Featured in Screen Guide magazine in November 1936, here is one of those wacky articles that could only come from the 1930’s–a psychic tells you what will become of Hollywood’s great couples!

wanda hollywood

“The Future of Ten Hollywood Romances as Predicted by Wanda, One of Hollywood’s Most Famous Seers”

The ten blazingest Hollywood romances! How will the end? Marriage? Split up? This story tells.

In presenting this remarkable set of predictions, I have kept in mind that my readers’ interest in the stars is no fleeting thing. You will be amazed as time goes on, to note the accuracy of Wanda’s readings. She has built for herself a tremendous following among the Hollywood famous. I suggest that you keep this article–refer to it in the future and see how right she has been this time. It’ll be fun!

Yes, let’s see just how right this “remarkable” Wanda was, shall we?

Rose Joan Blondell and Richard Ewing Powell (Joan Blondell and Dick Powell)

dick powell joan blondell

There is no if, and or but about this romance. Joan and Dick (if they’re not married by the time you read this) will be married shortly after her divorce from George Barnes becomes final….[Dick] is a charming boy and he and Joan will get along beautifully…She and Dick have many tastes in common and she will always be interested in anything that Dick likes. They will have a child within a year or so after their marriage.

Well, she wasn’t totally wrong here. Joan and Dick were indeed married by the time this magazine hit news stands, tying the knot on September 19, 1936.  They did have a child in 1938, a daughter named Ellen.  Wanda couldn’t predict, I suppose, that in 1944 Dick’s head would be turned by a younger blonde actress, June Allyson, and he would subsequently leave Joan for her.

Arlington Brugh and Ruby Stevens (Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck)

robert taylor barbara stanwyck

For his own good Robert Taylor should not marry for many years. I say this because he is an extremely restless personality. He likes action–lots of it–and hates monotony. He never sits still and never is. He is like a wild horse who hates a halter…He will come under a marriage aspect next year, but if he should marry then it will not last…As far as his “romance” with Barbara Stanwyck is concerned, this is really a glorified friendship. Barbara is very intuitive and psychic; she understands Bob’s spirit perfectly…She will have a proposal of marriage in 1937–and perhaps from Bob, but neither should she marry during that year. It would be what we call an “inevitable marriage”—one which she would have no control.

Her timeline is off, but she’s not completely wrong. Bob and Barbara were married on May 14, 1939, after three years of dating and being called out for “acting like they are married but they aren’t” in the same magazine article that called out Clark and Carole. Bob was indeed not a man who could be tamed, so to speak. After years of him cheating on her, Barbara finally filed for divorce in 1951. He went on to marry actress Ursula Theiss and have two children; Barbara never remarried and missed him the rest of her life.

William Powell and Harlean Carpentier (William Powell and Jean Harlow)

jean harlow william powell

Jean Harlow is two distinct personalities, and she is another person who cannot be restricted. That is why she changed her hair to a brownish shade when she found that its platinum color interfered with her independence. Instead of being its slave she decided to let it be hers…Regardless of what people think, she is very timid and has a strong mother complex. She is also of a restless disposition and enjoys changes. 1937 will prove to be a better year for her than 1936. My advice to her would be to wait a little longer for another marriage.

William Powell was born a genius. He is very proud and disdainful person but loves children and dogs…Bill wants a great deal of love and affection and he wants a wife to be always at his beck and call. That’s why there will be a disturbing element in any marriage he enters into with a busy actress. A woman must role his home as well as his heart.

“1937 will be a better year for her than 1936″?? There is an appalling prediction! Jean Harlow died at the age of 26 in 1937.  Bill and Jean were still together at the time of her death and he was devastated. Married and divorced twice before the Jean romance (his second marriage being to Carole Lombard), Bill eventually married actress Diana “Mousie” Lewis in 1940 and they were married until his death in 1984.

Raymond Guion and Jeanette MacDonald (Gene Raymond and Jeanette MacDonald)

jeanette macdonald gene raymond

Because Jeanette MacDonald is a Gemini and Gemini women usually marry men of a different nationality or religion, I have long been expecting this Jeanette MacDonald-Gene Raymond engagement…The marriage aspects are better for her than for Gene. His best marriage year is really 1938. Still a partnership with Jeanette will turn out happily for him as well as for her so long as he is careful about disagreements and separations…Gene is almost as much wrapped up in music as Jeanette is, and you’ll hear a lot more about him as a composer as time goes on. But my advice to them is to wait awhile, until Gene passes through his present aspects. He had one big love affair last year–he’ll know whom I mean–from which he hasn’t yet recovered.

Jeanette and Gene were indeed married, although sooner than the great Wanda wanted–making it official on June 16, 1937. They remained married until her death in 1965, however revelations from friends and discoveries of personal letters and diaries in the past decade or so have provided clear evidence that this marriage of theirs was a cover-up because Gene was gay and Jeanette was being kept away from her ongoing love affair with Nelson Eddy.

James Stewart and Eleanor Powell

james stewart eleanor powell

This is a nice friendship but has very little marriage possibilities. Eleanor will make a better friend than a marriage partner in this case…I doubt if either of them would learn the lesson of give and take. James Stewart will have two or more marriages.

Again she is kind of right. Jimmy and Eleanor starred in together in Born to Dance that year and were briefly coupled. Eleanor went on to marry actor Glenn Ford in 1943, her only marriage, which ended in divorce in 1959. Wanda is wrong about Jimmy though, he was one of the very few of the golden age of Hollywood’s leading men who held out for the right woman and stayed once he found her. He married Gloria Hatrick in 1949 and they were happily married until her death in 1994.

George Brent and Greta Gustafson (George Brent and Greta Garbo)

george brent greta garbo

It is quite likely that this one will be at an end shortly. George Brent is the burnt child who dreads fire. The memory of his marriage to Ruth Chatterton has never been erased–its happiness and its grief both come back to haunt him…He likes to “putter” and as a matter of fact, he is very fussy and old-maidish. Greta, on the other hand, is just the opposite. An introvert who lives completely in herself. The state of things about her makes very little difference.

I don’t think this relationship was ever anything at all. Greta certainly never seemed ready for marriage–she left a brokenhearted John Gilbert at the altar in the late 1920’s and never married.  George was ultimately married five times. After this article, he married actress Constance Worth in 1937 and they were divorced less than a year later. He also had a short-lived marriage to actress Ann Sheridan. He had two children with his fifth wife, model Janet Michaels.

David Niven and Estelle Merle O’Brien Thompson (David Niven and Merle Oberon)

merle oberon david niven

This romance is destined to follow a rocky path. Like “water” which is their symbol, they are too easily ruffled and changeable with the tide. Their sign is Pisces, which is two fish swimming in opposite directions. David likes to stand on his own two feet and doesn’t like to be bossed. And the compelling Merle Oberon has to be boss! …She is no back-seat driver.

Correct, Wanda. This one didn’t work out. Merle dated Clark before Carole was on the scene and one of the reasons Clark lost interest was apparently Merle’s tendency to be controlling and jealous.  Merle married British producer Alexander Korda in 1939, the first of four husbands. David married a British socialite named Primmie in 1940. She died tragically in an accident in 1946. He then married a Swedish fashion model in 1948 and although it was rather a tumultuous union, they stayed married until his death in 1983.

Cesar Romero and Virginia Briggs (Cesar Romero and Virginia Bruce)

cesar romero virginia bruce

These two are well suited to each other–both are “air” people and therefore could find happiness together. Virginia comes under a very strong marriage vibration after October of this year, and Cesar, too, begins a new cycle in February…Virginia will always attract men who will be constantly telling her how much they admire her, and any man who marries her will have to keep ahead of the others. Even when she is a very old lady there will always be a man waiting for her just around the corner–she can’t help it; hers is just that fatal attraction. But Cesar worships beauty as much as any man and will always respect and revere it. He also senses that she is an adorable mother and he has a strong inclination for a home and family. And if they marry the first of next year there will be a child before October, 1939.

No marriage for these two. Virginia, who was previously married to John Gilbert and had his daughter, married director J. Walter Ruben in 1937. They had one child before his death in 1942. Her third marriage lasted from 1946-1964, ending in divorce. Cesar, who dated Carole Lombard before Clark came on the scene, never married and was rumored to be gay.

And last but not least:

Clark Gable and Jane Peters (Clark Gable and Carole Lombard)

clark gable carole lombard

Clark Gable doesn’t come into another strong marriage vibration until the year 1938, and if he marries then, the only thing I can say to him is that he should keep his suitcase packed. I feel that this warning is necessary because he is individual and independent, and people of his type always marry on impulse. Yet in other respects, and a strange contradiction, he plays life like a game of chess, or like an actor who plays a part and watches himself go by. Few people “get this” about Gable, but it’s true. Another thing about him is that he can’t be bossed. This may have had something to do with the failure of his first two marriages. He is very aggressive and likes to do as he pleases. He will always want much more love and affection than he will give out.

There s little doubt about the fact that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard do get along beautifully, but because she doesn’t come under a strong marriage vibration until 1939 I cannot see a happy immediate marriage. There is, however, always that matter of Gable’s impulsiveness to be reckoned with. Many people point out that Clark and Carole have so much in common–that they both like sports, for example. However, they like them in a different way. Carole likes smart sports–smart tennis on a smart court in a smart pair of shorts. Clark likes backwoods “roughing it” sports. Their ideas are really quite far apart in this connection. Also Clark is content to live in plain, homey surroundings, while Carole’s artistic expression demands something more elaborate and “interior decorated.” She’s really amazingly artistic and when her film career over she can always find a lucrative livelihood as a painter, a landscape gardener, or an interior decorator. Also she is very rhythmic and if she would devote time and study to her voice, she might easily become a successful singer–even an opera singer. She is what we would call extravagant, yet her extravagances are really necessary to her. She hates miserliness in any form and there is nothing stingy about her, nor will she tolerate it in others around her. She has a very real humanitarian outlook and is abnormally patient with everything and everybody. She will put up with things for a long time, but, as is typical of such people, when she finally does get around to putting her foot down, she puts it down irrevocably. Carole is so interested in other people and other things that she neglects herself, and therefore I would advise her to marry someone who would take an interest in her…her health and her welfare–a physician or a surgeon preferably.

Well, well! There are a couple of things wrong about this: Carole did get into Clark’s kind of sport, and she wasn’t the type to scoff at wearing hunting gear and waders and getting dirty.  I don’t think Carole would have made much of an opera singer! Really! If you have seen her film Swing High, Swing Low, you can hear that Carole was not exactly an opera singer! Carole was more extravagant with Clark, but she wasn’t stupid with her money, and I don’t think she minded Clark’s tendency to be a penny pincher too much, as they both pretty much spent their own money as they pleased. I can’t see Carole being some surgeon’s wife…sounds like she’d get bored. I can’t argue that Clark was the type to marry on impulse—he’d done it before then and he’d do it again. Also he did like to do just what he pleased and I would say that him wanting more love and affection than he’d be willing to give out is fairly accurate. And of course, they did get married in 1939–when Carole was having a “strong marriage vibration.”

This month, Clark Gable is doin’ what he does best as the fast talkin’ rogue, Myrna Loy is his lady and William Powell is his conscience in Manhattan Melodrama.

clark gable william powell myrna loy manhattan melodrama

Gable is Blackie Gallagher, a gambling, gun-slinging gangster, who remains best friends with his childhood pal, Jim Wade (Powell), an ambitious lawyer.  Blackie’s girl, Eleanor (Loy) grows tired of the shady side of life and soon falls in love with Jim and marries him. Jim is promoted to district attorney and starts a campaign to become New York’s next governor. When a blackmailer threatens Jim’s campaign, Blackie decides to handle the situation himself and kills the man. On trial, Jim has no choice but to prosecute Blackie and he is sentenced to death. The conviction helps Jim win the election, but on the day of Blackie’s execution, Eleanor pleads with Jim to pardon Blackie and reveals to him that Blackie killed the man to protect Jim. Jim rushes to the prison to commune Blackie’s sentence, but Blackie refuses to let Jim waver on his original decision. After Blackie is put to death, Jim resigns as governor and makes up with Eleanor at the fade out.

The cast of this film is wonderful–Clark and Myrna have great chemistry as always, and of course Myrna and Bill can’t be beat.The plot has been done 100 times before–two boys grow up as friends, one turns bad the other good yet they remain friends. Clark would in fact do it again just two years later when he played another bad Blackie in San Francisco. Spencer Tracy is the good childhood friend (a priest, no less) in that one.

clark gable myrna loy william powell manhattan melodrama

Myrna gets to slink around in gorgeous gowns and also be the prim and proper political wife–not to mention be volleyed between Clark and Bill–not bad for a day’s work.

clark gable myrna loy manhattan melodrama

Clark was tired of the bad gangster types at this point, but at least this one has some heart and actual characterization. He liked the cast and crew of the picture and he was only needed on set for 12 days total–not a bad work assignment.

Clark of course sacrifices himself on behalf of his good friend and guilt eats Bill alive. It’s a movie where everyone does the right thing in the end, but hey at least we were entertained in the meantime.

clark gable william powell manhattan melodrama

“If I can’t live the way I want, at least let me die when I want.”–Poor Clark gets the death chamber. And hey, apparently in 1934 you go from sentencing to death in a matter of weeks. Don’t even think he got his steak dinner!

clark gable william powell manhattan melodrama

Clark is quite good in this film–portraying Blackie’s rough and tumble qualities but letting his heart eek out here and there too. Bill is always good at being the straight and arrow.

This film is an interesting footnote in history for a couple of reasons:

One, this film sparks the beginning of a truly legendary film pairing–Myrna Loy and William Powell. They had never even met before until she opens the door of a car and falls into his lap. Their witty banter and easy chemistry prompted director Van Dyke to decide they were right for his next picture, The Thin Man. And thus started a beautiful teaming that spanned 14 films. Myrna remembered: “My first scene with Bill, a night shot on the back lot, happened before we’d even met. Woody [Van Dyke, the director] was apparently too busy for introductions. My instructions were to run out of a building, through a crowd, and into a strange car. When Woody called “Action,” I opened the car door, jumped in, and landed smack on William Powell’s lap. He looked up nonchalantly: “Miss Loy, I presume?” I said, “Mr. Powell?” And that’s how I met the man who would be my partner in fourteen films.”

clark gable myrna loy manhattan melodrama

Secondly, notorious bank robber John Dillinger was gunned down outside Chicago’s Biograph Theater after seeing this film on July 22, 1934. This event has been tied to the film forever. Myrna recalled: “Supposedly a Myrna Loy fan, he broke cover to see me. Personally, I suspect the theme of the picture rather than my fatal charms attracted him, but I’ve always felt guilty about it, anyway. They filled him full of holes, poor soul.”

Also it’s one of the first roles for a youngster named Mickey Rooney, who played Clark’s character as a child. His performance in this film led to a contract with MGM and the beginning of an illustrious career.

clark gable mickey rooney manhattan melodrama

Oh and lastly, it is worth noting that this is the only film in which you can find the former husband of Carole Lombard starring with the future husband of Carole Lombard!

clark gable myrna loy william powell manhattan melodrama

Manhattan Melodrama is available on DVD as part of the Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection.

You can read more here and see pictures in the gallery.

carole lombard
Of course an interest in Clark Gable and his films often comes hand in hand with an interest in Carole Lombard and then her films.  I am asked sometimes to recommend Carole Lombard books and films. As far as books go, the definitive Carole Lombard biography has yet to be written. “Gable and Lombard” by Warren Harris is good on both of them (just avoid the horrible film of the same name). “Screwball” by Larry Swindell isn’t horrible but is not very appealing to Gable fans as Swindell does not bother to hide his personal dislike of Clark, for whatever reason. Also there is  a lot missing, probably because it was written over three decades ago and so much more has been uncovered. “The Hoosier Tornado” is boring and lacking interesting details.
As for films, here’s the top five Carole Lombard films I recommend, my personal opinion of course. And I’ve counted out No Man of Her Own, as most Gable fans would have seen that already!

In no particular order:

 frederic march carole lombard nothing sacred

Nothing Sacred (1937) Your one chance to see Carole in Technicolor and boy is she beautiful. Carole is Hazel Flagg, a small town girl who has received a death sentence from her local doctor, who says she’s riddled with radium poisoning. He recants his diagnosis, but not before a big city newspaperman (Frederic March) arrives to take her away from her small town life and give her a “last big hoorah” before her untimely demise, documenting all in the newspaper of course. This one is hilarious and a true classic.

 carole lombard william powell my man godfrey

My Man Godfrey (1936) Carole’s lone Academy Award-nominated performance, this one is a screwball standard. Carole is Irene Bullock, a spoiled and rather twitterbrianed socialite who takes in Godfrey, a homeless man (her first husband, William Powell), and makes him her family butler. It is a rather typical zany 1930’s plot, but with a great and hilarious script “Godfrey loves me! He put me in the shower!” . Carole’s full comedy chops are on display here. And despite being divorced for three years, Carole and Bill still have wonderful chemistry. A fantastic supporting cast with Alice Brady. Eugene Pallette, Mischa Auer and Gail Patrick.

 cary grant carole lombard

In Name Only (1939) Carole is single mom Julie, who falls In love with Alec (Cary Grant), who unbeknownst to her is still married to vindictive Maida (Kay Francis), whom he is not in love with. Maida does her best to thwart Julie and Alec’s romance. I like this film for many reasons: I adore Cary and him paired with Carole is just luscious; their chemistry is fantastic. You get to see Carole as a mother to a little girl and it is adorable and sweet. This film was in production the same time as Gone with the Wind and Carole went into the role soon after becoming Mrs. Gable. The story line of bitter wife refusing to divorce her husband so he can marry the woman he loves surely hit home for Carole. This one and Made For Each Other (1939) are pretty much equal on my list of fave Carole dramas.

carole lombard fred macmurray

Hands Across the Table (1935) I think this one is a favorite of many Carole fans. She is wonderfully paired with Fred MacMurray and as always their chemistry is wonderful. She is Regi, a manicurist who is looking for a rich man to marry so she can be saved from her day-to-day drudgery. Enter Ted, who comes from a prominent wealthy family. But…he’s broke. After he moves in for a few days, sparks ignite between the two despite the lack of funds. It’s a light and airy comedy; just what you’d want for a 1930’s romantic comedy.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941) Any film buff should see this, as it is your only opportunity to see Alfred Hitchcock direct a comedy. Not to mention it’s a delightful comedy with Carole and Robert Montgomery as sparring partners. They are the Smiths, a married couple who thrives on fighting and making up. But when he finds out that their marriage was never legal and doesn’t tell Ann, she refuses to remarry him, kicks him out and starts dating his business parter (Gene Raymond) just to spite him. It’s adorable, it’s sweet and I don’t know what it is about this film but Carole is just absolutely stunning in every frame.


Honorable Mentions:  To Be or Not To Be (1942)Made For Each Other (1939), True Confession (1937) and Twentieth Century (1934).

In a Nutshell: Men in White (1934)

clark gable myrna loy men in white

Directed by: Richard Boleslawski

Co-stars: Myrna Loy, Elizabeth Allan, Otto Kruger

Synopsis: Gable is George Ferguson, a young doctor working hard to prove himself at a New York hospital. He puts medicine and his patients before all else, much to the chagrin of his heiress fiancé, Laura (Loy). He soon learns that all work and no play lead him open to temptation and he falls for Barbara (Allan), a nurse, with devastating consequences.

Best Gable Quote: “What good’s a profession that can’t give you bread and butter after you’ve wasted ten years of your life at it?”

Fun Fact: On the set of this film, Clark began a two-year romance with his married co-star Elizabeth Allan.

My Verdict: I’ve always thought this must have been a better play than a film. The restraints on what they could portray on film were too tight on this tale of sex and abortion. It is rather hard to follow when the main plot points are only hinted at. The Art Deco hospital set is gorgeous (and a bit ridiculous) and Myrna Loy had never looked more beautiful. Clark is showing eeks of dramatic chops here and it works, although his constant costume of what looks like a white Frankenstein costume completely with clunky white shoes isn’t at all flattering!


It’s on DVD.

Read more here

It was Movie of the Month in September 2011.

In a Nutshell: Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

clark gable myrna loy william powell manhattan melodrama

Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke

Co-stars: Myrna Loy, William Powell

Synopsis: Gable is Blackie Gallagher, a gambling, gun-slinging gangster, who remains best friends with his childhood pal, Jim Wade (Powell), an ambitious lawyer.  Blackie’s girl, Eleanor (Loy) grows tired of the shady side of life and soon falls in love with Jim and marries him. Jim is promoted to district attorney and starts a campaign to become New York’s next governor. When a blackmailer threatens Jim’s campaign, Blackie decides to handle the situation himself and kills the man. On trial, Jim has no choice but to prosecute Blackie and he is sentenced to death. The conviction helps Jim win the election, but on the day of Blackie’s execution, Eleanor pleads with Jim to pardon Blackie and reveals to him that Blackie killed the man to protect Jim. Jim rushes to the prison to commune Blackie’s sentence, but Blackie refuses to let Jim waver on his original decision. After Blackie is put to death, Jim resigns as governor and makes up with Eleanor at the fade out.

Best Gable Quote: “If I can’t live the way I want, at least let me die when I want.”

Fun Fact: The first film that costarred Myrna Loy and William Powell. They hadn’t even met before they began filming their first scene. Director W.S. “Woody” Van Dyke noticed their onscreen chemistry and requested them both to star in his next feature, The Thin Man. They would go on to become one of classic film’s most popular onscreen duos, starring in fourteen films together.

My Verdict: The cast makes this one. Carole Lombard’s past husband and future husband are good sparring partners. Willam Powell is perfect as the straight-laced politician and of course Clark is at home as the gamblin’ shootin’ rogue. Myrna Loy is gorgeous and gives a fine performance as the woman caught between two men, one good for her and one not. The film is a nice mix of gangster, drama and romance.



It’s on DVD.

Read more here.


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?


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



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


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


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


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


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


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!


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.


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


Good Points: For never forgetting a friend.

Bad Points: That fist fight at the Brown Derby.

Gift: A night club


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


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


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 gone with the wind

From May 1937:

You wouldn’t think that Willie Powell’s walking out on a production called “The Emperor’s Candlesticks” would have an influence on Clark Gable’s playing the role of Rhett Butler in “Gone with the Wind” now, would you? But that’s Hollywood for you. It did have–for Willie has a mind of his own, and one of the very best in the acting profession it is too, and he realized that another not-so-hot to follow “Mrs. Cheyney” would endanger all that terrific advance his career has made since his lucky accident of being cast in the original “Thin Man.”

Hence he went on his own sit-down strike in the desert (a type of strike that appeals mightily to our Mr. Powell, he being no boy athlete). Desperate Metro discovered at Selznick just the story they wanted for him and for Jean Harlow. The story, tentatively titled “The World’s Our Oyster,” was all ready to shoot. Selznick terrifically obliging. Did MGM want the story? Why of course they could buy it. It was just a cup of movie sugar over the neighborly back fence of picturedom. They were of course getting their rival company out of a hole. What, they said, about Clark Gable being loaned to them for Rhett Butler. Not that they were asking for anything in return, you understand, but still…

And thus unless something goes more than ordinarily screwy, Clark–Rhett will be.

Meanwhile, the chatter about Hollywood’s most interesting production to be goes on apace and most of it is untrue. The freelance publicity agents have discovered a fine way to get their clients’ names in the papers. They say so-and-so have been tested for “Gone with the Wind.” Actually only one person for the entire cast yet faced the testing cameras. Not a soul has yet been decided upon except Gable. The boys in the Selznick publicity bureau sit back relaxed and let the eager outsiders get “Gone with the Wind” into print. When the time comes, about the middle of May, for authentic announcements they’ll step in and not before.

jean harlow
75 years ago today, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard attended the funeral of 26 year old Jean Harlow. Jean was a dear friend  of Clark’s. They starred together in The Secret SixRed Dust, Hold Your Man, China Seas, Wife vs. Secretary and Saratoga. He loved her lack of pretense and how casual and free spirited she was. While everyone else called her “The Baby,” he called her “Sis.” Theirs was not a romantic relationship; he was like her protective older brother. They were filming Saratoga together when, after weeks of looking bloated and feeling fatigued, she collapsed on the set. She died just a few days later.
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard attend Jean Harlow's funeral
Carole Lombard never co-starred with Jean, sadly, but she was very fond of her. At the time of her death, Jean was dating William Powell, Carole’s ex-husband. In fact, the two couples had double-dated to the Academy Awards just a few months prior.
The studio decided to scrap Saratoga altogether but fans and theater owners pressured MGM to release The Baby’s last film. Various stand-ins were used for Jean and her voice, and many of her lines were given to supporting players. Clark said that working with the stand-in was like “holding a ghost.” Saratoga became one of the highest grossing films of the year.
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard attending Jean Harlow's funeral

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard attending Jean Harlow's funeral

A moment of silence was observed at 9:00am at all the Hollywood studios on the morning of the funeral–June 9, 1937.  The funeral service was held at Forest Lawn Glendale, in the Wee Kirk o’Heather Chapel and Louis B. Mayer made sure it was a grand event. Fans clamoured at the gates of the cemetary and photographers scaled fences. The lawn was covered in flowers that had overflowed from inside the chapel. Clark served as  a pallbearer and usher and Carole saved him a seat. All of Hollywood turned out to say goodbye to Jean, with 250 mourners packing into the small chapel. Jeanette MacDonald sang Jean’s favorite song, “Indian Love Call” and dueted with Nelson Eddy on “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life.”
jean harlow funeral

Wee Kirk o Heather Chapel, day of Jean Harlow's funeral

forest lawn wee kirk o heather

Wee Kirk o Heather today

wee kirk o heather wee kirk o heather
The grand spectacle of Jean’s funeral led Carole Lombard to tell Clark to make sure that when her time came it was not an elaborate circus. Clark obeyed her wishes.
Jean’s elaborate marble crypt in the Sanctuary of Benediction inside the Great Mausoluem, Forest Lawn Glendale cost William Powell a reported $25,000.
jean harlow forest lawnjean harlow forest lawn
It is gorgeous, with a bench and its own stained glass skylight. There are three spaces in the crypt, Jean’s is simply marked “Our Baby.”
jean harlow forest lawn
Her neighbor was Irving Thalberg and she was just a few yards away from her co-star in Dinner at Eight, Marie Dressler. In the years that followed, the hallway completely filled up, with Red Skelton, Norma Shearer and Sid Grauman joining. William Powell’s parents were also entombed in this hallway. Jean’s mother,”Mama Jean,” occupies one of the other spaces in the crypt, but the third is empty–forever. Many speculate that Powell intended that space for himself. If so, it didn’t come to fruition, for he is buried in Cathedral City next to his son and his widow.
sanctuary of benediction forest lawn jean harlow
jean harlow forest lawn
It’s amazing how Jean died at such a young age, so early in her career, but yet she resonates with so many people. Marilyn Monroe, Mamie Van Doren and Carole Landis, famous blondes in their own right, all named her as an influence.  She was young, sweet and caring–completely the anti-diva, and was at the beginning of a new page in her career when her life was suddenly whisked away. Jean is truly a reminder that life is short and to make the most of every day.
I have no doubt that Clark was thinking of Jean when he later said:
“That’s what’s so strange about life. The brave ones don’t make it.”
clark gable jean harlow
Rest in peace, Sis.
*Pics of present-day Forest Lawn Glendale taken by me, October 2011.

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

Is Carole Lombard in love at last? What a question for this article in 1936 to ask! At this point, their romance was new and one of the most exciting topics in Tinsel Town. This article basically recaps Carole’s romantic exploits. After the demise of her marriage to Bill Powell:

All Powell would say was, “For Carole and me there simply was no married life.”

Their story that there had been no quarrel was accepted by Hollywood as true—and their conduct after Carole returned abundantly confirmed it. Divorce seemed to make little or no difference to the friendly relations between them. The very first night after her return, Gloria Swanson gave a dinner for them, then the Barthelmesses, then the Clive Brooks. They were seen tete-a-tete at the Derby, the Grove, the Colony, and the Culver Club. They went to the premiere of Dinner at Eight. When Ronnie Colman came home from the Goldwyn wars, Carole gave him a party—such a party!—and borrowed Bill’s house to give it in.

Of course the pace couldn’t last. The studios were calling. Bill went into his routine. Carole went into her dance’ it was Bolero, with George Raft. Presently the gossips went to work.

Carole’s bungalow dressing room on the Paramount lot is right next door to Gary Cooper’s. Here is a social center for Paramount players. Everybody is always dropping in—but the fan writers make a good deal of the fact that tall Gary was among the droppers.

Cooper was, at that time, at the peak of his romance with Countess di Frasso. Everybody knew that. When someone ran to Bill Powell, he laughed: “A romance with Gary? Don’t be crazy!”

Then the gossips switched, first to George Raft—who, it turned out, was concerned only because he couldn’t have his own favorite cameraman and was forced to take Carole’s—and later to Gene Raymond. But Carole squelched all these rumors with: “I do not believe that screen stars should marry.”

Soon, however, she had fallen under the spell of Russ Colombo’s golden voice and ebony eyelashes. When he met his tragic death, she put on black.

“Russ and I loved each other,” she explained. “Eventually, I believe, we would have married. How soon I don’t know. His love for me was the kind that comes rarely to any woman. I never expected to have such worship, such idolatry, such sweetness from any man.”

But she promptly consoled herself with Bob Riskin, champion screen writer. He was not only seen everywhere with Carole, but was said to do his most inspired writing in the patio of her new house. All she would say was: “I have always attached myself to interesting minds, to people who stimulate me mentally and spiritually.”

It can’t be that Bob’s mental stimulus died. He wrote Mr. Deeds Goes to Town after he was superseded in Carole’s affections. So it must have been something spiritual that the brawny Mr. Gable supplied.

Carole was not one of the many actresses of her era who bed-hopped. She chose her companions carefully and wasn’t prone to scandal. Bob Riskin seems to me to be the most serious of the bunch between Bill and Clark. Apparently what broke them up was that Bob didn’t ever want to have children and Carole did. I just finished reading Fay Wray’s autobiography, On the Other Hand. Fay married Bob in 1942 and bore him two children (so I guess he changed his mind). She commented in  the book that Bob kept a gold watch chain with Carole’s profile on it.

Now, Gable had seen Carole before. They had played together in No Man of Her Own. But that was when they were both married and working hard at it. Now Clark was separated from Rhea, Carole divorced from Bill. All afternoon they were inseparable. They have been ever since.

Will it last?

With Carole, yes. Whatever she may been before, there is no doubt about her being in love at last.

There was a little flurry when Carole and her delightful ex went to Universal to play in My Man Godfrey. Jean Harlow, who had moved into the blonde vacancy in Bill’s life, was said to be not a bit keen about it. How Clark felt, nobody knows.

But after it was all over Bill went back to Jean, and Carole—well, it can’t be said that she had really left Clark, but she is certainly with him now.

Whether she will be with him a year from now, five years from now, depends largely on whether she is willing to fit into his life.

I know Clark Gable. He won’t keep up this social whirl long. And now he is running around with the partyingest girl in the cinema capital.

Bill Powell followed the Lombard pace for two years.

How long will Gable follow it?

Will he follow it to the altar?

This is all quite true–Clark couldn’t keep up the social life long–and he didn’t. And Carole was quite willing and able to fit into Clark’s life.  As in most anything she set out to do, Carole’s determination got her just what she wanted–the man she wanted–for life.

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