Since it’s time for another Gone with the Wednesday and it’s the end of Carole Lombard month, let’s combine the two!
Carole Lombard was a warm-blooded female in the 1930’s, which means she read Gone with the Wind and dreamed of playing Scarlett.
Carole was so enamored with the idea that she appealed to everyone’s first choice for Rhett Butler—Clark Gable, naturally. Before they were romantically involved, she reportedly sent him a copy of the book with a note that said, “Let’s do it! Carole.” Clark promptly called her up for a date, thinking it was a proposition of a different sort. When it turned out not to be, that copy of GWTW found itself in his bathroom, unread for years.
Carole didn’t get the role of Scarlett of course (wasn’t even screentested–although wouldn’t that have been something to see!) but she did win the real life role of Mrs. Rhett Butler–not a bad consolation prize. She was greeted as such when she arrived to the set of her film Mr. and Mrs. Smith:
In no particular order:
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.
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.
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.
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).
From November 1936:
Guess who really has gone Garbo on us in a big way? It’s none other than our own party-loving Carole Lombard, who hasn’t been seen out publicly in many a day. What’s more, Carole doesn’t want one single word printed about her romance with Clark Gable. Her close friends say it is still going on and much more serious than Carole wants the world to believe. And it was only yesterday that wild horses couldn’t have kept Carole home for an evening. It must be love.
As we head towards the end of the year, there’s more Gone with the Wind-related events happening!
Ruth’s Journey, an authorized prequel of sorts to GWTW that focuses on Mammy’s life (Yes, apparently her name was Ruth?!) has been released. It was written by Donald McCaig, who also wrote Rhett Butler’s People a few years ago. This new book doesn’t seem to sit well with diehard GWTW fans. I haven’t read it yet (frankly don’t know if I will at all) but Kendra over at vivandlarry.com did.
The Scarlett Letters: The Making of the Film Gone with the Wind has just been released as well. It’s by John Wiley Jr., who examines the making of GWTW through the eyes of its author, Margaret Mitchell, via her letters. I’m not sure how much new information is here since Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind Letters has been around for decades, but it looks promising nonetheless.
The Making of Gone with the Wind event at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas is going on right now! Ending January 4, this is a rare opportunity to see such rarities as the actual curtain dress worn by Vivien Leigh, David Selznick’s memos, rare wardrobe and makeup stills, on the set photographs and much much more. I am extremely jealous of anyone getting to attend! Unfortunately I just can’t make a trek to Texas before January. If you can’t make it like me, you can at least buy the event catalog!
And always check out GWTW Showtimes to see if GWTW is playing on a screen near you!
An incredibly sweet, yet sad, footnote to this is that Clark continued to wear the bracelet for years after Carole died.
A brief little post here on our trip to Dennison.
Dennison, Ohio is a little town of about 3,000 people about 23 miles from Cadiz. Our sole purpose for visiting was the Immaculate Conception Church.
Clark Gable’s mother, Adeline, was a devout Catholic. She was very ill after his birth and had psychotic episodes and seizures. In one of her lucid moments, she pleaded for her only child to be baptized Catholic. There was no Catholic church in the little town of Cadiz at that time, so a neighbor named John Conway and his wife took baby Clark to the closest church—Immaculate Conception in Dennison. He was baptized there on July 31, 1901. Father Patrick M. Heery officiated, and at first balked at baptizing the infant without his parents and was irritated that little Clark had gone nearly six months without being baptized. He apologized for his complaints when he was apprised of the situation.
Built in 1871, it is still a beautiful church. Across the street is the Catholic elementary school, and we could hear children reciting Bible verses through the windows as we walked by!
It was a weekday and no one was in to open the doors for us, and so I only have pictures of the outside.
I have done Carole Lombard Month the past five years and I know how past posts get lost in the shuffle, so here is a round-up of past items about Carole Lombard:
Articles in the Article Archive:
→ Is Carole Lombard in Love At Last? | Liberty, November, 1936
→ A Heart to Heart Letter to Carole Lombard and Clark Gable | Screen Guide, November 1936
→ The Evolution of a Wow| Movie Mirror, December 1936
→ She Gets Away with Murder | Photoplay, 1937
→ The Utterly Balmy Home Life of Carole Lombard | Motion Picture, February 1937
→ How Will the Gable-Lombard Romance End?| Hollywood, June 1937
→ Clark Gable’s Romantic Plight | Photoplay, September 1937
→ Can the Gable-Lombard Love Story Have a Happy Ending? | Photoplay, May 1938
→ Hollywood Diary | The Family Circle, May 20, 1938
→ What’s Become of the Good Scout? |Modern Screen, August 1938
→ Happiness Ahead for Clark and Carole | Picture Play, August 1938
→ Why is Carole Lombard Hiding Out from Hollywood? | Screenbook, October 1938
→ Lombard–as She Sees Herself | Motion Picture, November 1938
→ Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives | Photoplay, January 1939
→ Hollywood’s Goofy Gal Goes Glamorous Screen Book, February 1939
→ Will Clark Gable Ever Marry Carole Lombard? | Motion Picture, February 1939
→ Lombard Unlimited | Radio Mirror, April 1939
→ Blonde Beauty Grows Up | Photoplay, May 1939
→ Do Hollywood Women Spoil Their Men? | Photoplay, May 1939
→ Can the Gable-Lombard Romance Last? | Modern Screen, May 1939
→ How to Get Your Own Clark Gable | Movie Mirror, June 1939
→ Best Wishes, Carole Lombard Gable | Photoplay, June 1939
→ Will Carole Lombard’s Marriage End Her Career?| Motion Picture, July 1939
→ Our Home, Our Work–And Children | Movie Mirror, November 1939
→ Subject: Lombard | Photoplay, January 1940
→ Mr. and Mrs. Clark Gable | Ladies Home Journal, May 1940
→Two Happy People Part 1 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Two Happy People Part 2 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Two Happy People Part 3 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Two Happy People Part 4 | Movie and Radio Guide, May 1940
→ Help Kill Crazy Rumors About Me! Says Carole Lombard (Mrs. Clark Gable)| Screenland, May 1940
→ How Clark Gable and Carole Lombard Live| Photoplay, June 1940
→ At Home with the Gables | Modern Screen, August 1940
→ Carole Lombard | Movie Stars Parade, Autumn 1940
→ It Looked Good for a Laugh at the Time | Silver Screen, January 1941
→ Hollywood’s No.1 Menace | Movie Mirror, February 1941
→ She Knew What She Wanted | Screen Life, March 1941
→ The Gags of the Gables–Like Crazy! | Photoplay, April 1941
→ Goodbye, Carole | Modern Screen, April 1942
→ What the Loss of Carole Lombard Means to Clark Gable | Photoplay, April 1942
→ A Letter to Heaven | Screenland, April 1942
→ Carole Lombard’s Life Story Part 1 | (excerpt),1942
→ Carole Lombard’s Life Story Part 2 | (excerpt), 1942
From September 1937:
Carole Lombard tells this one on herself. It seems that during the Los Angeles run of “Idiot’s Delight,” Clark Gable took Carole to see Lynn Fountanne and Alfred Lunt in this latest of their plays. Upon being introduced to Carole backstage after the play, Miss Fontanne asked Carole, quite naively: “Are you English?” Whereupon Carole replied she was not. “Oh,” said Miss Fontanne, “are you in pictures then?” Carole smiled in her best Gracie Allen fashion and replied, “Yes–I’m just around–” And we’d give a pretty penny to learn what Miss Fontanne’s reaction was when she found out to whom she’d been speaking!
Carole Lombard was known for her menagerie of animals. Her home in Bel-Air was affectionately referred to as “the Farm,” because of its diverse residents: a rooster, cats, dogs, doves and ducks. In early 1937, Clark Gable had some time between films and set off on a hunting trip to Arizona. This was before they were married thus it was inappropriate for Carole to accompany him, so she flippantly requested he bring her back “a wildcat or two.” Little did she know that Clark would take her seriously…
He returned from his trip with a seventy-five pound mountain lion cub, complete with sharp claws and teeth and a personality to match. You can read the story of how he caught him here. Carole was rather flabbergasted by the gift and promptly encouraged Clark to donate the cat to MGM’s backlot zoo, which he did, no doubt in exchange for posing for some photos with the ill-mannered feline for MGM publicity.
Well, at least this is one of those pranks that there is actually photographic proof of!
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