Carole Lombard's out on the town with Clark Gable...trouble is, Clark evidently forgot to bring his mustache along. What's going on here?
The answer: Marion Davies.
In 1936, Davies -- who had left MGM for Warner Brothers the year before (a move where Marion's benefactor, William Randolph Hearst, had her gargantuan dressing room transported from Culver City to Burbank) -- decided to make a musical romantic comedy, and sought MGM's Gable for a leading man. Both studios, aware of Hearst newspapers' considerable influence with moviegoers through columnist Louella Parsons, agreed to the loanout. And thus, Clark headed to Warners to make "Cain And Mabel."
But why would Clark agree to act sans mustache? The reason was a good one -- look at his character:
He portrayed a prizefighter, and in 1936 nearly all athletes, including boxers, were clean-shaven. So Gable pulled out his razor and bid adieu to his mustache for a while. (He'd done likewise the previous year for Metro's "Mutiny On The Bounty.")
Warners received another boost from the film, one it still exploits more than eight decades later. The production featured huge elaborate dance numbers, and in order to make them work, what is now Stage 16 at the Burbank studio had its roof and walls raised 35 feet at Hearst's expense, a move costing $100,000 at the time (http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/2009/01/warner-bros-stage-16.html).
Later films that have used the stage include "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "My Fair Lady," "Ghostbusters" and "Jurassic Park."
As it turned out, Hearst funded the heightened roof just in time. In 1937, his empire rapidly diminished, he had to sell or close numerous newspapers and related properties, and only a $1 million gift from Davies -- whose generosity was legendary -- kept the Hearst Corporation afloat. (When he died in August 1951, his four sons showed their gratitude by cutting Marion out of the will.)
That photo of Clark and Carole on top probably dates from mid-1936, since "Cain And Mabel" was released in late September, shortly after Lombard's "My Man Godfrey." It was taken by Charles Rhodes, who took pics of many Hollywood notables for Fawcett Publications (Motion Picture, Movie Story).
Rhodes' work included this shot of a pre-stardom Rita Hayworth on the set of 1939's "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame":
The Lombard-Gable pic is an original measuring 4" x 5", and is said to be in excellent condition. It's from the Marvin Paige collection.
Bidding begins at $24.95, with the auction ending at 10:04 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday. You can bid or find out more by visiting https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-CLARK-GABLE-Original-CANDID-Vintage-1930s-Press-Snapshot-Photo/332846779998?hash=item4d7f36ce5e..