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 brown derby

This post is Part One of a series of posts I will be doing regarding Clark Gable’s favorite restaurant in Hollywood, The Brown Derby.

The Brown Derby Restaurant was a Hollywood standard. In its heyday, it was as famous and as symbolic of Hollywood as as the Hollywood sign or Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  I don’t think I have read a single book on a Hollywood star yet in which the Brown Derby wasn’t mentioned, even in passing. A 1932 article described it as such:

The Brown Derby is more than a Hollywood institution. It is not only a place to meet and talk over contracts and plan divorces and further romance under the bronze derby-hatted lights, it is also a place to eat. It is famous both as the spot where Jim Tully battled Jack Gilbert and the spot where you can get Special Hamburger brought sizzling to the table, in copper frying pans. It is a place where the stars gather at lunch time and after premieres  to be seen–and to relish some caviar.

There were actually four Brown Derby restaurants in Los Angeles–sadly, all are now demolished. The original  was located on Wilshire Boulevard.  Opened in 1926, it was known for its dome shape and for its proximity to the extremely popular Cocoanut Grove nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel. There was also one in Los Feliz and one in Beverly Hills.

Jean Harlow and William Powell at the Brown Derby

Jean Harlow and William Powell at the Brown Derby

The location on Vine Street near Hollywood Boulevard, the second one built, was the one that figured most prominently in the golden age of Hollywood. Opened on Valentine’s Day 1929, it was the place to see and be seen in Hollywood. It wasn’t a fancy restaurant by any stretch, serving basic fare at decent prices. But the stars flocked there in droves. It can be said that the Vine Street Brown Derby was at least partially responsible for making the intersection of Hollywood and Vine the heartbeat of filmdom. Located among radio studios, theaters and just a short drive from studios, it was the prime location for stars to have lunch and a quick meeting.

The Vine Street Brown Derby

The Vine Street Brown Derby

From an article titled “Star Grazing,” June 1939:

Stop by [the Vine Street Brown Derby]  at noon or at dinner time and you’ll see Tyrone Power, for example, eating his favorite boiled brisket of beef with horseradish sauce and a glass of milk. Janet Gaynor will be ordering Turkey Derby, a creamed speciality. You’ll see Eddie Cantor demolishing hamburger steak, dry, no onions, Al Jolson bolting chicken chow mein and American tea, Claudette Colbert going in a big way for chicken hash Somborn. Claudette never has to diet.

Or perhaps you’ll find Jack Benny and Mary Livingston enjoying a snack between radio rehearsals. Both will probably be ordering ham, but his must be Westphalia and hers must be Virginia. Numbered among the Derbys’s best customers, they collect a lot of “gags” around the place. They even write radio scripts there!

It sounds almost like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Like you would just walk in and see all these beloved classic stars any time of day! The restaurant was certainly more than just a place to eat…it was a place to see and be seen.

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier at the Brown Derby

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier at the Brown Derby

Jon Hall was signed for The Hurricane by Sam Goldwyn right there in a Derby booth. Marie Wilson and George Raft were both discovered there. Lupe Velez and Johnny Weissmuller had a regular Friday night date at the Derby. John Payne wooed Ann Shirley there. A famous episode of I Love Lucy was filmed there, with Lucy stalking William Holden.  And oh yes, Clark Gable proposed to Carole Lombard in a Derby booth.

Bob Cobb, part owner of the restaurant and husband of actress Gail Patrick (Carole’s sister in My Man Godfrey, among other roles), invented the Cobb Salad at the Brown Derby after hastily throwing leftovers onto a plate late at night in the kitchen. It became a menu staple and now is common everywhere.

Also famous on the menu: their grapefruit cake, pot roast, Spaghetti Derby, chicken a la king, chili, onion soup, paprika chicken, and chiffon cake.  Norma Shearer’s favorite was the lamb chops, George Raft liked steak with lots of ketchup, Bob Montgomery ate his weight in cheesecake, Adolph Menjou favored pate de foie gras, Gloria Swanson munched on creamed chicken hash, arlene Dietrich was partial to the beef stew, Boris Karloff would often order only milk and several pastries, Eleanor Powell loved the Turkey Derby, John Barrymore favored pancakes with sausages, and Charlie Chaplin would usually order a steak but only eat four bites. Steamed clams were immensely popular, counting Wallace Beery, John Boles, Victor McLaglen, Bill Boyd and George Bancroft among the fans.

clark gable

Clark Gable’s caricature

While these stars were chowing down, they had quite the ambiance. The walls of the Brown Derby were famously covered in caricatures of famous people. In 1929, a young man named “Vitch” started sketching whomever walked in the door in exchange for some hot soup and coffee. Soon, he was famous for his work and the walls were covered with every big name in Hollywood. As the years went on, so did the tradition and Vitch had many successors. You weren’t somebody until you were immoritalized on the wall at the Derby!

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“Here you see a typical noontime gathering of autograph seekers at the Brown Derby–which gives you an idea of how hard it is for stars to lunch in peace.”

brown derby restaurant

In 1939, Bob Cobb commented,”Clark Gable has to have his coffee just right and Alice Faye’s boiled eggs can’t be left on too long. Gary Cooper’s fried chicken must be dry rather than greasy. And that’s the way they get ’em. They get ’em that way even though we have to tear the kitchen apart.

“Stars are particular about their food because they know what good food is. Stars are used to having things the way they want them and that;s how we plan to have them. But if we didn’t the stars wouldn’t fuss. Most of them are the nicest folks on earth from a restaurant man’s point of view. No, they’d simply leave the food, exit smiling and not come back. Who’d blame them? Not me!”

bob cobb gail patrick marian marsh howard hughes

Bob Cobb, Gail Patrick, Marian Marsh and Howard Hughes at the Brown Derby

For Clark’s fortieth birthday in 1941, Carole threw him a big surprise party at the ranch catered by the Brown Derby and featuring Clark’s favorite items on the menu: corned beef hash, pot roast, baked beans and orange chiffon cake.

Their second anniversary party that year was also catered by the Brown Derby, who delivered the food to the set of They Met in Bombay.

And on January 11, 1942, Carole’s final full day in Los Angeles, she and her mother ate lunch at the Brown Derby while out shopping for their trip.

"What no waitress? No waitress when Clark Gable and the Missus, beautiful Carole Lombard, are at the Brown Derby and practically dying for a rich, thick steak? They say there's a caste system in Hollywood, and the biggest stars get waited on first. But this time the Brown Derby was so crowded, even Clark had to wait for service. He looks puzzled, but Carole was amused."

“What no waitress? No waitress when Clark Gable and the Missus, beautiful Carole Lombard, are at the Brown Derby and practically dying for a rich, thick steak? They say there’s a caste system in Hollywood, and the biggest stars get waited on first. But this time the Brown Derby was so crowded, even Clark had to wait for service. He looks puzzled, but Carole was amused.”

What became of this beloved Vine Street staple? It was destroyed by a fire in 1989 and a W Hotel was built on the spot a few years ago. I took a picture of the location when I was in Hollywood:

w hotel hollywood blvd brown derby

In part two of my Brown Derby restaurant series, I’ll be cooking Clark’s favorites from the menu, thanks to The Brown Derby Cookbook!

See below for more pictures of stars grazing at the Derby:

 

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…

Since there is no real “starting point” so to speak for my trip, and we visited five cemeteries, I figured best to start with one of them….

Hollywood Forever

I like graveyards. My husband says that’s weird. I don’t think it is–and thankfully I brought a friend along to Los Angeles who feels the same way.There is something peaceful about visiting them, something about seeing that even though they are gone, people still have a small space on this planet. And, besides, this is the closest I will ever get to all the classic film stars!

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Hollywood Forever, originally titled Hollywood Memorial, was founded in 1899. It is typically the cemetery that people think of when they think of Hollywood cemeteries. Many movies and TV shows have been shot on its grounds, and the cemetery itself shows movies often, and fans bring picnic baskets and sit among the graves.

Hollywood Forever

The cemetery seemed to have two different sides. One side, known as “Section 8” is around a beautiful pond filled with geese and surrounded by palm trees. While beautiful, I can’t say this section was altogether peaceful, as they were building a new mausoleum and the construction noise was loud enough to wake the dead!

Hollywood Forever

There are so many celebrities surrounding the pond that I literally would turn around and find another one…and another one. Unfortuantely, even though I found several celebrities just by happening upon them, there were a few we couldn’t find no matter how many times we circled the pond: Fay Wray, Adolphe Menjou and Nelson Eddy. We tried.  But onto who we could find, including Clark’s friends, co-stars, one of his wives and his father.

Marion Davies, buried in her own private little (locked–yes, we tried) building, under her family name of Douras. Marion, a friend (and maybe at one time fling) of Clark’s, co-starred with him in Polly of the Circus and Cain and Mabel.

Marion and Clark in Polly of the Circus

 

Marion Davies

Of Clark’s five wives, four are buried in Los Angeles. And yes, I visited all four. Here’s his fourth wife, Sylvia Ashley, although she is buried under her fifth husband’s name, Djordjadze:

Sylvia and Clark

Sylvia Ashley

Sylvia’s plot, second from right:

Sylvia Ashley

The impressive memorial for the legendary Douglas Fairbanks Sr. (who was married to Sylvia Ashley before Clark was) and his son, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (who was married to Joan Crawford while Clark was, ahem, seeing her):

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr.

Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Jr.

Harry Cohn, who was the president of Columbia Pictures (as you can see, he is definitely not “resting in peace” at the moment).

Tyrone Power, a friend of Clark’s and a hearthrob in his own right:

Fashion designer Adrian and his actress wife, Janet Gaynor:

Legendary director Cecil B. DeMille:

Cecil B. DeMille

A cenotaph placed near the water for Hattie McDaniel (“Mammy” from Gone with the Wind). Hattie had wanted to be buried at Hollywood Forever but at the time she died it was a “whites only” cemetery so she was interred at Rosedale Cemetery instead. In 1999, her family and the owner of Hollywood Forever righted this wrong by erecting this cenotaph.

Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel

After strolling the grounds, we headed to the other side of the cemetery, which seemed more unkempt and cluttered. Into the mausoleum we went, which was both inside and outside, to track some people down. It was quite a challenge but we were eventually successful…

Clark’s very close friend and director of Red Dust, Test Pilot and Gone with the Wind, among other masterpieces, Victor Fleming:

Victor Fleming

Victor’s hallway:

Down some winding hallways that made us glad that at least it wasn’t night…

hallway to the room where William Henry Gable rests

…we found a small room that contained urns in gold cases all around the room. It is there we found William Henry Gable, Clark’s father. I have always thought it was strange that he was buried at Hollywood Forever. By the time he died in 1948, Carole was dead and buried at Forest Lawn Glendale, and Clark had bought the space next to her. So why did he bury his father at Hollywood Forever? But here he is:

Clark and his father

William Henry Gable

William Henry Gable

That was our visit to Hollywood Forever. We remembered it fondly, especially since it was the first–and one of the only–times we saw the Hollywood sign.

Hollywood sign from the grounds of Hollywood Forever

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…Clark and Carole were married.

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Here is an interesting article I found from that year.  It is a letter to Hollywood newlyweds, including Clark and Carole. It is interesting to note the fate of the marriages she mentions here. We all know, sadly, what became of Clark and Carole’s union.

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Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Eppling Hartford were married for 49 years, until her death in 1988. They had three daughters: Daphne, Victoria, and Melissa. He remarried a few years later and remained so until he died at the ripe old age of 91.

3

 Tyrone Power and Annabella lasted nearly nine years, divorcing in 1948. Annabella did not remarry. Tyrone married twice more, another ending in divorce (and producing two daughters) and the third ending in his death. Interestingly, Tyrone died two years before Clark and, just like Clark, his only son was born after his passing.

From Photoplay Magazine, July 1939. By Ruth Waterbury.

To the new Mr. and Mrs. Clark Gable, To the new Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., To the original Mr. and Mrs. Tyrone Power–

Dear Newlyweds:

This is a letter to you from Photoplay to wish you from our very heart the greatest happiness…you are, all six of you, such handsome people, such romantic people. Photoplay, permitting me to speak for it, does hope that you are going to keep this happiness you are now experiencing until death do you part. We want it for you, very much and selfishly, we want it very much for ourselves, too.

For you, Carole and Clark, you, Doug Jr. and the former Mrs. Hartford, you particularly, Annabella and Tyrone, can now, if you only will, put the instituition of Hollywood marriage back on its feet a bit, restore to it the glory it should have. You charming people can prove, if you make these marriages of yours successful, that hearts can be true in Hollywood, that the best of human emotions aren’t always sacrificed to the great god, Career, that love isn’t a farce, or a mere infatuation, in Hollywood, but that it can have beauty and tenderness and the faith that is everlasting.

Yet, what terrible risks of romance you are running, even now, when your love is so very strong. Here you are, six people all wed within a month, six people who between you represent thirteen marriages! Three for Clark, Three for Annabella, Two for Carole, Two for Doug Jr., two for the new Mrs. Doug Jr., for Tyrone, alone, it is a first wedding. And precisely because it is Tyrone’s first marriage do I think that the responsibility of happiness for him and for us rests most heavily on the handsome Power shoulders.

Let’s review the bidding on all this.

You, Clark and Carole, were married very quietly, very much in your characteristic way of doing things, at Kingman, Arizona, on March 29th. I’m sure that the whole world, having watched your romance, having seen how very well you conducted yourselves during two difficult years, felt very pleased that you were, at last, able to belong to each other. For, if ever two people seemed to be made for each other, you are the ones. You simply share each other’s every interest; you both love laughter and good food, sports and horses, people and your work. You are, both of you, of course, absolutely beautiful to look at together.

If you two can’t make a go of your marriage, then there is no meaning in the word compatability. If in a year or two one of you gets a divorce saying those silly things like “He called me harsh names and was rude to my friends and therefore I don’t want to live with him any longer”…in other words, the usual flimsy excuses for Hollywood divorces, well, it is going to very disillusioning to us, it’s not going to leave us with much respect for Hollywood emotions.

Personally, I don’t expect that of you two, though. I’ll put my money on this Gable marriage lasting. I’ll certainly put it much more on this marriage lasting than almost any Hollywood marriage I’ve ever seen happen. And yet, this is Clark’s third marriage, this is Carole’s second. All statistics on love, not alone in Hollywood but throughout the world, reveal that often-wed people aren’t good matrimonial risks.

As far as you are concerned, Doug Jr., I had got all over the habit of paying any attention to your romances, you’ve had so many of them. So when I first heard your name linked with that of the very social Mrs. mary Lee Epling hartford I never gave it a second listen. After all, since you and Joan Crawford separated there’s been you and Gertrude Lawson, you and Marlene Dietrich, you and Zorina, you and Virgina Fields. Yet less than a month after the Gables wed, you and the former Mrs. Hartford, who had just been divorced from the millionaire ownder of a great grocery chain, were united on the Saturday afternoon of April 22nd that you managed to get off from the studio. You were wed at the Westwood Methodist Episcopal Church with the bride’s mother and your father as the witnesses. And I did wonder, Doug, how your father, who also represents three marriages, felt as he stood there and saw a second Mary and Doug come into being.

Since none of us in Hollywood know this new Mary Fairbanks well, it is only possible to guess at what lies ahead of you two. But I would guess that it may be an ideal marriage for you, Douglas. For you, much more than the average Hollywood man, I’d say that a social marriage is perfect. For like, your father, you are a very social human being. Like the ads, you like nice things, you are international-minded, you prefer New York to Hollywood and London to New York, you are a great actor and you respect acting and pictures.

Nevertheless, you are much more aware than most actors that there are other and more important things in the world. As a matter of fact, you are a very intellectual, very cultured young gentleman, Mr. Fairbanks. And because of all these good, worldly qualities in you, a wife who will have only you for her career, a wife who understands how to run a perfect home, a wife who knows all the rules at Palm Beach and Monte Carlo and Sun valley and the Italian Alps.

Well, your marriage looks perfect, that’s what it does, so here’s hoping it is a perfect marriage, forever and always. But if it proves not to be, well that won’t hurt us as much as Carole and Clark breaking up, and not nearly what Tyrone and Annabella’s breaking up would mean to us.

Because you, Tyrone, you are still the idealist in this whole group. You are the one to whom heartbreak has not yet happened, you are the one who has to the oppurtunity to affirm fir the world the truth that marriage is the greatest of all human relationships.

You must have read that anecdote in the Hollywood Reporter, Tyrone, that illustrates the general feeling about your marriage. The Reporter story ran thus: “A high school girl called Patia Power long distance from Long Beach. The youngster said, ‘I am speaking for a group of girls here at school. We just have to tell you that the announcement of Tyrone’s engagement positively floored us. It’s the biggest catastrophe since the burning of Rome!'”

If the millions of girls felt that way about your engagement (and I’m sure they did) millions more felt saddened at your marriage, It isn’t that we begrudge you, who have brought us so much pleasure, your own joy, but you were, more than any other man on the screen, the true Prince Charming and so, when you married the day after young Doug married and yours, too, was a very quiet wedding with only your very closest friends in attendance and Don Ameche and Pat Paterson Boyer as best man and matron of honor, a dream died in countless feminine hearts.

But you, Tyrone, can replace that dream of ours, which admittedly was apretty silly and adolescent dream, by giving us a vision of married love that is so much finer, so much deeper, than any courtship. It may take us a while to become accustomed to thinking of you in the role of a husband and young stepfather, but you are the most popular man in movies still. And why? Because you, Tyrone, are sensitive and handome and couteous and intelligent and unspoiled. That’s why.

So suppose, as a husband, possessing those qualities, you make this marriage one with tenderness and strength and dignity, not merely for this year and next, but over many years. Suppose you show us that two people can get along together cleaving only unto each other, but growing constantly into that inner companionship, that oneness that is the very heart of marriage.

Well, Tyrone, if you can do that, you will have done something much greater for the world than any amount of acting you may ever do.

 All dolled up and out on the town for a worthy cause!

greek6

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There’s Clark and Carole looking quite dashing, posing in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. The occaison? An all-star radio broadcast for Greek War Relief that was held seventy years ago today–January 8, 1941.

I love  all-star events like this because the pictures answer the questions of “Did so- and-so ever meet so-and-so?”

For instance, the event was only one of two instances that I know of that Carole is pictured with Myrna Loy (and that’s Melvyn Douglas and Tyrone Power with them too):

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Carole, Myrna and Tyrone share a secret:greek8The dashing duo with Dick Powell, Frank Morgan, Ann Rutherford and Shirley Temple:

 fr298

Doesn’t Clark looked thrilled by whatever story Samuel Goldwyn is telling?

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Being friendly with a guy who reportedly neither one of them liked, Charles Laughton:

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The star-studded crowd backstage:

greek2

Here’s hosts Jack Benny and Bob Hope:

jackbennybobhope

Melvyn Douglas, Jack Benny and Robert Taylor with Barbara Stanwyck:

greek2

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck with Lewis Stone:

roberttaylorbarbarastanwycklewisstone

Ronald Colman and Shirley Temple:

 ronaldcolmanshirleytemple

From Photoplay magazine:

Again we say there is no community anywhere or any group or people so ready and willing at all times to give of their precious time and talent to a worthy cause as the people of Hollywood.

The gigantic radio program organized by Mr. Samuel Goldwyn for Greek Relief and broadcast to Greece and England had practically every star in the business participating, from Shirley Temple to Charles Laughton. Bob Hope and Jack Benny, as co-partners in emceeing, kept the performers in stitches—Bob with lighthearted quips, Benny with his heavyhearted worry.

Myrna Loy was the belle of the ball throughout rehearsals and little Shirley Temple was so popular she and Ronald Colman were compelled to lock themselves in a dressing room to rehearse in peace. But [our photographer] is resourcefulness itself. He merely climbed up to the transom and clicked away.

Big bad George Raft, who scares millions on the screen, got the willies when he learned he was to be tossed like a badminton cock between Benny and Hope in a skit, He couldn’t even go on the air, he was so frightened. 

It was Mickey Rooney who nearly threw the troupe into a fit. Mickey, who had been rehearsing for the Charlie McCarthy-Edgar Bergen show over at NBC, got caught in the traffic jam outside the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard and arrived backstage just two minutes before he went on the air in a Hardy skit.

 Considering the hours and days of rehearsals and the writing and technical talent that lay behind the broadcast, we’d say Hollywood had done its bit once again—and done it magnanimously.

__________

You can see the photos from the event in the gallery.

I’ve started organizing the gallery better—it bothered me especially that the candids section was a hodge podge of years and events thrown together in random order. So the random candids have been separated into two year groups, 1930-1944, and 1945-1960.  Those pics are slowly but surely being put in a somewhat-choronological order as well. Certain events have been given their own album–one for the 1935 Academy Awards, for Clark and Kay in Italy in 1959,  for Clark’s handprint ceremony at Grauman’s in 1937 and the Greek Benefit.

I’ve also been adding captions where they are missing and deleting and re-uploading some pics that need better quality or where the watermark screws up the picture. If you know of any in particular, please comment on it in the gallery and I’ll fix it if I can.

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

A short article from June 1940 in which actress Ann Sheridan describes her ideal man:

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Right here I’d like to mention that I don’t go around describing, unsolicited, my masculine ideal to everyone I meet. What I mean is, I was asked by Movie Mirror to do this…so in describing the sort of man I would choose if I were to marry I’m contriving a sort of composite of several men I know and like and admire…

He’d dance like Cesar Romero. The Romero dancing is in a class by itself.

He’d have Joel McCrea’s physique–tall, square-shouldered, rangy and not an ounce of spare fat on him! I hate bay windows, even small ones.

He’d have Clark Gable’s eyes, gray-blue and the kind that look at your straight. He’d have Gable’s nose and simples and his strong square chin.

He’d have Tyrone Power’s teeth, strong and white.

And Bob Taylor’s mouth, the most sensitive man’s mouth I’ve ever seen.

He’d have the charm of manner such as Gary Cooper possesses.

And he’d have the courtliness and poise that mark Franchot Tone.

He’d have Jimmy Cagney’s gentleness and his high morning spirits.

My composite would have Charles Boyer’s voice, slightly mysterious, caressing, the most persuasive voice I’ve ever heard.

And William Powell’s hands, the unmistakable hands of a gentleman.

And George Brent’s sense of humor. I’d rather marry a double-dyed villain than a man without a sense of humor. He’d have George Brent’s sophistication–that savoir-faire which is an indescribable combination of tolerance, wisdom, mental and social balance; and George Brent’s quick intellect, George Brent’s dependability, George Brent’s quiet air of authority which tells you if you were married to him he’d be the boss–but you’d like it!

Important to note here is that Ann was in the midst of a love affair with George Brent at the time of this article (can you tell?).  Apparently she didn’t like George being the boss in marriage, however—they were married in 1942 and the union lasted only one year.

That is quite a man she built though!

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As any fan can recall, Clark was selected as “The King of Hollywood”, alongside Myrna Loy as “the Queen” in 1938. The contest continued year after year, with new kings and queens elected. But the king label stuck on Clark and Clark alone (although, unfortunately, the queen label did not stick on Miss Loy), as he is still known as “The King of Hollywood” today. In 1939, Tyrone Power was elected the king and Jeanette MacDonald the queen. Here’s what a columnist had to say in April 1939:

…Take Clark Gable who ran second to Ty in this voting and who won out last year. 1938 Gable had one fine picture, “Test Pilot”, and one so-so picture, “Too Hot to Handle”, but both of them added together did not equal in sheer production value any one of the pictures that Mr. Power has been in. Ty certainly didn’t look much like an eighteenth-century count in “Marie Antoinette” nor a nineteeth-century canal builder in “Suez”; he certainly was made to appear silly in “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” where he lived through some thirty years and didn’t age by so much as one wrinkle. It is very much to his credit that he played these diverse and miscast roles so convincingly that it was only after leaving the theatre that you were able to pick any flaws in them.

Gable was up against a stiffer problem to maintain his popularity than Tyrone Power was, boiled down into essentials “Test Pilot” wasn’t so much of a story and “Too Hot to Handle” was plain goofy and it was the Gable personality (combined with Myrna Loy’s, which is no slouch either) that actually put both pictures across. In other words, his studio didn’t back him up as well as Twentieth Century backed Power.

Yet it is characteristic of that Gable guy, too, that he said of Power’s winning, “It couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid.” which is absolutely true. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid unless it happened to Gable himself, who, I bet wasn’t called a kid even at the age of ten, being always too loaded with adult male ummph.