Gone With The Wind, the novel not the movie, is celebrating it's 75th anniversary this year. That's impressive, my friend.
When I first heard of Gone With The Wind it was as a movie. I was very young, six or seven. It was one of many times after the movies' initial release that it was being re-released to theaters. This was back in the pre-video (which is pre-DVD) days and before it was ever shown on television for the first time. That was in 1976 for those of you keeping score at home. GWTW at the movies was a big deal at my house. None of my brothers or sisters had ever seen it and my parents had not seen it in decades. Having been born near the end of the crowd I was one of the many not going.
There might have been discussions about seeing GWTW that I overheard and maybe there were commercials on TV that I saw. I don't know any of that for sure. I cannot say if I ever saw an advertisement in the paper for the movie or stills from it. What I do remember is knowing for certain that GWTW was about angels. I knew that like I knew fish sticks were yummy and that pretending to wipe a booger on my sister would send her into a frenzy. I have no idea how that knowledge got cooked up in my baby brain but it was cold hard fact Gone With The Wind was a movie about angels.
Fast forward to me aged ten at my local library. I had started sometimes going into the grown up section to look at those books. One day I spied with my little eye Gone With The Wind the book. Who knew? I thought, "Hey! That's that movie about angels. It's a book too. I'm going to read that." So I checked it out. I'm sure I showed it to my Mom, I showed her all my books. I asked her if she had read it and liked it. She said yes to both questions. That was all I was interested in. I never inquired as to whether or not she enjoyed it or if it was okay for me to read.
Within seconds of starting the book I was ensnared. I devoured it in four all GWTW all the time days. Being ten I only had cursory American History knowledge but I knew enough to know that Scarlett's independence, her aggressive willfulness, courage and entrepreneurship would have been unusual for a woman in the 1860's. I was much to young and inexperienced to know that every heroine in historical fiction has those qualities.
Another trip in the time machine later and I am seeing the movie for the first time. I was in college and one of the student organizations would show old movies on the weekends for a buck a pop. Cheap and fun entertainment. Neither my friends or I had ever seen the movie but of course whether we had ever or read it or not we had all certainly heard of Gone With The Wind and off we went.
Did you know that Gone With The Wind was a romance? I did not know that. Go figure. Read a book when you're ten and look at what goes sailing right over your head. I was completely gobsmacked! Not only was GWTW a romance but it was soaked through with breathtaking color (Does anything beat technicolor for gorgeousness? I think not.), a fabulous score, amazing settings and wonderful performances. Gone With The Wind truly is a movie best seen on the big screen and a novel best read when you're older than ten.
Here are the bestselling titles for 1936 and 37. I love looking at old bestseller lists or as I call them shopping lists. I am pleasantly surprised how many of the books I have heard of and are still in print! Any you want to read?
|1.||Gone with the Wind||Margaret Mitchell|
|2.||The Last Puritan||George Santayana|
|4.||Drums Along the Mohawk||Walter D. Edmonds|
|5.||It Can't Happen Here||Sinclair Lewis|
|6.||White Banners||Lloyd C. Douglas|
|7.||The Hurricane||Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall|
|8.||The Thinking Reed||Rebecca West|
|9.||The Doctor||Mary Roberts Rinehart|
|10.||Eyeless in Gaza||Aldous Huxley|