carole lombard marlene dietrich cary grant

Carole Lombard and Marlene Dietrich, with Cary Grant in the middle

From July 1937:

Marlene [Dietrich] and Carole [Lombard] haven’t got to the hair pulling stage–yet–but it is stated that there is no love lost between the rival queens of the Paramount lot.

The Dietrich was not too pleased when Lombard got that new two million dollar contract last year, but the fight was really on when it was reported that Carole was to have the lead in “French Without Tears.”

That role was the apple of Marlene’s eye. She “discovered” the play while she was in London and had persuaded her studio to buy the screen rights. She had come to regard the part as her personal property. She promptly stormed the front office and now that the smoke and dust of battle have cleared she stands victorious.

The picture, incidentally, will mark the German star’s return to a comedy part. It is well known that she is personally tired of those devastating but humorless and rather impossible glamour ladies Hollywood has almost always given her.

clark gable marlene dietrich

From September 1936:

The debut of the Music Box Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, as a broadcasting station, was quite an auspicious occasion. Hundreds of people came to witness Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable give a stirring performance. However, there was just as much drama before the broadcast, as there was while the players were reading their lines. Marlene had to have her microphone adjusted so she could face her audience. It seems she is quite self-conscious about her profile. On the other hand, Clark prefers giving his audience a profile view, instead of meeting them full-face. After these little matters were adjusted, the play got off to a flying start. At the end of the broadcast, Dietrich lost no time in getting in touch with her representatives. It seems that Clark’s name had been mentioned first in the announcements and–well, you know how sensitive some people are!

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

 

carole lombard

From May 1941:

Chief among the 1941 Academy Award winners whose name does not appear on the official honors list is your present correspondent, who won an Oscar for perpetrating the outstanding bonehead play of the year.

In the interests of her millions of fans he arranged to interview Miss Carole Lombard. A rendezvous was promised in a quiet sitting room on a side street in Beverly Hills for a certain Thursday. The hour, the date and the place were as clear as a blueprint in his mind. He thought.

The momentous day arrived. Your correspondent, methodical as ever, leaped into his motor car well ahead of schedule and went charging along the palm-fringed boulevards at a legal but unremitting pace.

One of the main difficulties arose at this point. Instead of charging off in a southerly direction, toward Beverly Hills, where Miss Lombard was dutifully awaiting him, he went charging off in a northerly direction which led him eventually to Universal City.

Arriaved at this thriving little municipality, he committed the second error of the day, which was to forward a message to Miss Marlene Dietrich (no relation to Miss Lombard) that he would await her in the commissary of Universal Studios for luncheon. Thereupon he went into the commissary, sat down with an air or joint proprietorship and awaited with pleasant expectancy the arrival of The Flame of New Orleans.

Word trickled through from time to time that Miss Dietrich was leaving Stage 9, that Miss Dietrich was momentarily in her dressing room, and that Miss Dietrich was on her way to a sound recording room. The delay was a trifle vexing to your man but he took it with good grace until a flash from the front arrived to the effect that Miss Dietrich did not recall having any engagement with him.

Just as he was working up a good medium-sized huff, Miss Dietrich arrived in a swirl of charm and announced with refreshing bluntness: “Your appointment was not with me. It was with Carole Lombard. She has been waiting for you since 12 o’clock.”

At this point your reporter ws overtaken by a blackout. When he emerged from it he dsicovered that Miss Dietrich had telephoned Miss Lombard and, acting as counsel for the defence, had succeeded in making a satisfactory display of his meatheadedness.

Personal nominees for good sportsmanship Oscars: Marlene Dietrich and Carole Lombard.

Some of my favorite finds when I am scouring through old fan magazines are candids of random stars together. “I never knew that Blank ever even met Blank!” I often think, particularly now during “awards show season”, how the generations to come won’t feel similar joy, since there are thousands of pictures taken at every red carpet event, awards show and party and so thus the surprise of seeing stars posing together has dwindled.

Here are some shots of Clark with other Tinseltown folk…

clark gable robert taylor

with Robert Taylor

george burns gracie allen clark gable

with George Burns and Gracie Allen

clark gable errol flynn

with Errol Flynn

clark gable judy garland

with Judy Garland

clark gable margaret o'brien

with Margaret O'Brien

mickey rooney clark gable

with Mickey Rooney

marlene dietrich clark gable

with Marlene Dietrich

paulette goddard clark gable

with Paulette Goddard

jack lemmon clark gable

with Jack Lemmon

marilyn maxwell clark gable

with Marilyn Maxwell

roy rogers clark gable

with Roy Rogers

clark gable ann dvorak

with Ann Dvorak

clark gable susan peters

with Susan Peters

clark gable elizabeth taylor

with Elizabeth Taylor

clark gable ginger rogers

with Ginger Rogers

clark gable ann sheridan

with Ann Sheridan

clark gable shirley temple

with Shirley Temple

clark gable jayne mansfield

with Jayne Mansfield

clark gable marie dressler

with Marie Dressler

clark gable katharine hepburn

with Katharine Hepburn

clark gable james stewart

with Jimmy Stewart

 

nancy davis clark gable

with Nancy Davis

gary cooper clark gable

with Gary Cooper

clark gable bette davis

with Bette Davis

clark gable spencer tracy robert taylor william powell

with Spencer Tracy, Robert Taylor and William Powell

See more in the gallery.

clark gable carole lombard

From September 1936:

The latest gag present from Lombard to Gable was delivered to a somewhat bewildered Mr. G. at the close of a radio broadcast in which he was appearing in a dramatic skit with Marlene Dietrich. Just as the show ended an attendant brought in a huge floral horseshoe–the kind gangsters used to send their deceased colleagues. The card from Carole read “Good Lux.”