By the fall of 1936, the world knew Carole Lombard and Clark Gable were, as they say, an "item." He was MGM's most popular star; she was rising in the Hollywood pantheon due to her comic ability, then on display in the Universal hit "My Man Godfrey." OK, technically Clark was married to a woman considerably his senior, but relatively few cared about that.
So talk began that the pair, whose lone teaming on screen came at Paramount in late 1932'a "No Man Of Her Own," should be reunited at Metro -- where Carole had been loaned out two years later in the lackluster "The Gay Bride."
One of those talking, or should we say writing, about it was Hearst Hollywood columnist Louella Parsons. In October 1936, her column -- which ran in hundreds of newspapers -- suggested Clark and Carole were about to pair on the big screen. This is what ran in the Oct. 24, 1936 Minneapolis Tribune, a non-Hearst publication:
"...next year, Carole will be co-starred with Clark in 'Saratoga.' Yes, I know it was intended for Joan Crawford, but I am told there are other plans for La Crawford. When Carole finishes 'Morning, Noon and Night' for Paramount, she'll move to Metro to film this picture. And that is the most interesting thing I have today, my friends."
Of course, most of us know "Saratoga" as a collaboration -- the last one -- between Gable and another iconic blonde, Jean Harlow; she died midway through production. (I had no idea MGM had considered Crawford as the female lead, as this was somewhat a comedy, not her strong suit.)
Initially, you're tempted to believe this was yet another error from Parsons, whose mistakes were many. But according to Turner Classic Movies, "Saratoga" indeed was intended as a Gable-Lombard teaming (http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/78384%7C0/Saratoga.html).
In fact, after Jean's unexpected death, MGM officials planned to scrap the Harlow footage and sought Lombard as the new lead. Carole, who'd developed a friendship with Jean during the brief time they knew each other, would have nothing of it, and the film was completed with extra Mary Dees filling in for some scenes.
Here's what that entire Tribune page looked like:
This page is up for auction at eBay, but the seller acknowledges the page is extremely brittle from its nearly 82-year age, "and should be handled delicately with the utmost care."
Bidding begins at $14.99, with the auction set to end at 8:57 p.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. If you are interested, visit https://www.ebay.com/itm/1936-Minnesota-Newspaper-Page-Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard-in-Saratoga/192513701444?hash=item2cd2b5f644:g:6OgAAOSwo2la1peJ.