vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Before tragedy struck

About two weeks after Pearl Harbor, the Hollywood Victory Committee, comprised of many notables in the film industry, met to discuss how movie personnel could best aid the war effort. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard attended -- Gable, at the time among the top box-office draws in the U.S., was named chairman -- with neither he nor his wife knowing that less than a month later, work for the war effort would end one of their lives and haunt the other.

Between the Japanese attack and the ill-fated Indianapolis war bond rally, Lombard's name wasn't in the papers very much; she was wrapping up work on "To Be Or Not To Be," including an extra portrait session on New Year's Eve, and was getting ready to help promote the Ernst Lubitsch film once the bond rally was completed.

However, there were undercurrents throughout Hollywood that things weren't entirely harmonious between screenland's premier couple. Syndicated columnist Jimmie Fidler decided to look into the rumors (well, not really -- just reading it leads one to believe that Fidler, a friend of both Clark and Carole, was making things up, and a majority of readers probably got the joke). It ran in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 4, 1942, and can be found at http://ladailymirror.com/2012/01/04/war-workers-start-day-with-prayer/#more-6265:

It's a rather silly column, to be sure (although reading between the lines, Jimmie pokes fun at MGM's all-powerful publicity machine), but Fidler could not have known that in less than two weeks Gable, indeed the world, would lose Lombard forever. And one wonders what Clark and Carole's reaction was to this column that sort of swept any possible personal discord under the rug.

America was indeed changing rapidly, accelerating its mobilization effort. In the Jan. 4 Times was an ad dealing with such changes, from a place Lombard had loved since her teens, the fabled Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel:


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