Clark Gable and Carole Lombard met during the filming of No Man of Her Own in 1932. Both at the time didn’t have any sparks outside the camera. But later that would change on February 7,1936, both attended a party at Jock Whitney’s house, to celebrate screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart’s wife’s recent release from a sanitarium, jokingly called “The Nervous Breakdown Party”. Things did not start out well as Carole, as a joke, arrived in an ambulance. Attendants carried her on a stretcher and placed it in the middle of the room. Everyone gasped and gathered around. She jumped up, howling with laughter. Clark, there with Merle Oberon, was not amused and found the joke in poor taste. Clark and Carole got into a fight that ended with her stomping away from him, furiously proclaiming that he was a stuff shirt. Near the end of the party, Carole challenged Clark to a game of tennis. There they played, both in evening clothes, playing tennis until it was too dark to see (Carole beat him 8-0). Merle, irritated by being ignored, had someone else take her home and Clark didn’t even notice.

A couple months later, at the annual Mayfair Ball, Clark and Carole shared a dance. Holding her close,Clark realized she wasn’t wearing any undergarments. Taking this as a green light, he suggested they leave the party and go back to his hotel together. Carole laughed and said, “Who do you think you are, Clark Gable?” This angered him and he left the party. The next morning he awoke to the sounds of birds cooing in his bedroom. Carole had convinced a hotel worker to put them in there while he slept. Tied to one of the birds was a note that said, “How about it? Carole” From that point on, they became inseparable. For the next three years, they were one of Hollywood’s most glamorous couples. They attended the Academy Awards together, premieres and were the number one topic of the press. Carole grew anxious for marriage. She wanted the title and she wanted children. Biding her time waiting for Clark’s wife Ria to get a divorce, Carole went house shopping. She and Clark jumped at the chance to own director Raoul Walsh’s twenty acre ranch in Encino. It was everything they had wanted. Carole wrote a check for $50,000 and the house was theirs. Renovations began and the couple waited until the day they could occupy the house as husband and wife. (x)

Carole Lombard in Howard Hawks’s Twentieth Century (1934). You can see Carole’s scar quite clearly in this shot and I love it; it’s such a beautiful reminder that even a woman this glamorous wasn’t “perfect,” whatever that means. She was better than perfect; she was real and brave and funny and magnificent.

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