Michigan woman is a serious collector of GWTW items

It’s fitting that 2019 will mark the 80th anniversary of the release of “Gone With the Wind,” one of the most popular films in the history of movie making. According to several internet sites, GWTW, which premiered on Dec. 15, 1939, when adjusted for inflation is the Number 1 grossing movie of all time with a total of $3.7 billion.

For Kathleen Marcaccio of Royal Oak, Michigan, it is much more.

A “Super Fan” of the film, Kathleen collects GWTW items that she said “(Are) more than I could ever list.”

Her collection is a combination of contemporary and vintage pieces and includes several copies of the book by Margaret Mitchell as well as paper items, flyers, copies of the film, posters, lithographs, knickknacks and more.

Kathleen said the book has never been out of print. “I have many copies of the book, with different colored covers and different bindings,” she said. “There have been 132 printings of the main hard cover book.”

Many of the pieces of GWTW memorabilia that Kathleen owns are classified as movie ephemera. “I’ve got scrapbooks, news articles, tickets –paper things,” she said. An interesting part of her ephemera collection are “Movie Heralds,” that Kathleen described as four-page flyers advertising the movie. “Then, on the back page was an ad for the sponsor of the flyer,” she said. “Small towns from Michigan and out-of-state and one sponsored by Goebel Beer are just some of the flyers I have.”

I became interested in Kathleen and her collection from an e-mail I received from her referencing one of my columns. Here’s her original Letter to the editor e-mail from July 8, 2019: “I’m a GWTW enthusiast that fell in love with the movie and book years ago. I’ve been collecting for more than 30 years and giving talks since 1994, mostly in my home state of Michigan.

I came across your article on the Tara door from Gone With The Wind and was interested in your personal memory of being in the presence of Olivia de Havilland at Win Schuler’s. Lovely! Thanks for including. It was the 2nd anecdote I read or heard this week about meeting Olivia here in Michigan. I missed my opportunity in 1978 when she appeared at a local theatre’s guest lecture series only three blocks from our house. I guess I was too busy going to college to attend. So I’ve never met Olivia, but do have about 10 years of correspondence with her and I did attend the Academy’s tribute to her in 2006 for her 90th birthday. Thanks and regards, Kathleen Marcaccio.”

Being a huge fan of GWTW, Kathleen’s letter piqued my interest and our correspondence was off and running –ending with me asking her for a story about her vast collection. We also discussed Miss de Havilland’s recent July 1 birthday as she is 103 years old!

And here we are!

Kathleen said her collection includes “a little bit of everything.” Each year she’s in line for a new Hallmark ornament relating to the film.

And she owns at least 500 copies of the book –both hardcover and paperback including a special edition as well as foreign editions. “I have a First printing copy, but not the dust jacket,” she said.

Kathleen also owns several copies of the film on laser disk, DVD, VHS and a pre-projector version that was used in theaters.

Her love of the film has resulted in her meeting about a dozen or more cast members including Mickey Kuhn, who played Beau Wilkes in the film and other supporting role cast members.

Kathleen gives talks about the book, movie as well as the legacy of GWTW and has done so for 25 years. “I discuss every aspect of the film and the book,” she said. She has seen the film about 90 times and has read the book about 20 times, she added. Kathleen also said she prefers to screen the film in theaters. “I’ll guess that about 75 percent of the times I’ve seen the film, it’s been in theaters.”  

“My favorite character is Scarlett,” Kathleen said. “I think the book is about strength –and the strength of the women characters.” Scarlett was strong as was Mammy (played by Hattie McDaniel) and Melanie Wilkes (de Havilland), Kathleen said, adding the film is also an epic love story with the Civil War as a major backdrop.

Kathleen has been collecting since the mid-1980s. She also did a great deal of reading about the book and film, as well as quite a bit of researching for the talks she gives.

Through her membership in the “Windies,” Kathleen said she has attended several events related to the film, including a 1989 celebration in Clark Gable’s hometown in Cadiz, Ohio. “We have an informal group or network, called ‘Windies’ who are people who share and love GWTW,” Kathleen said.

As a pretty big fan of GWTW myself, I was thrilled to speak to another big fan. And if I ever get back over to eastern Michigan, I’d love to attend one of Kathleen’s lectures.