Sale Date: Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 11:00 AM PDT
ON LINE AUCTION
Of all movie sets in the history of Hollywood, “Tara,” from which heroine “Scarlett O’Hara” got her strength in Gone With the Wind, is without peer. The O’Hara plantation in Clayton County, Georgia was the film’s most potent symbol. In July 1936, producer David O. Selznick secured the screen rights to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Margaret Mitchell and began the highly publicized process of bringing the work to the silver screen. The site for the construction of the “Tara” set was Selznick International Studios’ “Forty Acres” production lot in Culver City, California. In typical Hollywood fashion, “Tara” had no rooms inside, it was a facade showing the completed front and right sides of the main house, parts of the left side, three sides of the kitchen and all sides of the connecting breezeway. Only part of the interior entrance hall was created behind the facade; the interior scenes were shot in separate sound stages located elsewhere on the lot. The “Tara” facade was constructed of wood framework and covered with a plaster faux brick material. All of the architectural detail of the set was constructed of wood, mostly fir or spruce with some redwood. Following the conclusion of filming, the “Tara” set remained standing for 20 years until Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s Desilu Productions, then owner of the lot, had it dismantled in the spring of 1959. The most durable portions were salvaged, including windows, shutters, doors, porch posts and railings, cornice, and other elements. “Tara” was removed at no expense to the studio by Southern Attractions, Inc., presided by Julian M. Foster, an Atlanta-based real estate developer who had envisioned the set to be reconstructed on 300 acres of forested land in Northern Georgia, recreating the Hollywood “Tara” plantation in its entirety. Foster’s vision never came to fruition due to complications arising from copyright protections by the Margaret Mitchell family. The “Tara” facade remained in storage until 1979 when the late Mrs. Betty Talmadge, wife of U.S. Senator and Governor of Georgia, Herman Talmadge, rescued it with the intent of restoring it to its former glory. In 1989, the Atlanta History Center mounted a major exhibit commemorating the 50thanniversary of the film’s release. For this event, Mrs. Talmadge had the original grand entrance of “Tara” restored and it became the centerpiece of the exhibit. In 1998 the doorway was relocated and placed on exhibit at the Margaret Mitchell House Museum where it currently resides. The remainder of “Tara” has been housed in a dairy barn on the Talmadge’s Lovejoy Plantation since 1979. What is remaining of the historic “Tara” facade is being sold in the two following lots.