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Clark Gable

You might have heard the rumors that the actor, Clark Gable, famous for his role in the movie Gone With the Wind was here in Astoria 1922. When you look more into it you will find that he really did start his acting career on stage here.

After leaving his home and father Gable signed on with a traveling theatrical group. They disbanded somewhere near Butte, Montana in March or April of 1922 and Gable and another young man rode the rails ending up in Bend, Oregon. He took any kind of work he could because he had no contacts or anything lined up to support himself. Franz Dorfler of Silverton Oregon met Gable at the Red Lantern Theater in Portland during the tryouts for the Astoria Stock Company. In July, to get to Astoria from Portland, they took the sternwheeler Bailey Gazert. Astoria was described as a "bustling, booming, hell-raising town." Many times Clark Gable and his sweetheart Franz climbed to the top of Coxcomb Hill so they could look out across the Columbia River. Clark Gable and Franz also slept out on the beach in Seaside when visiting the Schumanns.

Many local residents have told stories for years about "Billy Gable" and his short sojourn in Astoria. Bill Van Dusen's uncle, Dr. Van Dusen had an unpaid bill to William Clark Gable hanging in his office until his office was stripped after his death. Claire Lovell reported a photograph of Clark Gable that was displayed in the Ball Studio window that was supposedely taken by Richard Ball himself. In his book about Warrenton, local resident Lyle Anderson, mentioned Gable's acting at a theater company in Astoria.
Liberty Theater