Monday, September 15, 2014


By Jim Heffernan

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the premiere of the movie “Gone With the Wind.” It also marks the 75th anniversary of my birth, which isn’t getting nearly as much hoopla as the movie’s anniversary.

Truth be told (and this is a fact you could check) the filming of Gone With the Wind almost coincides with my own gestation period. The filming began in December 1938 with the shooting of the scenes involving the burning of Atlanta (they were actually burning the old King Kong movie set) and proceeded through most of 1939. It had its premiere in Atlanta in December of that year, some two months after I was born.

As part of the great celebration of this Diamond Anniversary (never mind that the 60th anniversary of anything is also called diamond), the movie is being reissued on the big screen Sept. 28. It will be shown in the Twin Cities and I will be there.

I first saw GWTW (let’s call it that from now on) at Duluth’s Granada Theater when I was in junior high. It had been reissued, probably for the 15th anniversary of its premiere.

In today’s parlance, I was blown away by it. I don’t know where you’d end up being blown away by a wind that’s gone, but let’s just say it made a big impression on me. Greatest movie I’d ever seen, and even at that tender age I’d seen many. I joke that I spent half my childhood watching double features at the old Lyceum Theater.

Nothing I’d ever seen, though, compared to GWTW. In the intervening years I went to it every time it was reissued. It came back to theaters for years before it was ever shown on television. Then I watched it on television a few times. I would hazard a guess I have seen GWTW about 12 times. Since the movie is four hours long (three hours, 45 minutes plus a 15-minute intermission), I suppose I’ve spent 48 hours of my 75 years watching that movie.

And now I look forward to spending four more hours – again in a theater on the big screen in blazing Technicolor with the sweeping sound of composer Max Steiner’s awe-inspiring score and the stellar performances of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh and the rest. I can hardly wait.

This could be the last time for me on the big screen, though. If they put it into theaters at its century anniversary, I’ll be long gone… you could say gone with the wind. By then, frankly, my dear, I won’t give a damn.

Still, if there is a heaven… Oh, I won’t think about that now. I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow IS another day. (Cue music.)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My West End Story conclusion...

Ruth Carlson Heffernan, circa 1920's
Last month I wrote a part one segment of what I called a "West End Story" in my monthly post on Zenith City Online. This month I wrote the conclusion to the story, titled, "A West End Story, Part 2: Daughters of a star-crossed couple persevere after being orphaned."

Anna & Charles Carlson with my mother
and three of her five sisters circa 1910
I received so many calls, private notes and online comments asking me to write the rest of the story that I decided to write the conclusion of this remarkable saga of young girls orphaned by the untimely deaths of both parents in in the early twentieth century. The oldest of these six daughters of Charles and Anna Carlson was my mother, Ruth Carlson Heffernan, and this story is a very personal tale of her early life.

If you'd like to read the conclusion to this story that took place in the late 19th century and early twentieth century, you can link HERE to my post in Zenith City Online. (There's a link embedded in that story to part 1, if you haven't read the first part of the story.) I think you'll find the tale of my Swedish immigrant grandparents and the struggles of my mother and her sisters reflecting the era and likely paralleling so many stories of that period of time.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Denfeld honor roll...

My closing remarks given at the Denfeld Hall of Fame event...

"I feel I should confess that I wasn't really the most attentive or industrious student to have graced the hallowed halls of Denfeld; so it feels great to have finally made a Denfeld honor roll."

And it did feel great to stand on stage in a school I love with a most distinguished group of Denfeld Hall of Fame inductees... the first woman chief of police in Minneapolis, a revered local public defender, a highly decorated air force major general in the Air National Guard, two accomplished professors, a talented and beloved teacher, three acclaimed athletes, a prominent area artist, and a skilled and loved secretary. I felt very humbled and indeed honored.

And to paraphrase Fred Friedman in his acceptance remarks... Basically we are those who seem to get the attention; but there are so many others out there who live a life unnoticed and who are as much or more deserving. Well said, Fred!

Duluth Denfeld High School

Friday, August 1, 2014

Just an ink-stained scribe from the West End ...

Nice writing by John Meyers in today's Duluth News Tribune. He coined the phrase about me as "ink-stained scribe from the West End." I rather like that. You can read the article along with a photo of yours truly HERE.

Tomorrow is my big day as I once again hit the hallowed halls of Denfeld to be inducted into the Denfeld Hall of Fame, along with a group of very esteemed inductees. The ceremony takes place in the beautiful Denfeld Auditorium and begins at 1 pm on Saturday, followed by a reception. The event is open to the public. – Jim

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Drone over Duluth...

DroneStar over Enger Tower in Duluth, courtesy of 
For all you lovers of our fantastic city, take a look at this youtube video produced by Drone Star of Duluth right HERE. The video of this low altitude aerial photography begins at the Rose Garden and spans many popular Duluth scenes most majestically. 

Check out more about this innovative Duluth-based enterprise and view their gallery on their website You're also invited to subscribe to their youtube channel to view more video. They're on Facebook and Twitter and always appreciate a "like" and a follow