Friday, March 30, 2012

"Gone With The Wind" Premiers in Vallejo

The world premier of the classic film "Gone With The Wind" was held in Atlanta in December, 1939. But in smaller cities like Vallejo, the movie didn't open until early 1940. On this date in 1940 "Gone With The Wind" had its Vallejo premier at the Hanlon Theater on Virginia Street. The next day, Vallejo Times-Herald reporter Will Stevens described the event:

    "Quite a few Vallejo folks who for quite a few good reasons weren't in Atlanta the night "Gone With The Wind" opened there - and might have later wondered how the show, Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel, Victor Fleming and half a dozen other GWTWers grabbed all those first place Oscars - last night got a chance to discover the reasons for themselves.

    "Reviewing the show now, after the millions of words written following its premier, would be almost like telling the people who won the Civil War. Everybody knows who won the Civil War. And everybody knows that "Gone With The Wind" is perhaps the greatest picture ever filmed.

    "Inasmuch as this was the same show that made the folks and all the critics rave in Atlanta, it remains only to record here that no startling or sensationally newsworthy changes were apparent in the show's premier at the Hanlon last night. It's still the same "Gone With The Wind."

    The continuity since the Atlanta premier hasn't been changed to make the South victorious. Vivien Leigh is still playing Scarlett O'Hara just as though she were really Scarlett O'Hara and not Vivien Leigh at all. And Clark Gable, the old rascal, is still playing Rhett Butler.

    "The boys down in Hollywood haven't shoved another Union general into Sherman's place, and Hattie McDaniel is still playing "Mammy" with perspiring gusto and infinite charm.

    "And amid scenes of breathless beauty, in technicolor, Olivia de Haviland's Melanie makes everybody love her and hate Scarlett worse than they hated her in Margaret Mitchell's book, and Leslie Howard's job on Ashley Wilkes is the same excellent job that everybody saw in the Atlanta premier.

    "In fact, it would seem necessary at this time to merely record what everybody must have known at this time; that "Gone With The Wind" is at the Hanlon, on schedule, and will remain for a week, with most of the big crowd that saw it last night already planning to see it again."