gone with the wind premiere

1. Tickets for the premiere went on sale at Loews Grand Theater on November 18, 1939.

2. The premiere festivities lasted from December 13-15, 1939.

3. Ann Rutherford (Careen O’Hara) was the first star to arrive, on December 13. She was given the key to the city.

4. One of Ann’s first stops was at the Atlanta Journal newspaper offices, where she requested to see where Margaret Mitchell worked. She had her picture taken at the typewriter Ms. Mitchell used.

5. Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara) arrived on December 13, accompanied by Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Wilkes), Mr. and Mrs. Selznick and Laurence Olivier.

6. Evelyn Keyes (Suellen O’Hara) and Ona Munson (Belle Watling) also arrived on December 13.

clark gable carole lombard gone with the wind

7. Arriving on December 14 were Laura Hope Crews (Aunt Pittypat), Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

8. The American Airlines airplane that brought Clark and Carole to Atlanta was painted “MGM Gone with the Wind Special Flight to Atlanta Premiere.”

9. Director Victor Fleming was not happy about having to attend the premiere. He backed out when his dear friend Douglas Fairbanks Sr. died on December 12. The funeral was held at Forest Lawn at the same time as the premiere; Fleming was a pallbearer.

10. 300,000 people crowded Peachtree Street in Atlanta to get a glimpse of the stars in the motorcade.

11. Speaking in front of the Georgian Terrace Hotel: David O. Selznick, Evelyn Keyes, Kay Kyser, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard and Vivien Leigh.

12. The stars were gifted with Wedgewood Ware tea and coffee sets, painted with highlights of Atlanta’s 100 year history.

13. A press party was held on December 14 at the Georgian Terrace Hotel.

14. The cast stayed at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, with the exception of Vivien Leigh who stayed at a private residence, along with Laurence Olivier.

15. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed in the royal suite, rooms 918-19-20.

16. The Atlanta Junior League Ball was attended by the cast on the evening of December 14,

17. The next day the Atlanta newspaper printed a detailed account of nearly every ballgown that each woman wore to the ball.

18 .On December 15 the stars attended a showing of the Battle of Atlanta at the Cyclorama.

clark gable gone with the wind



19. A press party was held at the Piedmont Driving Club after the Cyclorama event, where the stars mingled with Margaret Mitchell.

20. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard met up with his uncle Charlie Gable, who owned a movie theater in Florida and came up to Atlanta for the chance to see his nephew.


21. Original costumes from the film were shipped to Atlanta and were on display in department stores during the premiere festivities. Among them: Scarlett’s wedding gown, Rhett’s Twelve Oaks barbecue suit and Scarlett’s curtain dress.

22. The movie began at 8:15pm.

23. The cost of a ticket to the premiere was $10.

24. Since Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were both married to others, his attendance at the premiere was explained as he was there “on his own business” and escorted Olivia de Havilland to the ball and the film.

25. Carole Lombard’s premiere gown was lavender satin, with a matching coat and organza hood.

26. Loews Grand Theater could seat 2,031 people.

27. Among the celebrities attending who were not in the film: Claudette Colbert, Ginny Sims, Kay Kyser and golfer Bobby Jones.

28. Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes) did not attend the premiere, as he had returned to his native England to aid in the war effort.

clark gable gone with the wind

29. Arrangements had been made to sneak Clark and Carole in and out of the various premiere events, but Clark refused those arrangements, saying ” Listen, I came here. They begged me to come. The people want to see me. I don’t want to go ducking in back doors.”

30. Hattie McDaniel did not attend the premiere, as Georgia was segregated in 1939 and she would not have been permitted to stay in the same hotel or sit in the same theater as the white stars.

31. As Clark and Carole rode down Peachtree Street in the motorcade, women threw their gloves, hats, and yes, even their underwear at him.

32. Clark would only attend the premiere if he could fly separately from David Selznick.

33. The premiere program was 18 pages and featured essays from the film’s stars.

gone with the wind

34. Pictures from the premiere all show Vivien Leigh in her fur coat, so her dress is not seen. Her gown was gold lame’, quilted in a rose pattern and featured gold sequins. It was designed by Walter Plunkett, the costume designer of GWTW.

35. Thirty young ladies from Weslyan College were selected to be hostesses at Loews, all dressed in antebellum costumes.

36. Several surviving Confederate veterans attended, all in their nineties.

37. In the foyer of the theater, a sign read” Gone with the Wind: Never in a Lifetime Have Eyes Beheld Its Equal.”

38. The back of the sign read: “Gone with the Wind Will Not Be Shown Anywhere Except at Advanced Prices–At Least Until 1941. Buy Reserved Seats Now”

clark gable carole lombard

39. Five 800-million candlepower searchlights were used for the premiere, borrowed from the 214th Coast Artillery’s anti-aircraft unit. These, in addition to MGM searchlights and the hundreds of flashbulbs flashing, made the night sky light up like day.

40. A 13 year old boy named Nathan Teplies broke through the barricades to meet Clark and Carole. The police tried to push him away but the Gables smiled and insisted on shaking the boy’s hand.

41. Among the promotion items available at Atlanta department stores during the premiere festivities: A motion picture edition of the book, a 2-volume edition of the book, luggage tags, compacts, handkerchiefs, nail polish, perfume, jewelry, stationary, dolls, candies, scarves, dresses, sports coats, hosiery, slips,  window treatments, toothpaste, cookbooks,  and games.


42.Six thousand people attended a jamboree featuring Kay Kyser on the night of the premiere, arranged by the premiere committee so that there was something to do for those who could not obtain a ticket to the film.

43. The governor of Georgia had declared December 15 a state holiday and government offices and most business were closed.

44. Later in his life, Clark’s memories of the premiere were limited to how nice the people of Atlanta were and how beautiful Carole had looked. “People were just agog at Ma–she was so beautiful. They were all at her feet.”

45. Clark did not see the film before the premiere–and didn’t see all of it until the mid 1940’s. He fell asleep.clark gable vivien leigh margaret mitchell olivia de hailland david selznick gone with the wind

Photos from the set of Gone with the Wind:

Quotes from Rhett Butler, Part 2:

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“Would you satisfy my curiosity on a point which has bothered me for some time?….Tell me, Scarlett, do you never shrink from marrying men you don’t love?”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“And to think you could have had my millions if you’d just waited a bit longer. How fickle is woman.”

clark gable gone with the wind

“What a woman!”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“You’ve been married to a boy and an old man. Why not marry one the right age, with a way with women?”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“Forgive me for startling you with the impetuosity of my sentiments, my dear Scarlett–I mean, my dear Mrs. Kennedy. But it cannot have escaped your notice that for some time past the friendship I have felt for you has ripened into a deeper feeling. A feeling more beautiful, more pure, more sacred. Dare I name it? Can it be love? ”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“This is an honorable proposal of marriage made at what I consider a most opportune moment. I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands!”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“I want you to faint. This is what you were meant for. None of the fools you’ve ever know have kissed you like this, have they? Not your Charles, or your Frank, or your stupid Ashley. ”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“I’m very drunk and I intend on getting drunker before this evening’s over.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“You have her duds ready or I warn you…I have always thought a good lashing with a buggy whip would benefit you immensely!”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“It seems we’ve been at cross purposes, doesn’t it? But it’s no use now. As long as there was Bonnie, there was a chance that we might be happy. I liked to think that Bonnie was you, a little girl again, before the war, and poverty had done things to you. She was so like you, and I could pet her, and spoil her, as I wanted to spoil you. But when she went, she took everything.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“Take my hankerchief. Never at any crisis in your life have I known you to have a handkerchief.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Over the years, I’ve chatted with Gone with the Wind fans about their favorite quotes. Many of them come from the spirited and somewhat heartless Scarlett, many from hilarious Mammy, even some from Melanie and Ashley. But, hands down, more people say that Rhett has all the best lines.

All year long, I have been posting some of them on the website’s Facebook page. And here are some highlights (Part 1):

“I think it’s hard winning a war with words, gentlemen.”

clark gable gone with the wind

“Whewww…Has the war started?”

clark gable gone with the wind

“And you miss, are no lady…I consider it a compliment. Ladies have never held any stole with me.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“I believe in Rhett Butler; he’s the only cause I know. The rest doesn’t mean much to me.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“With enough courage you can do without a reputation.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“You little hypocrite. You don’t mind my knowing about them, just my talking about them.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“I’m not asking you to forgive me. I’ll never understand or forgive myself. And if a bullet gets me, so help me, I’ll laugh at myself for being an idiot. There’s one thing I do know… and that is that I love you, Scarlett. In spite of you and me and the whole silly world going to pieces around us, I love you. Because we’re alike. Bad lots, both of us. Selfish and shrewd. But able to look things in the eyes as we call them by their right names. Scarlett! Look at me! I’ve loved you more than I’ve ever loved any woman and I’ve waited for you longer than I’ve ever waited for any woman.”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

“Here’s a soldier of the South who loves you, Scarlett. Wants to feel your arms around him, wants to carry the memory of your kisses into battle with him. Never mind about loving me, you’re a woman sending a soldier to his death with a beautiful memory. Scarlett, kiss me, kiss me… once… ”

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

Part2 coming next Wednesday!

Great News: FINALLY Gone with the Wind is being re-released on the big screen to commemorate the 75th Anniversary!

Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment invite you to celebrate one of the most beloved Hollywood classics when Gone With the Wind: The 75th Anniversary Celebration comes to select movie theaters nationwide on Sunday, September 28 and Wednesday, October 1. Experience the incredible story behind this 10-time Academy Award® winning masterpiece. Fully remastered and with a specially produced introduction by TCM host Robert Osborne, this event is one you will not want to miss.

The film will be shown in the same aspect ratio as it was originally shown 75 years ago. Bonus content not rated.

To see if it’s coming to a screen near you, visit: Fathom Events


clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

Clark Gable’s home state of Ohio will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of Gone with the Wind this October! Patrick Curtis and Mickey Kuhn (toddler Beau and child Beau in the film) will be in attendance!


Friday, October 3 at the Cadiz Country Club in Cadiz, Ohio:

5:30pm–Dinner, Play and Open Forum with Patrick and Mickey


Saturday, October 4 at the Tuscarawas County Branch of Kent University Performing Arts Center in New Philadelphia, Ohio:

11:00am–Exhibits and Sales Tables

1:00pm–Forum with Patrick and Mickey

2:00pm–Auction of Memorabilia

4:30pm–Screening of Gone with the Wind

For further information and to obtain tickets, contact the Clark Gable Foundation at (614) 942-4989.

I am happy to report that I will be attending this event! I am going to be cruising around through Cadiz (where Clark was born) and Hopedale (where Clark grew up)! I am hoping to hit all the Clark sites there are to see while I am there. I am so looking forward to walking in Clark’s footsteps through Ohio–and report back, of course!



clark gable photoplay gone with the windHere is an article from Photoplay magazine in February 1940 in which Clark dispels some rumors about Vivien Leigh, his feelings toward playing Rhett Butler, and his marriage to Carole Lombard.

Some quotes:

On the challenge of playing Rhett Butler:

“…my mind was preoccupied with Rhett Butler. He had me plenty worried, so worried that I didn’t want to play him.

Don’t think that was because I didn’t realize what a fat part he was. Rhett is one of the greatest male characters ever created. I knew that. I’d read the entire book through six times, trying to get his moods. I’ve still got a copy in my dressing room and I still read it once in a while, because I know I’ll probably never get such a terrific role again. But what was worrying me, and still is, was that from the moment I was cast as Rhett Butler I started out with five million critics.

About all the handicap an actor ordinarily has is two or three professional critics to a city which adds up for the whole world to about one large theater’s matinee business. Those birds may rap you and while you’d prefer their praise, still you can take those raps, if need be, hoping that the public which makes up all the millions of other movie-goers will like you regardless. But five million people have read “Gone with the Wind” and each must have his or her own idea of how Rhett should be played.

There was not only that, but I had an accent to think of, long hair to wear, and twenty-six costume changes—more than Carole has ever had in any one of her pictures (which brought me in for lots of ribbing from that one, too).”

On his wedding to Carole:

It has been written since then that Carole and I had that wedding day planned out for months in advance, but that’s not true. It happened this way. On the afternoon of March 28, I was finished with my scenes about three in the afternoon. While I was taking off my make-up, the assistant director came over and said I didn’t need to work the next day. I called Carole at once and with the aid of a close friend, we headed put that night to Kingman, Arizona. We took Otto along, not only to untangle any difficulties we might get into, but because he had a new car without license plates which meant we wouldn’t be spotted.

We were married at three-thirty that afternoon and left at five-thirty, getting home the next morning at three. Carole’s mother was there, all excited, which kept us up till five. Finally we got to sleep, only to be awakened at nine to discover forty cameramen, three newsreel men and twenty reporters waiting out in the front yard to interview us. Under the circumstances, David gave me another day off.

But the next morning when I reported at the studio, ready for the prison sequence, I discovered Vic had switched things on me and was prepared to do the wedding scene, only this day my bride was Vivien. David had engaged a full orchestra which was gurgling through the wedding march and whole I knew it was all a rib on me, I blew up in the first take. The stage hands all groaned, Vivien asked solicitously what was the matter with me, and Vic said, “It’s just that Clark has always been shy of girls.”

On Vivien Leigh:

As for any possibility of Vivien Leigh’s falling in love with me I knew that was out from our first glance. For never have I seen any girl more completely in love than that one is—with Laurence Olivier. It’s as visible as a Neon sign that she can’t think or talk of or dream about anything or anyone else on earth—except when she’s on the set. When she’s on the set, she’s what a good actress should be. She’s all business.

As for my falling in love with her, I’m sure that could have been plenty pleasant except that, added to her lack of interest in me, I didn’t have any heart to give away, either. Mine was staked out to that Lombard girl who is mighty beautiful and brainy. Carole and I weren’t married when Vivien and I first met, but we did marry while I was working on the picture and there’s a story about our wedding that has never been told and which I’ll get to presently.

I’ll be truthful about it, however; I’ll confess that the first time I saw her I doubted that Vivien could really play Scarlett. That reaction shows I’m no casting director. But, accustomed to the more abandoned and superficial personalities of Hollywood girls, Vivien seemed too demure to me, at that first meeting, for the vivid, relentless Scarlett.

David Selznick introduced us to each other at a dinner party at his home. Vivien was wearing a very plain, tailored dress. She’s much tinier in real life than she appears on the screen, and since she uses little make-up she has a very young, unsophisticated air. Besides, she had all the fires banked that evening and that Olivier guy was her escort.

Now I know I should have stopped to consider all that. But having seen Vivien only in “A Yank at Oxford”, in which she didn’t have a lot to do, I just looked at her that first evening at David’s and wondered if that keen-minded producer had gone haywire when he signed her.

I knew he hadn’t the first day Vivien and I got on a set together.

Read the article in its entirety in The Article Archive.

Let’s take a look at the stars of Gone with the Wind before they starred in their iconic roles 75 years ago…

Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara)

vivien leigh


Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Wilkes)

olivia de havilland


Ann Rutherford (Carreen O’Hara)

ann rutherford

Evelyn Keyes (Suellen O’Hara)

evelyn keyes



Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes)

leslie howard

Barbara O’Neill (Ellen O’Hara)

barbara oneill

Thomas Mitchell (Gerald O’Hara)

thomas mitchell

and…a young Clark Gable (Rhett Butler)clark gable


vivien leigh gone with the wind

A short little interview with Vivien Leigh from November 1939:

When David O’ Selznick shortly releases Margaret Mitchell’s famous story, “Gone with the Wind,” a little English girl, born in India, will be under the guns of Hollywood. For the comparative newcomer, Vivien Leigh, landed the role every actress in the movie colony longed to play. Is Miss Leigh, the Scarlett O’Hara of the film, afraid?

“Why afraid?” returns Miss Leigh coolly. “All that talk of hundreds of actresses trying for the part was publicity, a lot of it on the part of other studios. Actually less than a dozen made tests. Norma Shearer, who had considered the part, sent me a swell letter of congratulation after I was chosen.

“I got the role by chance. I came over from London to spend a single week in the Hollywood colony. One nighty I went to a party at Myron Selznick’s home. He suggested that we go over to his brother’s studio to watch the mimic burning of Richmond. Although they had not cast the principal roles, they were shooting some of the spectacular scenes. While we stood by, Myron Selznick said jokingly, “’How about a test for Scarlett?’ I took the test next day and got the part. I started in January, worked twenty-two weeks straight with only five free days. I hardly saw anything of Hollywood. I was too tired after work to go about, and I slept through the free days.

The film carries Scarlett from the age of sixteen to twenty-eight. It was easy to look the part until about June. I’m twenty-two but even so the strain began to show then. I felt a million years old. I’d say to myself, ‘Now, can I look twenty-eight?’ and worry.

“It isn’t as hard as you would think for an English girl to play a Dixie heroine. We English often drop our r’s and we talk in a lackadaisical way. The dialect came easy. Indeed, the director would tell me every now and then, ‘Not too Southern, Viven!’ And those rumored quarrels with Clark Gable who played Rhett Butler. We finally came to joke about the reports. We’d say when we’d meet in the morning, ‘What’ll we quarrel about today?’”

Still, in spite of all her confidence, Miss Leigh is on the firing line—or will be, now that “Gone with the Wind” is to be released. The part will make or break her.

Although she has the most coveted role in years, Miss Leigh still is unknown. She went about New York recently unrecognized, even toured the World’s Fair unobserved. It will be different after the release of the picture. She will be a name and a face then, I trust.

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

Seventy-five years ago this week, on June 27, 1939,  Clark Gable uttered what was to be the sentence that followed him around the rest of his life and beyond–“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

June 27 was the the last day of principal filming on Gone with the Wind, and even though the film was not shot in sequence at all, it happened to be the day they filmed the very last scene.

clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind

Here’s some trivia regarding that famous last scene and that enduring line:

The original line in the book is “My dear, I don’t give a damn.” Producer David O. Selznick threw in the “Frankly” for emphasis.

Director Victor Fleming also filmed a version of the scene in which Rhett says, “Frankly my dear, I just don’t care.” in case the censors didn’t approve the use of the word “damn.”

There’s a rumor that persists to this day that the Motion Picture Association fined Selznick $5,000 for the use of the word “damn,” but actually the MPA passed an amendment to the Production Code on November 1, 1939, that forbade use of the words “hell” or “damn” except when their use “shall be essential and required for portrayal, in proper historical context, of any scene or dialogue based upon historical fact or folklore … or a quotation from a literary work, provided that no such use shall be permitted which is intrinsically objectionable or offends good taste.” With that amendment in place, the MPA had no reason to fine Selznick.

There is also a persistent rumor that Gone with the Wind was the first film to feature the word “damn,” which is ridiculous. The word was uttered dozens of times in Hollywood’s precode era, even appearing in print in silents in 1925.

Selznick rewrote the final scene several times, finally completing it to his own satisfaction the night before shooting began.

MGM head honcho Louis B. Mayer wanted to end the film  with Scarlett racing out of the house after Rhett and him embracing her in the street.

The final scene of the movie was supposed to be Scarlett standing against a fence, gazing at Tara. The scene was shot, but only a few stills remain.

In 2005, The American Film Institute voted “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” as the #1 movie line of all time.


clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind frankly my dear clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind frankly my dear clark gable vivien leigh gone with the wind frankly my dear