Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Love and Losses of Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, Part 3

Please see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

No Man of Her Own premiered in December of 1932; New York Times film critic Mordaunt Hall found Lombard and Gable "amusing" and "competent: and termed the film "a rather usual sort of melodrama."  The film neither harmed nor bolstered either actor's career.

With the dawning of 1933, Clark, Ria and her children moved into a new rental home in Brentwood, a two story, white Colonial.  Brentwood was then more secluded and too far from Hollywood for the average autograph seeker and the crop of sight-seeing buses to journey.  Also residing in the new home was Clark's father Will, who had shown up at MGM unexpectedly. Father and son had not seen each other in eleven years and while Clark would have been more than happy to continue their estrangement, Ria was pleased by this extended family. By this point, it seems that she and Clark had a marriage in name only.

Weissmuller as Tarzan
While MGM had initially considered casting Clark as Tarzan in Tarzan the Ape Man, despite his tall stature, he did not have the muscular physique or swimming skill the execs wanted for the titular character and instead cast Olympian Johnny Weismuller (probably a blessing for Gable, as Weismuller, forever stereotyped, was not allowed to stretch creatively by MGM.)  Due to Joan Crawford's recently declining box office, Gable was assigned to her next picture, Dancing Lady.  She had divorced Doug Fairbanks in May of 1933 and while her affair with Clark had not fully ended, despite Mayer's warnings, it had definitely cooled down.  She had met actor Franchot Tone, worked with him and begun a personal relationship with him.  As Tone was also cast in Dancing Lady, the on-screen triangle looked as thought it would be duplicated in real life.

The night before filming was due to start, on June 12, Clark awoke with a raging fever and MGM's medical consultant was dispatched.  The diagnosis was not a good one. Clark's always troubling teeth had caused an infection to set in his gums and the infection had spread throughout his body.  He was whisked to a private hospital and after several days of antibiotics, had nearly all of his teeth extracted and was fitted for dentures.

A gorgeous triangle
In the meantime, shots were filmed around Gable on Dancing Lady, allowing Crawford and Tone more time together until Gable returned on July 30. That night, he spiked another fever, landing in the hospital once again, with the infection attacking his gall bladder, necessitating removal.  He would be absent from the set until September 8, the longest shut down of an MGM production up to that point, and he would be docked nearly $25,000 in pay.

Carole and Bill
Two weeks post divorce
Once Clark returned to MGM, if he had any hopes of picking up with Crawford where they left off, he was to be disappointed. She was focused on Tone and he was self-conscious over his new dentures. He was also frustrated with his role as Broadway producer Patch Gallagher, believing him only to be a foil for Joan, who was the clear star of the show. He thought MGM's only concern with regard to Dancing Lady was to score a hit for Crawford.  To be fair to Clark, he probably wasn't far off the mark with his opinion on the studio's motives but Dancing Lady is a good film and he's excellent in it. After all, not just anyone could turn Crawford's head away from the wealthy Tone, on film at least.  MGM was thrilled - - Dancing Lady made them nearly $800,000 in profit; it's primarily remembered today as Fred Astaire's first film appearance but the Crawford-Gable chemistry is still intoxicating.

Outside her Hollywood Blvd. home
While Gable was recovering from his extended illness, in August, Carole and William Powell quietly divorced.  They wanted different things; Bill preferred relaxing at home after a hard day's work at the studio while Carole, always the life of the party, wanted to hit the town and burn off steam. Bill was already an established star; he was intellectual and introspective.  Carole was still working her way up and fiercely ambitious.  One thing they didn't disagree on was Carole's blue language - Bill though it was hilarious.  The differences they did have became too much and Carole didn't want to wait until the two were butting heads or ended on a bitter note.  She headed to Nevada, with Bill not contesting her petition.  The couple's friendly divorce both fascinated and confused Hollywood and its cynics; the two would not only continue to socialize with each other post-split but also work together.

Carole and Riskin
Shortly after her divorce from Bill, Carole began dating screenwriter Robert Riskin,  Riskin was in love with Carole (who wouldn't be?) and proposed to her but she turned him down.  She had not been divorced long; furthermore, he did not want children and she felt that if making babies was off the table, there was no sense in getting married.  The two remained good friends despite her rejection of his proposal. It was while she was out with Riskin that she met Russ Columbo.

Russ was an actor but he was primarily known as a crooner, very much like Bing Crosby.  By the early 1930s, he had become a major romantic idol and his career was on the upswing when he was performing at the Coconut Grove, one of Carole's favorite hangouts.  He spotted her in the audience and it appears that Russ fell in love with her on first sight; the fact that she was on a date with Riskin did not deter him.  He serenaded Carole from the stage, leading Riskin to tell her to expect flowers from Columbo the next day.  Sure enough, flowers from the singer arrived. She was clearly charmed by the dark and handsome man who not only acted and sang but played violin.  Only several months into their courtship, the man Carole nicknamed "Roogie" suggested marrying, although she was hesitant after the recent end of her union with Powell.  That made her a divorcee, which was problematic for the Catholic Columbo, along with Carole's non-Catholicism.

In November, Clark had reported to Columbia for a little film called It Happened One Night. Originally titled Night Bus, after the magazine article it was based on, the script was adapted by Carole's former date, Robert Riskin, with Frank Capra attached to direct.  Producer Harry Cohn had wanted MGM's Robert Montgomery for the role of Peter, the newspaper reporter who chases after the runaway bride/heiress. However, Montgomery felt there were "too many bus pictures" and balked at being loaned out.  L.B. Mayer instead offered Cohn the services of Gable, perhaps after Gable had asked for a raise and informed his boss he no longer wanted to play gigolo type roles. Regardless of how Gable was assigned, he turned up for his initial meeting with Capra drunk and angry. Despite this inauspicious start, he and Capra became firm friends and after reading the script, Gable realized that Peter was very much like himself.

The female lead, that of Ellie, the runaway heiress, was turned down by Myrna Loy, Miriam Hopkins, Constance Bennett, Margaret Sullavan and . . . Carole Lombard.  Carole was forced to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts, as she was beginning to film Bolero at the same time.  Nothing against Claudette Colbert, who assumed the role of Ellie and did so amazingly, but how wonderful would it have been to have another Lombard-Gable film!

The thirty-six days of filming It Happened One Night, which wrapped shortly before Christmas of 1933, turned out to be a wonderful experience for Clark. The "walls of Jericho" scene in which he appeared without benefit of an undershirt, then de rigueur fashion for men, caused the sales of undershirts to plummet; his pencil thin mustache was copied the country over.  Proof positive that Clark Gable was a trendsetter and the hottest commodity in Hollywood.  Recognizing this, MGM purchased their first property specifically for Gable - - Men In White, his follow up to It Happened One Night.

Meanwhile, Carole finished off 1933 by filming Bolero, a musical drama in which her leading man was George Raft - - the same George Raft that was Paramount's first choice for the role of Babe Stewart in No Man of Her Own.  Miriam Hopkins - -the same Miriam Hopkins that had been assigned to the role of Connie, also in No Man of Her Own, was to star alongside Raft but again, it was not to be.  Hopkins fell ill while making Design for Living and was replaced by Carole.

Bolero was a risque film for the day and just skated in before the Production Code would come into effect.  Raft's character told Carole's that she needed to audition for him in her underwear - - which she did. Sally Rand performed her famous fan dance in which her nudity was disguised by two strategically placed ostrich feather fans. Raft had a run-in with the film's producer, Benjamin Glaser, during filming; he either punched him out or gave him a push. Raft would later say that he had only been involved in three fights during his career and it was this one he regretted most.

Regardless, Bolero would finish filming in January of 1934 and be released a month later.  It was a box office hit, and would incite reuniting Lombard and Raft the following year.

Gable's Men In White would also begin filming in December of 1933 and was the first of what would be a run in films, and eventually television, of the hospital drama.  Clark would play a doctor - - a part first considered for Joan Crawford's current amour, Franchot Tone.  While Gable had proven himself with comedy and in tough guy parts, Men in White would mark a major turning point in both Clark's professional and personal lives.  This was the first starring role in which he would hang his hat on dramatic ability and show a noticeably sensitive side.  The film presented a marked change to his personal life as well.

Gable and Allan, Men In White
Elizabeth Allan was a twenty-five year old who had recently arrived in Hollywood from Great Britain. She was cast in the pivotal role as a nurse infatuated with Gable and with devastating consequences.  Gable fell hard and fast for the very pretty Allan.  The fact that he had a wife in town and she had a husband back home in London apparently did not give either pause.

Their affair went on during the eighteen day production of Men In White; before the movie had wrapped, Clark demanded that MGM sign her to a long-term contract. The studio sent him on a cross-country tour to promote Men In White, which was due to be released in April; the trip coincided with his birthday in February of 1934. He was less than pleased with Ria accompanying him, as it hampered his ability to conduct his affair with Allan, who, rather conveniently, was staying in the same hotel in New York as the Gables.

1934 would prove to be a watershed year for both Carole and Clark, both professionally and personally.

All of the films Carole would make that year, with the exception of one, would be box office hits.  She had generally been well received in her efforts, even if the film was not successful prior to 1934, but lightening would finally hit with her second film to be released that year.

Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur adapted their play of the same name in order to write Twentieth Century for the screen. Columbia boss Harry Cohn reportedly approached Gloria Swanson, Miriam Hopkins, Ina Claire, Tallulah Bankhead, Ruth Chatterton, Kay Francis, Constance Bennett, Ann Harding and Joan Crawford for the film's leading lady.  It was director Howard Hawks, himself the third choice behind Roy Del Ruth and Lewis Milestone, that changed film history.

Hawks, Carole and Barrymore
Hawks was Carole's second cousin and always felt that she was a brilliant actress who had not yet been unleashed on film.  He had seen her inebriated at a party and realized her hilarious and uninhibited nature was exactly what the part of Lily Garland called for.   Twentieth Century got off to a rocky start; Carole's co-star John Barrymore wasn't certain of Hawks' intuition after his first reading with Lombard went very dryly, as Carole performed as she had been taught to previously, rather stoic.  Hawks got Carole to showcase her fiery and energetic personality after lying to her that Barrymore had made disparaging comments about her. Carole being Carole, she threatened to "kick him in the balls!"  From that point forward, she and Barrymore became good friends and at the start of each film following Twentieth Century, until her death, Carole would send Hawks a telegram saying "I'm going to kick him!"

Twentieth Century was a box office disappointment but a critical success for both Carole and Barrymore.  As with It Happened One Night, also released in early 1934, Twentieth Century would usher in the screwball genre.

Over at MGM, Gable had been assigned to Manhattan Melodrama, where he was reunited with Myrna Loy, late of Men In White, where she had played his fiancee.  The role of the second male lead was given to Carole's ex, William Powell, who had recently been released from a $6,000 per week contract at Warner Brothers, due to their struggling finances.  This turn of events had Gable worried that Powell would end up at MGM (he did) and thereby be competition for roles.  Gable's second fear was groundless; Powell, nearly a decade older than Gable, was far too debonair and distinguished to be handed the rugged roles that Clark specialized in.  Clark found that Bill was easy to work with and the two became on-set friends.  Manhattan Melodrama would go down in history as the film that led John Dillinger to his death in Chicago; he was reportedly a huge Myrna Loy fan.

In the summer of 1934, Hollywood itself went through a major shakeup when the Production Code was enforced, officially calling halt to the sexy, thought provoking films of the previous five years, that explored immoral behavior, often without repercussions to the offenders.  Fortunately for Carole and Clark, the Code had little negative impact on their careers, a fate that would befall some of their contemporaries, who would see their careers slow down or fizzle out, as the roles they had previously excelled in were done away with.

By September of 1934, depending on who you asked, including statements from Carole herself, she and Russ may or may not have been engaged; and Carole may or may not have been promising to convert.  What is known for certain is that Russ was absolutely crazy for Carole; her level of devotion had been debated for years and likely will never be absolutely known but it is worth noting that the pair had been dating for nearly a year.

Carole with Russ
On Sunday, September 2, 1934, Russ was visiting photographer Lansing Brown, Jr. at Brown's home.  Brown had a collection of Civil War era pistols, which he was showing Russ.  While displaying one of them, Brown struck a match on the pistol, intending to light a cigarette.  The action caused the pistol, which was unfortunately loaded, to discharge. The bullet hit first a desk before ricocheting and striking Russ in the left eye.  Brown reportedly panicked, calling his parents for help before telephoning for an ambulance.  Russ was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery in an attempt to remove the bullet that had lodged itself in his brain. The surgery was unsuccessful and Russ died later that evening.

Carole had been staying at her Lake Arrowhead home for the Labor Day weekend. Hearing the tragic news about her boyfriend/possible fiance, she rushed back to Los Angeles, where she was mobbed by reporters in her grief-stricken state.  She stated that his death shocked her beyond words and that she had been scheduled to dine with him that evening.

Given that Russ' mother was hospitalized herself with a heart condition at the time of Russ' death, Carole took over the planning and organizing of his funeral.   Due to Mrs. Columbo's fragile health, it was decided by Russ' siblings, and Carole, that his mother would not be told of her son's death.  Instead, she was told that Russ was touring, that he and Carole had married and were traveling and even that he was making radio appearances (using his albums as subterfuge.)  Unbelievably, this ruse would be kept up until Mrs. Columbo's death in 1944, after Carole herself had died.

Whatever the status of her relationship with Russ - - engaged or not - - Carole rebounded by throwing herself back into her career.   She was reunited with George Raft for Rumba, a musical drama that was considered an inferior follow up to the better received Bolero.

Carole and George Raft
It's been reported that Carole and George had an affair, with Carole falling hard for him.  Some sources say the affair happened during the filming of Bolero; others are not specific.  The exact timing may not be known with certainty; while filming Bolero, Carole was dating Russ.  It's possible she cheated on Columbo but again, it's difficult to know with certainty.  It seems more likely that if the affair was more than a one-night stand, it would have happened in late 1934 or in 1935, after Russ' death.

Raft had two major drawbacks. The first was that he was married, like Gable, to a woman his senior.  He had married her before his film stardom and as she was devoutly Catholic, she refused to grant him a divorce.  The second, and perhaps most concerning for Carole, was that he allegedly had ties to the Mafia and other underworld associations.  She had no desire for that kind of life and figured correctly that an ongoing, intimate connection with Raft would harm, or destroy, her career.  The two split amicably.

Gable too had gone through a lot of personal and professional changes. He was still very much involved with Elizabeth Allan, as well as his on again-off again affair with Crawford. He and Joan had settled into a true friendship with the added benefit of sex with no commitment, if either or both felt like it. They had filmed two more pictures together in 1934 - - Chained and Forsaking All Others (where they were joined by Robert Montgomery.)   Both were well received and made MGM a boatload of money - - Chained over $700,000 and Forsaking All Others, released just before Christmas, netting the studio well over a million.  The films allowed Crawford and Gable to end 1934 on a high note.

Who to choose? (Duh) 
Forsaking All Others had at first been considered for Loretta Young, before MGM decided it was better suited as a Joan Crawford vehicle.  While Loretta missed out on acting with Gable in 1934, their paths would cross in a monumental way in 1935.

Twentieth Century Film's Call of the Wild would be the second film version of Jack London's classic novel and the first "talkie" version.  Clark was cast as prospector Jack Thornton and Loretta his female lead.

The film was scheduled to be shot in the Southern Sierra Nevada but an unexpected warm front melted the snow and caused production to be moved to Washington State.

Loretta ans Spence
Loretta Young, recently divorced and very beautiful, had been in the business for years, starting as a teenager.  She had eloped with actor Grant Withers when she was seventeen but the marriage had been short lived.  She was said to be a devout Catholic; she routinely kept a "swear jar" on her movies sets, where persons who cursed in her presence would be penalized by requiring to drop a quarter or more into the jar, with the proceeds at the end of filming donated to a charity.  Spencer Tracy was said to have given her a twenty dollar bill, telling her "Here's a twenty, sister. Go fuck yourself!" In spite of that, Loretta and Spence embarked on what would be a year-long affair.  Given that Tracy was married with children, the exact description of a devout Catholic in Hollywood is a bit questionable.  Nevertheless, the Young-Tracy affair had either just ended or was petering out when she arrived on the Call of the Wild set and met Gable.

Whether it was due to the remote location, the lack of other women on set, Young's broken heart, two attractive people being attracted to each other or, as has been recently stated, a much darker and more serious allegation, Young became pregnant. Loretta, fervently against terminating the pregnancy, had hoped that Clark would leave his wife and marry her, giving their child legitimacy.  He was less than gentlemanly when he confronted Loretta's mother, claiming that as a young lady who had been around town and who had been married, she knew how to take care of herself.  A disappointed Loretta chose to "go abroad" for a vacation and return home to rest and recuperate from exhaustion and/or an illness she developed on her trip.  She was actually in hiding in Venice Beach when she secretly gave birth to a baby girl she named Judith, two days before Gable's next film, Mutiny on the Bounty, was released.

Loretta with a young Judy
Gable received a telegram stating only that a baby girl was born, a telegram that he read and then ripped up.  He did, however, request to see Loretta and the baby, a request that was denied at least once, if not multiple times, before he was allowed entry. As Loretta was allegedly recuperating and there was officially no baby on the premises, little Judy was sleeping in a dresser drawer.  Gable held her for a few moments, asked Loretta what she had named her and then gave Loretta all the cash he had on him, some $400, telling her to buy the little girl a proper bed.  Loretta would later tell Judy, by then an adult, that Clark had not wanted to put her down and had been very proud of the baby.  Because of the times, and the fact he and Loretta were not married and he was married to someone else, he would never claim the child and would only see her once more.

If Ria Gable knew anything about her husband's child with another woman, she said nothing and went about business as usual; i.e., the business of being Mrs. Clark Gable.  The baby was never mentioned;  Loretta would take the child to an orphanage and then "adopt" her months later.  Her next husband, Tom Lewis, would take the child as his own, even giving her his name, although he never legally adopted her as Loretta was terrified that his adopting Judy would result in the truth of her parentage being revealed.

Mutiny on the Bounty proved a good film for Gable, although he had to shave off his trademark mustache to assume the role of Fletcher Christian. He initially believed himself to be miscast as an English member of the Royal Navy but would later state that he believed it to be the best film he starred in.

Gable and Tone
He was at first disappointed that the role of Byam went to Franchot Tone, instead of Robert Montgomery or Cary Grant (Paramount refused to loan Grant out).  He clearly remembered his rivalry with Tone over Joan Crawford during the filming of Dancing Lady but the two found a mutual interest in boozing and women and became friends.

Wallace Beery was offered the role of dastardly Captain Bligh but turned it down, supposedly due to his dislike of Gable (the two had filmed China Seas earlier that year).  Irving Thalberg cast Charles Laughton in the hopes that he and Gable would dislike each other and that dislike would translate on the screen.  Laughton had lost out on an Academy Award earlier that year to Gable and Gable, some said, was a homophobe; Laughton, despite being married, was a homosexual.  Regardless, in an effort to break the ice, Gable took Laughton to one of Catalina Island's local whorehouses.

Gable and Laughton
The film was not without its mishaps and issues. Footage would have to be reshot after it was discovered back on home turf that the film had been destroyed due to poor storage conditions.  Laughton suffered from violent sea-sickness during the entirety of the shoot.  Some of the cast members suffered broken bones after a particularly violent open-water scene.  A replica of the Bounty with two crew members aboard was separated from its tow and adrift for two days before it was found.  Worse, a barge capsized, resulting in the death of an assistant cameraman; news reports erroneously had Gable and Laughton dying during the accident. Laughton's wife, Elsa Lanchester, was asked for her comment on her husband's death before the error was realized.

Gable, Tone and Laughton would all be nominated for Academy Awards for their performances, something that would cause the Academy to add Best Supporting Actor/Actress to its roster of awards and the multiple nominations likely cancelled each of the actors out among voters.  The picture itself would collect the prize in 1936.  Mutiny on the Bounty was well received by both critics and movie audiences, being one of the biggest hits of the time and resulting in a profit of nearly a million dollars for MGM.

Following the wrap of shooting, MGM wanted Clark to go on a two week cross-country promotional tour; at first, he demurred because he had no desire to travel with Ria, from whom he had unofficially separated (the studio would soon enough announce their separation).  Once the studio sweetened the deal by tossing South America into the mix, which basically amounted to a studio-paid vacation, he was more agreeable.  It was while he was voyaging back to New York for the premiere of the film that he met actress Lupe Velez on board the ship.  Despite Ria also being on board and Velez being the spouse of Johnny Weissmuller, the two conducted a shipboard affair - - something that would create huge problems for Velez once she returned home to Weissmuller.

Clowning around with Fred
In 1935, Carole had forged a successful on-screen partnership with Fred MacMurray, beginning with Hands Across the Table, a screwball comedy designed solely to promote her as a comedienne.  MacMurray was not known for comedy and had a difficult time with the role but he and Carole formed a lasting and solid friendship, in which they would attend parties at the other's home.  Director Mitchell Leisen managed to capture the ease and friendship on film and Hands Across the Table was successful.

By 1936, Carole and Clark were on more equal career footing, unlike their 1932 film appearance where he was the greater star.  He was indeed the "King of Hollywood" but she was now a well known and respected comedienne, and very well paid.  The two were about to cross paths a third time.

Carole with Cesar, Mayfair Ball
It was January 25, 1936 and the location was the Victor Hugo Restaurant in Beverly Hills.  David O. Selznick was president of the Mayfair Club and each year, the Club threw a ball where all the industry notables showed up, to see and be seen.  As Carole was known for throwing the best parties in town and playing the best jokes, Selznick asked her to head up the party and be hostess.  She agreed and decided the theme would be white and elegant.  The women would be asked to wear white dresses, the men white ties (they wore tuxes, of course) and white flowers would be everywhere.   For her date, Carole took Cesar Romero, a fellow actor and good friend of hers (as well as Joan Crawford's.)  The biggest story to come out of this party, other than the one that cemented the Lombard-Gable romance, was that Norma Shearer defied propriety and arrived in a flaming red dress, making Carole seethe and inspiring the famous scene in Jezebel, where Bette Davis dons a red dress.

Clark, newly officially separated from Ria and living at the Beverly Wilshire, was invited and brought singer Eadie Adams, who did quite a bit of dubbing work at MGM, as his date.

In between her hostessing duties, Carole managed to catch Clark's eye and the two shared a dance followed by a ride in Clark's car (their respective dates were clearly very understanding.)  It's reported that Clark suggested that he and Carole go upstairs with Carole retorting "Who do you think you are? Clark Gable?"

This retort exemplified the Lombard-Gable relationship and why it would ultimately work.  Unlike most others, she didn't coddle him or enable him or let him slide by on his celebrity.  She called him on his bullshit and he clearly liked it. She got him.  Carole brought out something in Gable that no one else had before, not even Crawford. Carole was youthful, she was joyful and she was fun.  She raced through life at full speed, as if she knew she wouldn't have as much time as she should, and her vigor made Clark feel not only young but alive.

Niven and Oberon pose with
Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg
Mayfair Ball, January 1936
However, things didn't proceed as quickly as legend would like us to believe.  Newly separated, Gable was the hottest bachelor in town and considered fair game.  He was still seeing Elizabeth Allan but Merle Oberon did not waste any time.

Oberon was a recent Hollywood import from Britain and involved with fellow actor (and fellow Brit) David Niven.  She was reportedly in love with Niven and wanted to marry him but he had a roving eye.  She attended the Mayfair Ball with Niven that January. Perhaps she saw the obvious sparks between Carole and Clark, perhaps she wanted to make Niven jealous or maybe her romance with Niven wasn't getting her on the front pages.  Whatever her motives, she sent a note to Gable's suite on February 1, his birthday, telling him to stay in and wait for his present.  He may have figured the note was from Carole but it was Merle that showed up with champagne and he did not turn her down.

Sparring at the Smith party
Less than a week later, she and Clark attended the party for Donald Ogden Smith's wife,who had just been released from a sanitarium.  Carole was also invited and made her appearance by arriving via ambulance and carried out on a stretcher.  Clark found it in very poor taste and did not hesitate telling her so. The pair argued and Carole was overheard telling others that Merle could have him, and gladly.  In an effort to mend fences, the two had a game of tennis in their evening attire.  Merle grew bored watching them and requested that she be taken home.  Clark, it was said, hardly noticed her

Gable with his Oscar in 1935
On Valentine's Day, Carole, knowing of Clark's adoration of cars, found a junked Model-T Ford that she had painted white with garish red hearts and then delivered to the MGM lot with a note that said "You're driving me crazy."  He loved it.  He picked her up for a fancy date that night in that car, turning the tables on her, and the two enjoyed poking down Hollywood Boulevard in Carole's gift.

Things still moved slowly.  Carole, like many female stars at the time, kept to a very rigorous schedule when she was working.  She didn't stay out late and made sure to get plenty of sleep so she would look her best on film.  She also was playing a bit hard to get with Clark, something very few other women did.

A year later with Merle
Merle did no such thing.  She was willing and able.  She was Clark's date to the Academy Awards in March; he did not want to attend, despite being nominated,and did so more as a favor to her, as she had also been nominated.  Pictures from that night show a ebullient Merle but Clark looks less than thrilled; perhaps he was thinking of Carole?

It would take another request by Marion Davies to put Carole and Clark together permanently.

To be continued . . .

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Funday: When They Were Just Children

Ever wonder what your favorite stars looked like as children?  Take a look at these photos and see if you can guess who's who without the captions.


Ava Gardner

Barbara Stanwyck

Bette Davis

Betty Hutton (at left) 

Cary Grant

Charlie Chaplin

Clara Bow

Claudette Colbert

David Niven

Dorothy and Lillian Gish

Elizabeth Taylor

Errol Flynn

Frank Sinatra

Fred Astaire

Fred MacMurray

Gary Cooper

Ginger Rogers

Gloria Swanson

Gregory Peck

Greta Garbo

Humphrey Bogart

Ingrid Bergman

Jack Lemmon

James Dean

Janet Leigh

Jean Harlow

Jimmy Stewart

Joan Crawford

Joan Fontaine

John Wayne

Judy Garland

Katharine Hepburn

Lauren Bacall

Loretta Young 

Lucille Ball

Marlon Brando

Mary Miles Minter

Mary Pickford 

Marilyn Monroe

Myrna Loy

Natalie Wood

Olivia de Havilland

Paul Newman

Rita Hayworth

Robert Mitchum (at left) 

Sharon Tate

Irving Thalberg and Norma Shearer

Tyrone Power

William Powell

Elvis Presley

Tallulah Bankhead

Rock Hudson

Henry Fonda

Rosalind Russell
Buster Keaton
Mickey Rooney

Which one of these future stars is your favorite baby?