Today with all the social media sites, instagrams and tweets I thought the best Christmas present might be to save you from another social media category…the “twits” who clamor onto a site and share information that is negative and inaccurate,….and can leave those seeking to connect with the Gone With the Story a little frustrated, going in the wrong direction, spending money that they might not have spent and disabused of the facts (“told the wrong stuff” as we say down south). So today let me give you a few pieces of information and advice before you step out into that great big Gone with the Wind world!
*All the filming of Gone with the Wind (per the written statement of Wilbur Kurtz, historical consultant on set during the filming) was done in Hollywood. There were no shots made in Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, or Mobile, Alabama. Boon Hall wasn’t put to celluloid nor was a stair way in a New York City Hotel. There is a grist mill in Arkansas that was filmed and that film was later used in GWTW but was NOT shot for GWTW (see the difference).
* After the film came out in 1939 there was a plethora (for my redneck neighbors and high school friends that means a lot) of copycat houses built to resemble Tara and thus there are “Tara’s” all over the country. Therefore on your way to the grocery store, the football game or to visit family out of state you may see Tara in such places as Covington, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas (to name a few). Remember, the idea in Hollywood was to create Tara in a historical way on set so there are going to be many that resemble it…but only one that was it in the film…and it’s the center piece of my Saving Tara Project in Georgia.
*According to Margaret Mitchell (once in again in writing), her Tara was based on “Rural Home” the 1835 Plantation House inhabited by her great grandfather Phillip Fitzgerald and his wife, Ms. Ellen just south of Jonesboro, Georgia…so there really was a Tara in Margaret’s experience. As for the Tara on the screen it was based on the writings of Mitchell, blended with a number of photos and views by the Selznick team which created something that Mitchell herself said she would laugh at when it appeared on the screen at the Premier in 1939.
* A number of places (including many in metro Atlanta, Georgia) claim to be the model for Tara and of this claim I say,… “unless it’s written in the hand of those who created the iconic movie home, it is no more than a claim and thus suspect”.
* And finally, let me encourage all who find the story in Gone with the Wind (whether book, movie, sequel or whatever) to enjoy that which they find satisfying and ignore those who seek to tear down your appreciations. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good story and this, my friends is a good story.
I’ll be coming back to share more of the interesting tales, side stories and connections that I think just add to the volume of work surrounding Gone with the Wind…but this will be enough for today.
Monday evening, December 15, 2014 I will be speaking, signing books and displaying pieces from the Tara façade and the Lowes Grand at the Highlands Playhouse in Highlands, North Carolina. I hope to see many of you there.
Happy 75th Anniversary to the greatest movie of all time and to the Tara façade that is the center piece of this, the Saving Tara Project.