They celebrated Loretta's birthday together, took a vacation in Palm Springs, went dancing, the usual. But, as Spence's guilt-ridden conscience got the better of him for his latest dalliance, so too did his drinking increase.
He had hoped that friend and lover would too jump on board as a co-star in order to help him through it, but when she turned the role down, Clark read it as a betrayal.
Joan would insist that this was the official end of their romance (though they would allegedly remain friends with benefits over the years). The film was a flop, Clark was panned, and his death scene was so thoroughly mocked that he would refuse to play dead again until 1958's arrived to set one day, they were abruptly greeted with a coronation ceremony for the press regarding their recent status as the "King and Queen of Hollywood." Spence howled with laughter as publicity photos of Clark in a crown were taken.
On one particular evening, the foursome was dining at the Beverly Wilshire's Gold Room, the usual chaos ensued, and Spence became so belligerent in his drunkenness that Duke had to escort him from the premises, against much protest.
Luckily, Spence was blotto or he would have been quite embarrassed at the ruckus he was making before the likes of fellow diners.
Thus followed what became known as Carole's "Rain" of Terror: Carole paid a pilot to fly over MGM and drop thousands of fliers over the studio with the following text: "Fifty Million Chinamen Can't Be Wrong!
" You see, regardless of America's reception of Clark's Irish hero, his performance as Parnell was hailed as genius in China. Loretta had a habit of falling in love with her co-stars, a result of growing up in front of the camera and never being able to separate fantasy from reality.
In fact, they once went off to lunch together and disappeared for two days.
Even sober, neither could remember where they'd been.
He then addressed his embarrassed friend as "Your Majesty." Clark got red in the face and retaliated by calling Spence a "Wisconsin ham." Spence stuck in the final pin with "What about gags.
As with Spence, Clark latched onto Carole's down to earth demeanor and humor, finding her better company than the majority of the pretentious hangers-on in Hollywood.
which is why he so enjoyed bringing up Clark was no fool about his talent.