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'Modern Screen,' March 1939: Of Clark and Carole's marital past



As the public waited for its cinematic king and queen to tie the knot at the start of 1939, fan magazines fueled interest in Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. One of them was Modern Screen, which for its March issue ran a two-page photo spread about his two prior wives and her one former husband:




This issue came out not long before Valentine's Day, thus explaining the heart-shaped cover with a still-blonde Joan Bennett:



A Gable story was inside, but discussed his relationships with other male stars on the MGM lot, the price of fame, etc.




Did writer Faith Service actually talk with Gable in Culver City, or did she take some quotes from Metro publicists such as Clark's pal Otto Winkler? Either way, it's probably a fairly accurate piece. He and Robert Taylor, then arguably his main MGM "rival," were on good terms, as this pic (probably taken by Lombard) of Gable and Taylor flanking Bob's squeeze Barbara Stanwyck on the golf course makes evident:



Clark and Carole can be found in a gossip column, where we learn Lombard took a correspondence course from the University of Southern California in...agriculture? Not the academic offering one expects from an urban, private institution. A good prep for the Encino ranch, though.



Carole's present elsewhere in the issue, albeit in a rather puzzling way. That's as in crossword puzzle, where little Jane Alice Peters is pictured and several of the clues have Lombard ties:




Rewind your mind some 79 years and try your hand at this crossword. We'll give you a day to figure it out, then provide the answers in Tuesday's entry.

The issue also features several movie ads, most notably this for arguably the greatest western of them all, "Stagecoach":



Note in this ad, Claire Trevor gets top billing, ahead of John Wayne! He'd spent much of the decade in second-tier oaters, and this would be his breakthrough role.

This issue is available through eBay. It's complete and listed in "very good" condition. Bidding begins at $24.50, and the auction is set to close at 12:14 p.m. (Eastern) Saturday. If you're interested or merely curious, find out more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/MODERN-SCREEN-March-1939-Joan-Bennett-Clark-Gable-Carole-Lombard/302773888739?hash=item467ebae6e3:g:~akAAOSwpchbEsEl.
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