Wednesday, August 29, 2007 08/29/07-Clark Gable

In today's excerpt--Clark Gable, perennially one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, on the set of the 1950s wartime naval thriller, Run Silent, Run Deep, which co-stars Burt Lancaster and young newcomer Don Rickles:

"[Clark] Gable is one of the most relaxed movie stars in the history of the business.

" 'Look,' he tells me, 'I'm a five o'clock guy.'

" 'What does that mean, Mr. Gable?' I ask.

" 'It means, kid, that my day ends at five. Regardless. Five is scotch-and-soda time. And then I'm on my way home.'

"Every day at five, Gable sticks to his guns. Five o'clock comes and he's in the trailer. He enters as a naval commander and exits as a Brooks Brothers model. Driving off the lot in his Bentley convertible, he waves goodbye as he passes through the security gates.

"Because he's a producer of the picture, Lancaster is far more intense and worries about overages. ...

"One scene involves a series of explosions followed by a deluge of water. The mechanics are tricky and the technical guys work on it all day. They can't quite get it right. Finally, at about five to five, it all comes together-the bombastic explosions and a deluge of water. Gable and I are in the battle scene, the climax of the film. Robert Wise signals action and all hell breaks loose. The special effects are spectacular.

"In the midst of this drama, Gable says, 'Sorry, boys, Mr. Five O'Clock is done for the day.'

"And then, with all the grace of a European prince, Gable struts to his trailer.

"Lancaster chases after him.

" 'Clark,' says Burt, 'we finally got this thing to work. It'll cost a fortune to dismantle it. We gotta film it now!'

"Ever the gentleman, Gable looks at Lancaster sympathetically. 'Relax, Burt,' he says. 'I'll dive with the submarine tomorrow.' "

Don Rickles, Rickle's Book, Simon and Schuster, Copyright 2007 by Wynnefield Productions, Inc., pp. 77- 78.


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