Went with the Wind!

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From left to right: Carol Burnett as Starlet, Vicki Lawrence as Sissy and Dinah Shore as Melody

"Went with the Wind!" is a comedy sketch featured on the eighth episode of the tenth season of The Carol Burnett Show. It originally aired in the United States on CBS on November 13, 1976, and is a parody of the 1939 American historical drama film Gone with the Wind. The sketch was written by two young writers, Rick Hawkins[1] and Liz Sage.[2] In 2009, TV Guide ranked the sketch #53 on its list of "Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[3]

Cast[edit]

Premise[edit]

Carol Burnett introduces the sketch saying: "Recently, nearly the entire nation spent a total of five hours watching Gone with the Wind make its TV debut. So for those of you who ran out of Kleenex and were unable to watch it, we put together our own mini-version to let you know what you’ve missed. Uh-huh".

The title card of the first half of the sketch reads WENT WITH THE WIND! and ATLANTA, TERRA PLANTATION SOMEWHERE IN GEORGIA. In the opening scene, Starlet O'Hara is hosting a party and greets her guests. Sissy, her house servant, comes in screaming "Miss Starlet! Miss Starlet!" and after Starlet slaps her, Sissy tells her Mr. Brashly is here. Starlet opens the door to find Brashly introducing her to his cousin Melody. Brashly informs Starlet that he and Melody are married and she tells him to leave. Starlet is so angry she throws a vase only to have Captain Ratt Butler catch it. The two have a moment but then they are informed that a war just broke out. All the guests leave, except for Melody, whereupon she announces that she is going to have a baby, and now. A soldier comes to the door asking Sissy if he could borrow a match and then a fire breaks out. During this time, Melody is giving birth and a wailing Sissy is traipsing circles around the couch while Starlet is giving her speech about how she will "never go hungry again".

The title card of the second half of the sketch reads TERRA PLANTATION ONE WAR LATER. Sissy comes in screaming "Miss Starlet! Miss Starlet!" and tells Starlet that the war is over but a Yankee soldier is coming to Terra to collect $300 in back taxes. Starlet hits the soldier with a chair. Then Brashly arrives and says that his money "went with the wind" to which Starlet asks "What wind?" and the theme music starts. Starlet then says, "That's real pretty but that don't answer my question". He says that Ratt became a millionaire. Starlet, trying to figure out how to look good enough to ask Ratt for the money, quickly pulls down the drapes from the window and says "I've got me a dress to make". Sissy stalls Captain Butler who says that his dreams "went with the wind" to which Sissy asks "What wind?" and the theme music starts. Sissy then says, "That's real pretty but that don't answer my question". Then Starlet descends the staircase in her handmade dress, complete with curtain rod, and Ratt professes his love by saying "That gown is gorgeous" to which Starlet replies "Thank you, I saw it in the window and I just couldn't resist it". The Yankee soldier comes to, marries Ratt and Starlet, and she gives him the money for the back taxes. After an altercation and finding out that Starlet is in love with Brashly, Melody dies, but only after she pushes Starlet down the stairs. Brashly leaves. Then Ratt leaves and Starlet slams the door in his face as he is about to deliver the famous line of the original film. Then Starlet complains to Sissy, "What am I gonna do?", whereupon Sissy slaps her and says "Frankly, Miss Starlet, I don’t give a damn".

Cultural references[edit]

The sketch made various cultural references including Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe", Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree", "Dixie", "Camptown Races", Chicken of the Sea and Tuna casserole.

Curtain dress[edit]

The curtain dress worn by Burnett

The curtain dress was conceptualized and designed by The Carol Burnett Show costumer Bob Mackie. The script originally called for the dress to be hanging off of Burnett, but Mackie did not find it funny. He asked the art director for a real curtain rod and green fabric and made the dress on a mannequin.[4] Burnett said that she came into costume fittings and when she saw the curtain rod she said it was the most brilliant sight gag ever.[5]

Legacy[edit]

The curtain dress scene was named #2 in TV Guide's January 23–29, 1999 list of "The 50 Funniest TV Moments of All Time". The laughter when Burnett came down the staircase was too long--indeed, it was the longest-length laugh during the entire ten-year series of the program--and it had to be edited.[6]

The entire outfit, with curtain rod, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.[7] In addition to this, Mattel released a character doll of Burnett as Starlet under the Barbie Celebrity Doll line in 2009.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rick Hawkins". Point Park University. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character". American Masters. November 2007. PBS. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  3. ^ "TV Guide's Top 100 Episodes". Rev/Views. Retrieved July 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Bob Mackie". Archive of American Television. June 29, 2000. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Carol Burnett". Archive of American Television. April 29, 2003. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Tucker Wiard". Archive of American Television. May 11, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Carol Burnett—We Just Can't Resist Her!". May 14, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 

External links[edit]