Following the Atlanta premiere, Gone With the Wind blew to New York City and hit the Big Apple with hurricane force. Simultaneous “premieres” were held on Tuesday, December 19, 1939, at the Astor Theatre and at the Loew’s Capitol Theatre.
The opening night at the Capitol was covered by a new medium – television – that broadcast to several hundred television sets in the area the arrival of the stars and special guests.
Among the attending glitterati were:
- Olivia de Havilland, featured in the film as Melanie, who was escorted by Jimmy Stewart
- Barbara O’Neil, featured in the film as Ellen O’Hara, who was escorted by Joshua Logan
- Ann Rutherford, featured in the film as Carreen O’Hara
- Ona Munson, featured in the film as Belle Watling
- Laura Hope Crews, featured in the film as Aunt Pittypat
- Joan Bennett who was escorted by Woolie Donahue
- Alice Faye who was escorted by Tony Martin
- Myron Selznick, the brother of producer David O. Selznick
Otherwise engaged for the evening, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh did not attend. But the Capitol’s inner lobby was graced with enormous portraits of the actor as Rhett and the actress as Scarlett, allowing the stars to be there in spirit.
Most city newspapers sent reviewers to cover one or the other premiere, but the New York Daily News dispatched a reviewer to each theater. (To be continued…)
Happy 75th Anniversary, Gone With the Wind!
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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).