By Joan Crawford
from Gable: A Complete Gallery of His Screen Portraits
Complied by Gable Essoe and Ray Lee, 1967
Working with Clark Gable at MGM in eight movies from 1931 to 1940 was indeed a
privilege and a pleasure. But there was something even more important. These movies provided me with what I would like to call the “Total Experience”.
Some of us, I know, like to tell white lies about our yesterdays. We romanticize our contemporaries—and give them a dimension they don’t deserve. But Clark Gable was all man—no myth created out of nostalgia.
I once remarked to a group of dinner guests that Gable’s mannerisms and magnetism were so extraordinary that one could actually feel the power of his presence—even before he walked onto a set or into a room. He had that magic—or golden gift—bestowed on the very few. Gable became the romantic—and perhaps real—paragon of masculinity that women seek in men—but seldom find. Yet men identified with Gable because he never flaunted his masculinity and because he was flesh and blood and not a synthetic symbol.
His manliness came out in so many ways—in the sudden eruption of boisterous laughter, in the capacity for competition, in the need for physical daring, in the total acceptance of life as tragedy and comedy, and in the exceptional ability to establish friendship beyond a thin smile and weak handshake.
He had a zest for adventure that makes today’s obsession for easy-does-it security shameful. He was not afraid of life because he was too busy living.