It’s been 70 years now, almost too long for even the rare Atlanta natives to remember it, but the talk of the town then was all about the “Gone With the Wind” premiere at Loew’s Grand Theater. It sounds like the entire town was giddy with flashbulbs, hoop skirts and autographs. Here are dozens more images from the 1939 premiere.
As an AJC headline explained it 50 years after the debut, it was three days that “rocked” Atlanta. (I posted that 50th anniversary story last year in another blog. It’s still worth a read.)
The Gone With the Wind Museum in Marietta will celebrate the 70th anniversary this weekend with a costume ball, movie screening, autograph signings — a full two days worth of events. But I’ll admit, I wondered, too, why the “re-premiere,” as they call it, was rocking 18 miles to the north.
AJCer Ralph Ellis answered this question in this story with help from Connie Sutherland, the museum director:
But how is it that Marietta managed to become a Windie city when other spots have stronger claims to the “Gone With the Wind” legacy?
Atlanta, for instance, has the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown, where most of the novel was written. Much of the novel and movie were set south of Atlanta in Jonesboro in Clayton County, which the Mitchell estate and the Georgia Legislature have declared the official home of “Gone With the Wind.”
Sutherland, a confessed Scarlett wannabe, says fiddle dee dee.
“Why not Marietta?” she asks. “We’re 18 miles north of Atlanta. … If you want to get technical, we are mentioned in the book. It’s a natural thing.”
(In the novel, Frank Kennedy did business in Marietta. He was engaged to Suellen O’Hara, but Scarlett stole him away to get money to pay the taxes on Tara.)
Based more on business than a fleeting mention, however, Marietta opened its Gone With the Wind Museum in 2002. A collector offered to lease his memorabilia to the city and the leaders “thought it would be a good tourist attraction,” Mayor Bill Dunaway said.
That’s not the only talk of Southern movie premiere’s lately. Over at The Wren’s Nest blog, museum director Lain Shakespeare posted the program for Disney’s “Song of the South,” which premiered 63 years ago this week. (Here are more photos from that premiere.) The 63rd anniversary typically isn’t a bonanza year, but there was more talk of releasing it on DVD and Blu-ray this year, too.
Want to go? “70 years of ‘Gone With the Wind’: A Re-Premiere,” Nov. 13-14. $325 for the weekend, individual event or day tickets available $25-$150. Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum, 18 Whitlock Ave., Marietta. 770-794-5576, www.mariettaga.gov/gwtw.
For instant updates, follow @insideaccess on Twitter.