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'Gone With the Wind' stays current, decades later
After 70 years, my dear, book's influence shows no sign of letting up

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 06/08/2006

IT'S BEEN 70 YEARS since the publication of Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Gone With the Wind." And in those seven decades, it's been outsold only by the Bible. And according to some estimates, the Oscar-winning movie, which came out three years after the book, has been seen by more people than any other film.

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

"As God is my witness ... I'll never go hungry again."

"... Tomorrow is another day."

These are just a few of the lines that have entered the general lexicon. And the themes of loyalty, gumption and perseverance never grow old.

This week, the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, where the Atlanta native penned the 1,037-page tome over 10 years, is celebrating.

And we're here to help. Since some say Southern-ess is a lost art and Atlanta is increasingly becoming a city of transplants, here's what to expect.

THE 411: $70 (includes food, bar, bluegrass band and all other entertainment) . 4-9 p.m., June 10. Margaret Mitchell House, 990 Peachtree St. , Midtown. 770-578-3502,


While it's not strict, hoop skirts and fitted trousers are welcome. Melly Meadows, who has made a career out of impersonating the green-eyed protagonist, will be judging a Scarlett and Rhett lookalike contest. And while looks and dress are key, she'll quiz contestants in GWTW trivia and would-be winners have to stay in character. Some phrases to practice:


- "You need to be kissed and often and by someone who knows how."

- "I'm very drunk and I intend on getting still drunker before this evening's over."

- "There's one thing I do know ... and that is that I love you, Scarlett. In spite of you and me and the whole silly world going to pieces around us, I love you. Because we're alike. Bad lots, both of us. Selfish and shrewd."

- "You're like the thief who isn't the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he's going to jail."


- "He looks as if ... as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy."

- "Fiddle-dee- dee. War, war, war; this war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream."

- "Why does a girl have to be so silly to catch a husband?"

Lookalike contest judging from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Winners announced at 6:30.


It's been more than 25 years since Doug Lothes first performed "Gone With the Wind in 20 Minutes." He was living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York , and on a whim entered an open mike night at a comedy club.

"It just came to me," Lothes says. "The first time it was 'Gone With the Wind in 8 Minutes.' It got such a reaction that I started performing it for friends."

Little by little the act emerged.

"I was selective about picking out the most important plot points and added in all the lines people remember," says Lothes. In Atlanta for a little over two decades, Lothes does all the voices from Prissy to Scarlett, Rhett and Charles. And Lothes acts out the scenes, sans props or costumes. He has even added in guest stars Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, who perform in the second act.

When he was performing his show in 1989 for the 50th anniversary of the film's release, original cast members came to a performance. Best of all, "Butterfly McQueen, who played Prissy, even asked to meet me afterward."

See why.

Performances are at 5:30 and 7 p.m.


Who can forget the picnic scene at the Wilkes plantation? The first shots at Fort Sumpter are yet to be fired. Young men are flirting, and Scarlett has been cinched into her dress. Mammy has scolded her, saying, "you can't show your bosom 'fore three o'clock," but relented because Scarlett agreed to eat before heading to the event because ladies "eats in front of folks like a bird." (Never mind that a bird eats about twice its body weight every day, but we digress.)

Thankfully, those days are over. It's a pity Scarlett had to miss the good grub. In a swanky Southern barbecue, don't expect charred hot dogs and hamburgers; we're talking pulled chicken, pulled pork, Brunswick stew and corn bread, all washed down with iced tea, sweetened just how you like it. If that isn't potent enough for you, mix up a Scarlett O'Hara or a Rhett Butler.

Rhett Butler

2 oz. Southern Comfort
1/2 oz. lime juice
1 tsp. curacao
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar syrup
Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Scarlett O'Hara

1 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
1 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. lime juice
Combine ingredients in a glass with ice.

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