‘It brought back a lot of memories’: Local sees ‘Gone With the Wind’ 75 years after debut

Savannah Chastain
Linda Strausbaugh brought her mother, Mary Strausbaugh to see the 75th anniversary showing of Gone with the Wind at the AMC theater of the Destin Commons.

Ninety-three year old Mary Strausbaugh remembers the day a bit vaguely now; that fall day in 1939, when her aunt picked her up from her Ohio farm and drove into town for opening night of “Gone With the Wind.”

“We still talk about it, my cousin and I,” said Strausbaugh. “It’s something I can hardly believe.”

Wednesday was the film’s 75th anniversary, and Strausbaugh was in line at the AMC Theater at the Destin Commons to see a special screening of the classic movie.

“It was really something new, everybody was talking about it,” she said, reminiscing of her first trip to see the film. “I’m sure it was in Technicolor.”

When asked what the biggest difference in the theater experience was today, Strausbaugh replied; “It cost $49 for our three tickets today!”

She added that when she was 18-years-old, ticket prices were between 10 and 15 cents.

Strausbaugh told The Log that theater traditions have also changed a lot in 75 years.

“We drove to the theater in Dayton in a Model A Ford,” Strausbaugh recalled. “A lot of people would bring a picnic lunch with them. I didn’t, but my mom packed a lunch to have during intermission.”

The theater itself has also transformed over the years she said and although she didn’t recall the exact name of the theater she visited in Dayton, she remembered that its grandeur left her in awe.

“It was so luxurious,” she said. “It had plush steps that went up into the theater. The theaters then were all plush, they had really nice seats and stairways and live music.”

Strausbaugh said she enjoyed Wednesday’s screening with her daughter and son-in-law, and said she was thankful for such caring family that had surprised her with this outing.

“It brought back a lot of memories,” she said. “I got to think about 75 years; that’s a long time.”

After the show the three headed to nearby Johnny Rockets for an old-fashioned refreshment of milkshakes.  

“It was just a joyful day for me because I don’t get out much,” said Strausbaugh. “It was a real experience.”