CLARK GABLE WILL BE SANTA CLAUS
The day before leaving for Africa to shoot Mogambo with Ava Gardner directed by John Ford, Clark Gable went on the Appian Way at the sunset. His friends both in Italy and In the States had told him to do so “ You can leave behind Coliseum even, but don’t forget to see the Appian Way at sunset” But Clark Gable didn’t leave behind anything: he’s been to Coliseum, to Palatino, St. Paul, St. Peter, he visited the Sistine Chapel, in a hurry to say the truth and he complained about it and said he will be back soon. He also had the time to play golf and polo. He went into elegant shops and bought pyjamas, shirts, suitcases and ties ‘beautiful and with a very pleasant texture’ he said. He did all this without a steady program, walking by foot or driving his own car, often changing his mind during the day and going somewhere lese, but his last day here. He visited his old friend Countess Dorothy Di Frasso and then he went on the Appian Way .
Translated by: Silvia Redford
The weather was wonderful: from the horizon the sun gave red reflections to the green pines. Getting off from his car, Clark Gable stood still till the last ray of sun disappeared and he felt the coolness of the evening. When he went back to his car the driver said “ What a pity you were alone Mr Gable ! This scenery needs a beautiful woman…” Gable smiled but didn’t answered.
He did a press conference, but there were more ladies than journalists, and many were charmed by his shyness. Of course many asked him for an autograph “I don’t know why people want autograph from actors” he said “But it is sure that when they stop asking you for it, well it’s time to worry. Anyway, I’m not a great artist and I won’t be one in the future”
Yet, he was very gallant
“What do you think about marriage?” a lady asked him
“It’s a beautiful institution” answered Gable, who’s been married four times
“Do you like Italian women?” asked another lady
Gable looked around, as to find a getaway, but then his answer sounded extremely sincere
“ Yes, I like them very much. They are good and sweet”
He had already expressed this opinion during a dinner in a restaurant some days ago
It’s incredible the amount of things Clark Gable managed to do during his roman stay of ten days
“I’m lazy” he confesses sincerely “ the alarm clock is my worst enemy. When I’m not working, I like sleeping in the morning” Actually he was never out in the streets before eleven in the morning. But during the night he hang around till 3 am, although it seems he’s not so fond of the night life
Anyway, among the others things he found the time to do, one things surely deserves to be known and underlines. When the news of his roman holiday spread along the country he received a lot of fan letters, usual screenplays and even questions for every kind of economical support. Gable, although accustomed to this kind of mail, asked his interpreter to read everything for him and he was surprised by a letter written by a nine year old boy decorated with a drawing of a blue forget-me-not. The letter said this very words:
“ Dear Clark Gable you are the artist star I like the most because you are so good and even because you have ears like mine so now my classmates don’t tease me anymore since I said you have big ears too and you are a great actor. I’m an orphan and I’ve never met my daddy who died in the war and me and my mom are poor. So I tell you, since you surely are a good person that for Christmas I would like so much to have a wooden horse I could ride like you did in many movies. If you could do me this favour I thank you very, very much and I would love you even more”
The letter was signed by a little child of the roman suburbs. Clark Gable was himself an orphan since his mother died when he was very young and has always been sensible to the problems of the young orphans. So he had an interesting idea: organize a distribution of gifts for Christmas for the poor orphaned children of Italy. Clark Gable is going to send a first portion of gifts just by himself from Los Angeles. During a dinner in his honour among other actors and producers and journalists he has presented the project and a committee has been formed for what is known as “Clark Gable Christmas project for orphaned children” Alberto Mondadori and his publishing House Mondadori Editore . The project has also received the approval and aid of the Red Cross. Although Mr Gable is going to supply for most of the gifts anyone, whether private or public institution, that would like to participate at this project all they have to do is contact the Red Cross, or Mondadori in Milan.
Personnel from the Red Cross and Metro Goldwyn Mayer will come and take the gifts sending a note about ten days before coming. On Christmas day in the cities of Rome, Naples, Milan, Turin, Geneva, Padua, Trieste, Bologna, Florence, Bari, Catania, Palermo and Cagliari. In each of these 13 cities the gifts will be distributed to the children and a free screening of Across the Wide Missouri will be given for the children.
Many hoped he would meet Silvana Pampanini. Some time ago, she gave an interview in which she accused American actors of not knowing how to kiss.
Gable had said “When Miss Pampanini will come to America we’ll try and see what happens” But there was no try, since Pampanini wasn’t in Rome. So we missed the scandal of the month.
Gable has left in Rome his English car that he actually didn’t use much in order to not being recognized . He said he is going to buy an Italian car the next time he’s here since he admires the lines of Italian automobile. He also said next time he will stay longer. Clark Gable know what he wants and what he appreciated in life.