Clark Gable


  1. Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Little Caesar,  1930.    Head brother Jack Warner and his production chief Darryl F Zanuck were furious that director Mervyn LeRoy had wasted time – and money – testing some big ape with huge, floppy taxi-cab-door ears!  That was Gable, that was. Up for Joe Massara, based on George Raft, when associated with the New York taxi racketeer, Owney Madden.  Gable joined MGM, fixed  his ears – and teeth – and became Hollywood’s King!
  2. Adolph Menjou, The Front Page, 1931.    Lewis Milestone was the director but Howard  Hughes called the shots. And he did not want Gable: “His ears are too big and his tits are  too small.”   Yes, but, as Joan Blondell declared : “You never heard anyone say a bad word about Gable. Hell, he was so damned nice to everybody.”
  3. Johnny Weissmuller, Tarzan, The Ape Man, 1931.
  4. Paul Muni, Scarface, 1931.     Now  Irving Thalberg suggested his newest acquisition for Tony “Scarface” Camonte to producer Howard Hughes.  His director,  Howard Hawks, was unimpressed  “We need a real actor, not some personality.”  Scenarist Ben Hecht was visited by two of Al Capone’s bruisers wanting to know if the movie was about their boss. No, said Hecht, more about “Big” Jim Colosimo and Charles Dion O’Bannion. Oh yeah, so why’s it called Scarface? Because, said Hecht, “people will think it’s about Capone and come to see it. It’s part of the racket we call show business.”  Capone  loved watching  his own copy of the film. 
  5. Wallace Beery, Grand Hotel, 1931.   Just as the toplined Garbo said she was too old for a ballerina at 27, Gable felt too young for the amoral businessman at 30. (Gable never looked young young). Beery was 46 and only agreed to be   Preysing when told  he’d be the only actor to use a German accent.
  6. Charles Starrett, The Mask of Fu Manchu, 1931.      Didn’t matter who was Terry – Gable or Starrett – the raunchy nonsense (Myrna Loy, no les) was stolen by Boris Karloff… after nearly three hours a day in make-up to become Fu. Phew!
  7. Robert Montgomery, Letty Lynton, 1932.    Despite gelling so well in Laughing Sinners and Possessed, MGM punished Gable and Joan Crawford’s affair and cast Montgomery Gable and Crawford remained lovers,   on and off-screen, for years and years.
  8. Max Baer, The Prizefighter and the Lady, 1932.     The MGM plan to cash in on the current Red Dust team of Gable and Jean Harlow was thwarted by the suicide of her husband Paul Bern. Then, Gable refused any  “doubling”  – making two films at once. His  replacement was the current #1 contender for Primo Carnera’s heavyweight title. As Carnera played himself in the movie, Baer studied his ring craft enough to  beat him in their 1934 title fight.  Howard Haweks quit the film. Although he  usually dealt with  featuring opposites in scripts and casting, “he  wouldn’t make it with Baer and Myrna Loy.
  9. Gary Cooper, Today We Live, 1932.     Gable was not keen on the film. Nor on novelist turned scripter William Faulkner. At their first meeting, Gable asked  about good writers and Faulkner  nominated: “Thomas Mann, Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, Ernest Heminway and myself.” “Oh, you write, Mr Faulkner.” “Yes and what do you do, Mr Gable?”  Just as Gable had never read a book, Faulkner had never seen a movie. This was his first script, the first of four for Hawks.
  10. Edmund Lowe, Dinner At Eight, 1933.      Producer David Selznick got his way on all casting – except father-in-law, MGM boss  LB Mayer, had refused Gable, feeling the role too passive for his new-found popularity.

  11. Wallace Beery, Viva Villa,  1933.       Gable’s was the surprise name in the mix for the Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa – alongside the more expected  Paul Muni and Edward G Robinson.  Beery had been  Villa before in the 15-chapter silent serial, Patria… in 1917.
  12. George Raft, The Bowery, 1933. Too busy to be Brodie, Gable passed the role to Raft. Pity as Wallace Beery and Rafty did not get on, Not at all!
  13. Chester Morris, The Gay Bride, 1934.   MGM first planned a Red Dust reunion of Gable and Jean Harlow for this fast-moving comedy about a gold-digger widow and a bodyguard. Whan Gable quit – the script was shredded by the new Production Code – potential successors included Richard Arlen, Ricardo Cortez, Russell Hardie, Lyle Talbot. Finally, the couple became Morris and Carole Lombard… who wed Gable in 1939.
  14. Robert Taylor, Times Square Lady, 1934. When Albert Cohen and Robert Shannon sold their story to MGM, it was for Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. When the film opened they’d become Taylor (his first top-billing) and Virginia Bruce.
  15. Franchot Tone, Straight Is The Way, 1934.      First, an A-treat with Gable  andy Mae Clark. Then  down graded to an MGM  B-flick with Tone-Gladys George.
  16. Warner Baxter, Broadway Bill, 1934.  According to Frank Capra’s sound man, Edward Bernds, the director wanted to work with Gable again after It Happened One Night.  And this role – owner of the titular race horse – was wtitten for him. “But Capra couldn’t get him.” And wished he didn’t have Baxter,  who proved scared of horses, “terrified of being bitten or kicked.” So the fllm disappointed Capra, which is why he re-spun it as Riding High in 1949 with Bing Crosby. (The big race was froom the  1934 footage!).
  17. Fredric March, Anna Karenina, 1934.        “I begged for Gable, but I got March,” complained producer David O Selznick.  Never mind, he got Gable for The Biggie – Gone With The Wind.  And Garbo got garlic – on her breath and  in her her undies to ward off his  notorious overtures.
  18. Chester Morris, Society Doctor, 1934.   Dr Morgan was first aimed at Gable, until Morris was given the lead. Well deserved, he was excellent. Film is mainly remembered as Robert Taylor’s MGM debut – weak; more pose than poise. Still, he won the so under-rated Virginia Bruce – and they were kept together for…
  19. Robert Taylor,  Times Square Lady, 1934.       First off, Gable and Jean Harlow were due in this MGM pot-boiler? Exit, Harlow, enter Bruce. So now the question was: Who should romance Bruce: Gable or the new kid, Taylor? Well, Taylor, of course, since he was already romancing her off-screen since her divorce from John Gilbert. Why not on-screen, as well?
  20.  Errol Flynn, Captain Blood, 1935.      Robert Donat began  the film but  his asthma forced him to quit. Warner’s first thought was loaning Cary from Paramount. Although it hardly sounded part of his vocabulary, the always histrionic  director Michael Curtiz  protested that  Grant  was “too effete.”  Brian Aherne, Ronald Colman, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Fredric March were in/out/disinterested before  Errol was in like Flynn and became an overnight star.  (Alec Baldwin or Arnold Schwarzenegger  were due for  a re-make in 1994).

  21. Robert Taylor, His Brother’s Wife, 1935.       The co-stars changed as rapidly as the shooting.  Gable and Jean Harlow became Harlow and Franchot Tone (not the same heat, at all!) and, finally, the first of three  teamings of Barbara Stanwyck and Taylor, her 1939-1952 husband.  And  “One Take Woody” Van Dyke shot  the 137 page script in 13½ days.
  22. Ronald Colman, A Tale of Two Cities, 1935.      For the fourth version of the Charles Dickens classic (the others were dated 1910, 1917, 1921 producer David O Selznick searched for his heroic Sydney Carton among Gable, Warner Baxter, Leslie Howard and Robert Montgomery. Whether they were also due as Carton’s lookalike, Charles Darney, was never confirmed. Colman refused, due said DOS, to“a dread of dual roles.”   Yet he doubled up the following year in MGM’s Prisoner of Zenda!
  23. Melvyn Douglas, Theodora Goes Wild, 1935.     After their Cain and Mable triumph, Gable and Marion Davis were the top suggestions for the screwball comedy. But Marion was adament – she had retired! Carole Lombard was booked up but wed Gable fours years later. Enter: Irene Dunne and Douglas. Well, he had a ’tash…
  24. Spencer Tracy, Riffraff,  1936.        Replacing Gable was nothing new for Tracy – he’d taken over Gable’s stage role in the play Scars and took it to Broadway as Conflict in 1929. This time was more important – it was the first film of Tracy’s MGM deal. The fact that Gable was kept busy and Metro had no one else suitable for the role, underlined the importance of Irving Thalberg signing up Tracy – for him, and the studio.   However here, Jean Harlow was happier with  her role that poor Tracy in his. They were far better suited, a few months later,  in Libeled Lady. Gable was in utter admiration of Tracy’s talent, while Tracy mocked his old pal unmercilessly. “Can’t act, doesn’t care and everybody loves him better than any actor that was ever born.” 

  25. Leslie Howard, Romeo and Juliet, 1936.  
    So… not always a genius. This was Irving Thalberg’s daftest notion.  Gable put him right. “I don’t look Shakespeare, I don’t talk Shakespeare, I don’t like Shakespeare and I won’t do Shakespeare!” The movie was absolutely preposterous…!!  The 13-year-old Juliet was played by Norma Shearer, who was 36,  opposite Leslie Howard playing Romeo…  at 43.  “It is comical watching these middle-aged folks act as high school sophomores,” said web critic Matthew M Foster at Foster on  “But even more ridiculous is Romeo’ hotheaded, class clown friend, Mercutio, portrayed by the 54-year-old John Barrymore!”  It could have been far worse. Other unlikely  Romeos were Brian Aherne,  Clark Gable (Romeo with a trash tash?), Fredric March, Franchot Tone, Roberts Montgomery and Taylor.  The British Robert Donat, John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier (a recent great hit playing Romeo and Mercutio alternately in London) made (slightly) more sense … but really. What a sad end to Irving Thalberg’s producing career, even jf it was a love letter to his wife, Shearer – his widow months later in 1936.

  26. Warner Baxter, Slave Ship, 1936.     No Gable, said MGM! Allowing Fox to loan two Metro stars (Wallace Beery, Mickey Rooney) was more than enough. “While in all probability the picture will be produced on a large scale,” said head Fox Darryl F Zanuck in papers held at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, “it is unlikely that we will have a name, Gable, for instance, to cover up any of its possible weaknesses.” And he added: “Watch, too, that the British are not made to appear stupid.” Thanks for that, DFZ!
  27. Cary Grant, Suzy, 1937.   Hollywood’s King was  MGM’s first  choice for the French WW1 pilot hero marrying Jean Harlow in Paris. As André was not  Gable’s usual Mr Wotta Great Guy, he  quit – and Grant gladly took over  to give his usual; image a rest. And thus it became the one, the only movie co-starring Cary and Harlow. Sadly, not among their best.  Carty was a pilot again – and the most pf the flying and crashing scenes were off-cuts from his pal Howard Hughes’ Hell’s Angels, 1927.
  28. Tyrone Power, In Old Chicago, 1937.     This project, about the great Chicago fire of October 9, 1871,  was the head Fox Darryl Zanuck’s answer to MGM’s San Francisco earthquake triumph.  Zanuck even had the nerve to try to borrow MGM’s toppermost stars: Gable and Jean Harlow! Metro acually agreed about  Harlow but she died on June 7, 1937.   Tyrone Power then suggested Alice Faye as his co-star. 
  29. Cary Grant, Gunga Din, 1938.        Arriving at RKO, Howard Hawks was happy enough with the studios trying to win an MGM brochette – Gable, Franchot Tone, Spencer Tracy – for his three Kipling heroes. But Metro chief LB Mayer would never release Gable. Two out of three wasn’t good enough for Hawks. He made Bringing Up Baby instead – with Cary Grant.  It  flopped. Hawks was out, George Stevens was in. Well in, second only to  Gone With The Wind in 1939 – with the ex-Archibald Leach as Archibald Cutter.

  30. Fredric March, The Bucaneer, 1938.     For once, producer-director Cecil B  DeMille did not get his own way.  Gable was tied up.
  31. Cary Grant, Gunga Din, 1939.     Howard Hawks’ RKO plan in 1938 was loaning   top MGM stars:   Gable, Spencer Tracy and Robert Montgomery.  But Metro chief LB Mayer would never release Gable. Two out of three wasn’t good enough for Hawks. He made Bringing Up Baby instead – with Cary Grant.   It   flopped. Hawks was dropped as director and George   Stevens made the Rudyard Kipling poem – with the ex-Archibald Leach as Archibald Cutter.  
  32. Laurence Olivier, Pride and Prejudice, 1939.      Aw c’mon, Gable knew his limitations.  No Shakespeare, no Aldous Huxley dialogue and  no costume films…after the rollicking he got as Parnell in 1937). Olivier was very unhappy with the result. “Difficult to make Darcy into anything more than an unattractive-looking prig, and darling Greer seemed to me all wrong as Elizabeth.”
  33. Cary Grant, His Girl Friday, 1939.  The classic comedy with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell was first  devised by director  Howard Hawks for Clark Gable and Marion Davies…  and even for  Bov Hope and Marion Davies Hawks cleverly changed Hildy from male to female and quickened the dialogue by having actors overlapping each other’s lines – long before Robert Altman was locked out of Warner Bros for doing it in Countdown, 1966… and for ever after..
  34. James Stewart, The Philadelphia Story, 1939.      Katharine Hepburn owned it all!  The rights to her stage hit (thanks to Howard Hughes), a demanded $100,000 pay cheque from MGM and – well, the sole stumbing block was Gable and Spencer Tracy  refusing to be her ex, CK Dexter Haven, and news photographer Macauley Cooper. She got Tracy next time. For life.  One Hollywood legend had Kate promising the Cooper  role to her Broadway co-star, Van Helfin – in bed.  Same story for Joseph Cotten in Cary Grant’s role. 
  35. Joel McCrea, Foreign Correspondent, 1940.    Hitchcock wanted Cary Grant.  Of course. But he was ted up with Howard Hawks.  Of course… As to be proved soon enough by Suspicion and Notorious, Hitch and Cary  were soul brothers – inside each was the other. Gary Cooper and Clark Gable turned down the fat Englishman and he made do with McCrea (“the poor man’s Gary Cooper”) while famously moaning: “I always end up with the next best.”  Not always.”  Years later,  Coop told Hitch: “That was  a mistake.  I shoulda  done it.”

  36. Dennis Morgan, Captains of the Clouds, 1941.      Director Michael Curtiz dream-wished for Errol Flynn, Gable, George Brent and Raymond Massey… and got James Cagney, Dennis Morgan, Alan Hale and Reginald Gardiner. For a Royal Canadian Air Force tribute since labeled the 1941 Top Gun.

  37.  Spencer Tracy, Woman of the Year, 1942.  
    MGM offered Gable. Katharine Hepburn knew who she wanted, but … “I fear I maybe too tall for  you, Mr Tracy?”     “Don’t worry! I’ll cut you down to my size.”  That is as much myth as the rest of the Kate-Spence legend The words were spoken to Hepburn by Leslie Howard when introduced for their 1931 Broadway play, The Animal Kingdom. (And Howard did cut her down, sacking her for stealing the play). The film’s producer Joseph   L Mankiewicz revealed what Spence-Kate did say:  “You’ve heard about my drinking.  I’ve heard a few stories about you, too.”  “That I’m a card-carrying lesbian…” “That’s OK…. I like the girls, too.”  And so began the first of nine movies and much heart and headaches during a 27 year companionship  (more than affair) rampant with their bisexual infedilities  and his alcoholism.  “We were the perfect representation of the American male and female,” Kate pronounced. “‘We balanced each other’s nature.”

  38. Gary Cooper, For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1942.     An idea for cloning GWTW‘s Rhett and Scarlett never happened because MGM did not need any of the  Paramount stars offered in exchange.  Also rejected: Robert Donat, Henry Fonda, Sterling Hayden, Joel McCrea, Ray Milland, Tyrone Power, Robert Preston. Because Ernest Hemingway had Coop (and Ingrid Bergman) in mind when writing the book.
  39. Fred MacMurray, Above Suspicion, 1942.   American honeymooners in Paris ae really spies helping the Brits. The new husband went from Gable and William Powell to MacMurray.  And the wife from Myrna Loy and Joan Crawford, around the time they both quit MGM. 
  40. James Craig, Marriage Is A Private Affair, 1943.   Lana Turner was the oddly named Theo, a girl with many suitors. Many possible co-stars, too. From Clark Gable to Gene Kelly to, ultimately, James Craig.   Despite their 20 years age difference, producer Arthur Freed first thought of Gable and Judy Garland because  of her successful song: Dear Mr Gable/You Made Me Love You.  Gable made Adventure instead with Greer Garson, just three years Gable’s junior. 

  41. Gregory Peck, The Keys of the Kingdom, 1944.       Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick gave up after two years and old out to Fox when he couldn’t find the perfect (all too perfect) hero, Father Francis Chisholm. He’d even tried to make another, GWTW-style deal with MGM for Gable (as a priest!). Other contenders included Dana Andrews, Joseph Cotten, Maurice Evans, Henry Fonda, Van Heflin, Dean Jagger, Gene Kelly, Franchot Tone, Spencer Tracy, Orson Welles… plus the most unlikely Catholic missionaries of all: Alan Ladd and Edward G Robinson!  Auteur Joseph L Mankiewicz secured Peck in July 1943 for  his second film  – and first Oscar nomination. 
  42. John Hodiak, The Harvey Girls, 1945.      Welcome home from WWII… “with a %$#@& musical!” His  drama with Lana Turner was musicalised by producer Arthur Freed (like who else) – a Gable would be great opposite Judy Garland after her triumph with the song, “Dear Mr. Gable/You Made Me Love You.” Gable refused to return to work until his Gone With The Wind  director Victor Fleming rescued him with Adventure – ans Hodiak sporteatash.
  43. Robert Walker, The Beginning or the End, 1946.      A-Bomb fever hits Hollywood..! Rival studios MGM, Paramount and 20th Century-Fox scrambled to be first with an atomic drama. Metro won by merging its idea with Hal Wallis’ Top Sercret at Paramount and having such stars as Clark Gable, Van Johnson and Spencer Tracy “being groomed for roles.” Not enough, it seemed…as they never appeared. Other actors played Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, and the Hiroshima bomber, Colonel Paul Tibbetts Jr.
  44. Fred MacMurray, The Miracle of the Bells, 1947.     After James Cagney passed on the Hollywood flack hero (he wanted to produce, as well), producer Jesse L Lasky chased Gable and Cary Grant. And settled for a MacMurray with “the air of an embalmer” (said the New York Times) in a truncated and limp version of Russell Janney’s book.
  45. Spencer Tracy,  State  of  the  Union,  1947.      For his Liberty Films’ second movie, director Frank Capra wanted to re-unite his 1934 Oscar-winning duo from It Happened One Night.  This time, however, MGM refused to loan him Gable. And Claudette Golbert suddenly evaporated (in a mass of bruises after, allegedly,  having been found by her husband  in  bed with Tracy) and so, the new duo was Tracy and Katharine Hepburn (rumoured also to be a Colbert lover)  –  in  the fifth of their nine  films. Gable was utter admiration of Tracy’s talent, while Tracy mocked his old pal: “Can’t act, doesn’t care and everybody loves him better than any actor that was ever born.”

  46. Gregory Peck, Twelve O’Clock High, 1948.    
    The  greatest Hollywood fiction of USAF WWII pilots, often unfairly compared to the  weaker  Command Decision – which is why Peck nearly passed.  “Duke told me he’d turned it down,” recalledPeck.  “And I seized it!”   Just not that fast… Clark Gable was extremely keen on General Savage (he made Command Decision, instead). Peck read it again and  was also won over by director Henry King’s empathy for the subject. King was a pilot, himself, and he  would helm five more Peck  films). “A fine film,” said Peck, “much honoured  and  respected,  about the psychological stress of total involvement of these men.” Too honest for such a gung-ho movie-hero as John Wayne. This was Peck’s finest hour; forget To Kill A Mockingbird.   Seeing him glued to his chair in a catonic state of battle-fatigue made one helluva impression on me when I saw it in, hell, I was 11 years old!  It marked me for life.  It also affected Rian Johnson, who called it an influence on his Star Wars:  Episode VII – The Last Jedi, 2016. Others in the Savage loop were Dana Andrews, Ralph Bellamy, James Cagney, Van Heflin, Burt Lancaster, Edmond O’Brien – and three-bobs-worth of  Roberts: Montgomery, Preston and Young

  47. Errol Flynn, That Forsyte Woman, 1948.   MGM  won  the rights to John Galsworthy’s The Forstye Saga in 1937 – and never knew what to do with it.  Instead of the full trilogy, the studio planned a re-titled version  of the first book, The Man of Property, with Joseph L  Mankiewicz directing Franchot Tone as the stuffy banker, Soames Forsyte – offered to  Gable in 1939.  Metro  changed the tile as it believed Americans did not know the meaning of the word saga!  
  48. Gary Cooper, The Fountainhead, 1948.      The King  desperately  wanted to be Howard Roark, controversial novelist Ayn Rand’s hero based on architect Frank Lloyd Wright – and bitterly complained to Jack Warner for not protecting his interests by buying the novel for him. Or, so he told Rand.  Who told just about everybody. 
  49. Gregory Peck, Twelve O’Clock High, 1948.     “Duke told me he’d turned it down,” said Peck. “And I seized it!”   Just not that fast… Clark Gable was extremely keen on General Frank Savage. At first, Peck thought it was too similar to Command Decision (which Gable made). He read it again. “A fine film, much honoured and respected, about the psychological stress of total involvement of these men with the bombing of a ball-bearing works in Frankfurt.” Just too honest for such a gung-ho movie-hero as Duke. This Peck’s finest hour (forget To Kill A Mockingbird). Also in the Brigadier General Savage loop: Dana Andrews, Ralph Bellamy, James Cagney, Van Heflin, Burt Lancaster, Edmond O’Brien and Roberts Montgomery, Preston and Young. I saw it at age 11 and it marked me for life.
  50. Gregory Peck, The Gunfighter, 1949.    With a stubborn John Wayne refusing a favourite script (due to grudges old and new), the (softened) life of Jimmy Ringo – killer, OK Corral gunfight survivor and eventual suicide – was aimed at Gable. It was then called The Big Gun. The King spurned the $350,000 offer from Fox as he was trying to head up George Stevens’ Giant as Bick Benedict. Peck was also on Warner’s wish-list for Bick.Instead, he upset the studio with  a  period moustache for gunslinger Jimmy Ringo. He then refused High Noon for being too  close to  this Western which had many similarities with Wayne’s finale, The Shootist, 1975. So he got there in the end.  The very end.

  51. Robert Taylor, Quo Vadis, 1950.    Gable  passed on being Marcus Vinicius. “Me in short skirts carrying a shield and wearing a helmet with plumes – you’ve gotta be kidding!”
  52. Paul Douglas, Angels in  the Outfield, 1950.   The King was first chosen by director Clarence Brown for the tyrannical, blasphemous baseball manager told by Heaven – literally – to treat his players with respect. Result: they won games. “This,” said critic Michael E Grost, “is like Brown’s own well-known respectful treatment of actors where he listens to them and encourages their input.” 
  53. Cary Grant, Crisis, 1950.      Scripter Richard Brooks’ directing  debut – thanks to Grant: “If If he can write it, why not direct it?” –  had first been set-up for Gable at MGM, with Mervyn Leroy directing.
  54. George Sanders, Ivanhoe, 1951.   When first planned in  the mid-30s, MGM aimed to squeeze too many contract stars into unlikely roles in Sir Walter Scott’s 12th Century, Robin Hoodish tale of chivalrous knights, warring Saxons, Normans, Christians and Jews.  Such as Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Myrna Loy, Luise Rainer. And Gable for Brian de Bois-Guilbert of Normandy, head over sword in love with Rebecca.
  55. Stewart Granger, Soldiers Three, 1951.      Finally off the shelf, an old MGM version of Rudyard Kipling intended for Gable, Spencer Tracy and Wallace Beery.  Granger, David Niven, Robert Newton were fun, if not quite the same class.
  56. Kirk Douglas, The Bad and The Beautiful,vie   1952.     “I only did that film,” Kirk  later confessed, “because Gable refused  it!”   And not because it was  a damn fine role – movie producer  Jonathan Shields being  a mix of David Selznick, Val Lewton and Orson Welles…?   …?  Kirk also top-starred in the comoanion piece, eight years later: Two Weeks in Another Town.
  57. Fernando Lamas, Sangaree, 1952.   The Paramount pot-boiler changed titles (from Savannah) and lovers, from Gable and Lana Turner to Lamas and Arlene Dahl. (They wed in 1964 – for six years).

  58. Jack Palance,  Sudden Fear, 1952. 
    Twenty years later, Joan Crawford was still demanding Gable as her partner. 
    Well, their on/off affair, between marriages, was still going on until his 1960 deJack Palance,  Sudden Fear, 1952.  ath.  He passed on her  debut as an exec producer, not keen on going  totally against type as  an actor out to murder his playwright wife. Crawford was also spurned by Brando – “I always audition the new boy in town!” – and settled for his Broadway understudy. She must have seen Shane, the year before…  but  swore she’d never work with him again. “She accused me of copying Brando,” said Jack. “The cameras were rolling when… getting out of character, she shouted: If I had wanted Marlon Brando to do this scene with me, we would have hired him.”   Jack  got his second consecutive Oscar nomination. No to mention an affair with  co-star Gloria Grahame.

  59. Robert Taylor, Knights of the Round Table, 1953. A decade before MGM got hold of it, Paramount planned to set a Round Table for Gable as Lancelot.  Gable!  He  around  52 at the time!   Taylor was  42. 
  60. Marlon Brando, Guys and Dolls, 1955.     Gable had “sung” once in the well titled Idiot’s Delight, 1939. But a desperate producer, Samuel Goldwyn,. was offering Sky Masterson to everyone right or wrong: Bing Crosby, Kirk Douglas,  Gable, Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum… even Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis for Sky and Nathan Detroit.  To help Sam, Cary Cary called  his one-time lover Marlon with the magic words: “Frank Sinatra desperately wants the role.” 

  61. Rock Hudson, Giant, 1955.
  62. James Cagney, Tribute To A Bad Man, 1956.      “It’s the end of my career. I’ll never make another picture.” Spencer Tracy quickly lost interest and his health in the high altitude  of Colorado. And just as no one had agreed  to be The Girl (they finished with the Greek Irene Papas), no guy want to sub Spence.  As if they could.  Gable and Gregory  Peck refused; Cagney agreed. He was a friend and huge fan… “I’m easy to imitate, but you never saw anyone imitate Spence Tracy.  You can’t mimic reserve and control.”
  63. Robert Mitchum, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, 1956.   One of Robert Mitchum’s greatest roles… Basically a two-hander, based on Charles Shaw’s novel. About a US marine and an Irish nun stranded on a  Pacific atoll during WWII.   Deborah Kerr was, apparently, always set as Sister Angela. But Corporal  Allison – Mister to her – changed from John Wayne and on to Kirk Douglas to Clark Gable to  an outstanding Mitchum. Directors also switched from William Wyler and   Anthony Mann to a John Huston on good rather than great form Bob and Deb made up for his shortcomings Thirteen years later they were sought for something of a re-make: the Western Two Mules for Sister Sara. Only this time the nun was a hooker in an old habit. And habits. Eventually played by Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine.  Bob and Kerr, friends for life after he caught her swearing at Huston, made three more films together. 
  64. Alan Ladd, Boy On A Dolphin, 1957.     First due for him, then to start Robert Mitchum’s new Fox contract – or a new one with Brando.  Sophia Loren got Gable in his penultimate movie, It Started In Naples, 1960.
  65. Robert Mitchum, The Hunters, 1957.  Both Gable and James Stewart offered to be  USAF Major Cleve Saville for what proved the fifth and final cinema film of actor-turned-director Dick Powell. He wanted a younger “Ice Man” and so Powell, the screen’s third Philip Marlowe (circa 1944), gained the eighth (circa 1975) – Mitchum.
  66. Laurence Harvey, The Alamo, 1960.      For his  dream project, a director  called John Wayne wanted The King, Richard Widmark and  Sonny Tufts?!! For  Colonel Travis, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie. The Money Dept insisted upon Laurence Harvey (27 years Gable’s junior), Wayne, Widmark.  Alas poor Tufts! 
  67. John Wayne,  The Alamo, 1960.   Duke still wanted The King on board and suggested he play Davy Crockett.  The two stars shared the same Republican (anti-Communist) politics, but Gable was wary of  all first-time  directors. Duke mortgaged home and hearth and yacht(s) to help the budget and didn’t get his money back until the first  TV sale in… 1971.
  68. Robert Mitchum, Home From The Hill, 1960.     Director Vincente Minnelli had hoped for Gable and Bette Davis as the parents of half-brothers Georges Hamilton and Peppard.
  69. Yul Brynner, The Magnificent Seven, 1960.    Hard to believe that the Western making new generation stars out of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, etc, was originally aimed in 1959 at old hats Gable, Glenn Ford, Stewart Granger. And just two newer guys: Anthony Franciosa, Dean Jones. All to be directed by Yul Brynner, already in a bitter dispute with Anthony Quinn and producer Lou Morheim over the rights to the source material: Japanese maestro Akira Kurosawa’s Shichinin no samurai/Seven Samurai, 1953. Brynner’s title was The Magnificent Six. Like re-making Ben-Hur as Ben-Herbie.
  70. Yul Brynner, Escape From Zahrain, 1961.   The script was stil being prepared for him when the bad news arrived: The King is dead. Brynner took over as the hunted revolutionary, Sharif. (Gable as an Arab!). Directors also also changed from Edward Dmtryk to the UK’s Ronald Neame.

  71. Karl Malden, Parrish, 1961.     And here, it was director Josh Logan losing all  interest when he could not land Rhett and Scarlett as Warren Beatty’s folks!
  72. John Wayne,  Hatari! 1961.     Again, Duke had tried to land  The King…   Gable agreed to co-star   in 1960 – if he had $1m, 10% of the gross. And top billing.  No way, said Paramount. Howard Hawks gave the role to  John Wayne (Gable died in the very month shooting began). When the dorector couldn’t get anyone strong enough for  Wayne’s original role, he split it  between Hardy Kruger and Gérard Blain. “Good actors, but Wayne just blew them off the screen. He just took charge; they were just barely there. It changed the storyline and everything.”   Hawks tried the same trick, with slightly better results, when splitting the drunk role  – between Jorge Rivero and Chris Mitchum – in the third Rio Bravo re-make, Rio Lobo…  The Silver Fox’s final film in 1970.
  73. Edward G Robinson, Two Weeks In Another Town, 1962. When first offered, way too close to home again… The Metro plan had been Spencer Tracy as an alcoholic ex-actor coming out of rehab and picking up dubbing work in Rome. – opposite his great mate as his clone: a director on the skids.
  74. Charlton Heston, Diamond Head, 1963.    Planned for Gable in the ’50s. That is why the character was called “King” Howland.  Heston did not change it.
  75. Sean Connery, The Man Who Would Be King, 1975.

 Birth year: 1901Death year: 1960Other name: Casting Calls:  75