This morning I’ll be meeting another little group at the big iron gates so they can see the Tara façade. Funny thing is that for me,…it never gets old. I love sharing the experience with others who come because they are big Gone with the Wind fans or they come because there are few places in the world to see pieces of a famous movie set or they come just to say they visited the site and helped save a piece of history or support Georgia tourism.
Yes, the “newness” has worn off and I no longer gasp when I open the big door to the barn, but I still find new things and make new discoveries and come across questions to be answered. The Tara façade was dismantled in Hollywood in 1959 and then shipped to Atlanta and until now has not had anyone seriously try to reattach its many parts so that it can viewed, so as the puzzle is put together there are always new “aha moments”.
Recently I had the opportunity to share the tour with a Hollywood director from the days of the black lots and he said that many of the pieces in the barn would have been used for both the shots of the façade and also taken onto the sound stage and used there too. That is where I got the information that the tall inner shutters we have in the barn are the same ones that framed the window with the green velvet drapes that Scarlett had Mammy made into a new dress.
The question that came up yesterday was whether the cathedral window was one of three or one of two or one of one (I know it’s confusing but try to keep up). Was it simply attached to the Tara façade and others were used in the shooting of the Yankee and the cotton picking scene or was the one in the barn simply taken off the façade and moved around as needed? Well I have no scientific evidence to back up my opinion other than what my eyes have seen but I think there had to be at least two of the cathedral windows since ours appears to be static (no window to open) and the one at the shooting scene was opened by Melly as she called out to the others to say that the gun shot was simply an accident. Taking into account the directors statement that the pieces on the façade could be taken down and used in a shot and then reattached to the façade I believe there were at least two of the cathedral windows used on the set.
But I have little time now to discuss this further for its time to suit up for the day and make the trek back to the old dairy barn for another round of tours and discoveries. Keep thinking, and reading and sharing,… for history, like peeling an onion is done slowly and carefully…to avoid the tears.
I’ll be looking for you up at the gate.