Yesteryear: Gable, Lombard made it official on Mohave County visit

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in 1939, shortly after their honeymoon. (Courtesy)

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in 1939, shortly after their honeymoon. (Courtesy)

Ask anyone about Kingman's relationship with Hollywood and Andy Devine comes up, as the famous Hollywood actor known for his comedy and his unique voice grew up here.

Almost as famous as Devine was his friendship with Clark Gable, arguably Hollywood's biggest star to ever appear on screen. His work during the 1930s and 40s produced some of the greatest pieces of cinema, including "Gone With the Wind."

His friendship with Devine was well documented. In Movie Mirror Magazine in February 1939, Sally Jefferson wrote: "There exists in all Hollywood no finer, truer friendship than the tie between Clark Gable and Andy Devine. And certainly no two men in any country anywhere can testify to more fun and sheer keen enjoyment than results from that friendship."

That friendship led Gable to Kingman in the spring of 1939. Gable visited during hunting trips and loved how quiet the town was. At the time, Gable was dating Carole Lombard and working on divorcing his second wife, Ria Langham.

During a break in filming "Gone With the Wind," Gable and Lombard escaped to Kingman and married at St. John's Methodist Episcopal church.

Mohave County Miner: March 31, 1939

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, two of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars, chose Kingman as the spot to start wedded life and were married by Reverend Kenneth M. Engle on Wednesday, March 29.

The couple obtained a license at the county clerk's office at 4:30 p.m., Gable giving his age as 38 and his residence as Encino, California, and Miss Lombard giving her age as 30 and her residence as BelAir, California.The wedding ceremony took place in the St. John's Methodist Episcopal church. Miss Lombard was dressed in a light grey traveling suit with grey accessories and the groom was dressed in a navy blue flannel suit.

Mrs. Kenneth Engle played the organ for the ceremony, playing the bridal song from Lohengrin by Wagner as the couple entered and playing Tannhauser's Song of the Evening Star by Wagner and Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life by Herbert during the ceremony. Mrs. Viola Olsen and Howard Cate were witnesses at the ceremony.

Everyone connected with the ceremony was impressed with the charm and personality of the couple. Mrs. Olsen, who issued the license, stated that a more charming and courteous couple had never obtained a license from her.

... The couple managed to keep their presence in Kingman a secret until after the ceremony, but as soon as the news was out telephone wires in Kingman were kept busy with calls from coast to coast wanting information on the wedding.

... Gable mentioned the fact that he is interested in and likes Mohave county and that he has hunted in the county every year for the past several years.

The couple will be at home on the ranch at Encino, California, which Gable recently purchased.

Those close to Gable talk about his time with Lombard as one of the happiest periods of his life. Unfortunately, that time was short-lived. Lombard died in a plane crash on Jan. 16, 1942, while en route to Las Vegas.

Lombard, her mother, press agent and family friend Otto Winkler, and 15 servicemen were on the doomed TWA flight.

Gable served in World War II in the Army Air Corps and continued his successful film career after that. He passed away on Nov. 16, 1960, after filming "The Misfits."