CLARK GABLE’S FOREWORD TO ADOLPHE MENJOU’S IT TOOK NINE TAILORS
Source: ADOLPHE MENJOU’S IT TOOK NINE TAILORS 1948
In Hollywood nothing less than sensation or colossal is considered worthy of
recording, and legendary characters are as numerous as a pess agent’s
adjectives. Although this fosters a quick turnover in “immortals” and a
short memory for their deeds, I’m sure that my friend Adolphe Menjou, in hos
own unique way will always be headliner in the saga of Movieland.
Adolphe’s nonstop career as an actor speaks for itself. He started in the
business when any picture over two reels in length was considered a
super-special, and he is still a leading film personality. It takes much more
than a large and well-tailored wardrobe to stay on the screen for over
But Adolphe is more than a good actor. He is, among other things, my favorite
financial genius. Wall Street can its Morgans, its Rockefellers, and its Bernard
Baruch. I’ll take Adolphe. He is very allergic to bad investments, and a
falling market affects him like a falling barometer affects grandpa’s
rheumatiz. He’s the only person I know who always buys at the bottom and sells
at the top. A certain director once told me, “Menjou is expensive but worth
every penny of his salary, because I not only get a good performance from him, I
also find out what he’s doing in the stock market.”
Surprisingly enough, Adolphe is also a Hollywood intellectual. In fact, he is my
favorite actor-intellectual. I have heard him discuss economics, history,
political science, art, lierature, drama, and many other erudite subjects. Of
course, there is a plethora of intellectuals in Hollywood and they will discuss
any subject under the sun, but none of them is as fluent and entertaining as
Adolphe. It takes quite a guy to discourse on Balkan politics of 1912 and make
you like it. Adolphe will not only make you like it, he will also teach you how
to say “hello” in Serbian, Rumanian, and Greek.
And he certainly my favorite raconteur. Turn him loose in a roomful of
Hollywood’s loudest and most determined extroverts and in five minutes Adolphe
will monopolize the spotlight and get more belly laughs than Donald Duck at a
Then, of course, he is my favorite fashion critic. He can tear a lapel apart
with the most scathing and contemptuous adjectives I have ever heard. And he can
cast a critical eye over your pants in a manner that makes you feel that you
have come to dinner wearing baggy overalls.
Lastly, he is far and away my favorite actor-golfer. If he plays a good game, he
radiates enthusiasm like the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and makes you
forget he is taking your money. If he plays a bad game, his moans echo from the
hills of Bel-Air Country Club like the cries of a man in mortal agony. Either
way it is an enchanting experience.
When you inquire from most golfers how they played, you must be prepared for
dull recapitulations of their misfortunes or triumphs and you soon wish you had
never mentioned the subject. With Adolphe is different. If he has won, his resumé
of the victory is always a dramatic achievement. If he has lost, his anguish and
accusations of “robbery” are designed only to amuse you.
One day I was starting down the first fairway at Bel-Air Country Club and my
path crossed Menjou’s as he was coming up the eighteenth. He was playing with
a foursome eonsisting of Bob Montgomery, Frank Morgan, and George Murphy.
Adolphe looked exceedingly grim and disconsolate.
“How are you doing?” I inquired.
“I’m being murdered!” he shouted indignantly. “A golf course is just a
poolroom out of doors. I’ve been caught by a pack of rascals—a gang of
golf-link sharpies. But it’ll be a good lesson to me.” He nodded sagely and
continued, “I’ve observed these slickers very closely and I intend to
remember their faces for the rest of my life. Never again will they trap me into
a golf game.”
“How do you stand?” I asked, thinking he must have already lost his shirt.
“All even,” he declared. “Everything depends on this hole.”
I’ve always thought that somebody should write a book about Adolphe. And now
that he has done it himself, I find that he is my favorite Hollywood