2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
There is a new Gone With the Wind venue in Atlanta, just in time for the 75th Anniversary of the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie. Starting April 5, Atlanta Movie Tours run by Patti Davis (shown left in the white shirt) & Carrie Sagel Burns will be debuting a Gone With the Wind Bus Tour.
The tour takes off from the company’s office in the Castleberry Hill area of Atlanta.
Led by Sally Smith (shown left in black Margaret Mitchell-esque outfit and hat) who is a tour guide from Oakland Cemetery where Margaret Mitchell is buried, the tour is a fun way for GWTW enthusiasts to see some of the Atlanta sites that deal with Margaret Mitchell.
Smith does the entire three-hour tour in character.
“When we heard about Sally we wanted to know more, but once we saw her and what she could do, we knew she was the perfect one for the job,” said Patti Davis.
Over the weekend, selected media were invited to attend a special VIP tour and this writer and her husband (shown in the picture, right, with Sally Smith as Mitchell) were lucky enough to travel to Atlanta and experience it first hand.
Once on board the air conditioned luxury bus, “Miss Peggy Mitchell” begins her talk. Those who have read biographies about Margaret Mitchell (including The Making of A Masterpiece, the True Story of Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind) will recognize some of the stories, such as how when Margaret Mitchell was growing up in Atlanta she had a pony and would ride around with a group of Confederate soldiers. They will also be interested to learn many new facts on the tour.
As the bus makes its way through Atlanta, Smith, as Mitchell, recalls stories in the author’s life. On Saturday, just as the tour passed by the Wimbish House and Atlanta Woman’s Club historic marker, a fire truck raced by with the sirens blaring. Suddenly Smith’s pleasant demeanor changed.
“This is a terrible area of town,” she says in a forlorn voice, “Please excuse me as I gather myself, those sirens didn’t help. This is the area I was hit by that car and lie in the street for a while and then I hung on in Grady Hospital before I passed away five days later.”
First stop on the tour was the Margaret Mitchell House and Ann Boutwell (shown right), a docent at the Mitchell House took over from there. She gave a tour of the tiny apartment Margaret Mitchell shared with her second husband, John Marsh when she first started writing her book.
Next stop was the historic Oakland Cemetery where Mitchell is buried. Sally Smith continued in character, escorting the tour-goers through the cemetery and interjecting interesting stories in the tour.
She pointed out the very large grave of Alfred Austell, a famous banker from Atlanta– and noted that Alfred Austell was the same name at the top of the check that Scarlett signed after she married Frank Kennedy to pay the taxes on Tara. Smith recalled that in the movie, the check listed Alfred Austell, as president of the bank. She also noted the name on the attached stone in Oakland Cemetery that was for Austell’s daughter. She had married someone named Kennedy.
The last stop was the Atlanta Public Library where Kelly Cornwell (shown left) of the Atlanta Public Library showed items on display pertaining to Margaret Mitchell. She said she is getting ready to change out the exhibit to include more movie items pertaining to GWTW. Those who take the Atlanta Movie Tour get to see extra items that aren’t on display such as the leather-bound script that David O. Selznick had given to all the actors and principles involved in the movie, and also Mitchell’s personal copy of Gone With the Wind (shown in the picture).
Another place along the tour route was the Georgian Terrace Hotel (shown right) which played a role in Mitchell getting her book published. Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland all stayed at the hotel while attending the Gone With The Wind premiere in 1939. Also on the tour, the bus passed by the old red brick building where Mitchell had her first job as a young newspaper writer for the Atlanta Journal.
At the end of the tour there was a trivia game with questions from the tour and prizes were given out.
The tour is a great way for tourists who come to Atlanta to get an introduction Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind. Those who take the tour also get passes to the Marietta GWTW Museum and the Jonesboro GWTW Museum. The bus does not take you there but both museums are must-sees for GWTW fans.
For information on when the tours are and how to get tickets: http://atlantamovietours.com
The Atlanta Movie Tours office sells several GWTW items including books by the late Herb Bridges and this author as well as two GWTW puzzles.
Many fans will be in the Atlanta area for the June 6-8 75th Gone With the Wind Anniversary put on by the Marietta GWTW Museum. The Atlanta Movie Tours Company has a GWTW tour scheduled for that Saturday, and they can also do special tours for groups if they are pre-arranged. Contact them at their office: 855.255.FILM (3456)
The Atlanta Movie Tour Company website is: http://atlantamovietours.com
For information on the Marietta event click here: https://gwtwbook.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/marietta-gwtw-june-6-8-event-schedule-announced/
Directions to the Atlanta Bus Tour office:
Castleberry Hill, the starting point, is located approx 1/2 mile South of Philips Arena/CNN on Centennial Olympic Park Dr. Meet at their office: 327 Nelson St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313. They suggest parking in the free garage located around the corner on Chapel St (turn left at the stop sign, then left into garage). Do not park in the gravel lot across from the fire station unless you pay at the box. Atlanta runs a “Clean Car Campaign” (yes, even in a garage) so please secure all valuables, this includes loose change and GPS units. This is also an easy walk from the Centennial Olympic Park area as well as from the GA Dome and Five Points MARTA stations, please use the address above in Google Maps for the best walking directions. Please call 855-255-FILM, x1 if lost or running late. Some GPS units take you to the other side of Nelson at Spring St, please go North heading uptown, turn Left at the 1st light, Mitchell St, then Left on Elliott St before you go under the bridge, turn Right on Chapel St at the stop sign and make an immediate left into our garage. Walk back out of the garage door, turn right and round the building back to #327. NOTE: Please make sure if you are taking a shuttle or taxi that you are dropped off at their door. The office is well marked with a HUGE Atlanta Movie Tours logo.
Sally Tippett Rains is the author of The Making of a Masterpiece, the True Story of Margaret Mitchell and Gone With the Wind. She is currently the content manager for the St. Louis sports website, StLSportsPage.com.
Upcoming appearances for Sally Tippett Rains:
Monday April 7th 11 a.m. Crestwood Community Center in St. Louis, MO– Benefit Tea and GWTW Discussion for historic Sappington House. For information on attending, email Kathy Saur: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 6-8 Marietta Georgia Event