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carole lombard 02

Years since 'I do'? 72

Posted by vp19 on 2011.03.29 at 00:59
Current mood: lovedloved

That's right, it was 72 years ago today -- March 29, 1939 -- that Carole Lombard and Clark Gable sneaked out of Los Angeles, headed east on fabled U.S. 66, ended up in Kingman, Ariz. and finally got married.

After Ria Gable obtained her divorce a few weeks earlier, it was now a virtual formality that Carole and Clark were going to exchange vows...when and where were the questions. Many believed Arizona would supply the latter answer -- but many expected Yuma, just across the California state line, to be site of the honors (it was a popular place for Californians to marry). Instead, the couple went much further north and about 30 miles inside Arizona, to Kingman, hometown of their good friend Andy Devine. As for the when, Clark and Carole kept things relatively low-key, getting married on a Wednesday, and at a time when neither had film work scheduled. ("Gone With The Wind" was on a brief production break, while Lombard had not yet started work on her upcoming movie, "In Name Only.")

After the wedding, held at the Methodist Church in town, the couple drove back to Los Angeles -- the story that they spent their honeymoon in nearby Oatman, Ariz. is strictly myth -- and quickly arranged an interview with reporters.

In May 1939, one of the fan magazines -- not certain which one -- ran a few paragraphs on what Lombard wore. Thanks to the superb Gable site dearmrgable.com, here's the item:

And the bride wore gray.

When Carole Lombard and Clark Gable announced their intentions to wed, the question of what the bride (a divorcee) should wear became important not only to Carole but to thousands of other women who were about to marry for the second time. Carole never faltered in her choice for a moment.

“A gray suit,” was her decision. But the problem wasn’t solved that easily. There are grays and grays, some flattering, some hard and cold in tone, some unkind to blondes, as every woman knows. So, in order to secure exactly the proper shade for her, Carole devoted “a gray week” to the selection of the color. Irene, who was to create the suit, began by sending to Carole sample after sample of gray materials ranging in tone from rose-gray to blue-gray.

Between his “Gone with the Wind” scenes, Mr. Gable would aid Miss Lombard in the elimination of tones, until, finally the exact “Lombard gray” was chosen.

So, when you gaze at pictures of the newlyweds, remember this little story behind the wedding suit and, with a smile of universal understanding among women the world over, wish the bride a long and happy marriage with no “gray” ending.

As we all know, that sadly wouldn't be the case.

Incidentally, Carole Sampeck of The Lombard Archive has attempted to replicate the outfit Lombard wore that day, and after years of work has assembled all items but one -- a gray scarf with white polka dots. Sampeck said she has long searched for material of that color description, without success. While she believes Lombard's cravat was made of silk, she would settle for other fabrics. If anyone has a suggestion where she might find that shade, it would be greatly appreciated.

In honor of the couple, a few Gable/Lombard clippings from Tally Haugen. First, a story from a magazine called Screen Life; the title is "She Knew What She Wanted," and it ran in the March 1941 issue:

Next, Clark and Carole at the track (Santa Anita) from March 1940, published in Screen Guide that spring. It's a large page, and thus is divided into two parts that sort of duplicates in the middle (some of the Lombard pix in the upper left-hand corner aren't in the best of shape), but it's a fun look at the famed couple in public:

We often close entries with a song...and today, we're going to give you two. The first honors the highway Clark and Carole traveled in order to get married..."Route 66," of course. (Kingman's even mentioned in the lyric.) Here's the act that did the best-known version of that Bobby Troup standard, Nat "King" Cole and his Trio -- but this isn't the hit recording of it (or the stereo remake Cole did some years later). This is one of the "soundies" from the 1940s, video musical performances that could be played on large jukebox-like machines. Cole's in fine form here:

Next, a song that should be played at more weddings, because its mood captures the devotion of wedded bliss beautifully. It's from the Association, an act that had quite a few hits in the late 1960s, including several that made number one. This was one of them, and in my mind is their greatest achievement -- the brilliant "Never My Love":


bakebaker at 2011-03-29 05:04 (UTC) (Link)


Lovely Vince! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY in the Remembrance of "Ma & Pa" Gable..BLESS 'EM!
cinemafan2 at 2011-03-29 06:38 (UTC) (Link)

After returning from Arizona

From "Screwball" by Larry Swindell...

Not so much weary as propelled by nervous energy, the Gables arrived at Carole's house belatedly at 3:00 A.M. Carole's mother and brothers greeted them along with enormous Jessie - Carole's cook. They had a champagne toast followed by cakes and coffee, then the Peters scattered and Carole and Clark retired to separate bedrooms. Carole said she wanted the legal consummation to be a strictly private thing when they were both rested and ribbed Clark about his having enough difficulty performing well even under the most ideal conditions. Otto Winkler took another room, staying for the morning press conference that had been arranged by MGM in advance, with Carole's and Clark's concurrence. They would be having only a few hours sleep - except Carole couldn't sleep at all, such was her extended state of disbelief that it had happened at last. She lay in bed awhile, then turned on the radio and heard the news report of their nuptials. Then as nude as she was restless, she went into the room where Clark was sound asleep and snuggled up beside him without disturbing his slumber or disrupting the rhythm of his loud snoring. Later switching her position she allowed her arm to graze a nightstand and knocked an object to the floor. There on the floor, grinning at her in a beam of moonlight, were Clark's dentures.
k4carole at 2011-03-29 12:47 (UTC) (Link)
Happy Anniversary to the Gables! It's my anniversary too.
Great post and new photos. Thanks Tally. But is there any chance we could do without the snide dig at Gable post just once? We get it. You love Russ Columbo.
(Anonymous) at 2011-03-29 17:05 (UTC) (Link)

72nd Anniversary

I would also like to wish a Happy Anniversary to The Gables! Being a fan of both Carole and Clark, I agree we could do without the reference to Clark's dentures on this day.
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