Would anyone care to guess what the title for this posting has to do with Route 66? Well, they are all but a small part of the celebrity association with Route 66 that is being documented for the current book.
As I dig deeper into the history of mayhem on Route 66, and celebrity association, the danger of becoming side tracked on a time consuming but unrelated, albeit interesting topic, increases exponentially. I suppose that is the price paid for an inquisitive and active imagination.
Case in point was last evenings endeavor to trace the course followed by Clark Gable and Carol Lombard during their whirlwind drive to Kingman when they married in 1939. In digging through old press releases, period magazines, and similar material it became increasingly evident that the long lived legend of these two love birds spending their first night as husband and wife in Oatman may be little more than that, legend.
If so, how did it begin? Where was the kernel of truth that most often underlies legend and myth, modern or ancient?
It would appear,as is often the case, this story was contrived as a means to give value to an otherwise unassuming place or business. Ironically, the old hotel in Oatman has a lengthy and colorful history that is now overshadowed by the myth.
The myth pertaining to Clark Gable and Clark Gable, and the Oatman Hotel, seems to date to about 1970 and a purported guest register entry. Before this date, I have yet to find any references to Oatman in association to the celebrity couples wedding adventure.
Well, my research is not complete in regard to this subject. Still, there is now enough evidence to inspire an update on the Route 66 Encyclopedia page of the blog.
Meanwhile, as I was delving into materials to prove or disprove the myth, I found myself sidetracked on the history of the hotel. In turn, this led to research about the founding of Oatman and from there it was but a short detour to the story of the John Moss discoveries and exploration of the area in 1864.
I can see that the research for this book is going to be most interesting.