2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
For Gone With The Wind fans it was a haven of memories as they were treated to an art show by artist Joseph Yakovetic featuring many GWTW pictures and others by the famous artist who has Disney pictures and Wizard of Oz in his collection. Two actors who played Beau Wilkes at different ages– Mickey Kuhn the older Beau, and Greg Giese, the infant Beau– were on hand and guest got to talk to them and get their autographs.
The special dinner where the GWTW surviving cast was to receive their Hubble Medals was opened up with a Power Point presentation featuring a touching acceptance speech and greeting from Olivia de Havilland.
De Havilland prepared the audio speech from her home in Paris just for the event and mentioned the name of the church and several people in attendance.
In her greeting, she also remembered her fellow castmates who have gone to that “great plantation in the sky.”
This writer was proud to be able to introduce and give a short speech about Greg Giese and also Joseph Yakovetic, both of whom were honored that evening. GWTW collector Dr. Christopher Sullivan introduced and spoke about Mickey Kuhn.
On Sunday Alicia Rhett sent a picture of herself holding her Hubble Medal at her home in South Carolina which capped off the weekend. The Reverend Nicholas Inman, the founder and executive director of the Cherry Blossom Festival which has been going on more than 10 years worked diligently to secure the photos of Olivia de Havilland and Alicia Rhett.
“The awarding of the Hubble medal was very special to her and she received it as if she was receiving the Oscar, though sitting down,” said her friend author W. Thomas McQueeney who presented it to her. “She was genuinely elated and said she would wear it to lunch and dinner that day.”
This writer assisted Inman in the Rhett and de Havilland efforts and was please to receive several letters from Miss deHavilland with her appreciation for the efforts made on her behalf with the winning the award.
“A candle has been burning all day long for the success of this evening’s celebration” she wrote in a personal message the day of the event. “You may be sure that later today I will be raising a flute of champagne in the very same toast that my fellow cast members, now residing in the Great Plantation in the Sky, will be saluting the remarkable guests at the Dinner, the members of the Cherry Blossom Festival Committee, and the Reverend Nicolas Inman!”
Inman also had an additional impressive cast of characters and award winners appearing at the festival including Jean McFadden, the Director of the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade (for 25 years), Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, and Amelia Earhart’s niece along with the largest annual assembly of presidential and Founding Fathers descendants in the country.
Dawn Wells seemed excited to receive the award asking fans who took her picture on their cell-phone to email some to her. She also enjoyed appearing with the Presley Family who came in their red performing jackets that they wear in their long-running Branson show.
Former first daughter Jenna Bush gave a talk at the festival and there was even a Brigadeer General, Lucian Truscott IV.
Television actress Morgan Brittany was also an award participant and mingled with the crowd. Brittany is famous for her role as Pamela Ewing’s half-sister Katherine Wentworth on Dallas but she has also starred in many other television shows and movies, including “LBJ, the Early Years” with Randy Quaid.
Lynne Jackson, the executive director of the Dred and Harriet Scott Foundation, and great-granddaughter of Dred Scott– famous for the Dred Scott Decision which came down on the St. Louis Old Courthouse steps– put together an excellent panel. Can you imagine the great-grandson of Confederate president Jefferson Davis sitting next to the great granddaughter of Dred Scott? The program was entertaining and interesting.
Shortly after the Dred Scott Reconcilliation event at the Cherry Blossom, Jackson and the foundation received word that Dred Scott would be inducted in the Hall of Famous Missourians in Jefferson City on May 6. For information: http://www.house.mo.gov/famous.aspx
More good news for Dred Scott Foundation and you are invited!
Check out their website to learn more and find out about all of the honorees (there were more than mentioned here.)– www.CherryBlossomFest.com
Each year we like to promote the Cherry Blossom Festival and it gets better with each event. For those who have not attended but think the guest list is amazing, make plans to attend next year’s festival. Nicholas Inman and his crew are already working on it and they aim to make it even better than this year. This year’s is a hard act to follow and will be hard to top.
Sally Tippett Rains is the author of The Making of A Masterpiece, the True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel Gone With The Wind (www.GWTWbook.com) and is the content manager/ producer of StLSportsPage.com and The Sports Zone Radio Show with Rob Rains and B.J. Rains.