Gable on the Spot: Things I don't like myself
Source: Photoplay, 4/1941, Pg36, 94
Author: Clark Gable as told to Sara Hamilton
Things I don't like about myself? Lady, I could write a book.
There is that bad habit of forgetting dates and friends' birthdays and
anniversaries. It's a good thing Mrs. G. takes care of that end of
it - and she does a good job of it, too. Has a little book with
everyone's name and birthday and anniversary marked down and always sends
a gift or telegram. Many a time I've met a friend who's said,
"Say thanks for the telegram. That was swell of you." I
have no more idea than a rabbit what he's talking about, until I ask
Mrs. G. and sure enough - it was his birthday.
That I don't like in me at all. Or my impatience with
stupidity. A stupid act or a person who acts unnecessarily stupidly,
when he could just as easily have used his head, is the one thing that
makes me lose my temper. And I don't like losing my temper.
The way I hate to make publicity stills or to have my picture taken
makes even me sorry for the studio. I put it off just as long as I
can possibly get away with it, then I finally go and act like a ham
standing before a camera in riding boots or clutching a pipe between my
I should pay more attention to clothes, too. But the thought of
getting a suit fitted drives all notion of clothes out of my head. I
remember the big night when "Gone With the Wind" was
previewed. The event called for white tie and tails and I forgot all
about it until it was almost time to dress and then neither Carole nor I
could find the suit. I had one somewhere. After we'd about
given up, we finally discovered it hanging in the cleaning bag in the
attic. They tell me I'm about the only actor in town who doesn't at
least know where his dress suit is.
I hate a liar. Maybe because I'm such a good one myself, heh?
Anyway, to find someone has told an out-and-out lie puts him on the other
side of the fence from me for all time.
I hate dishonesty in anyone, but sometimes I think I should be more
tolerant of it. I hate pretentiousness almost as much. When
Vic Fleming and I go into Arizona to look at property, we land in auto
courts and thank God we have beds. None of this I'm-too-good-for-it
sort of thing. That's not my dish.
I should be neater, I guess. The other day Carole came on the set
to visit and took one look at this trailer. "Where's the
broom?" was all she asked. Did she clean this place
out! Otherwise it just stays as it is with the coffee pot and teapot
and Campbell's cookies in the drawers.
I don't have patience with people who don't realize this is a
give-and-take business we're in. It's all right to yell for what you
think is right - I do plenty of it myself - but there's the other fellow's
side too. There's no reason for dissension among workers and
executives, to my way of thinking.
I don't believe I'm what is technically known as a social
success. I prefer jeans to tails and have no swimming pool. I
don't have a chauffeur, so I'm positive I don't rate. I seldom see
the inside of a night club and as for my rhumba - I draw the
curtain. And I'm a washout at these intellectual parties, too.
Guess I'm just a farmer at heart.
I like good cars, but do I blow up when they get too fancy with the
gadgets. The other day Carole and I had to get out a chart to find
the ash tray. It took us from the ranch to San Diego to find it.
Maybe I should worry more. It seems because I take things as they
come people get the idea I'm not interested. What's the use of
fussing? I remember I was sent over to Columbia studio by my own
studio to make a picture. I've heart it was sort of a punishment,
maybe. I didn't know it. Claudette Colbert was my partner in
the loanout deal and Claudette was worried sick. She wasn't sure of
the story or what would happen to either of us if it flopped. I
think she thought I was pretty much of a lug for not worrying about
it. Of course, I had an ace up my sleeve when I was being Cheery
Willie, for I knew I could always go back to lumberjacking, or
well-drilling. Claudette said afterwards I spend more time trying to talk
her out of the jitters than I did acting.
But everything turned out all right. The picture was "It
happened one night" and we had nothing to worry over. Maybe
after "Parnell" I should worry a little.
I'm a sorry disappointment to most interviewers looking for color, I'm
afraid. I haven't any superstitions, no ideas on romance or love
(for print, lady) and would rather pitch hay than hooey. I'm a
sorrier disappointment to myself when it comes to getting sore and staying
sore at the right time. Like the time Carole decided we had too many
chickens on the place and had my prize hens, the ones I had all ready for
the Pomona Fair, baked in a pie or something. The look on her face
ruined the swell mad I'd worked up.
I'm a disappointment in the choice of my friends, too, I guess. I
don't play the social game and I don't pick my friends that way,
either. Andy Devine, Jack Conway, Jeffrey Goff, Victor Fleming, are
about my closest friends, because we like the same things, ranching,
I guess I don't rate, lady, and if I had more time I'd write a book on
Things I don't like about myself. It's a good idea. Who
thought it up? You? Well, you write it. We're
friends. You ought to know.