Dear Mr. Gable

In the 1937 film Broadway Melody of 1938, a young Judy Garland sings “Dear Mr. Gable: You Made Me Love You” to a photograph of the handsome star:

 

“Dear Mr. Gable,
I am writing this to you
and I hope that you will read it so you’ll know
My heart beats like a hammer
and I stutter and I stammer
every time I see you at the picture show.
I guess I’m just another fan of yours
and I thought I’d write and tell you so.
You made me love you …”

Women have been falling for the charms of Clark Gable for decades, and even those of us who entered this world long after his heyday still find our hearts set aflutter by that cocky grin and rugged countenance. His films, among some of most memorable in Hollywood history, are a staple on TCM.

Yes, even fifty years after his death, Clark Gable is a ubiquitous presence for the classic movie fan. But sometimes, he shows up in the most unexpected places.

Clark Gable ExploredRecently, our very smart and all-around awesome friend Leigh Pourciau discovered this framed and autographed picture of Mr. Gable in her great-grandmother’s old wardrobe!

In the photo, Gable stands in front of Tara during the filming of Gone With the Wind (1939). If you zoom in on the picture, you can make out the faint dedication: “To Lucille, Clark.”

I asked Leigh to tell us a little about the background of this amazing find:

“My great-grandmother, Lucille Browning Pourciau, was the head waitress at a restaurant in The Bellemont Hotel in Baton Rouge, LA in the 1950s (it’s no longer in operation, but you can find photos here). Because she was the head waitress, she always served the VIP’s. Occasionally, this included Hollywood actors and actresses who filmed movies in the area. In the late 1950s, this included Clark Gable, who was starring in Band of Angels (1957) with Yvonne de Carlo and Sidney Poitier. Apparently Clark Gable was kind enough to sign an 8×10 for her. My grandfather, her youngest son, said that she did not, however, have a high opinion of Yvonne de Carlo. Apparently, she was a snob.

She also had the pleasure of serving actor Marion Robert Morrison, known to us as John Wayne!

Maw Maw Pourciau and her husband (my great-grandfather) went on to own and operate their own restaurant–Frenchie’s in Baton Rouge.”

You never know what you’ll come across on any given afternoon!

Thank you, Leigh, for sharing this with us!

Brandie Ashe is a writer and recent escapee from graduate school. She is now in hiding on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Brandie and her blog co-authors Carrie and Nikki recently celebrated their 100th post on their blog True Classics: The ABCs of Classic Film, where they share their love of Alfred Hitchcock, screwball comedies, Katharine Hepburn, and all things old-school Disney. Visit their Facebook page here.

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  • Trippy Trellis

    Are you all familiar with the “Legends of Hollywood” stamps? The series started with Marilyn in ’95 and James Dean in ’96 and then they began honoring all the great stars of the ’30s: Boggie, Hitchcock, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Lucille Ball (a dreadful choice- Lucy was Queen of Television but only a minor Hollywood star), Cary, Audrey (not a surprising choice- they didn’t want to keep the billions of fans waiting until the series got to the ’50s!), John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Judy, James Stewart, Bette, Gary Cooper and Katharine Hepburn. And next year: Gregory Peck, which means they are finished with the ’30s.
    Where is the biggest star of the ’30s and the King of Hollywood? By omitting Clark Gable and honoring Lucy and Edward G. Robinson (as much as I like him, he wasn’t a superstar in the ’30s: Fred Astaire, Tyrone Power and Robert Taylor are but three names far more important), the series has lost all credibility.

  • sophy

    But did you know that in a poll taken of Hollywood actresses of the 30, the ladies’ favorite male star was-

    Ronald Colman

    Yet he is inexplicably forgotten today, not the least of all by Movies Unlimited!

  • Sus

    I would say that this photo is actually from the film Band of Angels, not GWTW. Mr. Gable looks a little more mature in it!

  • CONNIE GELLINGTON

    Gone With The Wind was Gables best film.He was 30 when he made movie but i think he looks a lot older. vivian leigh was a beautiful woman and i love that movie. it is my fovorite.
    BUT HE CANNOT HOLD A CANDLE TO ERROL FLYNN.HE IS THE BEST LOOKING MAN THAT EVER MADE A MOVIE. TO BAD HE DIED SO YOUNG, ONLY 49. GABLE DIED YOUNG ALSO, 59. TWO GREAT ACTORS.TO BAD THEY DON’T HAVE ACTORS LIKE THEM ANYMORE.

  • Cathy Rec

    Gable dated a lady I had ballet classes with. We were in Houston, TX at the time, and though Gable had lived there earlier in his life, my dear friend had lived in Hollywood in her younger years and had been out with him then. She was also a close friend of Judy Garland’s mother. And now both names have come up on my computer in this blog. Isn’t it a small world. I would have loved to have an autographed picture of Mr. Gable. I love him, still. But I was brave enough to get one of Harrison Ford back in the 70’s.

  • Johnnie

    I beleive that is Marion “Michael” Morrison….John Wayne

  • Joseph Imhoff

    I agree with SUS, ‘Band of Angels’ is about right, probabaly the location used for Pont de Luxe in the film. I haven’t seen the film in year, hope it shows up soon!

  • Bob Murphy

    That’s not Tara. There are similarities, but that’s not the facade that was constructed on the backlot. That set had no balcony around the second floor, and there was no moss

  • Bob Murphy

    (sorry, hit a wrong button) on the tree in front of the house, and the landscaping is all wrong.

  • Ron Black

    I agree with Connie about Errol Flynn, but he totally abused himself and ruined his good looks before he died, with booze and drugs. He was my favorite actor from the 30’s & 40’s.

  • Stephanie

    A Classic number to honor one of the Great Leading Men of his time, by what became, ONE OF THE GREATEST ENTERTAINERS OF HER TIME!!

  • Mark

    This is “Band of Angels”. The plantation house is neither Tara nor Twelve Oaks.

  • Dane A. Masten

    Dear Mr. William “Clark” Gable was born in 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, U.S.A.He was closer to 40 than 30 when he delivered his stellar Rhett Butler rendition. Judy was only 15 years old when she delivered her rendition of ” You Made Me Love You ” with the astounding richness of her lower
    vocal register as well as the clarity of her upper range. I tuned into, on this fine, blessed sight, her rendering of “Old Man River” from the “Judy Garland Show” series and was inspired and astounded again. She was in my opinion, the greatest representative of theatrical talent in the Twentieth Century and he deserved that ” Dear Mr. Gable” tribute, origionally created as a gift for his 35th,Birthday. She sang it ” live” to him from atop an upright piano at what became an annual studio bash for many years. Dane Masten

  • jim

    Yvonne DeCarlo was a snob. I saw her at an autograph signing once with other actors and she seemed like she did not want to br there. This was in the 1970’s after she was a washed up actoress.

  • Mark Behnken

    Beautiful house but not Tara which had square columns made of brick & a low one story addition to the left of the house, also as stated no balcony just four windows on the second story & three with a door on the first story. I always thought Twelve Oaks, Ashley’s plantation was far more impressive, inside & out.

  • IslandGirl

    For Joseph’s information, “Band of Angels”, is available for sale on DVD. I purchased it as soon as it came out, I have always enjoyed that movie. Then you can watch it whenever you want, even if it isn’t on TCM.

  • ALVARO PELAYO

    I absolutely agree with Trippy Trellis said. And, where is Bing Crosby in those stamps?. Also, not only Robert Taylor was a far more famous actor of the 30s than many others, but we shouldn’t forget that he was the next to the king in the poll who gave the wonderful Clark Gable the title of King of Hollywood. Besides, when King Gable left the MGM in 1955, Robert Taylor was called ‘the new king’.
    By the way, the real name of John Wayne was Marion Robert Morrison, eventhough was ‘called’ Mitchell or Michael, but he was baptized as Marion Robert Morrison.
    All the best to those wonderful actors: Wayne, Gable, Crosby, Taylor…

  • ALVARO PELAYO

    I absolutely agree with what Trippy Trellis said. And, where is Bing Crosby in those stamps?. Also, not only Robert Taylor was a far more famous actor of the 30s than many others, but we shouldn’t forget that he was the next to the king in the poll who gave the wonderful Clark Gable the title of King of Hollywood. Besides, when King Gable left the MGM in 1955, Robert Taylor was called ‘the new king’.
    By the way, the real name of John Wayne was Marion Robert Morrison, eventhough was ‘called’ Mitchell or Michael, but he was baptized as Marion Robert Morrison.
    All the best to those wonderful actors: Wayne, Gable, Crosby, Taylor…

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