On Friday, December 15, 1939, Gone With the Wind debuted in Atlanta at the Loew’s Grand Theatre.
A crowd of almost 18,000 people turned out to see the arrival of the stars. Clark Gable’s appearance caused some women to scream with joy and others to faint dead away.
The premiere was covered by radio stations, and Gable made a gentlemanly request of the audience when it was his turn at the microphone: “Tonight I am here just as a spectator. I want to see Gone with the Wind the same as you do. This is Margaret Mitchell’s night and the people of Atlanta’s night. Allow me to see Gone With the Wind as a spectator.”
And what a night it was.
In the speeches that followed the premiere, Margaret Mitchell – for the first time – shared her feelings about the film. She thanked David O. Selznick “on behalf of me and my poor Scarlett” for “the grand things these actors have done.”
With tears in his eyes, Selznick basked in the unrestrained praise and the audience’s thunderous ovation. The endless trouble and months of hard work were finally worth it.
Happy 75th Anniversary, Gone With the Wind!
Special 75th Anniversary Offer for Gone With the Wind fans: free personally inscribed, autographed bookplate for readers of The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book. Details here: http://paulinebartel.com/blog/?p=1793
Blog Bio: Pauline Bartel is the author of The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book (2nd edition) and an expert on the film and its history. Visit the website (www.paulinebartel.com/resources/books/books-available) for further information. Follow her on Twitter @PaulineBartel and “like” her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheCompleteGWTWTriviaBook).