I noted recently that the movie “Gone With The Wind” was going to be shown here by some local organizations.
This may surprise you, but it will be the second time “Gone With The Wind” has been shown in Fayetteville.
Back in 1970, C. J. Mowell and I realized the county would be 150 years old the next year. We each happened to mention this to newspaper editor, Jimmy Booth, and he got us together. C. J. and I put down on paper some ideas and proceeded to act on them.
We ended up with an eight-day celebration, which in hindsight was four days too long. Remember, though, we had no idea what we were doing.
Jimmy Carter was elected as state governor in November, 1970, and I booked him to be in Fayette County on opening day the next June. Not a problem.
One thing we’re proud of – we involved the whole county. Any money to be made was done so by county organizations who ended up selling various and sundry items. Each days events involved only Fayette Countians. You would be surprised at the out of state offers we had to handle everything, for a fee of course. Nope.
We had put together a committee and it was felt quite appropriate to show the movie, “Gone With The Wind.” After all, Scarlett had attended the Fayetteville Female Academy. It says so, right there on page eight. Never mind that this was fiction.
I don’t remember how or why we had to get novel author, Margaret Mitchell’s brother, Stephens Mitchell involved, he probably was in charge of her estate. We finally got his permission and then learned the only type of projector it could be shown on did not exist in the county, but we finally found one. We had secured the Sams Auditorium and I’m proud to say that on Tuesday, June 29,1971, at 1 p.m. and at 7 p.m., “Gone With The Wind” was shown, right there, in greater downtown Fayetteville.
Oh, an adult ticket was $2.50 and children under 12 paid $1.
I do not remember what our committee had to pay to rent the movie – after all, that was 45 years ago.
There is a rich history between Margaret Mitchell and Fayette County which can be found at the Fayette County Historical Society. I hope you are interested enough to learn all about it. Miss Mitchell would often bring books she gathered up from friends in Atlanta and bring them to the Margaret Mitchell Library here – now the Fayette County Public Library. She had backed up her car on the walkway in front of the current historical society now located in this building – just two days before she was hit by a taxi in Atlanta and unloaded her last load of books. She died two weeks later. And you can stand today on that very spot where she unloaded those books, right here in downtown Fayetteville.