shirley temple christmas

In the January 1935 issue of Hollywood magazine, they printed “Santa’s book” of good and bad points for film stars. So who’s getting what they wanted for Christmas and who is getting coal?

CLARK GABLE

Good Points: For giving is It Happened One Night. Being always thoughtful of others. When a friend had no place to keep her dog, he gave it a home on his ranch.

Bad Points: Balks at picture assignments with women stars. Drives studio frantic by disappearing between pictures, when he is wanted for story conferences.

Gifts: More dogs to take care of

 

CAROLE LOMBARD

Good Points: Proved she could act in Twentieth Century. Came back to start Repeal like a good trouper, though still suffering from the shock of Russ Colombo’s death.

Bad Points: Still cusses when excited. But improving. Gets mad at stupid producers who want her to make stupid pictures, and makes one now and then in spite of herself. Put your foot down, Carole!

Gifts: A real vacation

JOAN CRAWFORD

Good Points: Kept her head and won respect by not rushing into another marriage. Has stuck by her career. Left off that extra splash of lipstick this year. Always gives us good pictures.

Bad Points: Suspicion that she has gone a bit coo-coo on cars. That big white limousine, and now that all white, satin upholstered roadster. Joan! How could you? And that horn can be be heard fully three miles!

Gifts: A plain Ford

JEAN HARLOW

Good Points: Well, you finally finished that book, Jean! I like you to stick to things that way. Add good point; not letting personal problems sour her. Made her mother happy with beautiful room in new home. Lifted Bill Powell out of the dumps.

Bad Points: O, hum, with 115 pounds distributed like that, what are Jean’s bad points? Hasn’t sent the editor a copy of “Today is Tonight,” her first book. Maybe he’ll find one in his stocking!

Gifts: A letter from every fan

SHIRLEY TEMPLE

Good Points: Refuses to be spoiled by compliments. Is Mrs. Santa Claus’ favorite actress. Can now spell her name and count. Invited all Hollywood (almost) to her birthday party.

Bad Points: Shirley, you mustn’t ask for so much gum–I heard you! After all, Mama isn’t made of gum! But I guess you’ve been a very good girl.

Gifts: Carton of gum

MARLENE DIETRICH

Good Points: When her studio make-up woman gave a little house-warming, Marlene came to the party and brought a gift. Keeps democratic; always lunches at Paramount cafe with common horde.

Bad Points: Caused great anguish and disappointment on return from Europe with trunks and trunks of gorgeous clothes–and then refused to appear in them, though all Hollywood waited in expectation, The meanie!

Gifts: Another director

BING CROSBY

Good Points: Now there is a fine lad; hope he continues to be a good boy, and gives us more like She Loves Me Not. Add two more good points–the twins. (Give Mrs. Crosby some credit there).

Bad Points: Got put in the doghouse during the making of We’re Not Dressing for keeping Director Taurog out all night. He and Carole Lombard tied a rope to the still man’s camera and hoisted it to the roof. Makes Paramount worry by putting on weight.

Gifts: Triplets!

WILLIAM POWELL

Good Points: The Thin Man–worth a dozen good marks. Got our favorite child, Jean Harlow, out of the dumps. Built a new home with a swimming pool for his nine-year-old boy.

Bad Points: Can’t find any black marks to chalk down against Bill. He has a good word for everybody, and everybody has a good word for him.

Gifts: Monogrammed hankies and scarf.

CLAUDETTE COLBERT

Good Points: For earning and keeping the admiration of all fans. Because her form has nothing but good points. For giving is her share of It Happened One Night.

Bad Points: Hates to take stills and is always trying to get out of it. Takes too many people’s advice and worries too much about meaningless criticisms if trivial matters.

Gifts: That long planned trip to Europe

GEORGE RAFT

Good Points: For never forgetting a friend.

Bad Points: That fist fight at the Brown Derby.

Gift: A night club

GARY COOPER

Good Points: Settling down to being a good husband. Never kicks about a picture role. Let Shirley steal one picture and gave her a present for it!

Bad Points: Has terrible memory or else a convienent forgetter. Spoiled one scene by putting on wrong tie and forgetting where the right one had been tossed.

Gift: A rifle

GRETA GARBO

Good Points: For just being the most fascinating star in pictures. For doing The Painted Veil. For creeping out of her shell a bit.

Bad Points: That inhuman hermit complex. Refusing to sign a new contract and keeping Metro and all her fans in suspense.

Gifts: A husband

 

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Since Clark and Carole were married 74 years ago this month, here’s one from November 1936:

London, of all places, has the cutest new betting game. They’re betting, over there, on whether or not certain film couples will marry! ! !

They’ve even got a set of standard odds, like this: even bet that Bob Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck will wed; 90 to 1 against George Brent taking the leap with Garbo; 5 to 1 that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard will; 10 to 1 that Bill Powell and Jean Harlow won’t; 5 to 3 that Ann Sothern becomes Mrs. Roger Pryor; 7 to 4 against the Jackie Coogan-Betty Grable merger; 20 to 1 against Tom Brown and Eleanore Whitney; 6 to 1 against Ginger Rogers saying her I-do’s with Jimmy Stewart; 4 to 3 that Gene Raymond and Jeanette MacDonald do it; 9 to 4 against Cary Grant and Mary Brian; 15 to 1 that George Raft finally does wed Virginia Pine despite hell, high water and Mrs. George Raft; and, finally, 100 to 1 that Ariel and Caliban never become Mr.-and-Mrs.

___

Let’s do a check to see what bets won:

Bob Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck did wed, but not until 1939.

George Brent never married Greta Garbo (I found that one quite random!)

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were, of course, married in 1939.

Bill Powell and Jean Harlow never wed, as she died less than a year later.

Ann Sothern and Roger Pryor were married by the time this blurb went to press.

Jackie Coogan and Betty Grable were married in 1937.

Tom Brown and Eleanore Whitney were never married.

Ginger Rogers and Jimmy Stewart were never married (Imagine though!)

Gene Raymond and Jeanette MacDonald were married in 1937.

Cary Grant and Mary Brian were never married.

…and I don’t know who Caliban and Ariel are!

Oh and out of all the couples above who actually were married (besides Clark and Carole, who we all know how that ended, sadly), Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond were the only ones who didn’t divorce.

 

Our trip to Forest Lawn: Hollywood Hills was a quick one. Founded in 1906, it is younger and smaller than its big Glendale cousin (blog on Glendale this week!) but is still gorgeous in its own right. The best part of the cemetery is the view; you could see for miles from the top of the hill.

Our main objective here was the legendary Bette Davis, who was not at all hard to find. I left her a bouquet (dedicated from some dear friends of mine); she had already been given several flowers and also a big lipstick print.

Clark Gable and Bette Davis

Clark Gable and Bette Davis

 

She’s entombed with her mother Ruth and sister Barbara.

Right around the corner from her, in a wall in the outdoor mausoleum is a modest marker for renowed actor Charles Laughton. Charles was the tyrannical Captain Bligh to Clark’s mutinous Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty, and starred with Carole in White Woman (1933) and They Knew What They Wanted (1941). Carole reportedly nicknamed him Cuddles, but apparently neither she nor Clark cared for him very much personally.

Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton

Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton

Not too far from there is George Raft. George was known to have Mob connections and was quite the womanizer. Him and Carole were rumored to have had a thing or two while filming Bolero (1934) and Rumba (1935) together. George also dated Norma Shearer and, briefly, Clark’s ex-wife Ria Langham shortly after their divorce.

Carole Lombard and George Raft

Carole Lombard and George Raft

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Cool fact about Forest Lawn: Hollywood Hills is that during the silent era its massive fields were used as a filming location. Battle scenes for D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation
(1915) were filmed here.

The Los Angeles premiere of Gone with the Wind was 71 years ago this very evening.  Jean Garceau, Clark and Carole’s faithful secretary, attended the event with them. Here is how she described it:

The theater was decorated inside and out in keeping with the background and theme of the film. Huge searchlights probed the sky, bands played, streets were roped off and uniformed attendants held back the crowds as the police permitted only those cars with passes to draw up in front of the theater.

A long flower-decked canopy extended to the sidewalk and a master of ceremonies stood there to welcome the stars, announce their names over a loudspeaker and guide them towards a battery of microphones and cameras where they paused to extend their greetings as camera flashbulbs popped and fans shrieked their approval. Then they proceeded down the canopied walk into the theater.

When [my husband Russ] and I arrived, I was a step ahead of him after we left our car. The flashbulbs were blinding and I lost him in the crowd, partly because my long velvet cape billowed out so far he couldn’t reach me and partly because I was trying to avoid the cameras. We didn’t find each other until we reached the entrance, which seemed an interminably long time for me. For months afterward, Russ accused me of “going Hollywood” and trying to shake him so I could “make an entrance.”

Clark and Carole’s car was right behind us. Irene had designed a princess-like gold lame evening gown ad cape for Carole and she was breathtakingly lovely in it. Pandemonium broke loose in the stands when the fans caught sight of the Gables, and they were mobbed by cameramen. They posed with Marion Davis and Raoul Walsh.

Father Gable, Edna and Pinkie were there too, but Father Gable, who refused to ever wear a tuxedo, preferred to arrive quietly and occupy the seats Clark had reserved for them without being identified. Gone with the Wind was the only premiere Clark’s father ever attended.

It was an unforgettable evening. Every star in Hollywood was there and I’ve never seen a more glittering array of gowns and jewels, for everyone comes to “see and be seen.” Russ and I felt very elegant.

Of course I thought the picture was wonderful and Clark was superb. But there was so much going on that I actually enjoyed the picture more when I went back later to see if for the second time.

The premiere was THE premiere of the year and all of classic Hollywood’s elite attended.

Of course, here’s Clark and Carole. Carole’s gown and wrap were described as “stippled gold”.

Clark Gable, Carole Lombard

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. Her ensemble was described as “a white ermine coat over  [fuchsia] sequin-sprinkled souffle with its matching veil and sequined bag.”

Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier

Ginger Rogers, on the arm of GWTW costume designer Walter Plunkett. He also designed Ginger’s ensemble, which was described as “a very smart tunic gown of palest blue and silver lame, exactly matched by the turban which serves to conceal her currently dark hair. Her wrap is silver fox.”  Fun fact: By the time the pictures were printed, everyone knew, but Ginger had dyed her hair brown for the first time for her role in The Primrose Path and wore the turban so nobody would know until that film’s premiere.Ginger Rogers, Walter Plunkett

Cesar Romero and Joan Crawford. She also sported a white ermine wrap. Her dress was “flowing white crepe, tightly belted with heavy embroidery of gold beads to match the neckline.”cesar romero, joan crawford

Norma Shearer and George Raft. Yet another white ermine wrap (I am sensing a trend!)  Her dress was described as “blue appliqued satin.”

George Raft, Norma Shearer

Lana Turner, flaunting “a lynx coat which is very nearly as stunning as her tricky feather bird. The latter’s an anchor for the hood of Lana’s Gladys Parker gown.”Lana Turner

Margaret Sullavan and husband Leland Hayward. She is wearing “a broadcloth coat with [a] quaint elbow caplet and baby pillow muff–all banded in sealskin.”Margaret Sullavan, Leland Hayward

Tyrone Power and wife Annabella. She is wearing “a basque-waisted, full-skirted frock of brocaded satin damask under a white fox jacket.”Tyrone Power, Annabella

Mr. and Mrs. Gary Cooper. She is wearing a “shaggy ostrich jacket and blazing diamond earrings”.Gary Cooper

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If you’ve read any biography of Clark or Carole, you’ll come across a mention of a certain Photoplay Magazine article titled “Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives”. This seemingly innocent article caused quite an earthquake among the studios. It lists Hollywood couples who conduct themselves as if they are married—but they aren’t!  The article scolds:

And that, it seems, would point a lesson to the unique coterie of Hollywood’s unwed couples—Bob Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck, who could get married if they really wanted to; George Raft and Virginia Pine, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable and the other steady company couples who might swing it if they tried a little harder. You can’t take your happiness with you.

 For nobody, not even Hollywood’s miracle men, has ever improved on the good old-fashioned, satisfying institution of holy matrimony. And, until something better comes along, the best way to hunt happiness when you’re in love in Hollywood or anywhere else—is with a preacher, a marriage license and a bagful of rice.

You can read the article  in its entirety here as it is the latest addition to the ever-growing Article Archive.

This article and the resulting public uproar sped up the marriage plans of Clark and Carole (much to MGM’s urging) and led to their March 1939 nuptials.

What became of the other couples mentioned in the article?

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Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck felt the pressure from the studio as well and were married on May 13, 1939 after months of speculation. Close friends of Clark and Carole, their union seemed happy for many years. But apparently not always. Barbara filed for divorce, supposedly tired of Bob’s cheating, and it was granted on February 21, 1951. Barbara never remarried. Bob married actress Ursula Theiss in 1954 and they had two children.

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George Raft and Virginia Pine (pictured with her daughter Joan) never did make it to the altar. I’m not sure when exactly they broke up, but I do know that by late 1939 George and widowed Norma Shearer were the hot couple of the moment. And after their breakup, George courted Clark’s ex-wife Ria for a bit!  By 1942, George was hot and heavy with Betty Grable. Despite his many high profile romances, he remained married to Grace Mulroney from 1923 until her death in 1970.

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Gilbert Roland became Constance Bennett’s husband #4 in April of 1941. Their marriage lasted until 1946, and they had two daughters. She married an Army Colonel two days after her divorce from Gilbert was final. Gilbert remarried in 1954.

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Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard were a complicated pair. Together for a few years,  they remained mum on their relationship status and seemed to be unmarried and living together. Charlie sent shockwaves through the gossip columns when he called Paulette his wife at the premiere of his film “The Great Dictator”  in 1940. But they never could produce a marriage certificate and no reporter could dig one up either. Supposedly, this inability to prove she was married to the man she was living with is what caused Paulette to be eliminated from consideration for her dream role, Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind”. Married or not, by 1942, they were through. Charlie married 17-year-old Oona O’Neill  in 1943 and they had eight children.Paulette went on to marry actor Burgess Meredith in 1944 and writer Erich Remarque in 1958. She also dated Clark after her separation from Meredith in 1948.