Cadiz Museum Will Mark Clark Gable’s Birthday Today

Photo by Dylan McKenzie A collection of Clark Gable memorabilia sits on display in the Clark Gable Museum and gift shop in Cadiz. Gable, known as the “King of Hollywood,” was born in 1901 in Cadiz.

A museum in Harrison County is celebrating the birthday of one of the county’s most famous sons today.

William Clark Gable was born in Cadiz in 1901, was raised in Hopedale and eventually set out for Hollywood to become an actor on the big screen. His early work was mostly as an extra in silent-era films, but he eventually managed to move to a supporting role in MGM films. Gable finally made his big break in Hollywood with his first starring role in 1931’s “Sporting Blood.” Suddenly, Gable was one of the most popular leading men in Hollywood.

It didn’t take long for the Cadiz native to rise to the top of the food chain in Hollywood, becoming one of the most desirable actors in the business and the so called “King of Hollywood.” In 1934, Gable starred in “It Happened One Night,” earning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his work. But he is arguably most famous for his starring role in the Civil War romance “Gone With the Wind” as Rhett Butler, a suave suitor intrigued by Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara. Gable uttered one of the most memorable movie lines ever spoken during the film: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

In addition to his time spent on screen, Gable also took time to serve his country in World War II. Enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Service, Gable flew several combat missions as a gunner in a bomber and rose to the rank of major. After being discharged from the military, Gable continued to make films until his death in 1960, leaving behind a legacy of decades spent in show business as “the King.”

Today, decades after his death, Clark Gable is one of the more famous and recognizable actors ever to rise to the top in Hollywood. His films are still popular, as parents and grandparents pass down their love of films to the next generation. Fans of Gable’s long career can pay a visit to Harrison County, where they have the opportunity to tour the reconstructed birthplace and home of the famous film star. Located on Charleston Street in Cadiz, the museum and gift shop is run by volunteers who enjoy showing off the home and the memorabilia inside it to guests from all over the world.

The exhibits span all throughout Gable’s career, helping paint a complete picture of the famous film star. The museum typically holds an annual event in early February, celebrating the life of the late actor with a “birthday party” — this year in honor of what would have been Gable’s 117th birthday.

The celebration will be held from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. today at the museum and will feature refreshments, along with the artwork of David Barnhouse, who will have prints for sale.

Nan Mattern, executive director of the museum, said the facility has seen 45,000 visitors since she started working at the establishment in 1999. The visitors have come from far and wide, including 47 states and 25 different countries.

Mattern said she enjoys her time volunteering at the museum, seeing history come alive for the curious visitors.

“It’s a lot of history I enjoy, and I get to meet a lot of nice people,” Mattern said. “He only lived there for a few months, but at least we’re known for his birthplace.”