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Clark Gable Letter to Picture Show and Film Pictorial

Source: Picture Show and Film Pictorial, 1940
Author: Clark Gable

Dear Picture Show and Film Pictorial Readers

The other day I was reading somewhere that the only thing that matters in life is success. It made me wonder if success really is all that matters. Having known a fair measure of both success and failure. I am inclined to believe that success is a false measuring stick.

I think I can honestly say that I have never given a tinker's cuss for success merely for the safe of success.

When a man gets to the point where he can sit back, take stock of himself, and put a proper value on success, it's probably a sign of mellowing maturity. Sure I'm mellow. And why shouldn't I be? I have been all through that - "bull in a china shop" period.

When I left Hollywood twelve years ago I was bitter. I didn't mind doing extra work or playing bit parts. But it hurt to think that I couldn't get out of the rut. I tried every angle. My screen tests were a standing joke. One gives me a laugh every time I recall it. I was called out to MGM because Lionel Barrvmore, with whom I had played in has stage production of - "The Copperhead" put in a good word for me. In the make-up department they covered my entire body with a dark-brown grease-paint, curled my hair, and put a red hibiscus flower behind my left ear. Wardrobe provided me with a sarong. This was before Dorothy Lamour's day. I didn't get the part. But experiences like that are good for a man when he can laugh at them.

During those years of struggle I know that I was often mixed up. Now that I am at that place where a man can assemble all the facts and distinguish the true from the false values. I think I have gained some measure of happiness. And the funny thing is, those things I enjoy most I always had. I'm an average sort. I'm small town by birth. I enjoy comforts. But a man can only appreciate comforts when he knows what it is to rough it.

The past year has been good to me. It has brought me a happy marriage. Any man is fortunate who can say that. I have the ranch I have always wanted. I was born on the land, and my people were farmers. I sometimes think there is no kick to be had out of life like sitting on a tractor and watching, the furrows of rich soil pile up behind you. Then with a pipe between your teeth, sweat on your brow, dirt on your hands, and lungs full of fresh air, a man is really living. I have a job for which I am grateful. Everything I have has come to me through it.

Clark Gable

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