Showing posts with label Carole Lombard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carole Lombard. Show all posts

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fashion Friday #7: Gone With The Wind in Atlanta

In December, 1939, Atlanta fell under the spell of David Selznick's masterpiece, Gone With the Wind. The mayor of Atlanta, William Hartsfield, declared a three day holiday to celebrate the movie's premiere at Loew's Grand Theater on Peachtree Street. Three of the main cast members flew in from Hollywood, which included Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland. Other celebrities attending the premiere included David Selznick, along with his wife Irene Selznick, Laurence Olivier, Carole Lombard and Claudette Colbert.

On Thursday, December 14th, Vivien and other cast members attended the Junior League Ball. Vivien's dress for this event was specifically designed for her by Walter Plunkett, the costume designer for Gone With the Wind.

Vivien's black evening gown was made from lyons velvet, a stiff and thick velvet fabric fashionable at the time of the premiere. The dress featured a fitted bodice, trimmed in white ermine, and sleeves capped off by ermine and ermine tails. From Vivien's waist, the dress flared out into a wide, full skirt. Willard George designed her cape, made from ermine and their black tails. Paul Flato designed Vivien's jewelry for the evening, which featured a diamond butterfly clip for her hair, a diamond & ruby bracelet and a diamond bow ring.

Below is a formal, publicity photo of Vivien in her Junior League Ball gown, which really showcases the skirt.

Also in attendance at the Junior League Ball was Laura Hope Crews, better known as Aunt Pittypat, and Ona Munson, the film's Belle Watling. The two ladies came dressed as their characters from Gone With the Wind.

Laura Hope Crews wore a gray taffeta [dress] with grey bengaline shoes, black silk stockings, blue net scarf, blue mittens, blue lace and ivory fan and a gray lace and blue velvet cap. To complete her outfit, Miss Crews topped her natural hair with Aunt Pittypat's blonde wig. The mittens referenced are the fingerless gloves Laura is seen wearing in the photo below.

Ona Munson also wore her Belle Watling red wig, which complemented her outfit made from cerise taffeta ...[with] silken folds under the skirt. Her four petticoats were embroidered eyelet, hooped and plain. She wore pantalets and a bustle. Her accessories were roses, gold bells, a purple net scarf and a pair of bell earrings. Bell earrings for Belle!

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard also attended the Junior League ball. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a description of Carole's outfit. They are pictured with Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield and his daughter, Mildred, who was lucky enough to sit next to Gable for the evening's festivities. Mildred's dress was heavy yellow moire taffeta striped with gray, featuring a square neck and long sleeves. Both the neck and sleeves were trimmed with old cream lace. The dress had a tiny waist and full skirt worn over crinoline petticoats. She wore an old gold necklace with pendants and gold drop earrings. In  her hair she wore yellow ribbon bows and on her shoulder she wore yellow orchids with red throats. Black lace mittens, black velvet bag and cape completed her costume. Wow, she's got a lot going on! 

The next evening, December 15th, saw the premiere of Gone With the Wind. Once again, Vivien chose to wear a Walter Plunkett gown. This lamé gown was a brilliant gold, perfectly setting off Vivien's dark brown hair with its hints of reddishness. As with her Junior League gown, publicity portraits were taken of Vivien in her gold dress.

The gown is of gold lame, draped in Oriental fashion, with harem hem line and draped girdle accenting the small waist. Girdle and the short sleeves are quilted in rose pattern and studded with gold sequins. Vivien's jewelry featured an acorn and leaf design, fashioned from topaz and diamonds. The matching necklace and bracelet resided quite nicely in its gold setting as did the princess cut topaz ring on her pinkie.

Vivien's unofficial date for the evening was the sharply dressed Laurence Olivier, recent star of "Wuthering Heights." Olivier's tuxedo was made from a dark coloured wool, with stripes only a shade lighter than the suit. The top coat featured tails, pointed lapels and a left breast pocket. The matching pants came with a five button fly.  His tux was specially created for him by Roche and Pollock in September, 1939. 

Also, in attendance at the premiere, was author Margaret Mitchell. She wore a fashionable pink full skirted tulle gown, a full length white velvet evening coat, a pink bow in her hair, and a camellia corsage given to her by the producers. (Atlanta History Center) Below is a photo of Mitchell's full length coat, along with a picture of her wearing the coat while speaking to the crowds. One can get a slight glimpse of her long skirt as the pink tulle dress plays peek-a-boo with her evening coat.

Mitchell's dress featured a fitted bodice, with off the shoulder sleeves. She's pictured seated, in between Jock Whitney (financial backer of GWTW) and her husband, John Marsh (wearing the glasses).

Carole Lombard, aka Mrs. Clark Gable, also attended the premiere, on the arm of her man. She wore a medieval cape of blush satin with a train, [which matched her gown]. Blush is in the pink-color family. I love Carole's netted hood. It must've been quite striking against her blonde hair.

Here's Ona Munson as she arrives at the premiere and poses for photographers. Ona's wearing a dark, green velvet, evening gown with a fur jacket and corsage.

The two ladies, in antebellum costumes, next to Ona are twin sisters, Virginia and Charlotte Starr. They were two of the thirty girls selected to act as hostesses for Gone With the Wind's premiere.

Finally, here's Olivia de Havilland, arriving at the theater with Jock Whitney, whom she also sat next to throughout the show. Olivia wore a black velvet evening gown with an ermine fur jacket. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a full length photo of Olivia in her evening gown.

Thanks for joining me for today's Fashion Friday post!

Unless otherwise noted, all italicized dress descriptions are from Herb Bridges. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy 75th Anniversary, Gone With The Wind!

Gone With The Wind premiered seventy-five years ago, today, on December 15th, 1939, in Atlanta, Georgia. This premiere event was followed by two more: one in New York City and another in Hollywood.

Ann Rutherford was the first star to arrive in Atlanta for the three day premiere. Ann played Carreen O'Hara, Scarlett's youngest sister. Among the other arrivals were: Evelyn Keyes, who played Suellen; Alicia Rhett, whose character was India Wilkes; Laura Hope Crewes as Aunt Pittypat; and Ona Munson, who played Belle Watling.

Olivia de Havilland and Vivien Leigh arrive in Atlanta
David O. Selznick, Olivia de Havilland, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier arrived on the same flight in Atlanta on December 13th. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard arrived the following day on December 14th.

Olivia de Havilland, David Selznick, Vivien Leigh and Irene Selznick

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard
Some of the activities scheduled for the stars to participate in were a parade, the Junior League ball, a press party at the Georgian Terrace Hotel and of course, the premiere.

The press party was held at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta. The hotel would also play host to the cast of Gone With The Wind, while they were in town, with the exception of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. Vivien and Olivier stayed at a private residence, since they were both still married to other people at this time. Selznick didn't want the gossip mills to start grinding over the couple's lifestyle and adversely affect Gone With The Wind's potential ticket sales and earnings.

Ona Munson, the film's Belle Watling, poses with Wilbur Kurtz, Sr. Kurtz was a historian and technical advisor hired to work on Gone With The Wind by Selznick.

At a tea held by the Atlanta Women's Press Club, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, David O. Selznick and Olivia de Havilland pose with author, Margaret Mitchell (center) whom they were meeting for the first time in person.

Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland are pictured with the city parks manager, George Simmons. George took them on a tour of the Cyclorama, which is a 400 ft long, 18,000 pound painting of the battle of Atlanta.

In the car with Vivien Leigh are Governor Ed Rivers of Georgia, David O. Selznick- the producer of GWTW, and Jock Whitney- financial backer of GWTW.

David Selznick stands behind Vivien, as Laurence Olivier helps her from the car, as they arrive for the Junior League Ball. Willard George designed her cape, made from ermine and their black tails.

Vivien's dress for the Junior League Ball was specifically designed by Walter Plunkett for this event. Her black evening gown was made from lyons velvet, a stiff and thick velvet fabric fashionable at the time of the premiere. The dress featured a fitted bodice, trimmed in white ermine, and sleeves capped off by ermine and ermine tails. From Vivien's waist, the dress flared out into a wide, full skirt. Paul Flato designed Vivien's jewelry for the evening, which featured a diamond butterfly clip for her hair, a diamond & ruby bracelet and a diamond bow ring.

Ann Rutherford says a few words before the premiere. Before Gone With The Wind, Ann was best known as Polly, from the Andy Hardy movies.

Alicia Rhett, who played India Wilkes in the film, attends the premiere. Alicia was discovered in Selznick's famous Search for Scarlett.  

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard attend the movie premiere of Gone With The Wind. Carole wore a medieval cape of blush satin with a train.

This is Margaret Mitchell's night and Atlanta's night, Clark said. I want to see the picture just as you see it. Please Atlanta, allow me to see "Gone With The Wind" tonight just as a spectator.

Vivien Leigh in two publicity shots showing off her movie premiere gown. One source sites this dress as having been designed by Walter Plunkett, the costume designer for the movie. The gown is of gold lame, draped in Oriental fashion, with harem hem line and draped girdle accenting the small waist. Girdle and the short sleeves are quilted in rose pattern and studded with gold sequins. Worn with the gown is jewelry of topaz and diamonds set in gold. Necklace and bracelet are of acorn and leaf design.

Needless to say, the premiere of Gone With The Wind was wildly successful. The biggest downside to the premiere was the fact that Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly Mcqueen, Oscar Polk and Everett Brown were not allowed to attend due to segregation laws in effect at that time.

Gone With The Wind premiered at the Loew's Grand theater in downtown Atlanta. The theater boasted a false front made to look like Tara, Scarlett's antebellum home. Kleig lights and magnolia tress surrounded the columned front. Tickets to the premiere were $10 each with some ticket scalpers netting up to $200 for each ticket.

For, by any and all standards, Mr. Selznick's film is a handsome, scrupulous and unstinting version of the 1,037-page novel, matching it almost scene for scene with a literalness that not even Shakespeare or Dickens were accorded in Hollywood, casting it so brilliantly one would have to know the history of the production not to suspect that Miss Mitchell had written her story just to provide a vehicle for the stars already assembled under Mr. Selznick's hospitable roof. To have treated so long a book with such astonishing fidelity required courage—the courage of a producer's convictions and of his pocketbook, and yet, so great a hold has Miss Mitchell on her public, it might have taken more courage still to have changed a line or scene of it. -NYT

 Happy Anniversay, GWTW!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Will Clark Gable Ever Marry Carole Lombard?

by Ford Black

Motion Picture Magazine
February 1939

One thing is sure, Clark and Carole are madly in love, but your guess is as good as Hollywood’s whether they’ll marry.
The odds in Hollywood, where you can get a bet from the wise guys on practically anything at all, are about fifty-fifty that IF Jane Peters ever marries The Moose, it'll be the beginning of the bust-up of the grandest, finest romance Hollywood has ever known—off or on screen…!

"You'll notice I've got that "IF" in capitals. Because the same wise guys will give you about ten to one that that "IF" never becomes "when."

You see, Jane Peters is Carole Lombard. That's her real name; Carole Lombard is just something a numerologist gave her. And The Moose is her pet name for Clark Gable, the guy she’s in love with, and vice-versa. That is, she calls him “The Moose” when she’s talking about him, with others. When she talks with him, she just calls him “Poppy.” And he calls her “Ma.”

That’s how it is with Clark and the Lombard. That’s how it’s been for more months than cynical Hollywood ever believed it possible for two people to be as deliriously, insanely, happily, head-over-heels in love with each other in movieland.

But before they can ever get married, there’s quite a bit of technicality in the way, The matter of Clark’s being divorced from or by Rhea Gable, the lady to whom he’s still married.

A great number of people, in and out of Hollywood, have been wondering when Rhea Gable will ever give Clark a divorce. You’ve probably read innumerable items and rumors in the gossip columns about it. There’s probably been more baseless twaddle written about Clark's marital status than about anybody else's in Hollywood—even Georgie Raft's.

But recently, I learned, from one of those pretty accurate and trustworthy sources, that only the other day, Rhea Gable, growing annoyed and consequently articulate about the constant reiteration of question-marks about when she'd ever divorce Clark, replied: "But he's never even asked me to!"

And that quite effectually shut up the interrogation, for the time being at least. As a matter of fact, the real low-downers of Hollywood are convinced that there'll never be a Rhea-Clark divorce. They feel, although the principals never openly discuss the matter, that Clark and Carole both feel that the situation is quite all right as it stands. Hollywood has its own table of ethics about things like this—a set of rules and taboos that are governed to a large extent by such things as publicity and the so-called "hinterland reaction." Hollywood fears, above all else, the wrath of millions of moviegoers whose moral sensibilities are assumed to be as fragile as gold-leaf, and as pure. There is justification, says that part of Hollywood which treads lightly, for an assumption that if Clark Gable should be divorced from Rhea Gable, and then leap headlong into an immediate remarriage with Carole Lombard, that the box-office status of both Gable and the Lombard would suffer a deep pain in the intake.


And what Hollywood can't stand at all is a drop in box-office rating.

So, since the world of movie fans apparently takes it for granted, and quite all right, too, that Clark is not in love with his wife, but is in love with Carole, the two of them seem content to let it lie at that, and why change the situation?

There has, in the past, been terrific studio pressure to "kill" all publicity linking the Lombard and Gable names. It was a policy in line with that fear of the hinterland reaction. But of late, we in Hollywood who make our living by writing about it have noticed that from the two studios concerned—Carole's Paramount and Clark's M-G-M—there has been a gradual but definite lightening of the taboo.

Both studios may just as well be—because Clark and Carole themselves aren't bothering with even a semblance of hide up! You'll see them go careening down Ventura Boulevard in that dusty station wagon of theirs, both of them togged in dirty old overalls and farm clothes, laughing like a couple of high-school sophomores. They're probably on their way back to town after an afternoon of bulldogging and steer-tossing on the San Fernando valley ranch of either of 'em —both Carole and Clark have ranches out there, and are nuts about roping cattle.

Or you'll see them at the niteries, as obviously and utterly in love with each other as a couple of newlyweds. Their birthday gag-gifts to each other are famous. As a matter of fact, Hollywood never thinks of either of them without the other. They're as inseparable as ham-and-eggs. Many a married couple of Hollywood aren't as irrevocably linked in Hollywood hostesses' minds as are the Lombard and the Gable. In Hollywood, you wouldn't think of inviting one without the other.

AND that's as it should be, if you skip Victorian conventions and get down to the real "savvy" of the situation. They ARE in love. They're grand for each other. I believe that Carole Lombard has done more, in a material and spiritual way both, for Clark Gable than all the rest of his life added up. She has certainly done more to make life worth the living for him than any of his other associations. I mean, she's brought him the real fun and joy of living —a thing that Clark, in all his previous striving and seeking, has never found before. True, he was married twice—the first time to Josephine Dillon, some years older than himself, who taught him a lot about voice control and diction and stage deportment, because that's her business. The second time (and still) to Rhea Langham, the society woman, years older than himself, again. Rhea dazzled him, and gave him a taste of how things are done in the upper tiers of social life. But she didn't bring him sheer, downright fun. Neither of those women, admirable as they are in their spheres of life, brought him the fun that fun-loving Carole Lombard did. Carole is an ex-Mack Sennett girl. She has no social aspirations, yet she is one of Hollywood's most sought after guests. She has no exalted ideas about histrionics, yet she is one of Hollywood's top box-office stars. Carole, therefore, can and does give Clark the social status Rhea gave, and the theatrical standing and help Josephine gave—but in addition, she also gives a whole-hearted comradeship and good-fellowship.

Carole is a man's girl. Clark is a man's man. He's no society butterfly; he'd rather wear dungarees or hunting-khaki than tails and an opera hat. He'd rather engage in some utterly, hilarious and often unmentionable bits of clowning, on the rabelaisian side, than take part in a la-de-da cocktail fight at Mme. de la Ritz's society soiree. And when it comes to joining him in the low-down gaggin', Carole's his girl. Just the other day, you maybe read about how she ribbed him because of the dance steps he's having to learn for his newest picture…

So shamefaced is Clark about having to learn to do pretty dance steps that he has kept the stage barred to all visitors. He's as embarrassed as a man in a lingerie shop. So what does Carole do? She gives a box to a friend of hers in the M-G-M publicity department, knowing that said friend can crash the closed doors on the Gable set.

"Give this to Clark," she says. The friend enters the strictly closed set. Clark sees him coming and smells the gag. "You blankety-blank-blank," he yells; "it's a RIB!"

It is! Clark opens the box, and finds that Carole has sent him a ballet skirt, embroidered with his own initials; and a pair of ballet slippers, pink, size 11. AND— a dozen pansies...!

I COULD tell you a lot of gags Clark played on her, too. But I won't. Because they're the downright lowdown humor kind that good fellows play on each other, and they don't take repeating. They're always clowning; always playing. Clark taught her how to shoot, and now they go skeet-shooting together, and now and then on hunting trips. She gave him two of the finest guns that could be bought—and that sort of shooting-ware costs in the high hundreds. She gives him other things. When she isn't working herself she spends much of her time on the sidelines, as Clark works. She gives him help, coaches him from her own innate sense of stagecraft. She rehearses his lines with him.

She is believed responsible, too, for a growing carefulness about the roles he plays; the pictures he works in. Clark used to play anything, do any "business" and speak any lines the studio gave him. That was all right, when he was on the upgrade and had laid his future in M-G-M's hands. But now he's a star, now it's his own care and lookout to protect the position he has attained as the No. 1 male star of the screen.

And recently, he has been decidedly careful and critical about his roles. He won't go ahead on a picture any more until he is completely satisfied with story, script, role, lines, business. He held up production on both Test Pilot and Too Hot to Handle until the scripts were revised to suit his ideas. And, insiders believe, to suit Carole's ideas of what her man should play. In fact, it's pretty generally accepted that Carole is Clark's professional mentor far and away beyond what appears on the surface.

She's doing fine for him, too. Clark is still at the top. He's drawing some $7,000 a week. He has developed a sense of humor and likability that wasn't his before Carole. True, he was always a pleasant, personable chap. But there was a hard-to-knowness about him; a shell of reserve; a lack of warmness in his contacts. Since Carole, that shell has vanished.

Nobody calls him "Mister Gable" any more. He's just "Hey, Clark!" to everybody, from the lowliest messenger-boy on the lot to Louis B., himself.

There was a time when the wise ones feared he would go Hollywood; that was at the beginning of his meteoric rise. Maybe he would have; it's tough to escape it. Hollywood thanks Carole for steering him around the menace.

True, he has his shoes made, specially, in London. True, he has the finest tailors in America cut his clothes. But that is business, isn't it? Outside of business, he puts on no "big" act. With Carole, he goes to neighborhood movies rather than snooty operas or symphonies. That ranch of his, that you read so much about—why, it's only a two-acre spot in San Fernando Valley; much smaller than many a lesser movie name boasts. And don't get excited about the screwy stories you may read of how magnificent it is. He doesn't even own it— he leases it from Rex Ingram.

He has no valet. I know a lot of $300-a week hams in Hollywood who have'em, but not Clark. He has only two servants— a cook and a housekeeper.

Reason he doesn't own his place is because (he says this himself) he wants no ties to hold him in case he ever decides to cut loose and move.

HE HAS no illusions about himself, nowadays. I remember there was a time, in the dim past, when he imagined he was a pretty fine actor. But something probably Carole, again—has knocked that out of him. Like Carole's own opinion of herself as an actress, Clark now admits he's "just lucky."

That goes not alone for his screen success, but for his offscreen life's livability, as well. Clark knows that it's given to few individuals to achieve the all-around happiness that is his today—an assured place in his chosen profession; a steady and big income; freedom from worries and entanglements; and a beautiful woman to love him.

He knows he's lucky; it isn't just a bit of phony modesty with him when he says "I'm just a lucky stiff!"

He knows it won't always last. He's looking forward to the time when there won't be seven grand a week in the pay envelope. He's being frugal, without being miserly. He doesn't put on any costly "dog."

He lives economically; doesn't throw his money around. Banks what he can of it, after the government takes it share. When the time comes, as it inevitably will, for him to abdicate his screen throne, he'll have a nice sockful of living-money.

He thinks he'll maybe do directing, or script writing, when that time comes. Or he may just retire. His idea of heaven on earth would be to have enough money to live comfortably and quietly—go hunting often—travel a bit—and have fun.

Preferably with Jane Peters.