October 12th, 2008

carole lombard 07
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Clark and Carole get around

Two relatively rare photos of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard are now being auctioned off at eBay. As I occasionally do with Lombard items now available at auction, I thought I'd share the images with you, provide some background, and give you a link to the site if you're interested in bidding for it.

As most of you know, the Gable-Lombard romance began in 1936. They kept it under wraps for a while, probably because Clark was still technically married, but since public opinion was generally in their corner, they began to be seen in public more and more. Here's a sample of what I mean. It's from May 28, 1937 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles -- normally the home of the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels, but that night, the site of a boxing match between heavyweights Bob Pastor and Bob Nestell:

Who's the other woman at ringside? It's actress Sally Eilers, a schoolpal of Lombard's who worked with her at Mack Sennett's troupe, then achieved some renown in the 1930s.

Pastor, a New York native, was a title contender coming off a loss by unanimous decision to Joe Louis at Madison Square Garden four months earlier; Louis would wrest the title from James Braddock later in the year. (Pastor lost a title fight to Louis in the champ's hometown of Detroit in 1939, as he was knocked out in the 11th round.)

Here, Pastor won a split decision over the previously unbeaten Nestell, a popular California fighter whom Lombard -- an ardent boxing fan -- had probably seen fight at Legion Stadium in Hollywood or the Olympic Auditorium. (Nestell next fought in October, losing on points to boxer-actor Maxie Rosenbloom.)

Oh, and despite Lombard's increasing fame, the "e" in her first name was omitted on the caption taped onto the back:

The next photo moves us ahead to 1940, after Gable and Lombard had finally married. They're in Mexico, duck hunting, but here we see them making preparations:

And here's the caption:

It doesn't describe precisely what Clark is doing, but it appears he's inflating a raft -- and one can imagine Carole uttering a bawdy wisecrack or two about Gable pumping things up.

You have more than a week from this writing to bid on them, specifically after 7:45 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday, Oct. 19. The boxing picture is at http://cgi.ebay.com/Org-37-Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-Boxing-Match-Photo_W0QQitemZ120315548457QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item120315548457&_trkparms=39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14; the Mexico photo is at http://cgi.ebay.com/1940-Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-Mexico-Vacation-Photo_W0QQitemZ400001566610QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item400001566610&_trkparms=39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14. Bidding on each starts at $14.97, and both photos are from the San Francisco Examiner archive.
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