2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
It could not have played out any better for Donald Trump—Bret Michaels will be in the finals of Celebrity Apprentice which airs with a live show and hopefully an appearance by Michaels Sunday May 23rd on NBC.
During his interviews which were taped for the second to the last show before his recent health scare, Michaels was asked if he could be a strong person because he comes off as such a good-hearted person. He answered, “Don’t confuse my kindness for weakness.” Rhett Butler, who enters Gone With The Wind at the Wilkes’ Barbecue as a hard-headed tough guy, ends up as a good father, and good example in the community—both of which the hard rockin’ Michaels has exemplified. Michaels who has suffered from diabetes since age two has dedicated himself to raising his two daughters and helping others with the disease.
The 47-year-old long-time frontman of the band Poison and now The Bret Michaels Band suffered a brain hemorrhage April 22nd. As most people know he had just come off emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. For several days he lay in an Arizona hospital in critical condition and no one would have been surprised if he had died. According to reports, his strong will was what kept him alive. In the early moments of the attack, he struggled to remain conscious, hoping it would help his chances of staying alive.
“He turned out to be a real fighter,” said Donald Trump, his boss at the Celebrity Apprentice. This is where Bret Michaels shares a trait with Scarlett O’Hara. Gone With The Wind’s leading lady has always been known as “strong willed” and “a fighter.”
“Bret Michaels is, if nothing else, a true survivor,” his website states. “He has survived a lifelong battle as an insulin dependent diabetic, a well-publicized near-fatal car crash in 1994 and the countless musical trends and fads of the last two decades…” and this was written before the appendectomy and the brain hemorrhage!
Let’s see, Scarlett O’Hara faced losing her first love to another woman, losing her first husband to pneumonia caused by measles while he was off at war, losing her mother to typhoid fever and among additional things, finally losing her daughter in a horse-riding accident. She never gave up. In fact when she was faced with a problem, like paying the taxes on Tara, she just went full-speed ahead with determination and survivor instincts—much like Bret Michaels is doing. He went from lying in critical condition one week to making plans to resume his summer and fall concert schedule.
(Isn’t it amazing how you can localize any story to Gone With The Wind?)
Another connection Michaels has is that he’s a lady’s man—a trait shared with Rhett Butler.
Cathleen Calvert warned Scarlett O’Hara about Rhett at the beginning of the book/movie: “That’s Rhett Butler…He has the most terrible reputation.”
On his last task on Apprentice, he was auditioning the actors for a commercial and he chose beautiful women, while his co-workers rolled their eyes. Should they have been surprised about that when he had previously served as the host of the television show Bret Michaels Rock of Love? Bret could have uttered Rhett’s famous lines to the women he was interviewing: “You need kissing, and often, and by someone who knows how!”
According to his website, BretMichaels.com he will be making an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show Wednesday May 19th and then play in his first concert since his hospitalization, on Friday May 28th in Biloxi, Mississippi.
His final position on Celebrity Apprentice will be known by then. Until then he is taking physical therapy twice a day and planning for his new album’s debut. The album titled Custom Built features a duet with Miley Cyrus called “Nothing to Lose.”
Additional Gone With The Wind Musings…This week (May 19th) marks the anniversary of Gone With The Wind being published by Macmillan. The book was published in May of 1936 and by May 21st (two days later) Margaret Mitchell had authorized Macmillan to sell the movie rights….One of the actors from the movie, Phyllis Callow, who played Bonnie Blue Butler at age two passed away this week.
Cammie King who played Bonnie when she was older, is still active and frequently invited to GWTW events. She has a book out: Bonnie Blue Butler, A Gone With The Wind Memoir. (Available through Amazon.com or you can contact me at info@GWTWbook.com and I’ll forward your email to Cammie.)
It is a really fun book with many pictures. I got to know Cammie when I was writing my book. She is as beautiful today as she was cute back then. The daughter of a successful writer (her mother) and the step-daughter of Herbert Kalmus who played a key role in inventing Technicolor, told me she had a “normal” childhood and a “dazzling” high school life, and her stories are great. According to her co-star Mickey Kuhn (who played her little cousin Beau Wilkes in GWTW) Clark Gable kissed Cammie more times than he kissed Vivien Leigh! Bonnie Blue Butler, A Gone With The Wind Memoir is an interesting book and I encourage you to buy it.
Tribute to Ernie Harwell– In previous blogs I have talked about Ernie Harwell who wrote the foreword to my book and knew Margaret Mitchell. Harwell was a beloved Detroit Tigers broadcaster and when he passed away recently the whole city of Detroit mourned. The Detroit Free Press ran front page headlined stories about him. Kathleen Maracaccio, who gives lectures on Gone With The Wind and has been known as “The GWTW Answer Lady” lives in Detroit and knew Ernie. She is also a baseball fan, so she and her husband went down to Comerica Park where the fans were paying their respects to Ernie. She left a note of tribute in honor of the Windies near the sculpture of Harwell. Here’s an interesting note from Kathleen: Lou Cella, the artist who did the sculpture of Ernie Harwell is a Windie!
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By Sally Tippett Rains, author of The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story Of Margaret Mitchell’s Classsic Novel, Gone With The Wind (www.GWTWbook.com). Special thanks to Denise Tucker and her Week-At-A Glance Calendar, which is available through http://www.backstagebusinesssolutions.com/ (May 17, 2010)