July 20th, 2008

carole lombard 07
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Examining Clark and Carole

Carole Lombard and Clark Gable each were used to being photographed in public. Put them together, beginning in the late 1930s, and the effect was amplified to an incredible degree. Here are a few pics from the Gable-Lombard relationship that ran in one of William Randolph Hearst's top newspapers (in fact, the first one he owned), the San Francisco Examiner.

We'll start out in September 1936, when the two were spotted attending a tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Club. The picture was taken by Hearst's own International News Photos:

Note the caption refers to Lombard as Gable's "rumored love interest," indicative of how low-key the relationship was in those early days. Also, it points out that his estranged wife was in an opposite box with screenwriter Herschel Williams.

Fast forward nearly 21 months, to June 1938. Clark and Carole were at a horse show in the San Fernando Valley community of Northridge, and Lombard even shows off some leg to both please the photographers (readers, too!) and to show everyone just how she won Gable over. (But furs in June, Carole?)

What adds to the intrigue of this photo is the back, which features a 1938 caption from the Wide World syndicate and a marking indicating the Examiner retrieved this from its files and ran it in November 1941, presumably to accompany some column where Lombard discusses men's facial hair. The caption, "Carole says beards are not romantic," calls for further research to find out precisely what she said.

Finally, here's a photo in which Lombard doesn't appear, but one figures she's probably close by. It's April 1, 1939, only days after Clark and Carole were married, but instead of a honeymoon to Hawaii or some other romantic spot, the couple is getting their new Encino house ready. Gable's painting his barns and stables white with the help of a spray gun:

All three of these pictures are currently being auctioned at eBay, with bidding closing next Sunday night.

For the tennis match photo (6 1/2" x 8 1/2"), go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Org-36-Gable-Carole-Lombard-Tennis-Match-Press-Photo_W0QQitemZ180265955135QQihZ008QQcategoryZ18824QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

For the horse show photo (6 1/2" x 8 1/2"), go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Orig-1938-Gable-Carole-Lombard-Horse-Show-Press-Photo_W0QQitemZ160262176636QQihZ006QQcategoryZ18824QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

For the Gable photo (7" x 9"), go to http://cgi.ebay.com/Orig-1939-Gable-Carole-Lombard-Honeymoon-Ranch-Photo_W0QQitemZ160262177903QQihZ006QQcategoryZ18824QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

If you're bidding for one or more of these, good luck.
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