Saturday morning began at the Marietta GWTW Museum for a little Vivien Leigh Get Together at 9:17 a.m. We met near the Vivien Leigh section of the Museum and I requested that everyone bring something from their collection to ‘show and tell.’ For my ‘show and tell,’ I brought a few publications from the 1960s club called The Vivien Leigh Society. VL fan Robert brought a brooch once owned by Vivien Leigh and Kendra brought her scrapbook full of rare photos. Then Dr. Chris Sullivan, owner of the collection housed in the Museum, provided everyone with an up close and personal tour of the Vivien Leigh cases. I wish, though, it had been a quieter moment so that I could have discussed with everyone our favorite actress in more depth. Next time! I brought every attendee of the get together a DVD copy of The Deep Blue Sea- a rare Vivien Leigh film that was never released on video. It’s always a wonderful experience honoring and discussing the fabulous Vivien Leigh!
The Museum was buzzing! It was packed with Windies and the celebrities. Saturday morning was the final autograph opportunity with the stars and the visiting authors. Dr. Sullivan also provided personalized tours of the Museum to fans. This GWTW Museum is my absolute favorite and I enjoyed looking around– there were new things to look since my last visit in 2007! For example, Dr. Sullivan recently acquired some chairs featured in the film. Specifically, the chairs were from Scarlett’s & Rhett’s house. The one chair you may recognize from the infamous “I’ll put my hands so – one on each side of your head – and I’ll smash your skull between them like a walnut, and that’ll block him out.” If you’ve never visited this treasure trove, you must! Read about it on Vivien-Leigh.com HERE. Since I already had my autograph signing moment, I enjoyed the Museum. I took a ton of photos and enjoyed meeting people in the Museum and the gift shop. For example, I was introduced to Robert Rostermann, a long time Vivien Leigh fan. He was in town from Chicago and he and I had a charming chat on a bench. He told me he was a member of the previously mentioned Vivien Leigh Society (at that point I showed him one of the publications I had brought). He also described to me his experience seeing Vivien Leigh on the stage in Duel of Angels in Chicago (multiple times) and Tovarich (on opening night) on Broadway. He met her backstage a couple times and he even had a drink with her in Chicago- she had never heard of the cocktail named Scarlett O’Hara! He was such a kind man, and he shared many stories with me. I hope to speak with him again in the near future.
After the excitement of the morning, I actually had a few moments of ‘down time.’ I enjoyed a restaurant establishment on the historical Marietta Square for lunch. No big surprise when Robert Osborne was seated near me 30 minutes later. I should note that he had a copy of Herb Bridges’ book Gone with the Wind: The Three Day Premiere in Atlanta. He read it throughout his solo lunch. After lunch I retired to my hotel room at the Marietta Hilton to prepare for the grand finale of the weekend, the Strand’s showing of Gone with the Wind! The big screen showing was preceded by a vintage car parade from the Hilton to the theater. It so happened that I was running late and caught the beginning of the parade at the hotel! I adored seeing all the shiny, classy cars pull up and welcome the stars, authors and special guests. The parade was police escorted so the parade received the royal treatment in Marietta!! I arrived and parked just in time to see the tail end of the parade as it arrived in front of the theater. The red carpet unfurled to greet its VIPs.
Inside the theater, and by ticket only, a special few (it was a sold out event), had the opportunity to wine and dine (on appetizers) with the stars and authors before the big show. It was a splendid last opportunity to speak at length with the friends I made that weekend. The theater seating was assigned and I was not seated next to anyone I knew. I had a second row, aisle seat so big thanks to Connie Sutherland, the GWTW Museum director, for giving me such a fabulous seat! Robert Osborne introduced the film (and told a story about how he met Vivien Leigh backstage) and a special audio recording made by Olivia de Havilland. De Havilland lives in France and was unable to attend the event. I must say that watching GWTW with a room full of fans is unlike anything! Everyone cheered when Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable first appeared and everyone laughed at everything– even things you never thought might have been funny! Aunt Pittypat, for instance, got a laugh anytime she spoke! It was a wonderful experience watching the film with people who appreciate every word and every scene.
Olivia De Havilland addresses the audience via prerecorded audio.
This video hows the inside the theater before the showing of GWTW. The stars are seated in the 2nd row next to me. An organist plays music from the film.
Please note that pictures from the entire weekend can be viewed at Vivien-Leigh.com. Click HERE to view them!