Monday, August 1

It's curtains for you

"Great balls of fire! They're my portieres now! I'm going to Atlanta for that $300, and I've got to go looking like a queen."

Thankfully, most of My Faithful Readers seem to be familiar with Gone With the Wind.

But some of you seem to be unfamiliar with Carol Burnett's classic parody, Went With the Wind.

In GWTW, both the book and the movie, Scarlett plans to go to Atlanta to get $300 from Rhett Butler to pay the taxes on Tara. To impress him, she needs a new dress and makes one from her mother's portieres.

Incidentally, according to Wikipedia, a portière is a hanging placed over a door or over the doorless entrance to a room. Its name is derived from the French word for door, porte.
In Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone with the Wind, the protagonist Scarlett O'Hara makes a new dress from her mother's green velvet portieres. Although the term is used incorrectly in the movie; the characters are talking about green velvet window curtains while portieres are so named because they hang in doorways. (The scene was famously parodied on The Carol Burnett Show when Carol Burnett, playing the role of Scarlett, wore not only the fabric but the curtain rod as well.)
In WWTW, Starlett needs to get $300 from Ratt Butler to pay the taxes on Terra. She also makes a dress from her mother's drapes.

The 1939 movie GWTW made its broadcast TV debut on Nov. 7-8, 1976 in two parts on NBC. Burnett's 18-minute parody WWTW aired Nov. 13, 1976 on CBS.

Carol Burnett later said the audience laughed for more than 10 minutes (a show record) when she first appeared and they had to stop taping until the audience settled down.

Burnett's dress is now in the Smithsonian. From on May 14, 2009:
Like Miss Starlett, the Smithsonian saw that Bob Mackie dress in the window and couldn’t resist it. That’s right, folks, the curtain rod dress now honors the hallowed halls of the Smithsonian as a part of the American History Museum’s Kennedy Center Honors collection. And that’s hardly something to fiddle dee dee about. Not only is the dress representative of Mackie’s decadently innovative designs, it’s a monument to the art of parody and the golden age of American comedy. No word yet on if and when it will go on public display, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted. Because, frankly, we give a damn.
I guess I'll have to go back to Washington, D.C. Again.

In the meantime, look for Went with the Wind on YouTube (Part One and Part Two).

Why did I want this? Well, I am all about alternative history. While I can appreciate the literary merit of GWTW (the book) and like the movie, certain, um, shall we say "glorified perspectives" set my vinyl teeth on edge. Besides I liked the green velvet and the curtain rod made me think of military epaulettes. 

But, I ask you, who looks better? Me or that Scarlett woman?

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