1939: ‘Gone With the Wind’ Opens in Theaters
One of America’s most classic films, Gone with the Wind was released on this day in 1939. Directed by Victor Fleming, the story deals with the strong-willed southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), her secret crush Ashley (Leslie Howard), good friend Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) and the arrogant Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) during the American Civil War. About 1,400 women auditioned for the role of Scarlett. Filming of the picture was delayed by two years as producer David O. Selznick wanted to secure Gable for the role. At 221 minutes in length, some reviewers felt that the movie was overly long, but that was actually shorter than the original script length. The film received 13 Oscar nomination and won ten including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress becoming the first African-American to win an Academy Award.
1978: The LaserDisc Begins to Shine
The LaserDisc, also known as DiscoVision, came to the United States on this day in 1978. It came two years after the VHS VCR and four years before the CD and was often referred to as “video long play.” The very first film to be marketed on the new format was Jaws. Japan continued printing new movies until 2001 (the last film was Bringing Out the Dead) but even so, LaserDisc players continued in production there until January 2009.
- 1933: Tim Conway (actor)
- 1949: Don Johnson (actor)
- 1952: Julie Taymor (stage director)
- 1979: Adam Brody (actor)
- 1982: Charlie Cox (actor)
- 1998: Chandler Canterbury (actor)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.