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Museum virtual tour attracts hundreds

Photo Provided Nan Mattern, director of the Clark Gable Museum, left, and Mike Cope, president of the Clark Gable Foundation, provide residents with a virtual tour during the museum’s 120th birthday celebration for its namesake.

CADIZ — Hundreds of residents from all over the world “toured” the Clark Gable Museum during its celebration of the Hollywood star’s 120th birthday earlier this week, thanks to remote technology.

Mike Cope, president of the Clark Gable Foundation, said he was thrilled with the virtual tour’s turnout. More than 500 people participated in the virtual event that gave audience members a chance to view the reconstructued childhood home of William Clark Gable, who was born Feb. 1, 1901, in Cadiz. The event was held Monday via videoconference.

“It was a really great turnout. It went very, very well,” Cope said. “We all had a good time.”

The tour was a great way to allow people around the globe to celebrate safely and stay connected amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Cope took viewers on a virtual tour of the Hollywood star’s birthplace through a Zoom meeting presented by St. George Living History Productions. Sal St. George, owner of the production company, provides virtual tours of celebrities’ homes throughout the country.

According to a release from the company, the recent tour of the museum was one of its most “significant trips.” People from Canada, Scotland, England, France, Romania and other countries viewed the virtual tour.

“We want to extend a special ‘thank you’ to our friends at the Clark Gable Museum. Nan (Mattern), Michael (Cope) and Angie (Cope) — thank you so much for inviting us to your museum, and for taking the time to share the stories and artifacts of Clark Gable’s life and career. This was one of our most significant trips. We celebrate entertainment’s greatest leaders, legends and icons; there’s no one greater than the King of Hollywood himself,” John Higgins, production manager for Sal St. George Living History, stated.

Cope said he began Monday’s tour in the museum’s gift shop then proceeded to take viewers throughout the home while answering their questions and providing interesting facts about the movie star.

“We started out in the gift shop then went upstairs to the four-room apartment they (the Gable family) had upstairs. … The tour then ends with the Carole Lombard room, which is where we have some artifacts as well,” he said.

Afterward, Cope said organizers took viewers out to look at the classic 1954 Cadillac Gable once owned and a boyhood sled — just a few of Gable’s personal items the museum has displayed.

Cope said he anticipates having some visitors make their way to the museum once the virus has subsided and it is safe for people to gather again. Many of the tour’s viewers were from New York and expressed their desire to travel to the village to view the museum firsthand, he said.

The museum received a positive response from viewers, Cope said.

The Clark Gable Foundation has celebrated the birthday of the “King of Hollywood” every year since 1985. Cope said the tradition began on Feb. 1, 1984, when a radio DJ from Illonios called the Cadiz Post Office and asked the man who answered if he knew whose birthday it was. When the man could not answer, the DJ responded that it was Gable’s birthday. Since then, the village has made sure no one will forget another one of the actor’s birthdays, Cope said.

“That was the very last time we didn’t hold a birthday party for Clark Gable. We’ve been having a birthday party for him on Feb. 1, or close to that date, since 1985,” he said.

The foundation was created to preserve the memory of the movie star, best known for his leading role as Rhett Butler in “Gone With The Wind,” Cope said.

The museum virtual tour can still be viewed online. Those interested in viewing the recent tour can access it on the St. George Living History Prduction’s website at stgeorgelivinghistory.com.

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