CLARK GABLE ROBERT TAYLOR

This 1937 is purely MGM propaganda–“We have two hot male leads! Look at how great they both are!” A bunch of hogwash to think that because they were both leading men they were instantly rivals. Clark and Bob, in fact, grew to be good friends in the years following. Bob and his wife Barbara Stanwyck had a ranch near Clark and Carole’s and the four of them were often together. Only thing worthwhile in this article is some of the quotes:

“I see Mr. Taylor as a rival!” marvels Mr. Gable, spreading his four-square smile. “Never even thought of such a thing. Bob’s a fine boy, a fine-looking boy, a young, healthy, virile, clean, intelligent American boy, and God knows we need more of them in this business. I’m glad he came along. He has taken some of the burden off my shoulders, and I’m grateful to him. I’ve worked plenty. I do too many pictures. I’d rather do less and be seen less. For a long time Bob Montgomery and I were the only leading men on the lot, and we were kept going from one woman star to another. Bill Powell has been here for only the last year and a half. Then Spencer Tracy joined the gang. Now, with Taylor, there are five of us. And as for Bob all I can say, and say it from the heart, is welcome to our Culver City.”

Mr. Taylor is all but diffident as he hesitates to say: “I don’t know how Gable feels about me, but I’d like to be a pal of his. He’s completely a man. When I came here people kept asking, ‘Why don’t you get acquainted with Clark?’ I told them, ‘He doesn’t want any of me.’ You see, I felt he was too big to be bothered with small-fry. So for a long time it was just a case of ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’ when we happened to pass on the lot. I’d been a fan of his ever since seeing him in ‘Free Soul’—still am. After that picture I talked about him for weeks, then did more talking when I saw him in ‘The Secret Six.’ But I didn’t have the nerve to talk to him on the lot. Finally there was a matter of business I wanted his advice on, and I got up guts enough to ask him if he’d let me see him about it. He opened up like a book, and he’s been swell ever since. Now we go to lunch together, and I get a big kick out of it. My being a leading man hasn’t made any difference. I couldn’t be a rival of his even if I were chump enough to have any such fool idea.”

I love his description of liking Clark in A Free Soul and being intimidated by him.

“That’s the way I figure myself,” explains Mr. Gable. “When I came into pictures I hadn’t the faintest notion of ever becoming a star. Such a possibility never entered my head. Far from it, I didn’t think I could even be a leading man, for at that time leading men were different from those of today. I wasn’t a pretty boy. And, anyway, they didn’t think much of stage actors then. They’d rather have a good-looking doorman or a truck-driver. My looks, romantically, weren’t worth a nickel. I’d never have got my foot in at all if it hadn’t been for gangster pictures. All that saved me was that I could look tough.”

What do you think, are his looks worth a nickel?? He is right, though. Clark helped usher in a new era of leading man. Gone were the overly romantic, fluffy stylings of Valentino and Gilbert, in were the rough, tough and manly men who would slap your face one minute and take you in their arms the next.

“I was lucky to get anywhere,” Mr. Gable is grateful to say. “It’s all in the luck of the game. But popularity in pictures is very temporary. It may be for this year, then it’s gone forever. You’re up today and down tomorrow. There’s no use trying to keep it up. You just have to struggle along and make the best of it. But the trouble today is that the average beginner wants to start as a star and work down. He needn’t worry about the working-down part—there’s sure to be plenty of people to help him. What has helped me most of all is experience. I’ve had seventeen years of it. Best of all was that I got in theatrical stock companies. It’s unfortunate we haven’t them today, for there’s no other place where an actor gets such valuable training. It’s like an interne learning to be a doctor. Bob Taylor is fortunate for having studied in the studio dramatic class. He came out of it knowing something about the work he was going to do. I only hope there’ll be more like him. We haven’t enough young actors to fill the bill. It is because of the lack of them that there are so many foreign actors in American pictures. Not that I object to them generally. But I don’t think it a good idea to have foreigners play American characters, for no matter how good they are they can’t be convincing. It takes actors like Taylor to play those parts. When I started I was at least what might be called a home-grown, or garden variety of actor. Sprouting in Akron, after coming down from the Ohio back-hills, I was just about as green as they come. With Taylor it was different. He came out of college, where he had played in the dramatic society. But it was simply the glamour of the theatre that got me. I’d sit pop-eyed in the gallery watching the actors and say, ‘Oh God, if I could only do that!’”

It’s interesting what he says about foreign actors in American roles—wonder if he still thought that after starring opposite Vivien Leigh as a certain Miss O’Hara?

You can read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.

clark gable carole lombard

From April 1940:

1940 is going to be a great year for husband wife teams. Joan Blondell and Dick Powell start things going in April when they co-star in “I Want a Divorce” for Paramount. Then Metro will follow with a picture co-starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and another with Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck.

___

Shame that never happened!

clark gable robert taylor

From August 1937:

A Damon and Phythias pair these days are none other than Clark Gable and Robert Taylor. For a couple of years the two have been polite toward one another, but seemed to have no desire to become old pals. But the Screen Actors’ Guild has brought them together, for Clark is an ardent member of the organization, and when Bob broke down and joined forces the other day, he suddenly became Taylor’s most ardent fan.

clark gable robert taylor

From January 1940:

Prime of the month—came from Robert Taylor, at the expense of Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy. Seems the three of them were lunching together, and Gable and Tracy were”riding” Taylor about being in line for the draft if America goes into the war. They razzed him and razzed him, with: “Poor Taylor; you’ll have to go, but we’re lucky. We’re TOO OLD to be called.”

“Yeah,” flipped Taylor, ducking; “but it took a war to bring THAT out!”

 

boom20

From September 1940:

Players who came to the Hollywood feast early get most of the gravy. The highest salaries go to firmly established stars like these:

Clark Gable hits the cash register for about $7,500 weekly, 52 weeks a year, with fat bonuses.

Ronald Colman pockets $150,000 per picture, plus 10% of the world gross when it goes over a certain amount–and it usually does.

Robert Taylor brings Barbara Stanwyck an envelope containing about $5,000 weekly, plus bonuses.

Bette Davis earns not less than $3,500 a week the year round.

Deanna Durbin, who blossomed before the economy blight, earns over $2,500 a week, and bonuses.

Claudette Colbert draws $150,000 per picture.

Jimmy Stewart gets about $2,500 a week–and a crack at that bonus.

Due to Hollywood;s reluctance to reveal actual salaries, these sums are estimated on the basis of information supplied by reliable sources.

Hardly threatened with starvation, these stars still can’t approach the Arabian Nights scale of living once rampant in Hollywood:

Linda Darnell has climbed from $110 to $350 a week within the last year. It will be a long time before she reaches the $1,500 mark.

Mary Beth Hughes collects $350 a week for mugging with John Barrymore.

Carole Landis, much publicized, earns $350 weekly for the same sort of role that brings Carole Lombard $150,000 per picture.

Robert Stack gets about $250 a week, opposite Durbin and Dietrich. Robert Montgomery’s greater fame, experience and ability would rate $4,000 weekly for the same work.

Hedy Lamarr, as well known as Colbert and Garbo, earned $750 weekly a few months ago, now gets $1,250, may never reach $5,000.

newlweds

Since Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married 74 years ago this week, here is a vintage article I found that lists the celebrity couples that were newlyweds in 1939. So let’s see who else would be celebrating 74 years together this year…

 

ronald benita colman

Ronald Colman and Benita Hume

They were included in this article, but apparently they were married in September 1938, so not sure why they were included but…

Benita was Ronald’s second wife. They were married until his death in 1958, and had one daughter, Juliet.

nelson ann eddy

Nelson Eddy and Ann Denitz

Married in January 1939, celebrated singer Nelson and Ann were married until his death in 1967. They had no children.

robert taylor barbara stanwyck

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck

Taylor and Stanwyck rivaled Clark Gable and Carole Lombard as the top celebrity marriage of 1939. They were divorced in 1952, sadly. He later married actress Ursula Theiss and had two children. Stanwyck had been married once before, to actor Frank Fay, but did not marry a third time.

ida lupino louis hayward

Louis Hayward and Ida Lupino

Director Hayward and famed actress/director Lupino were married in November 1938.It was the first marriage for both. They were divorced in 1945 and both of them went on to marry twice more.

leo gorcey kay marvis

Leo Gorcey and Kay Marvis

“Bowery Boy” Leo was 21 when he and Kay were married in May 1939, his first of five wives. She was 17. They were divorced in 1944 when she left him for Groucho Marx.

tyrone power annabella

Tyrone Power and Annabella

Hearthrob Power and French beauty Annabella were married in April 1939, the first for him, second for her. They were divorced in 1948. He went on to marry twice more, having three children. Annabella did not remarry.

alexander korda merle oberon

Alexander Korda and Merle Oberon

Hungarian director Korda and British actress Oberon were married in June 1939. His second marriage, her first. They were divorced in 1945. He went on to marry once more, her three times.

sigrid gurie

Lawrence Spangard and Sigrid Gurie

“The Norwegian Garbo” Gurie married Dr. Spangard in August 1939. They were divorced in 1948 and she went on to marry once more.

 gene markey hedy lamarr

Gene Markey and Hedy Lamarr

Exotic Lamarr married screenwriter (and ladies man) Markey in March 1939. They adopted a son together and were divorced soon after, in 1941. They had both been married once before, him to actress Joan Bennett.

Lamarr was married four more times, Markey twice more–his third wife was Myrna Loy.

nan grey jackie westrope

Jackie Westrope and Nan Grey

30’s and 40’s actress Grey married jockey Westrope in 1939. They had two daughters and were divorced in 1950. She married once more. I am not too familiar with this couple but their picture is very sweet!

 

Oh and the last one….

clark gable carole lombard

 

clark gable carole lombard

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.

 

clark gable carole lombard spencer tracy

From September 1940:

Living in Hollywood is more or less like renting a perpetual reserved room in a madhouse. At 8am of a Sunday this journalist drove to Fox Hills golf course for his usual weekly game, still half asleep. Approaching the first tee he saw  a mob of strange creatures emerge from the morning fog, accompanied by unearthly sounds of catcalls, screeching sirens and exploding guns. Any sane person would have gone home.

We hung around. Presently there appeared Clark Gable, Bob Taylor, Carole Lombard, Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy and other celebrities. It turned out to be the annual MGM golf tournament. When Mickey stepped up for his first drive, his boss L.B. Mayer, smothered Mickey with a smoke machine, and after five swings Mickey produced a tremendous explosion. The gold ball was filled with prop department explosive. After that he was chased down the fairway by gangsters hotting blank cartridges.

Only Bob Taylor survived this monkey business. He hit his drive 281 yards, proving that if he can do that well he’d better take a smoke machine all the way around the course with him. Less cool was Clark Gable, who wound up with a score of 92, which isn’t much gold for a man of Mr. G.’s calibre. We didn’t mind missing golf for a day, had a swell time, but hope it doesn’t happen again next week.

clark gable carole lombard

74 years ago this month, lovebirds Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were among the throngs of celebrities attending the world premiere of MGM’s Marie Antoinette at the  Carthay Circle Theater  in Hollywood (no longer standing, sadly.)
marie antoinette premiere program

Premiere Program

The film has been on MGM’s drawing table for years; a pet project of producer Irving Thalberg, who died in 1936 before a camera ever rolled on the project. His wife, Norma Shearer, was set to be the star of the picture. After her husband’s death, the project was shelved while Norma grieved and was ill with pneumonia. The film finally started production in December 1937 and was a lavish affair, with a $1.8 million budget–practically unheard of at that time, most of it spent on the elaborate costumes, wigs and sets. The budget was so bloated that originally the film was to be shot in Technicolor but that idea had to be scrapped to save money. Norma has her critics as an actress, but Marie Antoinette really is her finest work. It was her personal favorite of all of her films and would often be the only one she would be willing to discuss with people when she was in failing mental health late in her life.
MGM made sure the premiere of this prestige picture was a grand event, with a virtual who’s who of Hollywood attending. Such as:
Earl of Warwick, Simone Simon, Jinx Falkenberg, Merle Oberon and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Earl of Warwick, Simone Simon, Jinx Falkenberg, Merle Oberon and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
hedy lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

 

jean bello jean harlow mother

Jean Harlow's mother attended...looking eerily like Jean, eyebrows and all and even wearing Jean's white fur wrap!

judy garland freddie bartholomew

Judy Garland and Freddie Bartholomew came together...with their mothers!

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck
Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck
Louis B. Mayer, Helen Hayes, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power
Louis B. Mayer, Helen Hayes, Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power
Norma was truly the queen of the night and, having recently ended a short fling with Jimmy Stewart, her co-star Tyrone Power was her escort.
norma shearer tyrone powernorma shearer tyrone power
Clark and Carole looked fabulous. I love Carole’s tightly curled ‘do and massive corsage!
clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard tyrone power

signing the guest book with Tyrone Power

clark gable carole lombard
clark gable carole lombard
TCM has the newsreel of the premiere (which is also on the film’s DVD):

Afterwards, everyone went over the infamous Hollywood nightspot the Trocadero for the after party. Spotted:
Producer Joe Mankiewicz, Viennese star Rose Stradner, Spencer Tracy and his wife

Producer Joe Mankiewicz, Viennese star Rose Stradner, Spencer Tracy and his wife

Pat Paterson (Mrs. Boyer), Basil Rathbone and Charles Boyer
Pat Paterson (Mrs. Boyer), Basil Rathbone and Charles Boyer
It is at this after party at “the Troc” that this picture of Clark and Carole was taken, one of my favorites. Think they are having a good time?
clark gable carole lombard
Looks like their table was the fun one!
clark gable carole lombard
I have a feeling that party went well into the night…

robert taylor barbara stanwyck clark gable

From September 1940:

Movie stars must have their little jokes. When Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor did “Nothing Sacred” on a radio broadcast recently they arranged it so that several lines of dialogue would read thusly:

Bob says: “Is there nothing that will excite you?”

Barbara answers: “Yes, put me in a room with Clark Gable.”

Bob then says: “What’s the matter with Robert Taylor?”

To which Barbara replies: “I never heard of him.”