I’m sure you’ve heard the song by the Postal Service, which is titled “Clark Gable.” The line that features his name is “I’ll kiss you in a way Clark Gable would have admired.” Say what you want about Clark and his acting limitations, but that man was a born onscreen lover!

Rosalind Russell recalled: “The only man who could make a love scene comfortable was Clark Gable. He was born graceful, he knew what to do with his feet and when he took hold of you, there was no fooling around.”

Let’s get a lesson in the fine art of onscreen lip locking from Mr. Gable himself…

rosalind russell clark gable they met in bombay

with Rosalind Russell in "They Met in Bombay" (1941)

clark gable norma shearer a free soul

with Norma Shearer in "A Free Soul" (1931)

greer garson clark gable adventure

with Greer Garson in "Adventure" (1945)

joan crawford clark gable chained

with Joan Crawford in "Chained" (1934)

ann baxter clark gable homecoming

with Ann Baxter in Homecoming

clark gable idiot's delight

with a lucky nurse in "Idiot's Delight"(1939)

hedy lamarr clark gable comrade x

with Hedy Lamarr in "Comrade X" (1940)

clark gable lana turner honky tonk

with Lana Turner in "Honky Tonk" (1940)

jeanette macdonald san francisco clark gable

with Jeanette MacDonald in "San Francisco" (1936)

clark gable myrna loy men in white

with Myrna Loy in "Men in White" (1934)

clark gable constance bennett after office hours

with Constance Bennett in "After Office Hours" (1935)

mary astor clark gable red dust

with Mary Astor in "Red Dust" (1932)

grace kelly clark gable mogambo

with Grace Kelly in "Mogambo" (1953)

marion davies clark gable polly of the circus

with Marion Davies in "Polly of the Circus" (1932)

greta garbo clark gable susan lenox

with Greta Garbo in "Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise" (1931)

doris day clark gable teacher's pet

with Doris Day in "Teacher's Pet" (1958)

claudette colbert clark gable boom town

with Claudette Colbert in "Boom Town" (1940)

loretta young clark gable call of the wild

with Loretta Young in "Call of the Wild" (1935)

yvonne de carlo clark gable band of angels

with Yvonne de Carlo in "Band of Angels" (1957)

deborah kerr clark gable the hucksters

with Deborah Kerr in "The Hucksters" (1947)

barbara stanwyck clark gable to please a lady

with Barbara Stanwyck in "To Please a Lady" (1950)

jean harlow clark gable china seas

with Jean Harlow in "China Seas" (1935)

carole lombard clark gable no man of her own

with Carole Lombard in "No Man of Her Own" (1932)

warner brothers

All the major studios offer tours: Sony (formerly MGM), Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount. We of course knew we wanted to do MGM (blog post forthcoming), since that was home to Clark and so many other of the “brightest stars”. We wanted to do one other one and it was a toss-up between Warner Brothers and Paramount. We ultimately picked Warner Brothers because it was the highest rated studio tour.

We weren’t disappointed. It is a tram tour, but our guide was very knowledgable and I felt he mixed the old with the new quite well. We saw the set of Friends’ Central Perk, the outside set of ER, and heard a lot about Harry Potter.

But we also heard about Bette Davis, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and the history of Warner Brothers.

Before Clark signed his contract with MGM that lasted over 20 years, he had small roles in two Warner Brothers films: Night Nurse and The Finger Points. Later he was loaned here for Cain and Mabel. After he left MGM, he filmed some scenes for Band of Angels on a soundstage here as well. Carole Lombard made Fools for Scandal (1938) here.

Warner Bros backlot

Warner Bros backlot

One tram stop was to the studio museum, which was two levels, one for the Harry Potter films and one for everything else. We have never seen nor read Harry Potter (sorry) so we stayed downstairs. They had several interesting items–pieces from Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford and more; my favorite being this dress that Bette Davis wore in her Oscar-nominated turn in Dark Victory (1939), complete with the tiny cap she wore to conceal her character’s recent brain surgery.

 I had always wondered what color this dress was and so I was thrilled to see it in person. The top was multicolored intricate embroidery, all brightly shaded, and the skirt and cap were a vivid ruby red. I wish I could have taken a picture but they made us lock them up in the tram beforehand.

Being the Clark fan I am, the thing I wanted to see the most on the Warner Brothers lot was the former Stage 7 (now 16). When Clark was loaned to Warner Brothers in 1935 to make the mediocre romantic comedy Cain and Mabel with Marion Davies, this studio was where it was filmed.

Stage 16 Warner Bros

What makes it so special is that Marion Davies, the mistress of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, demanded that the studio roof be ripped off and the studio be extended by over 30 feet to accomodate the large dance numbers planned for the film. WB head honcho Jack Warner refused to do it, saying it was too expensive, but Hearst, wanting to make his lady happy, footed the bill. It was deemed too pricey to rip the roof off and build up, so in an extremely difficult process, the studio was actually lifted off the ground and the new addition was built underneath it.

See the studio under construction with Clark and Marion looking on in this behind the scenes video/trailer for the film: Cain and Mabel

Stage 16 Warner Bros

At the time, it was the tallest soundstage in the world and is still the tallest on the Warner Brothers lot; you can see it everywhere you go on the tour. Including the two million gallon water tank installed under its floors, the studio is 94 feet tall.

Stage 16 Warner Bros

Stage 16 Warner Bros

Stage 16 Warner Bros

Outside each of the studios is a list of the “memorable” films filmed in that particular studio, which I thought was a nice nostalgic touch. Here is Studio 16, although you may notice that Cain and Mabel is not listed, because, frankly, although the studio owes its mammoth size to the film, it was a flop.  Inside Studio 16, Dark Victory, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Big Sleep, My Fair Lady, Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park were filmed, among many others.

It was a great tour and very informative. As a classic film fan, I liked that Warner Brothers is moving forward into the future but still acknowleding and appreciating its past.