30th Academy Awards

On March 26, 1958, Clark Gable put on a tux (complete with tails, no less) and headed to the RKO Pantages Theater for the 30th Annual Academy Awards. He attended as a presenter with his Teacher’s Pet co-star, Doris Day.  This marked one of the handful of times that Clark attended the awards and is especially significant because it is one of just a few occasions that he appeared on television. Clark and Doris presented the two awards for Best Screenplay, Adapted and Written for the Screen.

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Clark and Doris appear at 4:40, after Bob Hope does some stand-up (lot of Russian and I’m-never-nominated jokes). Notice they play the theme from Teacher’s Pet when they walk out. Clark looks very nervous; he was notoriously scared of crowds and public speaking. And what is with his haircut?

The big winner that year was Bridge on the River Kwai, walking away with Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing in addition the screenplay Oscar. Sayonara was also a big winner, winning four Oscars.

Other presenters that evening included John Wayne, June Allyson, Vincent Price, Bette Davis, Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, Ronald Reagan, Gregory Peck, Ernest Borgnine, Cyd Charisse, Lana Turner and Sophia Loren–wow!

Some of my all-time favorite pictures are from the rehearsal a few days prior:

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Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope and David Niven

clark gable cary grant bob hope david niven

Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope and David Niven

 

Taking a smoke break

Taking a smoke break

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“Run Silent Run Deep” co-stars Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster

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Clark Gable and Doris Day

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Shirley Jones, Van Johnson, Mae West, Rock Hudson, Marge and Gower Champion, Janet Leigh, Rhonda Fleming, Bob Hope, and Shirley MacLaine.

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Host Bob Hope

 

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Jimmy Stewart

Debbie Reynolds rehearses her big number, "Tammy."

Debbie Reynolds rehearses her big number, “Tammy.”

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Shirley MacLaine

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Mae West and Rock Hudson rehearse their number, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

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Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and choreographer Jack Cole rehearse the number “It’s Great Not To Be Nominated.”

PS…you can watch Kirk and Burt’s hilarious performance here. 

 Roosevelt Hotel

Opened in 1927 and situated diagonally from Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, the Roosevelt Hotel is a well-known Hollywood landmark. It was named for Theodore Roosevelt and was financed by Louis B. Mayer, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Marilyn Monroe lived here for two years and did her first photo shoot in the hotel’s pool area. Other notable residents include Clara Bow, Al Jolson, Frank Sinatra, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, Harold Lloyd…you name them, they probably stayed at, or least partied at, the Roosevelt. Of course, this includes Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, who frequently rented out the penthouse before they were married.

1949, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The Roosevelt Hotel in 1949

The room rates actually aren’t too expensive, usually ranging from $200-$300 a night for a normal room. (Trust me, in Hollywood, that’s not bad.) That Gable and Lombard suite, however, will knock you back $3,500 a night. Clark paid $5 a night back in the 1930’s (and probably complained about that high price!)

From the hotel’s website:

 The Gable Lombard Penthouse, located on the top floor of the hotel is where the infamous affair between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard began. This 3,000 square foot duplex has three spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, a living area, dining area, and full service kitchen. The 1,000 square foot rooftop deck is situated under the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Sign—offering sweeping views of Los Angeles. The Penthouse can accommodate up to 200 people, and is the perfect setting for intimate gatherings and special events.

Snazzy. I did inquire about seeing the penthouse at the front desk, but they said that it was booked for a wedding. Bummer for me.

 We walked around for a while and went inside the upper level of the Blossom Ballroom. The very first Academy Awards ceremony was held in this room in 1929. It wasn’t until I returned from my trip that I read that the Blossom is supposedly haunted. People hear the piano being played when nobody is in there and there are reports of the lights moving and figures in tuxedos appearing and disappearing. Not knowing this information beforehand and standing in this room, my friend and I both immediately felt that the air became chillier when we entered and we both got goose bumps. There was something unsettling about being in the room. I’m not sure who said it first, but one of us said, “Don’t you feel like someone is watching you in here?’ I don’t know where I stand on the idea of ghosts, but I tell you, if anyplace is haunted, this room IS.

Blossom Ballroom Roosevelt Hotel

Blossom Ballroom

Roosevelt Hotel Blossom Ballroom

Blossom Ballroom

The First Academy Awards in the Blossom Ballroom in 1929

The First Academy Awards in the Blossom Ballroom in 1929

Allegedly, Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe haunt different areas of the hotel as well.

 We didn’t see any famous ghosts, but we wandered the halls.

The Academy Awards are tonight, so I thought I would post something about the night “Gone with the Wind”won it big–February 29, 1940 at the now-destroyed Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles. Clark didn’t win that night; the only black spot on an otherwise glorious night for the film.

The one thing about that evening that has always puzzled me is the lack of pictures of Clark and Carole at the Academy Awards. There are none. Zilch. Zero. I understand Clark didn’t win, but how can there be no photos? I am a Clark photo fanatic, as is evident by the thousands of pictures in the gallery, and I have never come across one. I have bought up just about every fan magazine from 1940 in hopes of finding one and I never have. I even asked Herb Bridges, the author of several GWTW books and pretty much the world’s #1 Windie. He thought about it  aminute and said, “You know, you’re right. I have never seen one either. Wonder why that is?”

 I will not give up the hope however! One day I will find it!

In the meantime, here’s a piece on the 1940 Academy Awards that ran in Modern Screen Magazine in May 1940:

The Night of the Oscars

Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences distributes about 12,000 ballots to people connected with the motion picture industry. Members of the Screen Actors’ guild are invited to vote on the outstanding acting performances of the year, members of the Writers’ Guild on the outstanding writing jobs, and so on. Then, to avoid cries of “Fake”, the Academy requests that all voters return their ballots not to them, but to the accounting firm of Price, Waterhouse & Co. There, they are properly audited and a member of the firm reveals the results three hours before the awards are made. Not even the President of the Academy knows who the winners are going to be. Despite these precautions. the awarding of this year’s “Oscars” stll looked like a planned affair, with the King of England and David O. Selznick the principal conspirators–for Vivien Leigh and Robert Donat, two of His Highness’ loyal subjects, took the highest acting awards, while Mr. Selznick’s “Gone with the Wind’ strutted off with almost everything else.

Fay Bainter turns over one of the coveted “Oscars” to Hattie McDaniel, who received the supporting actress award for her performance as “Mammy” in GWTW. This marks the first time a member of her race has been honored by the Academy.

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Producer Selznick and his prize-winning Vivien Leigh meet at the Cocoanut Grove to accept the year’s highest awards. Though Robert Donat took top male honors for “Goodbye, Mr. Chips”, GWTW received 9 of the 21 awards.

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Veteran Award-Winner Spencer Tracy, who left a sick bed to make some of the presentations, congratulates Thomas Mitchell. 44-year-old Mr. M received the supporting actor award for his outstanding work as the doctor in ‘Stagecoach.”

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Mickey Rooney puts his own stamp of approval on Judy Garland, who was given a special statuette for “Outstanding Performance of a Juvenile”.

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Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. accepts the statuette awarded his father for “Outstanding Contribution to International Development of Motion Pictures”.

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claudette

Since the Academy Awards are this weekend, here’s one from May 1935:

The afternoon before the Awards banquet Norma Shearer and Claudette Colbert were having tea together.

“I haven’t any more chance of winning it than the man in the moon,” laughed Claudette.

“Nor I,” laughed Norma.

“Then let’s toast the winner with a cup of tea,” Claudette suggested. They poured the cups.

“To Bette Davis,” they chorused.

That night, of course, Claudette carried home the little gold statuette [for “It Happened One Night”].

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Claudette famously didn’t even attend the ceremony because she was so sure she wouldn’t win. She had to be stopped at the train station and rushed to the auditorium, where she accepted her Oscar in her coat and traveling suit.

Norma had been up for her role as Elizabeth Barrett in “The Barretts of Wimpole Street” and Grace Moore for “One Night of Love”, but despite this hard competition, relative newcomer Bette Davis was considered a shoo-in with her write-in nomation for playing the trashy English barmaid Mildred in “Of Human Bondage”. Claudette winning was a huge upset. Bette won Best Actress for her role in “Dangerous” the following year, many say it was a “consolation prize” for losing the year before. 

I’ve always found it funny that there seem to be no pictures of Clark and Claudette together on Oscar night, holding their statues. I have seen them each separately with Frank Capra, but never together. Maybe I’ll find one some day!

 

New this week:

Saturday: 100 new pictures in the gallery

Sunday: Article “Goofy Gal Goes Glamorous”

Monday: Clark’s hospital bill

Tuesday: Article “How to Get Your Own Clark Gable”

Wednesday: Clark’s Last Will and Testament

Thursday: Radio Show–Mail Call from 1945

Friday: