Parnell is widely known as Clark Gable’s worst film. I have always disagreed. While the script could have used some work and is far from historically accurate, there is great chemistry (as always) between Clark and Myrna Loy. It is said that the film was a failure because Clark didn’t play his usual smirking rogue, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Sure, his character is lacking that Gable sass, but hey he can’t just play the same character every film, can he? Hmmm….

Some beautiful portraits with Myrna:

clark gable myrna loy parnellclark gable myrna loy parnell clark gable myrna loy parnell clark gable myrna loy parnell clark gable myrna loy parnell clark gable myrna loy parnell clark gable myrna loy parnell clark gable myrna loy parnell

 

Some great on the set pictures:

clark gable parnellclark gable parnellclark gable parnellclark gable parnellclark gable parnell

And of course the screenshots:

clark gable myrna loy parnell Parnell 2 Parnell 3 Parnell 4 Parnell 4 Parnell 4 Parnell 10 Parnell 12 Parnell 12

This little photo spread appeared in LOOK magazine in 1955.

clark gable kiss

Breathes there a girl who, at some time or other, has not dreamed of being bussed by that master, Clark Gable? A reasonably true-to-life dream might go like this:

The young lady is visiting a Hollywood sound stage, where a Gable picture is in the making. Suddenly the leading lady is taken ill. Consternation grips the studio. But wait. Our heroine steps forward.

“If I’m not intruding,” she says demurely, “may I suggest that you try me in the role?”

The director agrees and she falls into Gable’s arms. But alas, there’s a sad ending to this promising reverie. Girls, Gable eats onions!

He likes ‘em fried. He likes ‘em boiled. But most of all he simply dotes on them raw. Look! P.S. One gal didn’t mind—the new Mrs. Gable.

clark gable fishing onions

clark gable fishing onionclark gable fishing onions

Sometimes he was known to add a smear of mustard to the bread as well. Sounds appetizing, yes? He tended to like onions on just about everything–on steak, on hamburgers, in baked beans and in his potato salad.   I don’t know where Clark’s affinity for onions came from, but he sure did love them!

clark gable carole lombard horse

From January 1938:

Hollywood’s cut-ups and the most mysterious people, when they want to be, are putting up a swell “whodunnit” all of their own. Naturally, I’m speaking of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. One day, a horse named “Clarcarol” appeared from nowhere on the listings. It only took about half a guess to find out who owned this animal. As yet, the proud hope of Lombard-Gable Inc., hasn’t had a real tryout, but if it has half the spirit of its co-owners, who somehow can’t talk about “Clarcarol,” the little beastie is sure to go places. Of course, Clark is no newcomer to the game, for he had “Beverly Hills.” After dismal attempts to get the horse to win or even place once in a while, Clark decided to turn her into an actress. But before he had time to put her into the picture, “Saratoga,” she was with foal and had to retire. 

clark gable iris bynum

From 1949:

Iris Bynum may have been publicized as the only starlet never to have made a picture, her fame grew from the fact that she had the most glamorous dates in the film colony. [Fans] recall seeing her pictured at premieres and parties with Orson Welles, Van Johnson and her steadiest beau—Clark Gable.

But she bade them all goodbye, just when everyone thought that the Bynum-Gable combination was as serious as the Jimmy Stewart-Gloria McLean deal, to marry an Air Force colonel on comparatively scant notice.

None of Iris’ famous beaux showed up [for the wedding], although Clark Gable sent a beautifully worded wire to congratulate the bride, saying that if he hasn’t been in the East he would have been there.

clark gable barbara stanwyck to please a lady

Some photos from To Please a Lady, which was later re-released as “Red Hot Wheels” or “Indianapolis.” Filmed on location at the Indianapolis Speedway, there are some great on the set shots:

clark gable to please a ladyclark gable barbara stanwyck to please a ladyhttp://dearmrgable.com/?p=10680 http://dearmrgable.com/?p=10680clark gable barbara stanwyck to please a lady

And this, one of the most infamous on-set photos:

clark gable barbara stanwyck to please a lady

Clark and Barbara were friends (and nothing more!), with great affection for each other and I think it’s apparent in their photos. Portraits:

clark gable barbara stanwyck to please a ladyclark gable barbara stanwyck to please a ladyclark gable barbara stanwyck to please a lady clark gable barbara stanwyck to please a ladyclark gable barbara stanwyck to please a ladyclark gable barbara stanwyck to please a lady

And some screenshots. 50 year old Clark isn’t looking too shabby!

To Please a Lady To Please a Lady To Please a Lady To Please a Lady To Please a Lady To Please a Lady To Please a LadyTo Please a Lady To Please a Lady To Please a Lady (1) To Please a Lady (1) To Please a Lady (1) To Please a Lady (1) To Please a Lady (1)

clark gable

When coming upon this article and seeing it’s line under the title: “Clark Escaped the Senoritas of the Argentine Only to Be Captured by a Broadcasting Station”–you would expect an exciting article about Clark Gable’s recent trip to South America. And you would be disappointed. Initially, we are treated to these tidbits about Clark’s trip:

Clark, you see, had suddenly taken it into his head to hop off to South America by plane, and his journey, started in Hollywood with so much secrecy at the ungodly hour of four-thirty one cold morning, by degrees took on the semblance of a romantic good-will tour.

Everywhere he stopped he was mobbed by adoring fans. Beautiful Argentine flappers and matrons, some of whom should have long since reached the age of discretion, followed him along the main thoroughfares of Buenos Aires and other cities and hamlets which he visited. They tore off bits of his clothing for souvenirs until he had to seek shelter in his hotel room for common decency’s sake. While he registered at the desk of a certain hotel two avid admirers opened up his two small suitcases and carried away portions of his under-clothing and pajamas leaving the rest of his extremely personal belongings strewn over the floor for amused onlookers to gape at.

One evening—after replenishing his wardrobe through dire necessity—he left two pairs of shoes, one brown, one black, outside his bedroom door to be polished. The next morning only one shoe of each pair remained—and they weren’t mates.

Oh my. Does this mean that down below the Equator there are some elderly grandmas who have Clark Gable’s knickers in their attics?

The article then delves into Clark’s past. Born in Cadiz to Pennsylvania Dutch parents, breakout role in A Free Soul, redefined his career in It Happened One Night…we’ve heard it all before. The author seems doubtful of Clark and his star power until they spend their lunch hour together.

Even a movie hero has to eat, and I finally caught up with Mr. Gable on his way to the commissary on the last day of rehearsals and, in between mouthfuls of an enormous ham sandwich and generous gulpings of hot coffee, he pleasantly informed me that he was planning to return to Hollywood immediately after his broadcast—which, by the way, he was enjoying immensely. And he was particularly tickled about the nice big lump of money he was getting for it—even as you and I. That he was going to do a picture called “San Francisco,” woven around the earthquake of 1906, with Jeanette MacDonald, and another with Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy called “Wife vs. Secretary,” (you can figure out this story yourself!) but that he didn’t know which was to be done first.

And while he talked, I suddenly understood why women all over the world fall for the Gable charm and personality. Why, he’s just like the boy you first fell in love with. He has the same amused chuckle, the same earnest way of looking straight into your eyes with that same earnest expression while he talks, and he makes you feel, for the moment at least, that you are the only person in the world that matters. And that’s an achievement which all women enjoy alike. Besides which, he really had a grand sense of humor, and women love that, too.

A rather humdrum article, but I do adore that last paragraph!

You can read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.

clark gable anita colby

From 1949:

One more name has been added to the long list of leading ladies who think Clark Gable is the absolute tops. She’s Alexis Smith, who works with the king in “Any Number Can Play.” Their first scene together, sans any previous acquaintance and avec only a hasty introduction, involved Mr. G. and Miss S. in six minutes of smooching. But that wasn’t what evoked all the admiration from Alexis—none of the gals, in fact, seem to be able to explain clearly why they find him so charming.

clark gable joan crawford

From 1949:

There was quite a stir among the guests at the party for the Ernie Byfields in the Beverly Hills Hotels’ Rodeo Room when Joan Crawford and Clark Gable walked in together. They’ve been friends for years but this was their first of a series of dates.

clark gable mutiny on the bounty

This piece from 1935 was written by a reporter sent to the Catalina Island set of Mutiny on the Bounty.

Oh, to be the lone female reporter hunting down the scoop to the location shoot of the latest Clark Gable picture! Sounds glamorous, right? Apparently not…

If you’re going from Hollywood, you ride the film boat from San Pedro wharf direct to the Isthmus, some ten miles across Channel. The boat makes it once a day carrying passengers and supplies. And so, surrounded by eight twenty-gallon gasoline tanks, four cartons of strawberries, two dead sharks, (to be used for Bounty atmosphere), and six milk cans, I started my great expedition.

The sky was clear. The stars were shining. The sea was choppy and rough; but by sticking my head out of the side and missing the strong gasoline odor, I managed to keep the stomach quiet. (I am told Mr. Franchot Tone, making the same trip the night previous, was not so fortunate! On Mr. Gable’s trip, he yelled for more speed!) At 12:30am, we sighted land and the huge camp, “City of Men,” wherein were parked the hardy crew of actors and technicians, et al, for MGM’s “Mutiny on the Bounty.” There was a cottage reserved for me, and I fell instantly into its waiting bed.

At 5:30 the next morning—it seemed middle of the night—a siren blew. Well, go to the fire. But no, it was just the first call for breakfast. Another siren blew at six; and at 6:30, I found myself at breakfast in the camp’s main dining hall with an extremely sleepy-eyed Clark Gable, a silent Charles Laughton, and a very charmingly pleasant Director Frank Lloyd. (You know, of course, that most men are really not fit to speak to in the morning until they’ve had their coffee, and I would say that Mr. Laughton and Mr. Gable, charming as their manners were later on the day, would be no exception to this rule. Mr. Lloyd, by the time I arrived at the table, had had his coffee!)

Incidentally, forgetting the rule, I remarked brightly to Mr. Gable that it looked like a fine day, and after a terrific effort, he brought forth a smile and a mumble: Yes, it might be, but he hoped it wasn’t windy. Mr. Laughton merely remarked bitterly that if he got any more sunburned, he couldn’t work anymore. After the first few sips of coffee, they looked much brighter, and by the time we fell into another water-taxi—it was the same I had ridden the evening previous, only now it was headed for sea—the conversation was a little more stimulating, although far from brilliant.

Incidentally, would you like to know what they ate for breakfast, these film idols? Well, Mr. Gable, I must report, is a sissy eater. He had a glass of lime juice and two cups of coffee. No scrambled eggs or sausages for him. Not even a bit of dry toast. I thought he looked longingly at Charlie Laughton’s well-filled plate, but I couldn’t be sure until he told me later—goodness, bit then; he hardly mumbled a word then—that he had to watch his diet. Clark Gable watching his diet!

“I haven’t eaten a boiled potato in years,” he told me. “And I love ‘em. I come from a family of big men. Fatness is a family trait. I had a grand old uncle with a stomach like John L. Sullivan’s and six double chins. Well, I resemble him in features, but I don’t try the double chins. So it’s no beans or potatoes or any of the hearty foods I like, For Gable.”

It’s interesting, these comments about what Clark eats. I have read many accounts that say he didn’t eat breakfast except for coffee. But this here about him having not eaten potatoes in years…I am rather skeptical of that. Clark loved food, loved to eat. Often when filming he would watch what he ate but when he got time off he ate whatever he wanted. I’ve also heard he was not a morning person (yeah don’t blame him there).

The Bounty, anchored off the Isthmus every night, had already started out to sea under power of its auxiliary motor, and we caught up with it some three miles distant and clambered up its side. The deck of the Bounty, as I viewed it for the first time, was a sight never to be forgotten. As you know, the ship is a replica of the famous old vessel which sailed from England to Tahiti back in 1700. It is ninety feet long, has a twenty-four foot bean, and carried three masts, the mizzen, fore mast, and main mast. It is what is known technically as a square-rigger and in the early morning calm, its sails were still to be furled.

Sprawling on the deck, standing, sitting, or lounging against boxes, was the all-male cast, a picturesque sight in stripped sailor pants, bare feet, and colored ‘kerchiefs around their heads. The real crew, regular San Pedro seamen, were, much to their disgust, in the same garb as the cast. They had to be so costumed for atmosphere; but later in the day when close-ups were in order, they made a quick change to their grease-smudged blue jeans and flannel shirts and square-toed shoes.

The first scene on tap was that in the story where the sailors, after being becalmed for days, catch a whiff of wind. Clark, as Fletcher Christian, excitedly runs the length of the deck, and Mr. Laughton, as Captain Bligh, follows him.

The first I knew work was under way came with a sharp call from Director Lloyd: “Have we a captain on board? Get your hat off, Mr. Laughton, and let’s get going!” For Mr. Laughton, still wary of the beating rays of the sun, was lolling in what shadow he could find, a lovely white 1935 duck hat pulled securely over his face.

Over and over, they took that scene. And then close-ups. And then some shots of Donald Crisp as Seaman Burkett, fighting with hungry, snarling shipmates over the catch of a shark. It was, surprisingly, much as if you were watching movies made within the four walls of a studio stage, save for the background of the tall masts of the old square-rigger with its flopping sails and the blue Pacific.

My attention concentrated on Clark—(what female’s wouldn’t?). I found him putting extraordinary vigor and power into his scenes; and then between shots, he was alike a great big kid. For the most part, he acted more like an ingratiating, irresponsible small boy than a great big he-man. Always between scenes he was forever playing, and more excited about the possible chance of potting a live shark with his revolver, which he had brought along, than the scene to be shot. Once I thought Director Lloyd was going to have to reprimand him seriously for his romping. Someone had yelled, “There’s your shark, Clark,” and forgetting his scene, he had grabbed his gun and rushed to take aim. The cameras were set, the lighting was right, and Lloyd wanted action. He yelled, “Take your places!” Everyone but Clark was ready. Lloyd yelled again, “Come on, Clark, let the shark go.” Looking very much like a disappointed small boy called to supper from playing pirates, Clark came back to work.

Laughton was a great surprise to me. I thought, why, I don’t know, that he would be extremely British and stand-offish and very dignified. He was completely the opposite. Much more adult in his actions than Clark, he too relaxed between scenes, but by sitting and chatting of everything with prop boy or actor or—yours truly.

I was fascinated to watch him go into a scene. In a second, with a twist of the shoulder, a flicker of an eyelid, he goes into character, is completely the sinister, stern English sea captain. His stride down the deck carried more power and more authority than I thought possible in a little man. The way he planted his feet on the deck, the way he carried his shoulders, changed him instantly from a pleasant person into that ominous captain whose every move exuded cruel power.

Clark would get in quite a tussle with the animal rights people over trying to shoot a shark nowadays!  I do love these accounts of filming on the ship; it was rare in 1935 for an entire production to film on location like that.

After dinner with only roast beef, roast veal, fried potatoes, two kinds of vegetables, soup, salad, apple pie, ice cream, and coffee—you have no appetite at all on the sea!—everybody boarded water-taxis once more and went off to Avalon where there is a real motion picture theatre, to see the rushes run. And if I still entertained any notions about Mr. Charles Laughton being sedate and prim, I lost them then. There was a little delay getting the theatre lights turned on and out of the darkness from the stage came the sound of a tap dance. As the lights blazed, there was Mr. Laughton, enjoying himself hugely as he executed a soft-shoe number all by himself. When the gang yelled their approval, he bowed and recited the Gettysburg address.

The next day, “The City of Men” on the Isthmus lost its official classification. The Joan Crawford company, making “I Live My Life,” moved into camp for scenes on some old Greek ruins constructed high on a hill overlooking the bay. Women arrived in numbers, and I lost my ranking as “the only female.” And so I went home.

I do love this account of Charles Laughton! And interesting that Joan Crawford and crew arrived–Joan, the wife of Bounty star Franchot Tone and former flame of Clark’s. Clark apparently went over to visit Joan at those Greek ruins. There is photographic proof!

clark gable joan crawford mutiny on the bounty

You can read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.

 

clark gable joan crawford love on the run

Today we’re looking at some of the photos from Love on the Run (1936), one of the several Clark Gable/Joan Crawford pairings. A lot of people don’t, but I actually do like their films together–they have an easy chemistry. This one for me though is one of the weakest; the plot is silly. But these promotional stills of them dancing together are some of my very favorites (they are often times mis-credited as being from Dancing Lady):

clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run

Some great on the set shots:

clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run clark gable joan crawford love on the run

And of course some great screenshots. Clark was right in his handsome, dashing leading man era here:

clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run clark gable love on the run