Monday, March 14, 2011

Clark Gable's Big Hands

One of the first things people do when visiting the stars’ handprints and footprints in cement out front of the (now) Mann’s Chinese Theater is to put their own hands in those famous indentations. It is especially tempting with Clark Gable’s because his paws were so large.

“To Sid who is a great guy,” he wrote into the cement. Sid, of course, refers to showman Sid Grauman, who owned the (then) Grauman’s Chinese Theater, among others. The date was January 20, 1937, the same day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was being sworn into his second term of office and frankly announcing, “I see one third of our nation ill-housed, ill-clad, and ill-nourished.”

It was also the same day director W. S. Van Dyke, II got to put his hands in cement at Grauman’s as well. I don’t know if there was a tie-in (Van Dyke had directed Gable a few years previously in “Manhattan Melodrama”), or if this was just the chance way the scheduling came together. “One-take Woody” directed “After the Thin Man”, which had been released the previous month, and his “Personal Property” with Jean Harlow and Robert Taylor would be released in another two months. He turned them out like clockwork.

Gable’s next picture to be released would be “Parnell” in June, which in a way dovetails us into Thursday’s St. Patrick’s Day post. It won’t be “Parnell” this time, about the 19th century Irish politician, a role for which most people agree Gable was probably not the best choice. Instead, we’ll look at another film tackling Irish politics and “The Troubles” -- “Beloved Enemy” (1936).

For more on the Chinese Theater, have a look at this website.


ClassicBecky said...

I just love Clark Gable, Jacqueline, and he was so handsome and masculine -- but I couldn't help but laugh and think about him putting imprints of his also very-big ears into the cement! LOL

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hey, you're right, Becky. Why didn't they have him do his ears? Poor Clark. I think they had Jimmy Durante put his nose in cement.

ClassicBecky said...

Yes, and Betty Grable put her legs in her block of cement. If Errol Flynn had put his profile in the cement, I would (ala Lucy and Ethel) feel no qualms about stealing it!

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Ah, yes, I knew somebody had her legs in cement, but I couldn't remember who.

Anonymous said...

While Carole Lombard is noted as calling Gable "Pa" in public, in private it was "Paw" - both for the size of his hands and how he used them.

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