Carole Lombard appears thrilled (well, sort of) to be out on the town with new love interest Clark Gable in 1936. But would she have felt that way had she seen this article the previous year from the British movie mag Picturegoer Weekly (found by Jean Hunter at the Facebook site "Clark Gable: Original King Of Hollywood")?
It ran Feb. 23, 1935:
"Gable Selects The Ten Most Attractive Women." After describing the qualities he finds attractive in a woman -- character, lack of affectation -- he then announces his list:
* Mrs. Gable (Ria Langham)
* Norma Shearer
* Joan Crawford
* Kay Francis
* Jean Harlow
* Claudette Colbert
* Greta Garbo
* Grace Moore
* Helen Hayes
* Lily Pons
Note who's absent?
To be fair, a lot can happen within the course of a year...and had someone in the press in early 1935 asked Lombard to assemble a similar list of attractive males, Clark might've been a no-show. Since making "No Man Of Her Own" in late 1932, they had met in public a few times, such as at this 1933 function with Ricardo Cortez and Cary Grant (below). Nothing was romantically ignited.
Several of those names are noted Gable leading ladies -- Shearer, Crawford, Harlow, Garbo from home base MGM -- but three on the list never worked with him onscreen. Kay Francis had excellent chemistry with Carole's first husband, William Powell; would she have done likewise with Gable? Grace Moore and Lily Pons were both renowned operatic singers, something Clark apparently liked.
Lombard isn't the only notable omission here. By early 1935, Gable had made several films with Myrna Loy, including "Men In White" (above), but given Loy's status as a complementary star (she had relatively few lead vehicles of her own), perhaps her absence isn't all that surprising.
We don't know precisely when the interview took place, if it did at all. It's possible an MGM publicist (Otto Winkler?) wrote it out of whole cloth. But at the time it ran, Gable had wound up with another lady not on the list, giving her something she'd secretly deliver that November.
But one other quality Clark quotes may explain why he and Carole were fated to be mated:
"But the one thing a woman must have is understanding...understanding and the ability to be a good companion, a pal."
That Lombard possessed in spades.