Gone with the Wind premiered during the Christmas Season of 1939
71st Anniversary of Gone With The Wind
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Two years before the United States entered World War II; there was jubilation throughout America , especially in the Southland, when….
Gone with the Wind premiered during the Christmas Season of 1939, just 74 years after the end of the “War Between the States” and Wednesday, December 15, 2010 marks the 71st anniversary of that classic movie which opens with:
“There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.”
Gone with the Wind won 8 Oscars for 1939, including Best Picture, and;
- Hattie McDaniel, the first Black American to win an Academy Award, expressed her heart-felt pride with tears of joy, when she was presented the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her unforgettable role as “Mammy.”
- Victor Fleming won the Academy Award for Best Director and even though Max Steiner did not receive an award for his excellent music score, the “Gone with the Wind” theme song has become the most recognizable and played tune in the world.
- Vivien Leigh, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role, humbly and eloquently summed her appreciation by thanking ProducerDavid O. Selznick.
- And, who can forget Olivia De Havilland as the pure-sweet Melanie Hamilton, Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.
Atlanta’s Mayor William B. Hartsfield proclaimed a three-day festival for this grand event and encouraged all women to wear hoop skirts and men to wear Old South attire.
Friday, December 15, 1939, has been described as an icy-cold day in Atlanta but folks warmed to the excitement of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind”—The Selznick International Pictures “Technicolor” Production of the Metro Goldwyn Mayer Release of Margaret Mitchell’s novel about the Old South at the Loews Grand Theater.
Do you remember Thomas Mitchell who played (Gerald O’Hara) telling daughter Scarlett:
“Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O’Hara, that Tara , that land doesn’t mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.”
And, we all wept when Bonnie Blue Butler, the daughter of Rhett and Scarlett—played by Cammie King, was killed in a pony accident.
Anne Rutherford, who played Scarlett’s sister Carreen, took time to visit the Confederate Veterans at the soldier’s home and the stars toured the famous “Cyclorama” at nearby Grant Park.
The festivities surrounding the premiere of Gone with the Wind included a parade down Peachtree Street with over three-hundred thousand people cheering the playing of ” Dixie ,” waving Confederate flags and shouting Rebel Yells.
Many people also witnessed the lighting of the “Eternal Flame of the Confederacy,” an 1855 gas lamp that survived the 1864 Battle of Atlanta. The lamp remained for many years on the northeast corner of Whitehall and Alabama Streets. Mrs. Thomas J. Ripley, President of Atlanta Chapter No. 18United Daughters of the Confederacy, re-lit the great light with Mr. T. Guy Woolford, Commandant of the Old Guard by her side.
Time Magazine wrote:
“The film has almost everything the book has in the way of spectacle, drama, practically endless story and the means to make them bigger and better. The burning of Atlanta, the great ‘boom’ shots of the Confederate wounded lying in the streets and the hospital after the Battle of Atlanta are spectacle enough for any picture, and unequaled.”
2011 marks the 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States. Please see a video by the Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans that is airing on National TV to commemorate this period of American History.Calvin E. Johnson Jr. -- Bio and Archives | Click to view Comments