November 28th, 2014

carole lombard 05
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Come and get these memories, part 2

carole lombard clark gable otto winkler howard strickling 033039b

The memories that go with this entry aren't the happiest ones, though they seemed so at the start. On March 30, 1939, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable -- married the day before -- posed with two of Gable's MGM buddies. Standing next to Clark is Howard Strickling, the studio's head of publicity. Alongside Carole is a witness to their wedding of the day before, part of Metro's PR staff...Otto Winkler. Yes, the same Otto Winkler who would perish with Lombard, her mother Elizabeth Peters, and 19 others on Flight 3 on Jan. 16, 1942.

And at Bonhams' recent memorabilia auction "TCM Presents...There's No Place Like Hollywood," some of Carole's correspondence to Winkler -- plus the photograph above -- was sold for $2,250.

It begins with this letter sent to Otto and his wife, Jill, on Oct. 8, 1938, and one would guess it has some connection to Lombard's 30th birthday two days before:

carole lombard letter otto winkler 00a

Note that not all the signatures here are Lombard's; a few were signed or addressed by the Gables' personal secretary, Jean Garceau.

carole lombard letter otto winkler 01a
carole lombard letter otto winkler 02b
carole lombard letter otto winkler 03a
carole lombard letter otto winkler 04a

The collection is described this way:

"Comprising a typed letter signed by Lombard, 1 p., October 8, 1938; an autograph note signed by Lombard on 'Mr. and Mrs. Clark Gable' stationery; an autograph note signed by Carole Lombard on 'Miss Carole Lombard' stationery; two autograph notes signed by Carole Lombard on 'CG' stationery with original transmittal envelopes dated October 11 and December 27, 1941; and two secretarial cards from Clark Gable and Carole Lombard that accompanied gifts. All of the letters are addressed to Otto Winkler and/or his wife Jill. Together with an oversize photograph of Gable and Lombard posing between Otto Winkler and MGM Publicity Chief Howard Strickling on March 30, 1939, when the couple announced their marriage to the press. Winkler had been the only friend present at their wedding in Kingman, Arizona, the previous day."

The song titled "Come And Get These Memories" was Martha & the Vandellas' first hit in early 1963, as they joined Motown's stable of stars. More than half a century later, Bette Midler drastically reworked it into a ballad for her fine new CD "It's The Girls," saluting the girl group sound. Give it a listen.

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