“Yankies….in Georgia!  How did they ever get in?” 

 So exclaimed silly Aunt Pitty Pat in the film “Gone With The Wind”.  And did we ever invade Georgia!  We were in Atlanta for three weeks and I was very sorry to leave this beautiful, historic city.  When I left Cincinnati for Atlanta, I had no idea I was going to pass through such beautiful countryside: crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky, passing through Kentucky horse country, on into Tennessee and the mountainous region of north Georgia – all verdunt lushness.  When I arrived in Atlanta I made a bee-line for The Margaret Mitchell House – an apartment really, which was where she began writing her epic novel.  Next stop, of course (with my dual interests of History and Film!) was the Atlanta History Center, located in the stunning neighborhood of Buckhead (The Governor of Georgia and Elton John are among the residents!).  This place has the largest collection of civil war artifacts in the country, amassed single-handedly by one determined afficianado with a serious metal detector!  Craving more “off the beaten track” experiences, I bought 2 CDs with self-guided driving tours, titled “Margaret Mitchell’s Atlanta” and “The Battle of Peachtree Creek” – both taking me to stunning places which belied any evidence of the bloody civil war atrocities from a hundred and fifty years ago.  I could go on and on – I visited the Cyclorama (the largest oil painting in the world which depicts The Battle of Atlanta); the trio attractions of Centennial Park on the site of the 1996 Olympics; and the quaintly charming Mary Mac’s Tea Room, for a taste of true southern cuisine – fried green tomatoes, collard greens, grits and georgia peach cobler!  I was also happy to reconnect with old pal Craig A. Meyer, an Actor friend formally from Los Angeles, who has a surprisingly happy Actor life now here in Atlanta.  But, of course, the real reason to be here was “Mary Poppins”, and we certainly captured the hearts of Atlanta.  We performed in the circa 1926 Fox Theatre (sister to The Fabulous Fox Theatre we played in St. Louis), which is a former Shriner’s Temple and movie theatre with Egyptian/Moroccan decor.   Most intriguing is a ceiling, depicting clouds and constellations, which actually moves at the rate of one circulation per hour.  The Theatre is a 4,600 seat behemoth, but by our second week we were filling every seat!  During a wonderful tour of the facility, we were introduced to an older gentleman named  Joe Patton who had helped to save The Fox from destruction, and actually lives in the theatre in an apartment constructed from old Shriner’s offices.  He is truly a local “Phantom of the Opera”, as he slips through the building through secret, unseen passageways – extraordinary!  Our Opening Night party was held across the street at The Georgian Terrace Hotel, where Clark Gable and Vivien Lee stayed while filming in town – kind of a nice capper to the experience!  We reached a milestone closing weekend.  At our 467th performance we officially welcomed our 1 millionth audience member since the start of the tour!  Wow….

So, it was truly with a heavy heart that we finally had to leave.  Atlanta started exploding after hosting The Olympics and it certainly has been a Phoenix rising from the ash

The Fox theatre
The Fox theatre

of the Civil War.  It will stand out as one of the highlights of my travels.  In fact, many of us were inspired to re-read “Gone With The Wind” – all 1,000 pages, and I had forgotten how much meticulously research history was included.  Next stop:  Florida!

Inside The fox

Inside The Fox

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