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. 

 

princess

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

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 1942 stardom magazine

This article was in the premiere issue of the fan magazine “Stardom,” February 1942.

Now, before you go thinking this will be a sad piece as it was published right after Carole Lombard’s death in January 1942, publication was a lot slower back then and when this hit shelves in January, Carole Lombard’s death was imminent or had just occurred. Magazine articles about her death didn’t occur until April of that year.

No, there’s not much to this article, but here it is nonetheless.

In each issue, Stardom will offer one page to a star to do with as he will. This is to be the stars’ opportunity to tell what they want told, rather than what reporters want them to repeat.

Not by chance was Clark Gable chosen to introduce this feature. This is the tenth consecutive year that he has been among the top ten attractions at the box office, based on exhibitors’ figures. This is not primarily a financial accomplishment; it is evidence that regardless of particular pictures, Gable is something people like. This is what he thinks of his affairs, right now.

As a man goes along, he seems to think more and more of the things he did as a kid. Give me a chance, and I’ll talk an arm off anybody, telling about the trap lines we used to have, or about how I learned to swim when I was six years old, when a big guy threw me into a swimming hole.

When I was fourteen, my father bought a home in Ohio. There wasn’t enough money in the family for him to stay home and work the farm, so he went to Oklahoma as an oil driller. My mother had died, and my stepmother and I operated the forty-acre place.

We couldn’t afford hired help, so from daybreak on I learned to do a man’s work. There’s nothing remarkable about that; a lot of kids have done it and are doing it. But the point is that all the things I did then as work I now like to do.

That’s why I am particularly fond of hunting. On the farm there were many times when I had to shoot game for the table. I never shot more than I could use. And now when I hunt, I don’t hunt to kill. For instance, I don’t shoot deer, because I can’t use it. The ducks I shoot, I eat. That isn’t remarkable, either. Most real hunters feel that way. I’m just doing what the editors asked—writing what I’ve been thinking about recently.

I don’t like to talk about the war. The time for talking is done. We will all just do what is expected of us.

I don’t talk for or about my wife, Carole Lombard. If there’s anything to be said in that department, that’s her business.

Another thing we’ll skip is my business, which they tell me is acting. Anyone who always talks shop is a bore.

One thing I am thinking is that I like to be in good condition. I got to be pretty rugged, working on the farm. It was a case of work hard—or lose the farm and stand a chance to starve. And I wanted to show my Dad I could do it. I still wouldn’t want him to think I’m soft.

Understand—I was told to talk about myself here! It wasn’t my idea!

There are two dogs on my place in Encino. One is a Dachshund, which you ought to know came originally as a breed from Egypt to England. Later a German fancier popularized the breed. During wartime, the little fellows always have suffered. The Dachey belongs to Carole, and he doesn’t know a thing about world politics. His name is “Commissioner;” we named him after a fire commissioner in Santa Barbara who is a friend of ours.

My own dog is “Bob.” Maybe there are better bird dogs. I doubt it. Any kid can understand how I feel about Bob. He has made three trips to Mexico with me, and it seems to be he usually knows what I am going to do before I think of it myself. When I was a youngster we allowed the dog in the front room; that goes for Bob now. When I sit around before dinner, he’s at my feet, with his nose touching my shoe. Or he’s next to me on the davenport, with his head in my lap.

Bob is crazy about my horse. “Sonny,” but the horse is always looking for a chance to kick Bob’s head in. I keep them away from each other, but it’s a job on a morning ride, with Bob always at Sonny’s heels. I could make something out of this by saying that you can like two individuals at the same time, and still not be able to make them like each other. But I won’t get like that.

I like to do things on the spur of the moment—like picking up a Ford in Watertown, S.D., and driving back to California. I sold the car when I got back, and the whole trip cost about a hundred dollars. Of course, I am a sucker for automobiles. If anybody comes along with a good car, I always want to buy it.

But I’m a horse trader with automobiles, so don’t start anything. I like to think that I can drive any car around the block and tell you what’s wrong with it. I like to drive my own car; always have and always will. Once or twice somebody has taken the wheel. They give it back soon enough, and say: “You’re lousy for a driver to sit next to!” I like to take good care of the things I use. Driving a car more than 1,000 miles without lubricating it is a bad thing, for instance, and I don’t do it. I like to keep my gun and my hunting boots clean. Seems to me it is more satisfying that way.

I started out to say something. This is it: I like things simple. I like to laugh. I like an “old” gun—I’ve had the one I use for years. I like my home and my work, and Bill Gable’s son isn’t envious of anyone. The things I enjoy aren’t specially reserved for me; most people have them just as much as I do.

In other words, the way I feel about things is—live your own life, and chances are other people will let you live it the way you want to

–Clark Gable

“I don’t like to talk about the war. The time for talking is done. We will all just do what is expected of us.” How poignant that would become in a short period of time.

Commissioner followed Carole around and once she stopped coming home, took to following Clark around. He was devastated when the little dog died when he was overseas during the war.

Bob, or “Bobby” as he was often called, lived a long life and was one of Clark’s favorite companions. He used to give Bob vanilla ice cream nightly!

 

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 cain and mabel

From October 1936:

Clark Gable has been offered $50,000 to fight Max Baer, former world’s heavyweight champion. He says he may accept it if he finds he has enough time between pictures to do the necessary training.

The offer was made by Tom Gallery, veteran California fight promoter, just after Gable had knocked out Allen Pomeroy, former intercollegiate champion, in a fistic battle for the Cosmopolitan production, “Cain and Mabel,
… with Marion Davies and Gable co-starred.

Simultaneously, it was revealed that Gable had made application to the state boxing commission for a permit to engage in professional boxing.

Commenting on the offer to meet Baer, Gable said he could not meet the former champion without considerable training.

“While I trained for five weeks for my screen fight with Pomeroy,” the actor stated, “I feel that I am far from being in the condition I should be in for a bout with Baer.”

Gable knocked out Pomeroy in eight seconds after the start of the first round of their fight. The knockout wa quite accidental, coming when Gable forgot to pull one of his punches.

___

This is totally MGM’s PR department at work. You think they’d let their cash cow become a professional boxer and get his face knocked in? No way. Just the PR department floating out stories so people will go see Cain and Mabel.

clark gable myrna loy

From October 1938:

To her husband she’s Minnie. To her public she’s Myrna Loy, but to Clark Gable she is The Queen.

“At first I was a little afraid of her,” Gable admitted. “I thought she was mysterious but I soon learned that there was no mystery about her at all. I found her to be down to earth folks, treating the lowliest worker with the same respect and friendliness as those in the upper brackets. Anybody can talk to her and she listens intently.

“She is a comfortable person. She has definite ideas and is always nonchalant about them. She also gets what she wants for she has a perfect success system. There’s nothing vain about The Queen either. She has tons of freckles on her face but you will never catch her trying to hide them not even for an evening.

“I have never seen her embarrassed; I wondered why. I found out. In her childhood she lived in the wide open spaces of the cow country in Montana. She rode herd in the saddle side by side with her dad, a big raw-boned cattleman. That companionship must have left a lasting impression on her for today she has the mind of a man about pictures.

“In her home, where I visited several times, she lives a very informal life. When she has guests, she does not herd them around like cattle nor permits them to be stuffed shirts. She insists that every guest be right at home and do what he or she wants to do. It’s typical of The Queen.”

 

clark gable

From October 1941:

Clark Gable and a party of three had gone on a hunting trip up in northern Canada and on their return to the States stopped in a small town. A leading cafe was called for reservations for a party of four. “Who is calling?” the proprietor asked. “Clark Gable,” Clark replied. “So’s your old man,” retorted the manager, “if you want to eat here come on down and take your chances!”—and was he bowled over when Gable showed up.