Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Dear Mr. Gable

So on my quest for more pre-code films starring Helen Twelvetrees, I realized that she appears in The Painted Desert, which also contains the first talking and credited role for none other than Clark Gable. I realized I never blogged about my trip to Clark Gable's birthplace in Cadiz, Ohio.

Clark Gable has been my #1 guy ever since I first watched Gone With the Wind. I still remember sitting in the recliner in my parents' living room, watching that dramatic final scene and I could feel myself changing. I was no longer a kid who was satisfied just watching The Wizard of Oz and Shirley Temple movies- I needed more. More to take in, more to think about, more to analyze, and more to discover and more to research. I started haunting the library- tracking down other Clark Gable movies like Red Dust.  Back then, I was frustrated that I couldn't find many of these movies on VHS, now I'm frustrated that I can't find more of them streaming online. I may have been the first highschool girl since about 1950 that had a picture of Clark Gable in her locker. Of course I realized that he was long dead- he'd been buried for 22 years before I was even born. But whenever I watch one of his movies- I fall in love with his screen presence, and everything he represents.

I can't even express how happy I was when I discovered this film, in which one of my favorite actresses, from my all-time favorite film, sings a love song to my all-time favorite actor, in the way that only someone with the schoolgirl innocence of Judy Garland is able to.

Visiting the birthplace of Clark Gable's has been on my to-do list for years

The home is reconstructed (the original one was torn down), but it does have the layout of the original house. The museum is a very small one, and most of their collection is centered on memorabilia, most of which is Gone With the Wind related. They don't have many of Gable's belongings, but they do have his 1954 Cadillac.

Seeing the King of Hollywood's car was pretty cool, but the artifact that I liked more is his childhood sled. The simple wooden toy, painted red and embellished with a horse and his name almost brought tears to my eyes. It never fails to amaze me that no matter who we are, or who we become, we all start from the same place. Did little William Clark Gable ever dream that he'd be a Hollywood icon when he was playing in the snow during those cold mid-western winters? 

I'm pretty certain at this point in my life that I'll never become a film star (or any kind of star), but the fame is secondary. If someday my great-great grandchildren find an old trunk with a bunch of my stuff in it, what's is going to contain? What did I cherish enough to hold onto? Or, what did other people who knew me hold onto?

I used to go up into my great-grandmother's attic, and look at everything she kept up there. She held onto a couple of doll that belonged to her daughter (my grandmother). There was also a teddy bear that belonged to one of her grandson's (my Uncle Richard). Of course there was a ton more stuff, but those items are what always stood out to me because they belonged to children. It's funny how an inanimate possession can represent a person's identity, and childhood treasures always seem to hold the most significance.

So that's me waxing nostalgia and getting kind of philosophical on a Saturday night.

Luckily, it doesn't happen too often.

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