The man at the bottom of the picture, No. 35, is Alan "The Horse" Ameche, the Baltimore Colts' running back who just scored the winning touchdown in overtime as his team defeated the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium to win the 1958 NFL championship. The first NFL game of consequence to go into OT (a few exhibition games earlier in the decade used overtime as an experimental option), it helped put pro football on the map, paving the way for the sport's explosion during the 1960s.
Today, we're going to examine how another Ameche helped pave the way for the marriage of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, which happened 70 years ago today in Kingman, Ariz. We are, of course, referring to the fine actor Don Ameche -- and specifically to the role he's best known for...
...the title role in "The Story Of Alexander Graham Bell." (That's Loretta Young with him; this was the only film to feature Loretta and her three sisters.) It became such a hit that for many years, people referred to the telephone as "the ameche" (sort of an early precursor of the "Al Gore invented the Internet" hyperbole).
Twentieth Century-Fox was premiering "Bell" in San Francisco in late March, and many members of the Hollywood press corps had gone up the coast to cover the proceedings. This enabled Clark and Carole to make a getaway in an eastward direction, where they were finally able to tie the knot, away from Hedda, Louella and their ilk.
Ameche, a Wisconsin native, never acted with Carole on screen but worked with her on radio (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/3807.html). His stardom faded somewhat in the 1940s, though he was never lacking for work, but his career revived with an important supporting role in "Trading Places" (1983). Two years later, he won a best supporting actor Oscar for "Cocoon," and continued acting until his death in late 1993 at age 85.
So happy 70th anniversary, Clark and Carole...and make sure and thank Don Ameche for helping make the day possible.