Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married 76 years ago today, on March 29, 1939. After three years of will-they-or-won’t-they, America’s favorite couple had made it official. I usually post this on their anniversary, but instead of me telling the tale of their wedding day, it’s best coming from Clark Gable himself, don’t you think?
“It has been written since then that Carole and I had that wedding day planned out for months in advance, but that’s not true. It happened this way. On the afternoon of March 28, I was finished with my scenes [in Gone with the Wind] about three in the afternoon. While I was taking off my make-up, the assistant director came over and said I didn’t need to work the next day. I called Carole at once and with the aid of a close friend, we headed put that night to Kingman, Arizona. We took Otto along, not only to untangle any difficulties we might get into, but because he had a new car without license plates which meant we wouldn’t be spotted.
We were married at three-thirty that afternoon and left at five-thirty, getting home the next morning at three. Carole’s mother was there, all excited, which kept us up till five. Finally we got to sleep, only to be awakened at nine to discover forty cameramen, three newsreel men and twenty reporters waiting out in the front yard to interview us. Under the circumstances, David [Selznick] gave me another day off.”
This famous pair was wed without much fanfare, without pretense, him in a simple suit and patterned tie, her in a skirt suit and polka dot blouse. And no newlyweds ever looked happier.
In celebration, here’s what people had to say about this gloriously happy pair:
“Carole Lombard, the frosty-faced trigger-tongued court jester in the Cinema Kingdom of Graustark, had to keep her mouth shut for two weeks in 1925 because of an accident. Her injury didn’t hurt her much, but the imposition of silence nearly killed her and she’s been trying to make up for lost time ever since.
She talks so fast, so much and so cleverly that Clark Gable, her husband and by legal rights the master of the manor, scarcely can slip a word in sideways even if he wants to. And he usually doesn’t try, for he likes to listen to and laugh with his wife, the firecracker girl who talks a man’s language, including a few oaths, on occasion.
It’s a winning marital combination—two happy people who do just as they please but never bruise anybody or anything. It’s been a long haul with the Gables, a mighty rough road and a high grade, but now they have what they want—fame and each other.” ~journalist James Street
“Clark and Carole were down-to-earth people…They didn’t act like movie stars. I loved being with them.” ~aviator Paul Mantz, technical adviser on Test Pilot
“If a sense of humor, not to mention practical jokes, is a sign of a good marriage, the union of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard is as stable as that of King George and Queen Elizabeth. As far as the practical joking goes, Mr. and Mrs. Gable follow the pattern of the typical American marriage. That is, Carole is usually the ribber, Clark is the ribbee.” ~journalist Henry Pringle
“Carole was one of teh smartest women I knew. She knew what she wanted and knew how to handle it. When she made up her mind she wanted Clark Gable and nobody else, wanted him one thousand percent. She didn’t want to take him and mold him like all the other gals had done (they made a great mistake, you know). She wanted to be his wife. She was a boudoir girl, but for him she just ran outdoors. She did everything with him he wanted to do all his life. They played. The only playmate he’d ever had in his life was Carole. I say, he was still a little boy from Cadiz, Ohio when Carole got him. You know, they say you can’t take the country out of the boy…and Clark was a hick kid at heart. He became very sophisticated later on, Carole did everything did for Clark.” ~Howard Strickling
“If they are not happy, then they are better performers at home than on the screen. In Hollywood, where gossiping is a profession and scandal-mongering is a craft, the Gables have been spared the darts that usually are hurled at the folks who live in the goldfish bowls.” ~journalist James Street
“Carole still can surprise me. But Clark always seems to anticipate what she’s going to do. She stood by while my baby was being born, completely adequate except that she turned pretty white. And when I asked Clark if this hadn’t amazed him—as it had me—he shook his head and grinned. It was the same when the floods came. While Clark was throwing chains and blankets into the station wagon, Carole was loading it with food and thermos jugs of milk and coffee. When he started off to pull out neighbors who were in trouble, there she was sitting up beside him. And he was grinning again—the same way.” ~Fieldsie Lang
“Thanks to Carole, life became highly entertaining to Gable. He never knew, from day to day, what new thing would appear. And now that they are married, he still doesn’t know. What’s more, marriage hasn’t changed her. Her closet is still stocked with overalls, slacks, gingham garden dresses and hunting suits. She wanted Gable, so she worked hard at getting him. But it was always honest work. She never posed as anything she wasn’t—and she was completely natural. The result is a perfect marriage.” ~journalist Eleanor Harris
“Clark’s first anniversary gift to his bride, or one of many gifts, was a beautiful gown which he had Adrian design especially for her. Although the material was rich and sheer and shimmering, the design was all done in newspaper headlines…such headlines as: “PARSONS PANS LOMBARD! LOMBARD FLOPS AGAIN! LOMBARD LIMITED—AND HOW! CRITICS CAUTERIZE CAROLE!” et cetera. But she got back at Pappy for this one, did Mammy…for when her old pal, Fieldsie, now Mrs. Walter Lang, gave a swank anniversary party for the Gableses, Mrs. G. wore the gown to the party!” ~journalist Gladys Hall
“To be with Clark and Carole was like spending the day in the sun.” ~Andy Devine