clark gable carole lombard

From November 1940:

Most publicized star-ranchers are Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, who can’t pick an orange or feed a hen without having to pose for a picture. So many yarns were written about Squire Gable’s real ambition—to leave the screen and go back to the land–that every mail still brings him a sale-offer of some other estate. One owner was sure that his $250,000 place would be exactly what the stars wanted, because it had two swimming pools and accommodations for 25 guests.

That’s just what Mr. and Mrs. Gable don’t want–especially the 25 guests. And Hollywood calls them shrewd bargainers because they paid Director Raoul Walsh only $40,000 for his 15 acres, well-stocked with citrus and nut trees, and with a good house on it. Gable is expecting to gather 100 sacks of walnuts this year, make a profit on them at $3.75 a sack. That will even up a little for getting a check for only $2.70 for his entire citrus crop. In the same mail he got the water bill for the week: $30.

Rather than repeat that humiliation, the Gables now give their oranges and lemons to the Children’s Hospital. Eggs and chickens, too, are sent to poor families but one such donation was more expensive than they had planned. From the flock of 500 Rhode Island Reds, Gable had selected six to enter in the Pomona County Fair. But the day before it opened, Mrs. Gable told the hired man to kill half a dozen chickens to give away. Three guesses what happened. 



From August 1936:

Red Camellias for Carole Lombard. There’s a romance there, but Hollywood has been unable to learn the name of the man. Each morning during the past week the flowers have arrived on the set where she and Fred MacMurray are making “The Princess Comes Across.” Some accuse the shy MacMurray. Others speak the name of Clark Gable with whom rumors have linked the blonde Carole of late. But Carole herself, she just smiles, admitting cautiously that she has found new interest in life and that he is a well-known actor. Apparently she shares the secret with the red camellias only. If you remember right, this is Miss Lombard’s first popular romance since the death of Russ Colombo, the singer. Your correspondent would like to bet a new hat that these flowers are from Clark Gable.

carole lombard

Here is a little article that ran syndicated in newspapers throughout the country in January 1936. It’s supposed to be about food but the majority of the article prattles on about Carole’s early days in Hollywood and then she gives us a “recipe,” if you can call it that.

Hollywood Personalities and Their Ideas About Food: Carole Lombard

As Told by Valentine Lyon

Syndicated Press

January 23, 1936


When just seven years of age, Carole Lombard came to Hollywood with her mother and two brothers. They came only to stay six months, but none of them ever returned to their home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Carole was familiar with camera scenes at a very early age. Always a tomboy, she grew up joyously, preferring the boy games to those of dolls. Even as a small girl she was not content to be star athlete among the girls, but insisted on participating in the boys’ sports and would scream with rage when opposed.

Her prized possessions are two medals received for sprinting and broad jumping. However, sports were not her only diversions. She took part in all school theatricals, playing varied parts. Once she characterized an old grey-haired mother, with a grown daughter, who was many years older than herself. Another time, she was the villain, carrying the character out even to the drooping mustachios. Still another time she was made Queen of the May and for this occasion she was robed regally, and to quote Carole, “my brothers kidded me to death, but I didn’t mind too much. they let me wear a grand taffeta period gown and a tiara, and that was compensation for the razzing.”

Soon after she entered High School, Carole was seen by a Fox executive and he suggested a screen test, which, although her mother did not approve, Carole accepted. This brought her a role in a melodrama with Edmund Lowe, “Married in Transit,” and later was put into three leads in Western thrillers; two with Buck Jones and one with Tom Mix.

“All I had to do was simper prettily at the hero and scream with terror while he was battling the villain. I was never allowed to express myself by giving my screen lover’s opponent a good kick,” Carole confessed. “It didn’t take me long to realized I adored working in the movies, but honestly didn’t believe that I was getting good training in Westerns.”

Mack Sennett next offered Carole a contract. She was advised to accept it, for many splendid stars had been through the Sennett pictures. She remained with the Sennett organization for a year and a half, then she left to play an important part in “Show Folks” on the old Pathe lot. This was a great success and she received a contract with Pathe playing the leads in many pictures.

Then the rising young actress came to the Paramount outfit, where she was considered a great find. She justified their faith in her and was cast opposite William Powell in two pictures, and later married him. Although they are now divorced, they are still the best of friends, and no affair at the Lombard home is complete without Bill Powell. As Carole says, “I must have liked that man or else I wouldn’t have married him in the first place. Now that we are divorced, we’re still the very best of friends. We’re both civilized people.”

The Lombard home is one of the loveliest in Hollywood. Of an artistic nature, Carole chose all the decorations herself. Her drawing room is in tones of blue with Directoire furniture–the dining room stunning with its white walls, black-and-white linoleum floor and dull emerald green satin drapes. Her boudoir is a symphony in dusty pink and rose beige.

One of Hollywood’s famous interior decorators remarked that Miss Lombard’s taste was so good that if she wanted to quit the screen she could become easily one of the leading decorators of the country.

When it comes to her screen wardrobe, Carole has as much to say as the designer, who admits that Carole’s taste is perfect. he admits that she is wholly responsible for her reputation as one of Hollywood’s best dressed women. Carole believes that flawless figure and pluperfect grooming are far more essential to a screen star than beauty.

A few weeks ago, Carole Lombard made her first solo flight, and is still thrilling over her new experience. She decided to become a flier herself after traveling by air several times to and from the Coast to New York.

Asked for her favorite recipe, Carole gave me a simple after the theatre or Sunday night dessert–she calls it A New Dessert.

A New Dessert

If you want to serve something really delicious try my newest and most “special occasion” dessert. Now that one may speak of champagne above a whisper let me at once announce that it is the first ingredient. That is, it should be iced while you choose your finest champagne glasses and put in each one a peeled, fresh peach with the pit intact. When the wine is iced, pour the champagne over the peach and sip it. The saturated peach makes the most delectable dish imaginable and for an impromptu supper after the theatre or on Sunday night there is nothing simpler to prepare.


All that and the “recipe” is to pour champagne over a peach? Anyone else cringe at the section about her thrilled over flying? Me too.



Happy Birthday, Carole Lombard!

To celebrate, since it’s Friday too, here are some gossip items about Carole’s birthday over the years, some I’ve printed before, some I haven’t:

From 1931:

Yesterday was Carole Lombard’s birthday. Husband Bill Powell gave her an antique silver service and a china set.

From 1937:

Carole Lombard had a birthday. 

Firecrackers exploded under her chair.

There was a rubber spider in her makeup box.

Carole ate cotton-stuffed candy.

Carole struck a match–it exploded.

Carole lit a cigarette–it exploded.

Carole shook the salt shaker–it contained sugar.

Carole’s wondering if it isn’t a pretty high price to pay to maintain her reputation as moviedom’s leading practical joker.

From 1939:

On Carole Lombard’s birthday had to report to work for “Vigil in the Night,” so Clark Gable, for a rib, had the Western Union’s singing operators call her every half hour.


I’m told Clark Gable spent a month’s salary on those new diamond earrings you’ll see hanging from Carole Lombard’s lovely lobes. Only the best for his bride on her birthday!


When bigger and better pranks are played in Hollywood, you can be sure of one thing–Gable and Lombard will play ’em. When Lombard’s birthday rolled around, Gable had made an enormous cake carefully iced on top–“To Ma–on her 75th Birthday”. When Carole cut the cake, imagine her surprise to hear coming from the cake’s innards a conversation between Clark and a friend.

“Now Clark, the gag is for you to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Carole.”

“What? Me sing? Nothing doing,” said Gable’s voice. “Next thing you know the studio will have me in singing films.”

“Well,” came back the friend’s voice, “you could do worse. Remember ‘Parnell.’”

Whereupon Clark sang Happy Birthday to Carole, who was so touched she offered to get him a job with Western Union, if he wanted it.

Of course it was a concealed record playing inside. Carole is keeping the record.


Little Jane Alice Peters, who would later change her name to Carole Lombard, was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 8, 1908 to Fred and Elizabeth Peters. Here she is, top of the list!

carole lombard birth fort wayne

Here are the some of the headlines from the Fort Wayne newspaper that day:











And this blurb caught my eye:

The Journal-Gazette will pay a reward of $500 for information that will lead to the identification of the person or persons who stole a mailing list from the Journal-Gazette office. This is ready money. We will protect the party giving the information and enter into contract to do so.

$500 in 1908?? That’s a lot of money!!

And the low was 49 and the high was an unseasonably warm 76, in case you were wondering.



carole lombard

As part of Carole Lombard month, here’s the start of a news clipping series on Carole Lombard.

I have done these news clippings posts before, on fourth wife Sylvia Ashley and fifth wife Kay Williams. Carole is, of course, more difficult to accumulate clippings on just because of the sheer volume of them–thousands and thousands a year! But I thought it would be interesting to follow her around in 1936, the year that she and Clark started officially dating.

The year started with a lot of press for her film “Hands Across the Table” and…

carole lombard fred macmurray hands across the table

January 1, 1936:

Carole Lombard admits a fondness for practical jokes. Also for oranges, modern furniture, sapphires, and parties. Doesn’t like details, people who attempt to exploit her, fish, or street cars.

Same date:

Carole Lombard has taken up singing so seriously that she has quit smoking. She takes three lessons weekly from Nina Koshetz, mother of Marina Shubert.

January 4:

The rumors of a break between Carole Lombard and her heart are not right. Hotter than Miami Beach, as a matter of record.

No idea what they mean by that.

January 5:

“I like to dream–one meets much nicer people that way.” –Carole Lombard

Another Lombardism: “The paper says that scientists have at last determined how to tell the difference between male and female oysters. Well, it only means more trouble for the oysters.”

January 14:

If you think it is a cinch to be a star’s secretary, “Fieldsie,” Carole Lombard’s pal, had to wrap up nearly 500 Christmas presents–all of her own, of Carole’s, of Bob Riskin’s and of Walter Langs. Incidentally, Bill Powell’s present to the ex-bride was a handmade lace luncheon set that is really something. 

Fieldsie was married to Walter Lang. Carole was dating Bob Riskin at this time.

And here comes the Mayfair Ball–infamous for being where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard struck up a flirtation: (If you want the full lowdown on the Mayfair Ball, read this article.)

carole lombard cesar romero mayfair ball 1936

January 27:

Annual Mayfair Ball Is Spectacular Party

As white mists rolled in from the Pacific with the wee small hours this morning, there came to an end one of Hollywood’s most spectacular parties–the Mayfair Ball.

Carole Lombard, Hollywood’s ace party producer, was honorary hostess.

“All women wear white” was this fashion and frivolity queen’s first edict.

She looked like a veritable fairy queen in gown made of row upon row of white bridal veiling festooned with handmade chiffon flowers.

Irene Dunne’s Grecian gown was of white crepe in fine sunray pleating worn in a golden girdle. Sally Eilers, too, chose a Grecian gown of white crepe. 

Dolored Del Rio wore white angel-skin satin.

Jeannette MacDonald, a member of the William Seiter (Marian Nixon party), was gowned, not in white, but in pastel orchid.

Joan Blondell chose white mousseline de sole made with a pin tucked bodice and a ruched cape which rose to her chin and fell backward below her waist in a daring decolletage.

Joan Bennett favored the fringed idea in a Paris model.

Here’s a tale I’d never heard from that night:

January 28:

Gable, Talbot In “Fight For Fun”

Clark Gable and Lyle Talbot today insisted they were “real pals” despite reports that they had been on the verge of a fist fight at a film colony party.

Widespread rumors that they had almost clashed at a social affair given by Carole Lombard led Talbot to declare, “We were only joking.” Gable joined him in the denial, declaring he was “amazed” at the report.

According to the widely circulated story, Talbot began “ribbing” the screen’s romantic star early in the evening last Saturday and by midnight Gable became annoyed.

Gable reportedly made some remark which caused Talbot to turn red and begin peeling his coat off. Mutual friends stepped between the two so quickly, it was said, that very few realized what had happened.

Talbot then left with Lina Basquette, actress, while Gable retreated to a corner in silence.

“Whoever says we were in earnest is crazy,” Talbot said later, “Clark and I are the best of friends. We were only joking.”

carole lombard mayfair ball 1936

Mentioned again in this blurb, conveniently with a blurb about Carole right beneath:

February 3:

The lowdown on that near-fight between Lyle Talbot and Gable was what is commonly known as “stew stuff.”… Gable’s companion was Eadie Adams….Carole Lombard confided to a friend that she won’t marry Robert Riskin.

February 18:

Carole Lombard’s divine sense of humor never deserts her. Reams were written that she had left the Mayfair party with Clark Gable before the dance even started. So Carole thought she might as well make the story a good one. She bought an old, dilapidated, fenderless automobile, had it painted white with huge hearts and monogrammed with Clark’s initials, and delivered it to the fashionable hotel where he lives bright and early Valentines morning. Yes, and her card was on the steering wheel!

Yes, she did…but not because she was encouraging unfounded rumors.

And here comes the infamous “Nervous Breakdown Party” where Clark and Carole butted heads then kissed and made up:

February 19:

Mrs. Donald Ogden Stewart could easily have had a relapse after the shock of having 60 people in full evening dress surprise her at a noon-day luncheon in her honor at the Jock Whitney home; the conspirators, Clark Gable, Jock Whitney, Aksel Wichfeld and Clifton Webb, chose noon because Bee has been so ill; one of the funniest aftermaths was seeing Kay Francis in full regalia playing tennis; Carole Lombard in court costume of white with feathers in her hair, creating a sensation when she arrived in an ambulance, worn out, she said, with so many parties; Bee Stewart, not to be outdone, sent home for her evening clothes and changed in the ambulance; Donald Ogden Stewart couldn’t have been more pleased at the success of the party which originated a week ago and was a real surprise.

February 29:

Carole Lombard, blonde screen star, today was downed by an attack of influenza and will be unable to portray her sophisticated self before the camera for at least a week. The actress was ordered to bed by her physician, Dr. Harry W. Martin, who said she had been registering a high fever but would be able to work if she rested until next week.

Here come those Clark and Carole sightings…

March 4:

Yes, it has been printed here and other places that Carole Lombard has been going out with Clark Gable since her break with Bob Riskin. But it can’t be an official romance, even supposing they wanted it to be, because Clark isn’t free yet. Anyway, Carole went to the Santa Anita ball at the Ambassador with J. Walter Rubin, the director.

March 22:

Clark Gable is now escorting the lovely Carole Lombard! Even so he refuses to be photographed with any of the fairer sex–that is, off screen!

Lots of press for her new picture with Preston Foster, “Love Before Breakfast.”

clakr gable preston foster love before breakfast

April 1:

Carole Lombard has changed her mind about moving. Houses are just too hard to find.

Ooops, already changed her mind…

April 9:

House-hunting stars are squawking that rents are sky-high and homes are hard to lease at any price in the districts favored by the celebrities of Hollywood. Carole Lombard and her secretary, Fieldsie, told me the went over the Beverly Hills and Bel Air district with a fine-toothed comb before they were able to make a deal on an eight-room house. “My rent at my old place was to have doubled in August,” said Carole. “Anywhere we looked it was the same. Ordinary houses were offered to us at $250 a month. If there was a swimming pool or a tennis court, the price was anywhere from $500 to $800 a month. It’s absurd.”

$500-$800 a month to rent a house in Hollywood? Sign us up! Except, adjusted for inflation, that is more like $8,000 to $14,000 a month. YIKES, never mind! For more on Carole’s homes, see here.

Here comes the first picture of Clark and Carole out together:

clark gable carole lombard 1936

April 22:

Hollywood says it’s romance, this keeping-company-of-an-evening of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, screen stars. Yes or no, the two are keeping company, and though seldom seen in public, the photographers found them at the midget auto races in Hollywood.

April 23:

The Carole Lombard-Clark Gable business will bear watching. They see each other all the time. Both being whimsical that way, they travel about in the once dilapidated flivver which she gave Clark for a valentine present and which he spent $300 having fixed up.

Same date:

Frequent appearances together at Hollywood resorts has lent credence to reports that Carole Lombard, former wife of William Powell, and Clark Gable are planning to middle-aisle it. Their romance started when Miss Lombard presented Gable with a dilapidated automobile as a valentine joke.

Barely seen out together and already the press has them getting married!

April 24:

Every time Clark Gable goes out in public, it’s a case of fox and hounds, so the star not only is using the ancient flivver that Carole Lombard gave him, but has just had his big car repainted for the second time in four months. It’s now an unobtrusive gray.

April 26:

The town’s still talking about the premiere of “The Great Ziegfeld,” at the Carthay Circle. The police controlled the crowds who turned out to see the stream of stars arrive in top hat and ermine–that is–until Robert Taylor came along–and then there was no controlling the women. Handsome young Bob proved the most popular man of the hour, both with the young and the old. And while the whole celluloid village attended the MGM musical miracle, the star, William Powell,w as kept working that night on a scene in his new picture over at Universal, acting the part of a coal heaver. His ex-wifie, Carole Lombard, cast opposite him, begged off for the night so she might attend the premiere escorted by Clark Gable.

The picture they were filming was, of course, the excellent “My Man Godfrey.”

We’ll start in May for our next installment.

clark gable carole lombard hunting

From September 1941:

Two old hunting pals spent a few hours in Albuquerque Monday, after their eastbound plane was grounded by bad weather–and Alvarado hotel employees were almost swamped by a rush of autograph seekers. 

The reasons: one of the hunters is Clark Gable, motion picture star, who was accompanied by his wife, Carole Lombard of the screen.

Gable’s hunting pal is H.H. Fleischman, of MGM studios, who also was accompanied by his wife.

The party was on its way by air to Manitoba, Can., for 10 days of big game hunting when the TWA plane on which the group was traveling was grounded at Albuquerque by bad weather conditions to the east. Arline officials made arrangements for the four to continue by train, and they went to the Alvarado hotel to wait. 

Although airline and hotel officials tried to keep secret the news of the stars being in town, Gable and Miss Lombard were spotted entering the hotel The news spread swiftly and within a short time several hundred movie fans gathered at the hotel, all seeking autographs of the stars.

Gable and Miss Lombard signed their names about 150 times, then retreated with the Fleischmans to a private dining room, where they remained until time to board their train. In the meantime, about 100 autograph seekers waited in vain for them in the hotel lobby.

The party left about 8:30 o’clock, planning to go to Minneapolis and on into Canada, where the group will remain about 10 days. Gable will not return to work on a new picture until January.

“He makes no pictures during the hunting season. That’s in his contract,” smiled Fleischman, who said he had been accompanying the star on hunting expeditions for the past 14 years.


I was curious if the Alvarado Hotel was still around but alas, it was torn down in 1970.

clark gable carole lombard

From October 1941:

Carole Lombard was “burned up” today over radio movie gossip reports that 1. She was critically ill, And 2. That she was going to get a divorce from her husband, Clark Gable. 

She was perfectly well, said Miss Lombard, and neither she nor Mr. Gable had any intention of getting a divorce. They had just returned from a hunting trip to South Dakota. “We heard these reports on the radio of the car coming home,” said Miss Lombard. “But it was when we arrived and the calls began coming in that we got really angry.”

clark gable carole lombard

From November 1941:

Carole Lombard is a girl who keeps her promises. When she and Clark Gable were married she said that she would never make a film while Gable was on vacation–since she wanted to travel and hunt with him. Recently she was signed to star in the Lubitsch-directed film, “To Be or Not To Be.” But Gable is still on vacation–so she starts to work the day he starts work in his new film, “Somewhere I’ll Find You.”