Great Encounters #37: When Clark Gable came to the aid of Billie Holiday

July 31st, 2014

.

.

“Great Encounters” are book excerpts that chronicle famous encounters among twentieth-century cultural icons.

This edition:
When Clark Gable came to the aid of Billie Holiday

.

.

billiehclarkcable

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Excerpted from Lady Sings the Blues, by Billie Holiday, with William Dufty

.

__________

.

 

…..One day in Hollywood I went out for a drive with this rich young blonde starlet. She was running around with Billy Daniels, whom I used to work with back at the Hotcha. Billy had loaned her his pretty Cadillac to drive around in. She was taking me to the aquarium, when boom, this brand-new fishtail stopped and we couldn’t start it.

…..There we sat out on this deserted spot near the beach. I knew from nothing about a car and she knew damn little more. I thought we were stranded until I saw a car down the road a piece. There was a cat lying under it, tinkering around, and he looked like he knew what he was doing.

…..So I hailed him. “Hey, man,” I said, “there’s a couple of chicks in distress over here. How about coming over and seeing what’s wrong?” When he crawled out from under the car he had sunglasses on, but he looked familiar. I said, “I know you some damn where.” He was real nice; he recognized me from having been over to the joint in the valley and heard me sing.

…..It only took him about two minutes to find out what was wrong and to fix it. Then he got behind the wheel and drove the car for a little to make sure everything was all right before he left us. Then he asked us if we wouldn’t like to stop and have a drink. I was ready, so he drove us up to a big fancy country club or something right near the beach.

…..We walked in the bar and people were all eyes. I didn’t think anything of it. That was always happening. But there has to be one joker everywhere. And there was one there at the bar. When he finally got loaded enough he walked over to our table; he stared me up and down. Then he stared the blonde up and down. Then he turned to our mechanic friend and said, “Well, I see you get all the dames.”

…..It wasn’t until our mechanic buddy got up from behind the table and flattened this cracker to the floor that I came to. It was Clark Cable who’d give us the lift.

…..He laughed when I told him I recognized him by his fist work.

.

______________________________________

.

Excerpted from Lady Sings the Blues, by Billie Holiday, with William Dufty

.

ladysingstheblues

 

Share this:

3 comments on “Great Encounters #37: When Clark Gable came to the aid of Billie Holiday”

  1. Interesting; this is somewhere in the Holiday book I have, now yellowed and rapidly
    disintegrating due to faulty storage.

  2. I was good friends with Bill Dufty in his later life and he told me that Billie told him that Gable had black blood in his heritage.

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...Also in this issue, in celebration of Blue Note’s 80th year, we asked prominent writers and musicians the following question: “What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums; a new collection of jazz poetry; “On the Turntable,” is a new playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings from six artists – Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano, Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian and Aaron Burnett; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Jazz History Quiz”; a new feature called “Pressed for All Time,”; a new photo-narrative by Charles Ingham; and…lots more.

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings by six artists -- Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano. Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian, and Aaron Burnett

Poetry

In this month’s collection, with great jazz artists at the core of their work, 16 poets remember, revere, ponder, laugh, dream, and listen

The Joys of Jazz

In this new volume of his podcasts, Bob presents two stories, one on Clifford Brown (featuring the trumpeter Charlie Porter) and the other is part two of his program on stride piano, including a conversation with Mike Lipskin

Short Fiction

We had many excellent entrants in our recently concluded 50th Short Fiction Contest. In addition to publishing the winning story on March 11, with the consent of the authors, we have published several of the short-listed stories...

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer Creed Taylor about how he came to use tape overdubs during the 1957 Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross Sing a Song of Basie recording session

Art

"Thinking About Charlie Parker" -- a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #128

Although he was famous for modernizing the sound of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra -- “On the Sunny Side of the Street” was his biggest hit while working for Dorsey (pictured) -- this arranger will forever be best-known for his work with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Who is he?

Great Encounters

In this edition, Bob Dylan recalls what Thelonious Monk told him about music at New York’s Blue Note club in c. 1961.

Art

Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Stan Getz, Sun Ra, and Carla Bley.

Interviews

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Coming Soon

"The Photography Issue" will feature an interview with jazz photographer Carol Friedman (her photo of Wynton Marsalis is pictured), as well as with Michael Cuscuna on unreleased photos by Blue Note's Francis Wolff.

In the previous issue

Jeffrey Stewart, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, is interviewed about Locke (pictured), the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 19 recommended recordings by five jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive