vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Getting to the great outdoors: Clark vs. Carole

Whether or not yesterday's images of Carole Lombard fishing were from an actual angling trip or merely a scene from a film ("In Name Only," according to one comment), there can be no denying that she and Clark Gable (shown above with their pheasant catch while hunting in South Dakota in October 1941) enjoyed the great outdoors.

What to take getting there? That was something else entirely.

That may not have been that big a deal for the above excursion, since they took a plane to get to the upper Midwest. (A young girl who saw the stars arrive at the Dakota airport would, like Lombard, eventually change her name -- to Mamie Van Doren -- and make a film with Gable, "Teacher's Pet" in 1958.) But when Clark and Carole went to hunt or fish within driving distance of their Encino home, they apparently had their differences.

At least that's what Hollywood columnist Jimmie Fidler noted in the Los Angeles Times of Aug. 12, 1940:

Specifically, here's what he wrote, with the subhead, "Retaliation!"

"Don't get the idea there's a rift in the Gable-Lombard bliss. Perfect -- well, ALMOST perfect -- accord still reigns. But there IS the problem of what to take on camping trips.
"Clark, in his lone-wolf days, went into the wilds with his toothbrush, a sleeping bag and supreme contempt for softies who took more.
"Since marriage, however, he's found his station wagon so heavily laden for hunting jaunts that he's thought seriously of hiring Don Wilson to sit on the radiator and hold the front wheels down.
"The other day, before the Gables' latest fishing trip, Clark made his one formal protest: Carole awoke to find a 15-ton truck parked in the driveway.
"On its side, in huge letters, was printed: LOMBARD CAMPING VANS, INC."

Gable may have been famous for his frugality, but he apparently didn't mind spending a bit of money where a practical joke on his sweetie was concerned. Too bad no photo of this gag is known to exist.

Oh, and "Don Wilson" was a reference to the popular, rotund announcer of the Jack Benny show, the guy who read all the Jell-O commercials. (That was actually Fidler's second Benny-related reference of the column; the first, in Fidler's words -- "Pickaninnies down South who used to be named 'George Washington' are now being christened 'Rochester' and in droves" -- is a chilling reminder of race relations in America circa 1940. It refers, of course, to Eddie Anderson, the black actor who portrayed Benny's wisecracking valet, Rochester.)

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