Bill had a marvelous sense of humour. He often made jokes at his own expense. He pointed out, for instance, that he could never have become a for-real sleuth because, “I have never been able to solve anything in my life, not even high school algebra. I have to call in the entire household to help me find a collar button. I am absolutely not good as a detective without a Thin Man script.”
Bill loved practical jokes. When Loy turned thirty-five, he sent her a funeral wreath for her birthday, adorned with a ribbon that read, “Be brave, dear.” When fans elected her Queen of Hollywood, consort to Clark Gable’s King, Powell sent what looked like a florist’s box of long stemmed roses; it turned out to contain bunches of sour grapes and dry leaves, accompanied by a note that offered “With love, William the Fourth,” because Powell had come in fourth in the popularity poll conducted by Ed Sullivan that Gable won. On the day they were scheduled to plant their footprints in cement in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Loy and Powell alarmed Sid Grauman by showing up on Hollywood Boulevard laughing, each sporting a pair of floppy swim flippers large enough for Bigfoot. Powell said they wanted to make a big impression.