On July 9, 1926, a 25-year-old Clark Gable appeared at the Lobero alongside veteran headliner Pauline Frederick in the drama “Lucky Sam McCarver.”
Gable was just kicking off his acting career and had only recently arrived in Hollywood from Ohio as a gangly young man with a high-pitched voice and poor teeth. Against all odds, he would rise through the ranks to become a household name, and became historically known as “The King of Hollywood.”
“Lucky Sam McCarver” had debuted in New York in 1925 but had closed after only 29 performances because audiences, and reviewers, found its structure confusing. While it was a love story, it was described as an “experimental dramatic biography” and was set in four different times and locations. Nevertheless, producer Louis O. Macloon took the play on a national tour with Pauline Frederick and Broadway veteran John Cromwell as the leads. Clark Gable had a secondary role as “George, the House Manager.”
Pauline Frederick was an experienced theater and silent film actress who was known for her charismatic stage presence and willingness to take on challenging and even unsympathetic roles. In the 1930s, Frederick appeared in a number of sound films. However, she preferred acting on the stage to Hollywood and spent the remainder of her career touring in theater productions across the globe.
At the time of his Lobero visit in 1926, Gable was 25 and married to Josephine Dillon, a theater manager and acting coach. Dillon had been instrumental in improving Gable’s posture and voice and had paid to have his teeth fixed. Gable had appeared as a bit player in a couple of two-reel (20 minutes) silent films but only began to show promise as an actor during his two-stage roles alongside Pauline Frederick.
Clark Gable’s sound film career began in 1930 when he signed on with MGM Studios. His screen persona, described as equal parts “man’s man” and “ladies’ man,” landed him roles alongside well-established female stars like Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, and Claudette Colbert. By the mid-1930s Clark Gable was one of Hollywood’s most famous and well-paid actors.
While we wait in the wings for things to return to normal, we hope you enjoy a peek into the Lobero archives.
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