By Karen Zautyk
Next week marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War classic “Gone With the Wind.” Specific date of its release: June 30, 1936.
“Fiddle-dee-dee,” you say?
Frankly, you don’t give a damn?
Well, you should. Unless you have been living under the stalks in a Georgia cotton patch, you know that both the novel and the movie were, in today’s terminology, blockbusters. And they’re still popular. Even the 1,037-page book continues to briskly sell, worldwide. There’s no exact count on the total number of copies purchased over the decades, but estimates put the tally at 10 million, minimum.
However, I bet you didn’t know this: “Gone With the Wind” has a direct and important connection to this town.
As explained to The Observer by a gentleman named Robert J. Callander – formerly of Kearny, now of Oldwick: “If not for two Kearny guys, ‘Gone With the Wind’ may never have seen the light of day.”
Those two men were Kearny residents Harold Latham, an executive at Macmillan Publishers, the man credited with discovering Margaret Mitchell; and Norman Berg, an agent for Macmillan whom Latham had sent to work at the company’s Atlanta office.