Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

It’s one of the famous scenes from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT(1934).

Clark demonstrates his skill in thumbing a ride, but it doesn’t work.


Claudette tells him, l’ll stop a car and I won’t use my thumb!”


She is immediately successful and they get a ride from Alan Hale in his Model-T.

Clark is suitably chastened as Claudette says, “Well, I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.”

Game, set and match!


The film won all the major Oscars in 1935. Claudette was due to go on vacation to New York and decided not to attend the ceremonies at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

In the early years of the Oscars, the award presentations were a much smaller event. The story goes that when Claudette’s name was announced, Columbia sent people to the train station, she was hustled into a limousine and rushed to the Biltmore.


Shirley Temple, Claudette Colbert

Still in her travelling outfit, Claudette accepted her Oscar from Shirley Temple.

It’s also said that the ‘Super  Chief’ to New York was held for her!


Clark Gable’s Oscar was sold to Steven Spielberg for $600,000 in 1996. The director then gave the Oscar to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The following year, Claudette’s Oscar also went to auction, with a starting price of $80,000, but there were no bids.

It was returned to Claudette’s  estate. Claudette’s closest companion for 20 years was Helen O’Hagan who was Claudette’s sole executor and main beneficiary.

(Any Oscars up for sale after 1950 have to be offered back to the Academy for a fee of $10.)

It Happened One Night was up against 11 other films for Best Film, including THE THIN MAN, CLEOPATRA, IMITATION OF LIFE, VIVA VILLA.

Clark’s competition were William Powell and Frank Morgan ( don’t know why there were only three nominees.)

Claudette won over Bette Davis, Norma Shearer and Grace Moore.


2 responses »

  1. This was the first film to be awarded all of the big five Oscars.
    This wasn’t matched until 1975 (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest) and 1991 (The Silence Of The Lambs).

    There were also only three Best Actor nominees in the previous two years.

    The following year, it was officially limited to five nominations.
    Up to that point, the number had been been as few as two and as many as six.
    The “six” year included two nominations for George Arliss.

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