Clark Gable’s Page
Stardom magazine, February 1942
In each issue, Stardom will odder one page to a star to do with as he will. This is to be the stars’ opportunity to tell what they want told, rather than what reporters want them to repeat.
Not by chance was Clark Gable chosen to introduce this feature. This is the tenth consecutive year that he has been among the top ten attractions at the box office, based on exhibitors’ figures. This is not primarily a financial accomplishment; it is evidence that regardless of particular pictures, Gable is something people like. This is what he thinks of his affairs, right now.
As a man goes along, he seems to think more and more of the things he did as a kid. Give me a chance, and I’ll talk an arm off anybody, telling about the trap lines we used to have, or about how I learned to swim when I was six years old, when a big guy threw me into a swimming hole.
When I was fourteen, my father bought a home in Ohio. There wasn’t enough money in the family for him to stay home and work the farm, so he went to Oklahoma as an oil driller. My mother had died, and my stepmother and I operated the forty-acre place.
We couldn’t afford hired help, so from daybreak on I learned to do a man’s work. There’s nothing remarkable about that; a lot of kids have done it and are doing it. But the point is that all the things I did then as work I now like to do.
That’s why I am particularly fond of hunting. On the farm there were many times when I had to shoot game for the table. I never shot more than I could use. And now when I hunt, I don’t hunt to kill. For instance, I don’t shoot deer, because I can’t use it. The ducks I shoot, I eat. That isn’t remarkable, either. Most real hunters feel that way. I’m just doing what the editors asked—writing what I’ve been thinking about recently.
I don’t like to talk about the war. The time for talking is done. We will all just do what is expected of us.
I don’t talk for or about my wife, Carole Lombard. If there’s anything to be said in that department, that’s her business.
Another thing we’ll skip is my business, which they tell me is acting. Anyone who always talks shop is a bore.
One thing I am thinking is that I like to be in good condition. I got to be pretty rugged, working on the farm. It was a case of work hard—or lose the farm and stand a chance to starve. And I wanted to show my Dad I could do it. I still wouldn’t want him to think I’m soft.
Understand—I was told to talk about myself here! It wasn’t my idea!
There are two dogs on my place in Encino. One is a Dachshund, which you ought to know came originally as a breed from Egypt to England. Later a German fancier popularized the breed. During wartime, the little fellows always have suffered. The Dachey belongs to Carole, and he doesn’t know a thing about world politics. His name is “Commissioner;” we named him after a fire commissioner in Santa Barbara who is a friend of ours.
My own dog is “Bob.” Maybe there are better bird dogs. I doubt it. Any kid can understand how I feel about Bob. He has made three trips to Mexico with me, and it seems to be he usually knows what I am going to do before I think of it myself. When I was a youngster we allowed the dog in the front room; that goes for Bob now. When I sit around before dinner, he’s at my feet, with his nose touching my shoe. Or he’s next to me on the davenport, with his head in my lap.
Bob is cray about my horse. “Sonny,” but the horse is always looking for a chance to kick Bob’s head in. I keep them away from each other, but it’s a job on a morning ride, with Bob always at Sonny’s heels. I could make something out of this by saying that you can like two individuals at the same time, and still not be able to make them like each other. But I won’t get like that.
I like to do things on the spur of the moment—like picking up a Ford in Watertown, S.D., and driving back to California. I sold the car when I got back, and the whole trip cost about a hundred dollars. Of course, I am a sucker for automobiles. If anybody comes along with a good car, I always want to buy it.
But I’m a horse trader with automobiles, so don’t start anything. I like to think that I can drive any car around the block and tell you what’s wrong with it. I like to drive my own car; always have and always will. Once or twice somebody has taken the wheel. They give it back soon enough, and say: “You’re lousy for a driver to sit next to!” I like to take good care of the things I use. Driving a car more than 1,000 miles without lubricating it is a bad thing, for instance, and I don’t do it. I like to keep my gun and my hunting boots clean. Seems to me it is more satisfying that way.
I started out to say something. This is it: I like things simple. I like to laugh. I like an “old” gun—I’ve had the one I use for years. I like my home and my work, and Bill Gable’s son isn’t envious of anyone. The things I enjoy aren’t specially reserved for me; most people have them just as much as I do.
In other words, the way I feel about things is—live your own life, and chances are other people will let you live it the way you want to