When he started filming IDIOT’S DELIGHT in the fall of 1938, Clark Gable had just signed on the dotted line to play Rhett Butler in GONE WITH THE WIND but had time to kill before filming started.
Clark was leery of the role in IDIOT’S DELIGHT. He had seen the play when it had been in Los Angeles, with Alfred Lunt in the role, and knew it required singing and dancing, neither of which he was confident in doing. Director Clarence Brown stuck Clark in two weeks of dance training with George King, a renowned instructor. Clark struggled with the routines at first, but as he gained confidence he got better. Fiancé Carole Lombard spent many a night helping him master the moves.
Carole came to the set the day the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” number was filmed. When Clark nailed the number in one take, Carole said, “I’ve seen it, but I still don’t believe it.” She gave him a bouquet of roses afterward (last picture).