“Gone With The Wind” Fans Gathered In St. Louis For Gateway To The Wind
People from New York, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, California and many other states came to St. Louis, Missouri for the Gateway To The Wind event held Nov. 5-7. Many were able to see the St. Louis Arch and visit the grave of General William T. Sherman who is buried in St. Louis. American Airlines was a sponsor and flew some of the speakers in and Drury Hotels was also on board as a sponsor.
The weekend started out Friday at an antebellum plantation called “White Haven” which was once lived in by President Ulysses S. Grant. Guests got the opportunity to tour the house and grounds as well as hear speakers in the beautiful auditorium. Comparisons of that house to Margaret Mitchell’s great-grandfather, Philip Fitzgerald’s house were made and background was shared on Mitchell’s Civil War relatives and how Margaret Mitchell came to write Gone With The Wind.
Speakers included Kathleen Marcaccio, Pamela Sanflippo, and Abb Dickson, who despite suffering a stroke just a couple of weeks earlier, made the effort to come and share some wonderful insights. Dickson’s family knew the Fitzgeralds and his aunt was friends with Margaret Mitchell. Everyone appreciated the efforts put forth by Abb who is involved in Jonesboro history, and despite the fact that his health situation would not permit him to stay the entire weekend, his contributions added to a spectacular afternoon event.
Kathleen Marcaccio, who has studied and lectured on Margaret Mitchell for years provided some interesting insight and information; and Pamela Sanflippo, the historian at the U.S. Grant National Historical Site, White Haven added information on plantation life.
There was live Civil War music by Laura Sleade and Ed Hawkes; and food historian Suzanne Corbett gave a cooking demonstration, “The Art Of The Southern Biscuit.” Artwork by Yakovetic was on display as were posters featuring pages from a scrapbook kept by Mitchell’s cousin. Gary Miller of St. Louis was the planner on the Friday afternoon event and with the sponsorship and cooperation of the U.S. Grant National Historical Site, guests were treated to a fun day.
Both Margaret Mitchell and Vivien Leigh’s birthdays were celebrated Saturday, complete with a couple of outstanding cakes designed and made by Liberty, Missouri cake decorator Meghan Godsy. The three Beaus were there–Greg Giese, Mickey Kuhn and Patrick Curtis. Artist Yakovetic unveiled his newest painting, “Young Master Wilkes” accompanied by Mickey Kuhn, the Beau who was depicted in the painting. Herb Bridges gave a talk and showed pictures from the 1939 Atlanta Premiere, and Novella Perrin’s collection was on exhibit. There was a tribute to Cammie King, who had played Bonnie Blue Butler and passed away shortly before the event. J.D. Thompson along with Patrisha Henson supplied that segment of the day.
Guests had the opportunity to meet authors like Kathy Witt who wrote The Secret Of The Belles; Susan Lindsley, with information on Susan Myrick her aunt; Don Corrigan and Robert Wolk, both with books on Missouri; Herb Bridges with his book on Gone With The Wind, and Sally Tippett Rains’ book “The Making Of a Masterpiece” was available. The authors and actors gave autographs at “The Market Bazaar” which was set up by Kimberly Althage of St. Louis and there were souvenirs and GWTW memorabilia for sale.
Yakovetic, the artist who has been licensed by Warner Brothers to paint Gone With The Wind had an art show which was facilitated by Kent Martin of HEC-TV who also served as emcee at the “Hollywood Connection” event on Sunday.
There was the “Gateway To The Wind Charity Ball” on Saturday night where participants were able to do the Virginia Reel, with proceeds going to Rainbows For Kids, a non-profit charity for families of children with cancer in the St. Louis area.
Other events included “Blog With The Wind” where webmasters of GWTW themed websites, blogs and Facebook pages spoke to a packed house about how to connect to other Windies online; a live stage production called the Fiddle Dee Dee Follies put on by Anna Blair and Three-Legged Productions, and the premiere of Sally Tippett Rains’ new documentary “The Making Of A Masterpiece, A Documentary.”
Angela Danovi (Bring Olivia de Havilland To The TCM Film Festival Facebook page) came up with the idea for the “Blog With The Wind” and Leigh Mills (Vivien-Leigh.com), Denise Tucker (GWTW But Not Forgotten Facebook page), Kathy Witt (working with the Marietta GWTW Museum on a You Tube type channel), Kendra Bean (via Skype) and Merideth Wold (Dear Mr. Gable Facebook and website) were all speakers. If you are not following this blog author’s Facebook page, what are you waiting for? It is GWTWbook.com on Facebook.
Most of the participants in the Gateway To The Wind event had never had the opportunity to meet Mark and Paul Rabwin though some had met their famous mother, Marcella Rabwin who was executive assistant to GWTW producer David O. Selznick. They provided the audience on Sunday at “The Hollywood Connection” held at Saint Louis University’s Cook Hall with behind-the-scenes facts that their mother had told them. They were excited to meet those who knew their mother including Herb Bridges and Robert Rosterman, who had worked in distribution for MGM and also was friends with George Cukor and some of the actors. Debbie McGuire and Mary Marshall did a great job of setting up the event which featured a reception sponsored by Barb Jochens and Creative Packaging Resources (www.CPRpackaging.com)
Susan Lindsley filled in with tales from the set of Gone With The Wind provided by her aunt, Susan Myrick who was a friend of Margaret Mitchell’s. Leigh Mills of Vivien-Leigh.com had stories about Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. The audience must have liked the presentation because questions went on for quite a while.
Those who were able to stay got to see Gone With The Wind on the big-screen at Webster University as part of their Webster Film Series that night.
As for the producer of the event, she was quite happy with the turn-out and the great speakers, artist, and authors. A big thank you to all who attended and to all who helped with it.
By Sally Tippett Rains, author of The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind (www.GWTWbook.com)
THANK YOU TO THE SPONSORS OF GATEWAY T THE WIND:
THE LODGE AT GRANT’S TRAIL BED & BREAKFAST
INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS, LLC
CREATIVE PACKAGING RESOURCES
MICHAEL PERKINS AND MP GRAPHICS
THREE LEGGED PRODUCTIONS
ITT TECHNICAL SCHOOL- EARTH CITY LOCATION
RITA KIRY-RYAN’S BUSINESS PROJECT CLASS
U.S. GRANT NATIONAL HISTORICAL SITE