Clark and Carole, come to your Census!Posted by vp19 on 2012.04.09 at 15:41
Current mood: nostalgic
What would be Carole Lombard's last appearance in the U.S. Census has come to light this month with the release of 1940 census figures on April 1, some 72 years (as prescribed by law) after they were taken.
Americans have become census-crazy this month after the 1940 data was the first to be initially released online. (Information from 1930 and prior censuses is now online, but even when '30 figures were made available in 2002, they were initially put on microfilm, the practice of the past few decades.) However, for now, the data isn't available by name; instead, you have to go by address, which leads you to enumeration districts and other census jargon.
It took a while to locate the Gables, but eventually they were found:
To make things easier, let's further focus on Clark and Carole:
Note someone put marks on the right side of the Clark and Carole listings, perhaps to discreetly point out a "celeb" to other census workers. Also note that Lombard lists herself as "age 30," meaning she was telling census officials she was born in 1909. Interesting, because in the 1930 census, when she was Carole Peters of 138 North Wilton Place and a relative unknown, she listed herself as...
...age 21. Was professional vanity getting to Carole, or, as biographer Larry Swindell has remarked, studio publicity shedding a year from her age lead her to misinterpret the facts? (Of course, many people probably stretched the truth a bit to census takers; had Lombard and the others guilty of such a thing in Los Angeles been held on such charges, the U.S. Census Bureau probably would have needed to rent the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.)
Another place where Gable and Lombard stretched the truth a bit was in responding to a new question on the census -- where were they living five years earlier? Clark answered, "same house," which certainly is inaccurate; Carole replied, "same place," which is true where cities are concerned (she was a Los Angeles resident in April 1935), but not the same location (she was residing on Hollywood Boulevard at the time).
Both Gables listed their profession as motion picture actors, and both modestly listed their salary as "$5,000+".
In searching for Clark and Carole, some confusion resulted when the previous page showed a Fred and Augusta East at the address, 4525 Petit Avenue in Encino, listed as caretakers for the home (which they were), but not the Gables themselves.
Other notable people weren't far from the couple, and they probably knew virtually all of them -- actors Spencer Tracy (a close friend of Gable), Don Ameche (he listed his occupation as a "radio actor," even though by now he had garnered considered cinematic success) and Edward Everett Horton, screenwriter John Lee Mahin, choreographer Hermes Pan and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who would not live out the year.
This week's LiveJournal header features Lombard and ex-husband William Powell teaming in the 1936 screwball classic "My Man Godfrey."