clark gable spencer tracy

From 1948:

A Tracy never forgets! Not when he hears that Clark Gable has to smoke a big fat cigar in “Command Decision.” Spencer remembered how Clark hated the last one he smoked four years ago in a picture. So, the day they shot the scene, Mr. T. sent cigars to everyone on the set, with instructions to light up and “help” Gable give a good performance! Clark’s already planning his revenge.

 

clark gable

Fan letter from 1946:

I have been an ardent Clark Gable fan for many years (especially since seeing “Gone with the Wind”), so naturally I was eagerly looking forward to Clark’s return to the screen, Well, I have seen “Adventure” and what a disappointment! The dialogue and situations were either hackneyed or ridiculous, and the picture would have been ruined had it not been for Clark’s durable charm and unbeatable personality.

With the possible exception of “Boom Town,” Clark hasn’t had one really good role since “Gone with the Wind.” Clark Gable has given many years of acting services to the screen; his pictures have brought in millions of dollars at the box office, his conduct and actions in private life have won for him the respect and affection of millions of movie fans which is reflected in the popularity of his pictures. is this how Hollywood shows its appreciation? Why it is other actors get great roles and Clark gets the same thing time and time again?

I Think that I speak for all the Gable fans when I say it’s about time MGM took the trouble to get some outstanding stories for Clark Gable which, as one of the greatest screen personalities of all time, he justly deserves.

–Marian Barnholtz St. Louis, Mo.

____

Hear, hear, Marian! Too bad MGM didn’t listen.

clark gable

From October 1934:

It remained for Clark Gable to give a sensible explanation of “mistaken conceit.”

“Many screen stars are so described,” Gable said, “Because people are looking for reasons to apply the high-hat phrase. For instance, suppose A and B, two friends, pass on the street, and A fails to see B. Later, B says, ‘I saw A on the street today and he didn’t see me,’ and that ends the matter.

“But let A become a movie star, and then let them pass on the street, and let A again fail to see N. At once B hastens around town crying, “A has gone hi-hat. He passed me up on the street today, without speaking.’ And because it is human to believe the worst about another human being, everybody agrees that A is a conceited ass.”

Thanks, Clark. Actually the explanation is most reasonable.

clark gable across the wide missourii

From October 1950:

King Clark Gable was sans shave-and-a-haircut for quite a spell before “Across the Wide Missouri” started filming in the wilds of Montana. You’ll see that man with a nature-boy hairdo and beard in the first scenes and you’ll also hear him sing. But Mr. G. doesn’t wear the hair mattress all through the picture. He polishes himself up when he meets the Indian maiden with whom he falls in love.

clark gable

As you can see, the site has undergone a major renovation. It was time for an update and also I had to change webhosts and a bunch of other nonsense. It was a frustrating two week period but now that I’m on the other side I’d say it was worth it.  The new design is very user-friendly and is much easier to read and navigate on mobile devices. And if you add it as a shortcut on your smartphone you get a cute little Clark Gable icon on your screen and who wouldn’t want that?

Some other notes on the update:

Radio shows will be coming back soon; I have to reformat all the audio.

One of the several things that was broken on my other server was the subscriber emails. For YEARS now, if you had subscribed to my blog updates, you did not get the email. This is because my old server said I had too many subscribers and me sending out that many emails made me a spammer. And there was no fighting them on that. But this has been rectified! If you are a subscriber, you should now be receiving all blog updates. If not, re-subscribe!

I am working on the gallery still—it used to randomly ban people from it and I think I have that fixed. If the gallery says you are wrongfully banned, please shoot me a message and let me know.

Anything you would like to see on the site? Subjects I should touch on? Let me know and as always thank you everyone for your support!

clark gable carole lombard

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.

clark gable carole lombard

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

clark gable carole lombard

“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 gable carole lombard

“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

clark gable carole lombard

“To be with Clark and Carole was like spending the day in the sun.” ~Andy Devine

 

This month, Clark Gable is a thief chasing jewelry and fellow swindler Rosalind Russell in They Met in Bombay.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Gable is Gerald Meldrick, a jewel thief who has trailed a British duchess to India to steal her antique diamond necklace. He encounters Anya Von Duren (Russell), a rival thief out for the same score. She succeeds in stealing the necklace, but he fools her into believing he is a detective and gets the necklace from her. She figures him out and he proposes they be partners. They hop on a Chinese ship headed for Hong Kong but the crooked captain (Lorre) tries to turn them in for ransom. Paddling their way to shore, they hide out in Hong Kong. Gerald disguises himself as a British officer in hopes of getting them out of there, but he is soon sent to the front to fight against the Japanese.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Just a few years earlier, Roz was playing second fiddle in Gable films–the funny bridesmaid to Joan Crawford’s bride in Forsaking All Others and the lady from the past who gets passed over for Jean Harlow in China Seas.

But here she is finally Clark’s leading lady and she was happy for the promotion. Hedy Lamarr was originally slated for the lead in the film, but withdrew after adopting a baby.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Roz recalled: “Clark was a delight to work with.He always shared, never upstaged his marks or the other performers. There was nothing small or petty about him. No director ever had to tell how to do a love scene. He was tremendously graceful. Much like a ballet dancer, he had rhythm and timing. There wasn’t all that enormous clinching and awkwardness that some actors put you through.”

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

This film is a typical Gable formula—he’s a rogue pursuing a pretty lady in an exotic location. Roz appears, wearing a ridiculous hat, and of course instantly enchanting our hero.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Clark then starts stalking her in a rather creepy way, not unlike plucky Joan Crawford chasing him in Dancing Lady.

clark gable they met in bombay

And well, if you’ve ever wanted to see Clark Gable getting a haircut, manicure and pedicure at the same time, this film’s your chance.

clark gable they met in bombay

Roz gets to the necklace before Clark does, after getting the baroness drunk and slipping it off her neck, and scurries back to her room with it. Clark knew she was after the same thing he was and makes sure to get his replica onto the baroness’ neck and swiftly makes off with the real thing himself, letting Roz thing he’s a saint for not turning her in.

they met in bombay clark gable clark gable they met in bombay clark gable they met in bombay

She is of course furious when she finds out the truth.

they met in bombay clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay clark gable they met in bombay clark gable they met in bombay clark gable

But no lady’s hatred of Clark lasts too long and soon Roz’s resentment fades and gives away to a typical Gable clinch. “I’m caught all right,” he says.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

The two lovebirds hide out in a basement in Hong Kong (seemingly sharing the same cramped space, I might add) for a few weeks until they start running out of money. Clark, naturally, wants to think up a new swindle, while it seems Roz is ready to play it straight, get married and have little Rozes.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

Clark then gets the idea to impersonate a member of the British military to score a few extra bucks and then gets roped into fighting the Japanese. This, of course, makes an honest man out of him, after he is awarded a medal for bravery.

clark gable they met in bombay They Met 7

For me the film starts to go downhill once he joins the military ranks. It stops being a spy caper and becomes something else entirely. But you know that 1941 audiences ate this kind of thing up–exotic locations, military strategy and all!

clark gable they met in bombay

1941 was the last year of what I’d consider the golden era of Clark’s life–married to Carole, fresh off Gone with the Wind–career going great, home life couldn’t be better. So it’s hard not to watch the film and think that, just over a year later, a heartbroken Clark would be saluting for real.

This film for me is just ok. It’s not without its charms, it’s just the wide swing from fancy debonair caper to military man on a mission is rather jostling. Roz and Clark’s chemistry is plausible, but not white hot.

clark gable rosalind russell they met in bombay

They Met in Bombay is available on DVD.

Read more about the film here and see pictures from the film in the gallery.

clark gable army

From 1946:

Clark Gable got his fill of flying during the war. He doesn’t even want to do a flying picture. His next will be “Lucky Baldwin,” and Angela Lansbury (MGM’s next big star, according to L.B. Mayer) plays the gal who wins, loses and recaptures the colorful gambler. In his spare time Clark’s been hunting in Utah and Arizona. He came to Hollywood with the limit of doves and pheasant. On the subject of “wife hunting,” Clark still isn’t interested in even taking out a license!

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That Angela Lansbury picture didn’t happen, although from the description it sounds like it might have been a pre-production title for Any Number Can Play, and Lansbury was replaced by Alexis Smith.

clark gable carole lombard ranch house

From September 1941:

The beautiful ranch home of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard is for sale. The asking price is to be $130,000. The reason? The Gables have bought a ranch in Ventura county. They plan to build there and raise about 1200 head of cattle. They’d  like to make only one picture a year, preferably both at the same time. During that period they’d rent an apartment in Beverly Hills. And once upon a time Carole was known as a party girl!

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The ranch was on and off the market in 1941. After Carole’s death, Clark put it back up for sale, but could never bring himself to sell it. It was the last home for both of them.

clark gable south america

From January 1936:

Clark Gable’s reception committee in Lima, Peru, made his American fans look like pikers. He got away from the airport alive, which was a miracle. In his hotel, preparing to shave, a mob of girls broke down the door and entered through the window. Clark finally had to attend a large party in his honor, unshaved!