clark gable carole lombard

74 years ago this month, lovebirds Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were among the throngs of celebrities attending the world premiere of MGM’s Marie Antoinette at the  Carthay Circle Theater  in Hollywood (no longer standing, sadly.)
marie antoinette premiere program

Premiere Program

The film has been on MGM’s drawing table for years; a pet project of producer Irving Thalberg, who died in 1936 before a camera ever rolled on the project. His wife, Norma Shearer, was set to be the star of the picture. After her husband’s death, the project was shelved while Norma grieved and was ill with pneumonia. The film finally started production in December 1937 and was a lavish affair, with a $1.8 million budget–practically unheard of at that time, most of it spent on the elaborate costumes, wigs and sets. The budget was so bloated that originally the film was to be shot in Technicolor but that idea had to be scrapped to save money. Norma has her critics as an actress, but Marie Antoinette really is her finest work. It was her personal favorite of all of her films and would often be the only one she would be willing to discuss with people when she was in failing mental health late in her life.
MGM made sure the premiere of this prestige picture was a grand event, with a virtual who’s who of Hollywood attending. Such as:
Earl of Warwick, Simone Simon, Jinx Falkenberg, Merle Oberon and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Earl of Warwick, Simone Simon, Jinx Falkenberg, Merle Oberon and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
hedy lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

 

jean bello jean harlow mother

Jean Harlow's mother attended...looking eerily like Jean, eyebrows and all and even wearing Jean's white fur wrap!

judy garland freddie bartholomew

Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew came together...with their mothers!

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck
Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck
Louis B. Mayer, Helen Hayes, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power
Louis B. Mayer, Helen Hayes, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power
Norma was truly the queen of the night and, having recently ended a short fling with Jimmy Stewart, her co-star Tyrone Power was her escort.
norma shearer tyrone powernorma shearer tyrone power
Clark and Carole looked fabulous. I love Carole’s tightly curled ‘do and massive corsage!
clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard tyrone power

signing the guest book with Tyrone Power

clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard
TCM has the newsreel of the premiere (which is also on the film’s DVD):

Afterwards, everyone went over the infamous Hollywood nightspot the Trocadero for the after party. Spotted:
Producer Joe Mankiewicz, Viennese star Rose Stradner, Spencer Tracy and his wife

Producer Joe Mankiewicz, Viennese star Rose Stradner, Spencer Tracy and his wife

Pat Paterson (Mrs. Boyer), Basil Rathbone and Charles Boyer
Pat Paterson (Mrs. Boyer), Basil Rathbone and Charles Boyer
It is at this after party at “the Troc” that this picture of Clark and Carole was taken, one of my favorites. Think they are having a good time?
clark gable carole lombard
Looks like their table was the fun one!
clark gable carole lombard
I have a feeling that party went well into the night…

Holy Cross Cemetery

Holy Cross is a scenic Roman Catholic cemetery in Culver City that opened in 1939. It is said that if a star is Catholic, they’re buried here.

Holy Cross Cemetery

Here in this scenic area called the Grotto are several celebrities grouped close together.

Holy Cross Cemetery

Holy Cross Cemetery

The main reason for our visit was the grave of this eccentric fellow, Bela Lugosi (Dracula). To my classic-horror-fiend friend who traveled with me, Bela Lugosi is her Clark Gable. So he was a must visit!

Holy Cross Cemetery Bela Lugosi

I stumbled upon the grave of “Der Bingle”, Bing Crosby, not too far from Bela.

Holy Cross Cemetery Bing Crosby

Nearby too is the grave of  French actor Charles Boyer, known for his role in Gaslight (1944).

Holy Cross Cemetery Charles Boyer

Also here is “Gilda” herself,  Rita Hayworth.

Holy Cross Cemetery Rita Hayworth

And we happened upon the grave of actress Sharon Tate, who, along with her unborn baby, was murdered by the Manson gang.

Holy Cross Cemetery Sharon Tate

Around the corner from the Grotto is the grave of Gladys Belzer. Who? Gladys was the mother of Loretta Young. Loretta had requested that her ashes be spread over her mother’s grave, but cemetery rules prohibited this, so Loretta’s ashes were placed in with her mother’s instead. So here is the final resting place of Loretta, Clark’s co-star in Call of the Wild and mother of his only daughter, Judy.

Clark Gable and Loretta Young

Holy Cross Cemetery Loretta Young

Holy Cross Cemetery Loretta Young

The one grave you can’t miss no matter where you are in this cemetery is Rosalind Russell‘s. You can see this giant cross from the street before you even enter the gates. Quite the monument!

Holy Cross Cemetery Rosalind Russell

Rosalind co-starred with Clark in China Seas and They Met in Bombay. She also had a small part in Forsaking All Others.

Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell

Holy Cross Cemetery Rosalind Russell

Holy Cross Cemetery Rosalind Russell

I had read on the internet that Cammie King (Bonnie from Gone with the Wind) was interred here after her death last year. But nobody at the office knew where exactly she was and apparently have no record of her. So I am not sure what’s going on with that.

I will say one more thing about Holy Cross. If you are in LA and decide to stop in here, LOCK YOUR CAR. Or, better yet, take your purse and anything you care about with you as you wander.  Trust me.

A short article from June 1940 in which actress Ann Sheridan describes her ideal man:

IMG_0001IMG

Right here I’d like to mention that I don’t go around describing, unsolicited, my masculine ideal to everyone I meet. What I mean is, I was asked by Movie Mirror to do this…so in describing the sort of man I would choose if I were to marry I’m contriving a sort of composite of several men I know and like and admire…

He’d dance like Cesar Romero. The Romero dancing is in a class by itself.

He’d have Joel McCrea’s physique–tall, square-shouldered, rangy and not an ounce of spare fat on him! I hate bay windows, even small ones.

He’d have Clark Gable’s eyes, gray-blue and the kind that look at your straight. He’d have Gable’s nose and simples and his strong square chin.

He’d have Tyrone Power’s teeth, strong and white.

And Bob Taylor’s mouth, the most sensitive man’s mouth I’ve ever seen.

He’d have the charm of manner such as Gary Cooper possesses.

And he’d have the courtliness and poise that mark Franchot Tone.

He’d have Jimmy Cagney’s gentleness and his high morning spirits.

My composite would have Charles Boyer’s voice, slightly mysterious, caressing, the most persuasive voice I’ve ever heard.

And William Powell’s hands, the unmistakable hands of a gentleman.

And George Brent’s sense of humor. I’d rather marry a double-dyed villain than a man without a sense of humor. He’d have George Brent’s sophistication–that savoir-faire which is an indescribable combination of tolerance, wisdom, mental and social balance; and George Brent’s quick intellect, George Brent’s dependability, George Brent’s quiet air of authority which tells you if you were married to him he’d be the boss–but you’d like it!

Important to note here is that Ann was in the midst of a love affair with George Brent at the time of this article (can you tell?).  Apparently she didn’t like George being the boss in marriage, however—they were married in 1942 and the union lasted only one year.

That is quite a man she built though!