How Olivia de Havilland Won the Role of Melanie in GWTW

A book to celebrate GWTW's 75th Anniversary!
A book to celebrate GWTW’s 75th Anniversary!

RKO actress Joan Fontaine received a message that director George Cukor wanted her to read for GWTW. Oh, what she wouldn’t give to play Scarlett! But when she arrived for her appointment, she discovered that the director had her in mind for Melanie. Since that role held no interest for her, she suggested that Cukor test her sister, Olivia de Havilland. 

De Havilland was hungry for Melanie. And she knew that her competition was stiff: Elizabeth Allan, Andrea Leeds, Ann Shirley, and Frances Dee had tested for the role. She read for the part at Cukor’s office, and he suggested that she read for producer David O. Selznick. 

Several days later, de Havilland replayed the same scene in Selznick’s house with Cukor taking the role of Scarlett. When de Havilland finished, Selznick decided that she was Melanie and offered her the role on the spot. She was joyous, but then her emotions crashed to the floor. Jack L. Warner would never let her accept the part. 

De Havilland was a contract player at Warner Bros. When her career began there in the 1930s, she was cast opposite handsome Errol Flynn. The combination worked. Dashing Flynn and doe-eyed de Havilland starred in a string of hero-rescues-damsel-in-distress films from Captain Blood to Robin Hood. But as Flynn’s career soared, de Havilland’s seemed permanently grounded. 

Against her was Warner’s star system that favored male actors such as Cagney, Robinson, and Bogart. Plus, the reigning queen of the lot, Bette Davis, was not easily dethroned. So there really was no place for de Havilland’s career to go unless she sought roles outside the studio. And this, according to Jack L. Warner, was verboten.

True to his dictates, Warner’s response was a resounding “No” when de Havilland approached him about taking on the role of Melanie. He also feared that once de Havilland had a taste of freedom she would be unwilling to return to the shackles of the studio system.  

But Warner underestimated demure de Havilland. Rather than accept Warner’s verdict as the final word, this iron-willed magnolia decided to appeal to someone who could change her boss’s mind: his wife. 

De Havilland invited Ann Page Warner for tea at the Beverly Hills Brown Derby and poured out the details of her plight. Mrs. Warner, a former actress, was sympathetic and pledged to do what she could. With such a powerful force at work, Jack L. Warner soon capitulated.  

Soon, Olivia de Havilland found herself at the Selznick International Pictures’ studio on the set of Gone With the Wind in the role of Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, and Hollywood would never be the same. 

Happy 100th birthday, Ms. De Havilland! Gone With the Wind fans all over the world love you!

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).

Posted in Gone With the Wind | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Gone with the Wind Published 80 Years Ago Today

A book to celebrate GWTW's 75th Anniversary!
A book to celebrate GWTW’s 75th Anniversary!

June 30, 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of Gone with the Wind. What many fans of Margaret Mitchell’s novel don’t realize is that editions of the book bearing a June 1936 publication date are not first editions. How can that be? Here’s the scoop:

Macmillan, the publisher, initially ordered 10,000 copies of Gone with the Wind to be printed in time for the novel’s formal release on May 5, 1936. But then The Book-of-the-Month Club named Gone with the Wind its feature selection for July 1936. Because of this, Macmillan delayed the formal release date for Gone with the Wind to June 30, 1936. The publisher still shipped copies of the novel to bookstores in May.

Word-of-mouth news about Gone with the Wind accelerated the public’s demand for the new book. Macmillan ordered three subsequent printings during the month of June. Before the official release date had even arrived, a total of 100,000 copies of Gone with the Wind were in print.

That confused first-edition book collectors. Copies of Gone with the Wind purchased at publication bore “Published in June” on the copyright page, yet earlier copies carried “Published in May.” Collectors flooded Macmillan with requests for clarification. As a result, Macmillan was compelled to send out form letters explaining that copies of the novel with the May publication date were the real first editions.

Bookstores were unable to keep Gone with the Wind on the shelves or in their window displays. Proprietors complained that bookstore windows were broken and that thieves were making off with copies of the novel.

One month after publication, 201,000 copies of Gone with the Wind were in print. By September 1936, with 370,000 copies in print, Gone with the Wind was declared the fastest-selling book in history. The one-millionth copy of Gone with the Wind was printed on December 15, 1936. Macmillan made this most significant volume a gift to author Margaret Mitchell.

Happy 80th anniversary, Gone with the Wind!

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).

Posted in Gone With the Wind | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

30th Business Anniversary Kick Off for The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce

2016 Award WinnersCongratulations to our client, The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, on reaching its 30th business anniversary. The Chamber kicked off the celebration of this milestone year at the Spring 2016 annual awards dinner. More than 300 Chamber members and guests in attendance made the occasion a true “sell”-abration of business. 

Here’s What We Did: The symbol of the 30th business anniversary is Pearl, and our theme for the Chamber’s anniversary year – “Otsego County: The Pearl of New York State” – was on display at the awards dinner.  

We asked members to donate items for use as door prizes. The give-aways included products, gift certificates for services and special offers, showing recipients why the donor companies are such a great part of Otsego County. For extra fun, we asked companies to tag each donation with a business card and to share on the back of each card a “Pearl of Wisdom” that demonstrated why the company is successful. A special table filled with an abundance of these items greeted guests and served as a powerful statement about the best of business in Otsego County. 

Introducing the Honorees: 

  • NYCM Insurance (www.nycm.com) was named Distinguished Business of the Year, an award which “recognizes an Otsego County Chamber of Commerce business which has demonstrated successful economic growth, has a strong commitment to the Otsego County business community, and made a sustained and substantial impact in the community.”
  • John Remillard was named the recipient of the Eugene A. Bettiol, Jr., Distinguished Citizen Award, an honor “given to a citizen of Otsego County who is committed to enhancing the quality of life in Otsego County, has made a long-term impact on our region and who gives back to community through their leadership.”
  • Oneonta Family YMCA (www.oneontaymca.org) was named the recipient of the Quality of Life Award, which is “given to a business or individual who has involvement in the community and has significantly contributed to the overall quality of life in Otsego County and its citizens through its programming and/or activities and has made a significant, substantial contribution in the previous year to the social, civic, or charitable health and well-being of Otsego County.” 

Congratulations to the award winners! Congratulations to The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce for a successful launch of its 30th business anniversary!  

Blogger Bio: Pauline Bartel, M.A., is President and Chief Creative Officer of Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications consultancy. One of the company’s specialties is business anniversary marketing.

Bartel Communications created “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™,” rosters of business anniversary symbols to inspire two centuries of business anniversary “sell”-abrations.

Through The Bartel Way™, an integrated marketing and public relations strategy, Bartel Communications uses business anniversaries as showcases for a company’s products and services. This engages customers, drives sales and transforms the anniversary into a “sell”-abration. For further information, visit www.paulinebartel.com/services/corporate-services/business-anniversary-consulting

Posted in Marketing, Public Relations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

76th Anniversary of Gone With the Wind’s Oscar Wins

A book to celebrate GWTW's 75th Anniversary!

A book to celebrate GWTW’s 75th Anniversary!

On February 29, 1940, Hollywood was abuzz and aglitter with Oscar fever. As was the custom, the names of the Oscar winners were revealed in advance to the press, with newspapers making a solemn promise not to break the news before the ceremonies. But one newspaper couldn’t contain the excitement.

The Los Angeles Times printed the names of the winners and splashed Gone With the Wind in banner headlines across the front page. Talk about spilling the beans!

Everyone arriving for the banquet that Thursday evening at the Cocoanut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel knew who would be picking up Oscars and who would be going home empty handed.  

With an unprecedented 13 nominations in 12 categories (double nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Gone With the Wind won a record-breaking 8 competitive Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture – Gone With the Wind
  • Best Actress – Vivien Leigh
  • Best Supporting Actress – Hattie McDaniel
  • Best Director – Victor Fleming
  • Best Screenplay – Sidney Howard
  • Best Cinematography, Color – Ernest Haller and Ray Rennahan
  • Best Art Direction – Lyle Wheeler
  • Best Film Editing – Hal C. Kern and James E. Newcom

Gone With the Wind might have swept the Academy Awards, but the film did not win in every nomination category:

  • Clark Gable lost the Best Actor Award to Robert Donat for Goodbye, Mr. Chips
  • Jack Cosgrove lost Best Special Effects Award to The Rains Came
  • Max Steiner lost the Best Original Musical Score Award to The Wizard of Oz
  • Thomas Moulton lost the Best Sound Recording Award to When Tomorrow Comes

With an impressive number of Oscar wins, Gone With the Wind gilded the lily by picking up with two more honors:

  • David O. Selznick received the honorary Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award “for the most consistent high quality of production during 1939.”
  • William Cameron Menzies received an honorary plaque “for outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production Gone With the Wind.”

The 12th annual Oscar extravaganza was a great night for Gone With the Wind. But Board members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were furious over the leak of the Oscar news by the Los Angeles Times 

This breach prompted the academy to initiate a protocol for future award presentations. Since then, the names of the winners have been sealed in envelopes by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services firm that oversees the tabulation of the voting results. This ensures that the results are, indeed, kept secret until the presenter says “And the Oscar goes to…”

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).

 

Posted in Gone With the Wind | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Selznick’s Best Picture Oscar is Missing!

A book to celebrate GWTW's 75th Anniversary!

A book to celebrate GWTW’s 75th Anniversary!

In 1999, producer David O. Selznick’s 1939 Best Picture Oscar for Gone With the Wind sold at auction for more than $1.54 million to singer Michael Jackson. The presale estimate had ranged from $200,000 to $300,000. The winning bid by the King of Pop set a new record for the sale of Hollywood memorabilia.  

After Jackson’s sudden, unexpected death in 2009, his estate inventoried the possessions the entertainer kept at his Neverland ranch and at his Los Angeles home. According to The Hollywood Reporter (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/michael-jacksons-15m-gone-wind-867610), the Gone With the Wind Best Picture Academy Award was nowhere to be found.       

Howard Weitzman, attorney for Jackson’s estate, told The Hollywood Reporter: “The estate does not know where the Gone With the Wind statuette is. We would like to have that Oscar because it belongs to Michael’s children. I’m hopeful it will turn up at some point.” 

As a Gone With the Wind fan, I hope that Selznick’s Best Picture Academy Award surfaces. I would hate to think of that Oscar remaining missing, as is the case with Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for Gone With the Wind.

In her will, McDaniel bequeathed her award to Howard University’s drama department. No official records in the university’s archives show that the institution took possession of the award, after the actress died in 1952. But students who attended Howard University in the 1960s recall seeing the award on display in the fine arts building. The award seems to have vanished in the late 1960s during a turbulent time of social unrest on campus. Over the years and to this day, efforts to find the award have been unsuccessful.

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).

 

Posted in Gone With the Wind | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

75th Anniversary of Bogart’s Classic Film

Maltese FalconFor the 75th anniversary of The Maltese Falcon, Turner Classic Movies (www.tcm.com) and Fathom Events (www.fathomevents.com) hosted a theatrical re-release of the 1941 detective thriller.

I couldn’t wait for this film-noir classic, featuring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, Mary Astor as Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Sydney Greenstreet as Kasper Gutman and Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo, to come to Saratoga Springs, NY. The film’s showing at my local cinema on February 21 marked my first time seeing on the big screen “the stuff that dreams are made of.” Other notable firsts associated with The Maltese Falcon include:

  • The first adapted screenplay written by John Huston as a solo screenwriter
  • The first film directed by John Huston
  • The first film appearance by veteran stage actor Sydney Greenstreet, making his Hollywood debut at the age of 61
  • The first and only uncredited appearance in a film by actor Walter Huston. As a gesture of good luck for his director son, Walter Huston accepted the cameo role of the ship’s captain who staggers into Sam Spade’s office with the black bird, drops the bundle and then dies.
  • The first and only Oscar nomination for Sydney Greenstreet. He was nominated for but didn’t win in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of “The Fat Man.”
  • The first of two films featuring Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. (The second was 1942’s Casablanca.)
  • The first film version of Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel that was a box-office smash. Two prior versions – 1931’s The Maltese Falcon and 1936’s Satan Met a Lady – were disappointments.  

Congratulations to The Maltese Falcon on its 75th anniversary! To quote Sam Spade: “You’re good, you’re very good.”

Blogger Bio: Pauline Bartel, M.A., is President and Chief Creative Officer of Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications consultancy. One of the company’s specialties is business anniversary marketing.

Bartel Communications created “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™,” rosters of business anniversary symbols to inspire two centuries of business anniversary “sell”-abrations.

Through The Bartel Way™, an integrated marketing and public relations strategy, Bartel Communications uses business anniversaries as showcases for a company’s products and services. This engages customers, drives sales and transforms the anniversary into a “sell”-abration. For further information, visit www.paulinebartel.com/services/corporate-services/business-anniversary-consulting

Posted in Film | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Heartbreak for Clark Gable 74 Years Ago Today

A book to celebrate GWTW's 75th Anniversary!

A book to celebrate GWTW’s 75th Anniversary!

After he completed work on Gone With the Wind, Clark Gable returned to work life at MGM and to home life with the love-of-his-life Carole Lombard. The idyllic happiness of Hollywood’s golden couple was shattered when the Japanese bombs found their targets at Pearl Harbor.

A dyed-in-the-wool patriot, Lombard helped in the war effort by traveling to her home state of Indiana in 1942 on a bond-selling tour. In Indianapolis alone, Lombard sold over $2 million in defense bonds.

She was on her way home to Gable on January 16, 1942, when, a few minutes after taking off from Las Vegas, her plan smashed into Mount Potosi. Everyone on board, including 33-year-old Lombard, her mother and MGM’s staff publicist Otto Winkler, was killed.

News of the crash stunned Hollywood, prompting an outpouring of grief and remembrance:

http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-carole-lombard-19420118-story.html

And Clark Gable’s life was altered forever.

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).

Posted in Gone With the Wind | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Will You Celebrate or SELL-abrate Your Business Anniversary This Year?

Some companies throw a party to mark a business anniversary. After all, what’s better than a catered affair with confetti and confections to celebrate a 10th, 25th or 150th business anniversary? How about a business anniversary “sell”-abration that contributes to the bottom line?

Companies with a “Let’s-Throw-an-Anniversary-Party” mindset overlook the promotional power of a business anniversary. Every business anniversary is an opportunity to showcase your company’s products and services, engage customers and drive sales.  

Companies with a “Let’s-Increase-the-Bottom-Line” perspective harness the business anniversary’s promotional power. They create an anniversary-year branding message, develop a business anniversary promotional plan and transform the business anniversary into a “sell”-abration. (Business anniversary consultants make this process smooth and easy.)

Strategies that transform business anniversary merry making into business anniversary money making include:

  • Outreach campaigns directed to customers and prospects that increase revenue 
  • Recognition campaigns for key stakeholders (e.g., employees, suppliers, etc.) that build stronger relationships with company advocates  
  • Community service projects that raise your company’s visibility in the community by doing good 
  • Publicity campaigns that tell your company’s story of starting, struggling and succeeding 
  • Social-media and custom-content marketing campaigns that connect to, inform and build relationships with customers and prospects  
  • Legacy campaigns that celebrate your company’s history and become part of the company’s brand moving into the future.   

By launching strategic business anniversary promotional campaigns, companies receive fabulous gifts:  

  • New and repeat business
  • Stronger key relationships
  • Competitive marketplace advantage

 Want to see this in action?

 A corporate and special-occasions gift basket company needed to increase its customer base and overall revenue during a make-or-break year. Bartel Communications created and publicized two community service campaigns, “Baskets of Hope” and “Baskets of Learning,” that involved collecting personal care products and back-to-school supplies, respectively, presenting them in beautifully decorated gift baskets and donating them to a women’s shelter.  

The campaigns created a high level of customer engagement, and the company attained a 30% increase in revenue over the prior year. Leveraging the anniversary momentum and the multi-media publicity generated, the company grew sales over the next two years to $2.3 million in annual revenue.  Now that’s a “sell”-abration! 

Bartel Communications offers a free guide, “Visioning Your Business Anniversary.” To receive your complimentary PDF, send a request to pauline@paulinebartel.com

Whether your company is reaching its 10th, 25th or 150th business anniversary, don’t miss the opportunity that comes only once in the lifetime of your company: Transforming business anniversary merry making into business anniversary money making!

Blogger Bio: Pauline Bartel, M.A., is President and Chief Creative Officer of Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications consultancy. One of the company’s specialties is business anniversary marketing.

Bartel Communications created “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™,” rosters of business anniversary symbols to inspire two centuries of business anniversary “sell”-abrations.

Through The Bartel Way™, an integrated marketing and public relations strategy, Bartel Communications uses business anniversaries as showcases for a company’s products and services. This engages customers, drives sales and transforms the anniversary into a “sell”-abration. For further information, visit www.paulinebartel.com/services/corporate-services/business-anniversary-consulting

Posted in Marketing, Public Relations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is Gone With the Wind’s 76-Year Legacy?

A book to celebrate GWTW's 75th Anniversary!

A book to celebrate GWTW’s 75th Anniversary!

I am one of five film experts featured in the roundtable article “The Box-Office Champ: Remembering Gone with the Wind on its 75th Anniversary” by journalist and film historian Michael Coate in his column “History, Legacy & Showmanship” on the website The Digital Bits. The column “focuses on retrospectives and tributes to popular and historically significant films.”

I provided insights about why Gone With the Wind is worthy of celebration on its 75th — now its 76th — anniversary, why Gone With the Wind is cited as the most popular film ever made and what is Gone With the Wind‘s legacy. Following this link to read the article: http://www.thedigitalbits.com/columns/history-legacy–showmanship/remembering-gone-with-the-wind-75th

Background: The second edition of my work The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book was published by Taylor Trade Publishing, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, in honor of the film’s 75th anniversary in 2014.

This major rewrite of my 1989 original trade paperback, which sold more than 50,000 copies, continues the behind-the-scenes chronicle of Gone With the Wind — the book, the movie and the phenomenon that endures today.

I relate in loving detail the inside stories of the writing and publishing of the novel; the Hollywood frenzy of transforming the book into film, including casting headaches, on-set tensions and jinxed scenes; the premiere; and the Academy Awards. The updated edition also contains the scoop on the publication of two Gone With the Wind sequels; the disastrous debut of the Scarlett television miniseries; the post-Gone With the Wind lives of cast members, such as the revelation of Clark Gable’s secret lovechild; the restoration of three original costumes in time for Gone With the Wind‘s 75th anniversary; and much more.

The book’s reader-friendly format — fact-packed features, profiles, quizzes and photographs — will delight any Gone With the Wind fan and make this the one book that no “Windie” can do without.

The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book (2nd edition) is available as a $16.95 trade paperback and as a $9.99 eBook. Visit https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781589798205 for further information.

I am an award-winning writer who has been a devoted “Windie” since the age of 16, when I first saw the film with my mother. Since then, I have viewed the movie countless times and have collected an array of Gone With the Wind books and memorabilia. And I will always love Gone With the Wind.

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).

 

Posted in Gone With the Wind | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Community Loan Fund Marks 30th Business Anniversary

Congratulations to the Community Loan Fund on its 30th business anniversary!

Located in Albany, NY, the Community Loan Fund connects “socially concerned individuals and institutions to build a healthier local economy and community, by making low-cost flexible loans to social and micro-entrepreneurs, and by providing training and technical assistance services to support the lending activities” (www.mycommunityloanfund.org).

Bartel Communications developed the 30th business anniversary comprehensive strategic plan for the Community Loan Fund. The theme was “Strengthening Communities, Changing Lives.” Year-long events and activities were planned to support the goals of:

  • Strengthening relationships with key stakeholders
  • Attracting new volunteers, investors and donors
  • Spreading awareness of programs and services

The Community Loan Fund used the 30th business anniversary comprehensive strategic plan to achieve spectacular results.

At the 30th business anniversary gala in October 2015, the organization received an investment check of $30,000 from a new minority-owned small business owner/investor. The frosting on the business anniversary cake? The Community Loan Fund received from the U.S. Department of Treasury a $1.75 million grant. The Community Loan Fund will use the bulk of the award for a three-year lending-capital campaign with the goal of raising $6 million.

The news of this grant was covered in the Albany Business Review:

http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/news/2015/10/07/community-loan-fund-recieves-1-75m-grant-from-u-s.html?ana=e_alby_rdup&s=newsletter&ed=2015-10-08&u=uxiEr5HgYoTJ3uJFumW%2BmDw9vZd&t=1444323919

Congratulations, Community Loan Fund, on your 30th business anniversary! Here’s to 30 more great years of “Strengthening Communities, Changing Lives!”

Blogger Bio: Pauline Bartel, M.A., is President and Chief Creative Officer of Bartel Communications, Inc., an award-winning corporate communications firm. One of the company’s specialties is business anniversary marketing.

Bartel Communications created “The Bartel Years™” and “The Bartel Years 200™,” rosters of business anniversary symbols to inspire two centuries of business anniversary “sell”-abrations.

Through The Bartel Way™, an integrated marketing and public relations strategy, Bartel Communications uses business anniversaries as showcases for a company’s products and services. This engages customers, drives sales and transforms the anniversary into a “sell”-abration. For further information, visit www.paulinebartel.com/services/corporate-services/business-anniversary-consulting

Posted in Public Relations | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment