficulties we might get into, but because he had a new car without license plates which meant we wouldn’t be spotted.

We were married at three-thirty that afternoon and left at five-thirty, getting home the next morning at three. Carole’s mother was there, all excited, which kept us up till five. Finally we got to sleep, only to be awakened at nine to discover forty cameramen, three newsreel men and twenty reporters waiting out in the front yard to interview us. Under the circumstances, David [Selznick] gave me another day off.

In love and clearly showing it, the photos from the press conference that took place the day afterwards just ooze with happiness. They were so full of love and hope for the future.

clark gable carole lombard

I’ve always loved this description of their lives together by their devoted secretary, Jean Garceau:

For Clark, [Carole] was fulfillment, a pal and partner in everything. She roamed the ranch with him in casual clothes during the day and her hair was frequently in pigtails, but in the evenings she was always sleek and lovely in a glamorous housecoat.

It was a household of gaiety, laughter, corny jokes and gag gifts. Everything centered around Clark, his likes and dislikes. Carole enjoyed and had fun at everything she did. If Clark was moody or silent, she clowned until he smiled again. He adored her, thought she was the mots exciting, amusing, desirable woman in the world.

clark gable carole lombard

Photoplay magazine editor Ruth Waterbury:

You, Clark and Carole, were married very quietly, very much in your characteristic way of doing things, at Kingman, Arizona, on March 29th. I’m sure that the whole world, having watched your romance, having seen how very well you conducted yourselves during two difficult years, felt very pleased that you were, at last, able to belong to each other. For, if ever two people seemed to be made for each other, you are the ones. You simply share each other’s every interest; you both love laughter and good food, sports and horses, people and your work. You are, both of you, of course, absolutely beautiful to look at together.

If you two can’t make a go of your marriage, then there is no meaning in the word compatibility. If in a year or two one of you gets a divorce saying those silly things like “He called me harsh names and was rude to my friends and therefore I don’t want to live with him any longer”…in other words, the usual flimsy excuses for Hollywood divorces, well, it is going to very disillusioning to us, it’s not going to leave us with much respect for Hollywood emotions.

Personally, I don’t expect that of you two, though. I’ll put my money on this Gable marriage lasting. I’ll certainly put it much more on this marriage lasting than almost any Hollywood marriage I’ve ever seen happen. And yet, this is Clark’s third marriage, this is Carole’s second. All statistics on love, not alone in Hollywood but throughout the world, reveal that often-wed people aren’t good matrimonial risks.

clark gable carole lombard

Even though they only had three short years of matrimonial bliss, I would call them lucky. What is that saying, “it’s better to have loved and lost…” well, Clark may have been broken apart by Carole’s tragic death, but he was a better man afterwards with the memory of that love in his heart.

Happy 75th Clark and Carole!