From the Archives: Clark Gable joins the Army

Aug. 12, 1942: Actor Clark Gable takes the oath to enlist as an Army private at the Federal Building in Los Angeles.
(Andrew H. Arnott / Los Angeles Times)

After crowds flocked to actor Jimmy Stewart’s 1941 Army enlistment, secrecy surrounded the enlistment of actor Clark Gable.

The Aug. 13, 1942, Los Angeles Times reported on Gable’s enlistment:

Just as many another American male of proper physical, mental and moral qualifications is doing these days, Clark Gable, he-man of the motion-picture screen, yesterday held up his right hand and repeated the oath of enlistment in the Army of the United States. He's a private.

At the end of the ceremony, conducted at 2 p.m. at the Federal Building by Col. Malcolm P. Andruss, Los Angeles Army recruiting officer, Gable mopped his perspiring brow with a large handkerchief and sighed with relief.

The time and place for the actor's enlistment were kept secret until the ceremony was over. This precaution was the result of the Army's experience with the enlistment of actor Jimmy Stewart, who lost buttons and even a couple of locks of hair to a horde of Stewart fans.

Andrew J. McIntyre, studio cameraman and friend of Gable, also enlisted yesterday as a private. When the pair received their transportation and traveling orders, Col. Andruss put Gable in charge.

The actor laughted. "That's good," he said. "Here I'm in the service only half an hour and already I'm in charge of a two-man army."

Gable and McIntyre left last night for Miami, Fla., to undergo the Army's recruits' three month basic training.

This earlier From the Archive blog post reported on Jimmy Stewart's enlistment in March 1941.

During World War II, Gable flew in five bomber missions in Europe and ended the war with the rank of major.

Aug. 12, 1942: Col. Malcolm P. Andruss and Clark Gable. This photo appeared on Page 1 of the Aug. 13, 1942, Los Angeles Times.
(Andrew H. Arnott / Los Angeles Times)
Aug. 17, 1942: Gable, with Capt. John Burwell in Miami Beach, sacrificed his trademark mustache as part of his enlistment. This photo appeared in the Aug. 18, 1942, Los Angeles Times.
(Associated Press)

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here