Everything Books
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February 14, 2012

On Valentine’s Day

Filed under: writing — Tags: , , , , — jennifer @ 9:28 am

As I sit at my desk on Valentine’s Day, researching and reading about 1940’s Hollywood– today’s subject: Clark Gable– I can’t help getting a little misty-eyed thinking about one of my favorite couples, Carole Lombard and Clark Gable.

Other than Gone with the Wind, I’ve never thought much of Gable, even though his Hollywood star power was unmatchable during the ’30s and ’40s (he was called the King, after all). Never disliked him but never particularly liked him either (as wonderful as he was as Rhett Butler). But his wife, Carole Lombard, is my favorite actress. In all the mountains of Hollywood research I’m delving through, in all the stories and rumor and truth, in all the many accounts from this person and that person, in all the variations on who was who or what was what or the way things were, one thing is consistent– no one ever had a bad word to say about Carole Lombard. In fact, everyone who knew her absolutely loved her. Clark Gable perhaps most of all.

In January 1942, Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash, returning home from a war bond tour. It took the search party twelve hours to reach the wreckage, high on a snow-covered mountainside west of Las Vegas. Throughout the night, Gable waited at the foot of the mountain for word. Everyone aboard had been killed instantly. Carole Lombard was 33 years old.

In August of that year, a grieving Gable enlisted in the Air Force, and became the only soldier allowed to redesign his dog tag: adding to the chain a heart-shaped gold locket, made from a clip belonging to his wife that was found near the crash site. Inside the locket was a picture of Lombard and the remnant of one of her earrings, also found on the mountainside.

So on this most romantic of all days, my work stacked up around me, I’d like to pay tribute to Gable and Lombard with a lovely little video from youtube:

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