Friday, February 4, 2011

Finding tea in "Gone With the Wind"

My friend Herb Bridges, one of the world's foremost authorities on "Gone With the Wind," kindly dug into his photo collection when I asked if he had any photos of teacups in GWTW. I vaguely remembered seeing some in the movie, but examining these photos was quite helpful. Now, if I ever come across a teacup that looks like this, I'll know to get it!

In this scene, a teacup-holding Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) are talking about their daughter just before she takes a deadly fall on a horse.

In this image, daughter Bonnie Blue Butler (Cammie King) is visiting with her mother Scarlett, although of course Scarlett wasn't exactly the sort of mother who might have had a tea party with her little girl. Early in my journalism career I actually had the privilege of interviewing Cammie King (by then Cammie King Conlon), who died last year. She was a wonderful interview, very friendly and forthcoming with all I asked her. She wrote me a wonderful thank-you note after I sent her a copy of the article, and I have it framed along with a picture of her in GWTW that she autographed for me. (Above photos courtesy of Herb Bridges)

The other "Gone With the Wind" star I interviewed was Butterfly McQueen, who played Prissy. She came to my town to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie in 1989, and the local museum director and I picked her up from the Atlanta Greyhound Bus Station in what I can assure you was a *most* memorable ride. She still had that same unforgettable voice we all remember from the movie. One of the things I remember is that Butterfly was a vegetarian and wanted to go to a takeout restaurant where she could watch them squeeze the orange juice. We did! Here, a much younger me (at left) lines up as my friend Herb Bridges and Butterfly sign some books.

And though I've never met Ann Rutherford, who played Scarlett's sister Carreen, I do have an autographed photo of her that Herb surprised me with a few years ago. While I was at one time a huge GWTW fan, and I still enjoy the movie on occasion, I later developed a much greater appreciation for the book and author Margaret Mitchell. She was a remarkable journalist before she became a world-famous novelist, and to this day I admire her research skills and her personal courage. In recent years, I have been pleased to see her get the recognition she deserves for anonymously financing the college educations of some black medical students in Atlanta. Recently I watched on PBS a documentary by former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, "Change in the Wind," about the unlikely friendship between Margaret Mitchell and Dr. Benjamin Mays, president of Morehouse College. It's a great documentary, and if you ever get the chance to see it I think you'll learn that the South has long been about far more than the Hollywood stereotypes of hoop skirts and mint juleps!


  1. How wonderful that you were able to meet with them and have those cherished memories. One of my first "favorite" movies, I would watch it every year with my mother and I still, to this day, remind myself that "after all, tomorrow is another day!" when things don't go quite as planned. I hope you find the teacup!

  2. I loved Gone with the Wind. Thanks so much for showing us the teacups from the movie.

  3. What a wonderful legacy of memories Gone with the Wind has provided for you and so many others. Thank you for sharing. I have lovely memories of seeing this movie with my Mom. She was a big fan too.

    Will keep an eye out for the documentary. Sounds like it would be very interesting.

    I wonder what kind of tea Scarlet would have in her cup?

    Mary Jane

  4. This was an enjoyable post Angela. Fun to see the old photos, and great to read about your connections. Very interesting.

  5. Thanks for sharing these pictures. Now I will be looking too for a teacup like the one in the movie. What wonderful experiences you have had meeting Butterfly. Thanks so much for sharing this post.

  6. Gone With the Wind has been my all time favorite movie, since I was a little girl. I loved your post very much and I am now Following your Blog. How is it that I haven't found your lovely blog before now? Hope you find time for tea? Elizabeth

  7. Love your photos today, Angela!
    One of my all time favorite books and movie, just love it.

    I will always remember my Mom's facial expression, when I asked her (I was about 13 years old):
    'Mom, why don't we have our breakfast in our room, served on a silver tray?' Too funny!

  8. Great GWTW memories! I have been a fan of Hattie McDaniel as well as Butterfly McQueen! great actresses!

  9. Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos...The teacup and tea service in the photos are very nice but I also love that lamp!


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