Thursday, March 6, 2014

Doll-A-Day 65: Oscar Week:Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind by World Dolls

Today's doll is Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, made by World Dolls in 1980.

He's a big guy, at 21 1/2" tall.The clothing is super detailed and well made.He has a tie pin...

...and a ring! It's actually removeable.

The likeness to Clark Gable is quite good. (Except, where are those massive forehead wrinkles?)

Smooth as a baby's butt.
  As you can see from this picture, the one thing the doll doesn't have is the watch chain.I'm not sure if the doll originally had a hat, since I didn't buy him in the box.

 He's not especially poseable. His arms are molded in a slightly bent position, and just move up and down from the shoulders. His legs are jointed at the hip, but barely move at all.Also, his legs aren't equal length, which makes standing on his own practically impossible.Fortunately,his legs do move out a bit at the hips, allowing him a slightly  spread legged stance, which helps a little to keep him standing.His head is strung, and my particular Rhett has 'come undone' as the song says. His head is just sitting in that neck hole.It makes his head pretty easy to pose though!

  This World doll is  not quite as good as the 12" Mattel Timeless Treasures Rhett Butler doll though. I should have one of those to match yesterday's Scarlett doll.
  William Clark Gable was born in Cadiz, Ohio (A local boy!), in 1901. He made his first film in 1923, but played mainly uncredited bit parts until 1931. Darryl Zanuck, who later headed Twentieth Century Fox was working at Warner Brothers in the early thirties, and tested Gable for the lead in Little Caesar (A role which went to Edward G. Robinson.). His complaint of Gable was, "His ears are too big and he looks like an ape." His ears notwithstanding, women in the thirties were crazy about Gable. 
  Gone With the Wind producer David O. Selznick wanted Gary Cooper for the part of Rhett. Cooper turned it down. When Clark Gable got the role, Cooper commented that Gone With the Wind was going to be a big flop, and he was "glad it will be Gable falling on his face, and not me". Gable was the public's choice to play Rhett Butler, but he really didn't want to. He felt he couldn't live up to the public's expectations for the character. The book was amazingly popular and he felt the books readers had too much of an image of Rhett already in their minds. He finally acquiesced, and Rhett became the role he is most remembered for.
  Another problem with playing Rhett was the scene requiring Rhett to cry upon the death of his daughter. Gable didn't want to cry on camera. He thought it was unmanly. He was coerced in all sorts of ways, finally giving in to the urging of costar Olivia de Havilland,and producing real tears in a heartbreaking scene.
Rhett keeps a vigil at the body of the deceased Bonnie Blue.
  Gable was good friends with Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy,and attended her frequent parties. During the scene where Rhett and Mammy share a drink to celebrate the birth of Bonnie Blue Butler, they were drinking water. McDaniel complained she was getting sick of the water, so between takes Gable slipped in actual alcohol. She was unaware until she knocked back the drink on camera.

Mammy and Rhett celebrate the birth of Bonnie Blue.
  He planned to boycott the world premier of Gone With the Wind, which was being held in Atlanta, Georgia, because Hattie McDaniel and the other African American cast members were forbidden from attending. He only consented after McDaniel herself convinced him to attend. I guess Gable was cooler than I thought.
  Although Rhett is his most well known role, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for it, Gable did not win his Oscar for Gone With the Wind. In 1934 he won the Best Actor Oscar for It Happened One Night,the first of what would come to be known as 'screwball comedies'. Legend has it that he was loaned by MGM, to whom he was under contract, to Columbia, as a punishment for refusing to accept roles he didn't like. The joke was on MGM when It Happened One Night became a huge success and Gable won the Oscar for it. (Incidentally, the scene in which Gable removed his shirt to reveal his bare chest caused sales of undershirts to plummet, and elicited complaints from textile manufacturers!)
Clark Gable in his Oscar winning role as reporter Peter Warne in It Happened One Night, with Claudette Colbert.
   Gable was also nominated for Best Actor for Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935.
Tomorrow we finish up Oscar Week with another doll.

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