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Gable and Lombard

The Clark Gable and Carole Lombard story.

Pioneer SaloonThe Gable - Lombard romance started on January 25, 1936 at the formal ball called The White Mayfair Ball. This was the first time they had met since the making of their only movie together No Man of Her Own. They seemed to have an eye for each other and then they had a fight. The next morning Gable was awakened by doves in his apartment. Carole had paid the hotel clerks to release the doves in Gable's room. Ah, Gable still had a chance with Lombard.

Inside the PioneerBy Valentine’s Day, Lombard had found a decrepit old Model-T Ford. She knew Gable’s love for fast cars so she had this Model-T towed to a body shop and painted white with big red hearts all over it. Lombard had it delivered to the MGM lot where Gable was working. A note on the steering wheel said, "You’re driving me crazy." Well, Gable called Lombard and invited her dancing at the Trocadero that night. Lombard spent the rest of the day preparing for her first date with Gable. A champagne-colored gown and a white chinchilla jacket. Gable had a surprise for Lombard now. He picked her up in the Model-T Ford. Lombard being the good sport went right along with the joke. They chugged down Hollywood Boulevard at 10 mph laughing all the way. Lombard carried on an affair with Clark Gable from the mid-1930s. The relationship had to be kept quiet because he was still married to his second wife, Ria. Gable was finally divorced from her on March 7, 1939. Gable and Lombard married shortly after on March 29. They bought a ranch, previously owned by director Raoul Walsh, in San Fernando Valley, California. They called each other "Ma" and "Pa", and lived a happy, unpretentious life. To all who knew Gable, she was the love of his life.

General StoreOff-screen, she was much loved for her unpretentious personality and well known for her earthy sense of humor. She loved playing pranks during filming, and once joked about husband Gable (widely acknowledged the "King of Hollywood"), "If his pee-pee was one inch shorter, they'd be calling him the Queen of Hollywood".

When the US entered World War II at the end of 1941, Lombard traveled to her home state of Indiana for a war bond rally. At four o'clock (04:00 local time) on the morning of Friday, January 16, 1942, Lombard and her mother boarded a Trans World Airlines DC-3 airplane to return to California. After refueling in Las Vegas, Flight 3 took off on a clear night. However, beacons in the area had been blacked out because of the war, and the plane was 6.7 miles (10.8 km) off course. Twenty-three minutes after takeoff, the plane crashed into "Double Up Peak" near the 8,300-foot (2500 meter) level of Mount Potosi, 32 miles (52 km) southwest of Las Vegas. All 22 passengers were killed. A plaque marked the spot, but was stolen sometime in 2007.Just before boarding the plane, Carole had addressed her fans, saying: "Before I say goodbye to you all, come on and join me in a big cheer! V for Victory!" President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who admired her patriotism, declared her the first woman killed in the line of duty during the war and posthumously awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Shortly after her death at the age of thirty-three, Gable (who was inconsolable and devastated by her loss) joined the United States Army Air Forces, serving as a gunner on a bomber on combat missions over Europe. The Liberty ship SS Lombard was named for her and Gable attended its launch on January 15, 1944. Her final film, To Be or Not to Be, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and co-starring Jack Benny, a satire about Nazism and World War II, was in post-production at the time of her death. The film's producers decided to cut the part of the film in which her character asks "What can happen in a plane?" as they felt it was in poor taste, given the circumstances of Lombard's death. A similar editing instance happened when the 1940 Warner Brother cartoon A Wild Hare was reissued. Lombard's name was originally mentioned in a game of "Guess Who" between Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, but all reissue prints have the name dubbed over with Barbara Stanwyck's. Lombard is interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. The name on her crypt marker is "Carole Lombard Gable". Although Gable remarried, he was interred next to her when he died in 1960. Her mother, Elizabeth Peters, who also perished in the plane crash that killed her daughter, was interred on the other side of her.

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