- Photoplay
- Vintage
- Research
- King
- Trivia
- Oscar
- Family
- Birthday
- GWTW98
- Review
- Coverage of Death

They Have this to brag of: Mama had Gable at her feet

By Celestine Sibley
Source: Atlanta Constitution Nov. 18, 1960

Unless you are a fireman, a policeman or a railroad engineer it isn't likely your children brag about you.  Children seldom consider your major talents and accomplishments in the fields of art, letters and finance worth reporting to the kids next door.  But I've taken comfort since July 1951 in the fact that my young ones had one thing they could drag in when conversation with their peers was going against them.  "Our mama,"  I've heard them say over and over, "had Clark Gable at her feet!"

It was true, too.  For a few minutes on a hot July day in 1951, I sat in a canvas chair on a set at MGM studios and the King, Gable himself, dressed in cowboy clothes, gnawed on a straw and hunkered down on the dusty ground by my feet.  Of course, he wasn't , as my children would like to indicate, on his knees beseeching me for my heart and hand.  He was squatting so because he was an outdoor man who, like countrymen everywhere, could be comfortable in that position.  And his conversation was principally polite talk with a visitor from a town made memorable to him because it gave him the greatest role of his career, Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind."

Clark Gable was extremely pleasant to me that day and I fancied it was because he liked to talk about Margaret Mitchell and "Gone With the Wind" and the gala time he had here in 1939, when he and Carole Lombard came to Atlanta for the movie premiere.  Later I was to find out that most of the legend about his being a great lover was based on the fact that he was the kind of man who talked simply and easily and pleasantly to women of all ages for any reason.

That day in 1951 he spoke of Margaret Mitchell and how they solved the difficulty of getting together for a quiet chat during the height of GWTW festivities at the Piedmont Driving Club by going in the Ladies' lounge and locking the door.

"I know that's the best picture I ever mad," he said, "Margaret Mitchell made that possible with a superb story.  We'll never have another one like 'Gone With the Wind.'"

Years later, after his marriage to Kay Spreckles, I interviewed Mr. Gable by telephone about a movie he had just finished and I Had a chance to see his famous charm work on a much, much younger woman - my teenage daughter.  She was invited to say hello to him, a privilege I felt she received rather languidly.  After all, compared to Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter he was a pretty elderly fellow.  But after she had talked with him a minute or so, I saw a subtle change - a thickening of interest, a flow of enthusiasm.

"Isn't he NICE?" she asked.  He had made her feel, as he made all women feel, that she was interesting, charming, attractive.

We ended that interview with the talk of hunting geese and he said there was one goose he didn't want to shoot - an old one.  "I'm looking for younger geese,"  he chuckled, as if he saw a parallel there somewhere.  "I don't want an old boy who has been around 25 years."


Hosted by