So once you find your movie icon stacked in an old barn amid lawn chairs, farm sinks and go carts, what are going to do to proclaim it, preserve it and present it (Yes, I was once a preacher and we tend alliterate everything, and No, you cannot use my three points)?
Before the work began on the Tara façade the word had to be sent out that it existed and that I had a contract with the owners that gave me permission to start working. A domain name (saving tara) was acquired and a facebook page was created and stories were written along with a few photos of the beginnings of the work. The work in the barn was in videotaping and photographing the inside (and outside) of the place to show proof it existed. I have learned to never take the proof for granted because there are still those who come to this site daily and say they heard that Tara was destroyed long ago.
The first day that the volunteers showed up to work, they all took a handful of paper inventory tags and a magic marker and added new tags to the old ones that were barely hanging on after 20+ years. Every tag was documented on a list and we even documented the undocumented! The pieces were then taken out of the barn and cleaned with a brush to simply remove the dirt while the concrete floor got more than one going over with a broom. No piece, no matter how small was discarded as there was no idea what might be useful and what might be THE piece that holds another story or completes a picture.
The larger pieces such as the intact windows were the first to receive a “cradle” or “flat” as they say in the theater world. I built a 2×4 frame around the individual windows to allow them to be up off the floor and to be seen as they wood in a wall. I did this without the use of any glues or epoxy so that there would be nothing more than screws to remove if and when “the cavalry came” and I received help from restoration experts. No experts have shown up so I am continuing to simply cradle the items for display and do nothing to remove any of the original paint (from GWTW) that still covers the items. We are no at the point in the process where the volunteers are spending their time sorting and piecing more things to together and finding new clues…oh, and sweeping…always sweeping.
While many have promised they would come and view the Tara façade, “when it’s finished” the fact is that tours of the Tara façade have been going on for the past 6 months. The first 20 folks saw the Tara façade very near the anniversary of its arrival in Georgia, June 1959 (June 2014, … 55 years later) and groups have been walking among the fields of the Crawford-Talmadge Plantation to hear the stories and connections ever since. The pieces have not all been restored, the building is still an old dairy barn with broken windows and no electricity…but inside stands the original pieces of the most iconic movie set of all time and whether it stays in the barn for the next twenty years or gets a shiny new building to reside in,….it will still be Tara,…the movie home of the O’Hara’s in what is still the highest grossing movie of all time.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a shave, shower and sustenance (breakfast).