Ralphís Manuscript - Page 24

Published Manuscript

We are entertaining the idea of publishing a first edition of Ralph's manuscript in book form.  This would be a hard bound limited print first edition with the complete manuscript (around 100 pages) and pictures.  At this time we are trying to gauge interest.  If you think you would be interested in a copy of this book, should we publish it,  Draft pages will be posted here so you can get an idea of what it contains.


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Posted - December 27, 2005

Rudy told me on the set that he nearly had a heart attack on the trip to the studio. Everything was peaceful. Marilyn and Paula were each sitting in silence, when all of a sudden Marilyn let out a scream that he almost drove off the street. Hid did stop, and turned around. Marilyn was clutching the new pages of the script, and screaming incoherently, tears rolling down her face. Paula trying to comfort her. "I know, my dear, I know, but itíll work out all right." "How? I have no protection. Another page of the diary."

Fortunately Marilyn had practically nothing to do this morning. I think a scream from offstage. There was a lot of coming and going in her trailer, with a lot of wondering going on as to what had happened. It was a morning for screams. I was standing outside Gableís trailer, talking with Frank Prehoda, when we jumped at the sound from inside. A loud "Damn, damn, damn." Then the telephone "George? Look I want a screening get up for nine in the morning of everything we have. I just read some new rewrites and theyíre trying to mess up a good picture, and Iím not going to allow it."

He then went to Marilyn and when he looked at her, I know how you feel, kid. Everything will be all right. Iím telling them that this is my last day of shooting. You see, I have it in my contract that I donít have to say any word I donít want to. Itís something I always have, to prevent any unnecessary obscenity. But, it covers me here Ė I donít want to say another word." "Oh Clark, please donít let them change your mind. I canít do anything. I donít have any like that in my contract." He then told Huston and Arthur that this was his last day. Arthur, "But, Clark, didnít you see the new rewrites? I think they improve the picture vastly." "I did, and disagree with you. I think you have a great picture as is. And Iím very proud and happy to have been part of it. But this is it." Marilyn asked me to move around the set, and try to find out anything going on, and the lay of the land. "Oh, please God, make Clark stick to his decision."

All Marilynís Ďgroupí had been alerted to keep eyes and ears open for any hint of movements or tactics or even rumours. I saw Eli come sauntering in, being greeted by Arthur, and they went into Arthurís Ďoffice,í shutting the door. I slipped around to the back of it, and could hear Arthur telling Eli that Gable wasnít buying the rewrites, and was adamant about he was finished shooting on the picture. I reported this to Marilyn, Whitey, Agnes, and Evelyn all came in with the news that word was spreading that weíd all be through within the next few days.

Finally Gable stopped by to say goodbye to her, with "take care of yourself, girl," went to his dressing room for some papers, said goodbye to Frank and me (we were standing outside is trailer talking), and was leaving, when he turned and said to me, "Oh, that picture for Maureen, I almost forgot." I replied, "Youíre on your way, maybe another time." "No, itís an honor." He went inside, inscribed one of his favorite pictures to "Maureen with love, Clark Gable." I told him sheíd be thrilled beyond belief. The next few days a flurry of activity, getting final shots, packing. I packed the station wagon with my things, including the tape recorder, several bags Paula wanted me to take with me, four small Indian rugs Marilyn had bought in Reno, and went by Sunset Towers West to pick up a bag and typewriter that Arthur had asked me to take to NY. Arthur shook my hand said "Thanks, Ralph, and thanks for everything. Without you, the picture could never have been finished." I left from the studio later that afternoon after saying goodbye (and Iím notorious about never saying goodbye) to the Ďgroup.í Marilyn said to please drive carefully, and asked did I need any money for the trip. Two days later, in the middle of the night, driving through Texas, I heard the broadcast that Gable had been admitted to the hospital for a heart attack. I pulled over to the side of the road and sobbed and prayed. When I finally started driving again, all of the millions of stars in the Texas sky seemed to be saying over and over what was emblazoned in my mind about the essence of the speech heíd had in the picture of Ďheading for the big star.í

I drove practically straight through, ears glued to the radio for news. One afternoon, when I stopped for a meal, I called Marilyn. She started crying, "Iím praying, Iím praying." I called Paula, who said that Marilyn was in constant touch with LA about Clark, and could think of nothing else. Iíve made the trip from LA to NY more times than I can remember, this one was the fastest. I saw her when I arrived, and the night he died, she called me, hysterical.

 

Manuscript property of the estate of Ralph L. Roberts. Do not copy without permission.