clark gable

From February 1937:

Carole Lombard’s birthday present to Clark Gable was an automobile trailer to carry his saddle horse. Being practical, Carole sent the blueprints first for Clark to okay. The trailer will be constructed along deluxe lines and will hook onto the back of the star’s new station wagon.

clark gable birthday cake

From March 1938:

Clark Gable celebrated a birthday on February 2. He still wants to know who presented him with a birthday cake inscribed, “Long Live the King.” He was recently declared “King of the Movies” in a national poll. He thinks the cake was sent by Spencer Tracy. Carole Lombard presented him with furniture for his new ranch house and many books. Clothes designers of America have announced that Clark is the best-dressed man in movies. Clark has thanked them for the honor, but declares that he does not want to be known as a clothes dummy. “I wear good clothes because pictures demand them,” he said, “but off-screen I dress like the average man, comfortable but neat.”

That is a fact, too. Invariably he wears open-neck shirts and comfortable slacks and sport coats.

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His birthday is February 1, not 2!

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Clark Gable would be a spritely 116 years old if he was alive today. Born in a simple duplex on a snowy morning in Cadiz, Ohio, it is hard to imagine that the dark haired boy would one day be the King of Hollywood.

William “Bill” Gable and his new wife Adeline “Addie” Hershelman Gable left their home in  their native Meadville, Pennsylvania and traveled by train to Cadiz in early 1900. Cadiz at that time was quickly drawing new residents because of a new oil field erected there. Bill Gable always went where the oil was, and so on to Cadiz it was. Booming with oilmen, rental space was hard to come by, but the Gables soon rented a house near Charleston Street, which was not far from the center of town. Addie was described as “odd” by many of the townspeople and the local doctor, Dr. John S. Campbell examined her for diagnosis of a “behavioral disorder.” His prescription? To have a baby (I’m serious.) Addie heeded his advice and soon became pregnant. After heading back to Pennsylvania to spend a few months with her parents, she returned home to Cadiz.

In the fall of 1900, the landlord of the Gables’ little home decided to re-plaster the walls. Rather than endure the hassle of that process, the expectant parents decided to move.  Tom and Jennie Reese, friends of the Gables, told them that the apartment above theirs on Charleston Street was vacant. So in the Gables moved, to the top floor of a charming two-family house. To reach their apartment, one had to navigate a rather steep outdoor staircase, which was especially hazardous to pregnant Adeline in the icy and wintery months, so she hardly left the house. The apartment was quaint, with a kitchen, a walk-in pantry, bedroom, nursery and sitting room.

On January 31, 1901, Adeline asked the iceman to make sure to bring ice for the icebox the next day as her baby would be arriving. And right she was. She was in labor for over 15 hours, but at 5:30am the following day gave birth to William Clarke Gable,  who tipped the scales at ten and a half pounds.

Adeline never recovered from Clark’s birth and could not care for him very well. Modern biographies list her terminal condition as being everything from epilepsy to schizophrenia to a malignant brain tumor. She suffered convulsions and exhibited psychotic behavior. As her condition deteriorated, the new family of three moved to another home on Lincoln Ave, then eventually back to Meadville, Pennsylvania, so the ailing Adeline could be with her parents and siblings. It was there that she died, on November 14, 1901, leaving behind her husband and ten month old son.

Over the years, I’ve done quite a few posts to celebrate Clark’s birth, here’s a few of them:

2016: 115 Random Facts about Clark Gable

2015: 114 Quotes by Clark Gable

2014: 113 Quotes About Clark Gable

2013: Quotes About Clark Gable

2012: What Clark Gable was Doing on His Birthday

2011: Celebration of Clark Gable

 

Happy Birthday, Clark!

clark gable carole lombard elizabeth peters plane crash

Now that Carole had been properly laid to rest, the focused shifted to the grieving widower.

Gable To Seek Solace in Work

Clark Gable, turned from a swashbuckling, carefree prankster into a depressed, grief-stricken recluse by the tragic death of Carole Lombard, will seek solace in work.

The fun-loving screen star was so anguished by loss of his wife that he wanted only to be alone. Shielded by studio executives, Gable has been so alone that friends became alarmed at his depressed brooding.

Gable hasn’t yet gone to his Encino ranch where he and Carole lived so fully and joyously. He’s in seclusion at a friend’s home. He has left it only twice since he brought Miss Lombard’s body home Wednesday morning–to attend funeral services for her and her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth K. Peters, that afternoon, and services for his friend and publicity man, Otto Winkler, yesterday.

He was waiting at the nearby Burbank airport to greet Carole Friday night when he received word of the crash which killed her, Mrs. Peters, Winkler and 19 other persons near Las Vegas, Nev. He flew to Las Vegas, was dissuaded from joining in the search for the bodies–then went into seclusion.

Friends argued that he should plunge into work.

“You’ve got to find something to occupy your time; something to do with your mind besides brood,” they told him.

Gable agreed to go ahead with the picture on which he had done one day’s work–“Somewhere I’ll Find You.” He didn’t set the date and the studio didn’t ask him to.

“We will wait until Gable feels he is mentally and physically able,” a spokesman said. “He has gone through a horrible ordeal.”

There’s not a parallel case of any star losing an equally famous wife or husband so tragically and soon going back to the lots.

Norma Shearer went into seclusion for a year after her producer husband, Irving Thalberg, died. She had threatened to retire.

Mary Astor was out of pictures several months after her husband, Director Kenneth Hawks, was killed in an airplane crash over the Pacific while filming a picture.

William Powell interrupted a picture to seek solace on a yacht cruise after his fiance, Jean Harlow, died in 1937. Five weeks later, he collapsed on the set. A physician said he was exhausted and overwrought with grief. Powell and the platinum blonde had been inseparable.

So had Gable and Miss Lombard.

Since the bodies had been removed, an investigation into the crash began.

Lombard Air Crash Probe Is Launched

Investigation into the crash of a TWA airliner in Nevada which brought fiery death to 22 persons, including Actress Carole Lombard and 15 army airmen, centered in Los Angeles today as the Civil Aeronautics Authority opened a hearing expected to last two weeks.

Witnesses to be called before the investigating committee include TWA officials, Nevada residents who witnessed the crash, representatives of the Las Vegas coroner’s office and army officers.

I’m going to end the series here, as after the 23rd the focus turns to investigating the plane crash and figuring out what’s next for a suddenly alone Clark Gable.

Hard to believe the world lost Carole 75 years ago, isn’t it? Rest in peace, angel.

carole lombard

clark gable carole lombard forest lawn

The morning of January 22 brought details from Carole and her mother’s brief funeral, held the day before.

Simple Funeral Rites Held for Carole Lombard

Actress is Buried With Other Movie Immortals in Memorial Park

Carole Lombard was with the other movie immortals in Forest Lawn Memorial Park today.

After a brief, simple service–in accordance with the wish expressed in her will–the bodies of Miss Lombard and her mother, Elizabeth K. Peters, were interred in the green acres where are buried Marie Dressler, Will Rogers, Jean Harlow, Douglas Fairbanks, Lon Chaney, Tom Mix and many another movie star.

The sealed coffins of Miss Lombard and her mother, killed in last Friday’s aerial tragedy in Nevada, were blanketed with gardenias in the memorial church. Whether by chance or on purse, the caskets formed a “V” in front of the pulpit, where the Rev. Gordon C. Chapman said a prayer, read a psalm and recited one of Miss Lombard’s favorite poems.

Crowds Kept Away

Grim or mouth and wearing dark glasses to cover his red-rimmed eyes, Miss Lombard’s husband, Clark Gable, sat in an ante-room during the ten-minute service late yesterday. None of the invited friends, numbering less than fifty and including Spencer Tracy, Fred MacMurray, Jack Benny, Myrna Loy and Miss Lombard’s first husband, William Powell, ever saw him.

Miss Lombard had suggest in her will that the services be very simple. And simple they were.

Police stopped sightseers at the bottom of the long road leading to the chapel on the top of a hill overlooking San Fernando Valley were Mr. and Mrs. Gable had enjoyed what they said were the happiest years of their lives.  Photographers remained outside the cemetery. A dozen members of the press came not only as newspapermen, but as friends and mourners.

No Music at Service

There was no music. Miss Lombard would not have wanted it. Floral tributes, including two large United States flags made of red and white carnations and blue cornflowers, lined the chapel. None of the bouquets bore cards.

The Rev. Mr. Chapman, pastor of the Westwood Community Methodist Church, said a prayer. He read the 23rd Psalm. Then he recited the poem of an unknown author.

With that Mr. Chapman said the benediction and the mourners filed by the caskets into the gray afternoon. Interment was private, with only the members of the families as witnesses. Gable decided with thanks an offer from the Army of a squad of soldiers to fire a salute over the grave in memory of Miss Lombard’s war work.

He left the cemetery at the sunset, alone in the backseat of a rented limousine. His fans and Miss Lombard’s, numbering by now perhaps 100 at the gates, glimpsed him hatless, with chin in hand, as the car purred away.

The luminaries they mentioned do lay in peace in Forest Lawn Glendale, with the exception of Douglas Fairbanks, who is actually buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

 

Carole Lombard Buried Yesterday

Vivacious Carole Lombard, who loved life; welcomed it in its every aspect, was buried with brief, simple funeral services yesterday.

A prayer…a short eulogy…a poem…organ music..fewer than three score intimate friends in attendance.

That was all. That was the way the actress willed it. All except the eulogy. Friends insisted that the pastor, the Rev. Gordon C. Chapman of Westwood Hills Community Methodist Church, read a short tribute they had prepared. Clark Gable, Miss Lombard’s husband, consented.

Sharing in the simple services was Miss Lombard’s mother, Mrs. Elizabeth K. Peters. Mrs. Peters had been Carole’s almost constant companion from the time she was born in Fort Wayne, Ind., 32 years ago until they went to death together in a Transcontinental and Western Airliner crash near Las Vegas, Nev., last Friday night.

Otto Winkler, Gable’s publicity manager and close friend, another victim of the crash, will be buried late today.

Bodies of four others of the 22 crash victims were sent to relatives from Las Vegas yesterday. They were Mrs. Lois Hamilton, to Detroit; Captain Wayne Williams, pilot, to Kansas City; Co-pilot Morgan A. Gillette to Los Angeles for cremation and reshipment to Burlington, Vt., and hostess Alice Gets to Illinois.

 

You can see modern pictures of Forest Lawn Glendale here.

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January 21 brought news of Carole’s funeral to be held later that day at Forest Lawn.

 

Carole Lombard Funeral at Forest Lawn

Private funeral services, with only intimate friends present, were arranged for 4:00pm today, in the Church of the Recessional, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, for screen star Carole Lombard and her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth K. Peters.

The bodies, recovered from the Nevada mountain top where a commercial airliner carried 22 persons to their deaths last Friday night, were taken from a train at Pomona this morning and transported by hearse to the cemetery. Carole Lombard’s husband, Clark Gable, issued a statement, saying: “Miss Lombard and her mother, in their respective wills, requested private burial at Forest Lawn.”

The Rev. George C. Chapman, pastor of the Westwood Hills Community Methodist Church, will conduct the brief service.

Haggard, dispirited Clark Gable brought the bodies of his wife, his mother-in-law, and closest friend–victims of a Nevada air crash–back to southern California today.

The matinee idol, wearing dark glasses, slipped from a westbound Union Pacific train at Pomona, 30 miles east of [Los Angeles], this morning while waiting attendants unloaded the coffins containing the flame-seared, battered bodies of actress Carole Lombard, Mrs. Elizabeth K. Peters and Otto Winkler, publicity agent for MGM studio.

 

Carole Lombard To be Buried Near Graves of Filmdom’s Immortals

The body of Carole Lombard is being brought home today for private funeral services and burial near those of Will Rogers, Marie Dressler, Jean Harlow and other motion picture stars.

 

Lombard Rites to Be Held Late Today

The crushed body of Carole Lombard, screen star who met death with 21 other occupants of a TWA plane which crashed in flames on a Nevada mountain peak, was brought to Hollywood today for funeral and burial services.

Clark Gable, actor-husband of the film favorite, accompanied the body back to the film city.

The funeral cortege left Las Vegas, Nev., Tuesday night shortly after the bodies of Miss Lombard’s mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Knight Peters, and Otto Winkler, publicity agent, who also perished in the disaster, were identified and a brief inquest was conducted.

Joint funeral services for Miss Lombard and her mother will be held late today at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale. Studio spokesmen said that simplicity will be the keynote of the final rites, with only some two score close friends in attendance.

In the meantime it was announced that the government’s official inquiry into the tragedy will open in Los Angeles Friday morning.

 

 

clark gable they met in bombay carole lombard

From July 1941:

Because Clark Gable and Carole Lombard interested themselves in his career, tall handsome Reed Hadley, who hails from Texas via New York theatre and radio acting stopovers, appears to be safely launched in Hollywood.

Young Hadley first attracted Miss Lombard’s attention when he appeared with her on a national radio broadcast. Gable met him at that time also. Both were impressed with young Hadley’s appearance and talents. 

Gable subsequently suggested to Director Clarence Brown that Hadley be tested for the role of a young British officer in “They Met in Bombay” at MGM. Gable and Rosalind Russell are co-starring in the picture and a requirement of the officer part was that it be filled by a man whose uniform could be donned by Gable.

Hadley, who has that stature, was signed for the part without the formality of a test, after being interviewed by Director Brown.

clark gable carole lombard

From February 1941:

Two years ago Gable married Carole Lombard and they moved onto a twenty-two acre farm at Encino in the San Fernando Valley. 

The Gables seem to hit it off fine. They spend most of their time at home together, go on frequent hunting trips, and once a week come into the studio to see a picture show. It’s too tough to go to a regular theater; they get mobbed when they try it.

clark gable

Happy 2017! Here’s to a happy new year with less shocking celebrity deaths! Please!

Here’s what went on around here in 2016:

 

New articles added to the Article Archive:

1936: Gable Changed?

1932: Gable Denies Divorce Rumors

1931: Will Gable Take the Place of Valentino?

1935: What I Think About Clark Gable by Jean Harlow

1935: What I Think About Jean Harlow by Clark Gable

1937: A Real Day with Clark Gable

1950: Love Walked In 

1950: Fit For a King

1955: Clark Gable: After 25 Years in Hollywood, He’s On His Own

 

The ever-popular Carole Lombard Month was in October with the following features:

Carole Lombard, Clark Gable and The Baby That Never Was

{Photos} Gone Hunting

{New Article} 1942: Gable’s Hermit Wife

{New Article} Carole Lombard by Frederick Othman Part 1

{New Article} Carole Lombard by Frederick Othman Part 2

{New Article} Carole Lombard by Frederick Othman Part 3

Happy Birthday, Carole Lombard

Rare Carole Lombard Photos

It’s Carole Lombard Month!

 

Other Features:

Radio: The Chase and Sanborn Hour

Happy 100th Birthday, Olivia de Havilland!

Clark Gable’s Speech at Officer Candidate School Graduation

May Movie of the Month: Cain and Mabel (1935)

Happy Anniversary, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard

Happy 115th Birthday, Clark Gable!

January Movie of the Month: Chained (1934)

Remembering Carole Lombard

 

And of course a year’s worth of Gossip Fridays:

Gossip Fridays

 

As usual, I didn’t get as much accomplished as I’d like, but hey that just means more content for this year, right?

 

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

clark gable

From January 1942:

A hot rumor that Clark Gable was in one of the local hospitals under an assumed name suffering with eye inflammation kept this writer busy. After spending most of the day and half the night checking I learned Gable has had a bad cyst in his eye. He was told he should have it removed but so far he has not gone into the hospital. He was not able to go duck hunting as he planned, but spent New Year’s Eve in town and went to a private small party with Carole Lombard.

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Sadly, their last New Years Eve together…