There’s nothing like a good old fashioned Hollywood controversy and this one has everything: classic films, dueling babies, and old people who just don’t give a shit. The mystery revolves around one simple question: Just how many babies were in Gone With The Wind? It’s the kind of philosophical musing that has driven mankind mad since the dawning of time and the so called Gone With The Wind “Baby Wars” are igniting a firestorm of debate among all seven people who care about this sort of thing.
Film historians have long functioned under the assumption that the two babies who make brief appearances in the iconic 1939 film were both played by the same infant-actor, Greg Giese. In fact, some might consider that knowledge to be the very foundation upon which Hollywood is built. However, one ABC Studios executive is no longer content to see her industry built on a web of lies. When LA Weekly published a story on Giese last week, Dawn Soler bravely came forward with the truth: She believes a second baby may have been involved in the film. (Soler has yet to weigh in on the infamous second shooter JFK theory, although that will likely be coming soon.)
Soler claims her very own mother, Joanne Johnson, played the baby whom Clark Gable picks up from its cradle. The former baby, who now goes by the name Kelly Griffin, was told by her mother that she was the baby in some of the scenes that were shot. Unfortunately, Griffin can’t say for sure whether her scenes made it into the film given that she was a baby at the time.
Connie Sutherland, the director of the Gone With The Wind Museum in Georgia, also weighed in on the controversy given that it is literally her job to weigh in on these sorts of sordid tales. She believes Giese played both babies—apparently turning in the kind of virtuosic performance that makes such speculation possible. Giese still has the original contract that his mother signed as well as “other documents,” though just what these “other documents” are also remains a mystery. Sutherland is quick to doubt the legitimacy of Soler’s controversial claim, “As for Joanne Johnson, or Kelly Griffin, it’s hard to believe that someone could have been in the movie, and has now waited until 75 years later to come forward. And she has no documentation.” Indeed, Griffin’s choice not to come out as the second Gone With The Wind baby for 75 years does cast serious doubt on her claim—Sutherland probably feels that if Clark Gable held her as a baby she would tell absolutely everyone.
However, Soler is not without her own supporters. Giffin’s older sister, Barbara McCollum, also thinks Griffin was in Gone With The Wind given that she was seven years old when the film was made and vaguely remembers riding in a limousine to an anniversary party once. Soler joked, “They could call this ‘The Gone with the Wind Baby Wars,’” using the less familiar definition of “wars” that means “thing I said that no one else believes.”
While this controversy could be expected to embroil the 74-year-old Griffin and Giese into a vicious battle of he cried, she needed to be burped, they have managed to remain above from the mudslinging. Griffin is quoted as saying, “It’s all pretty stupid. All it does is call attention to how old I am.” Meanwhile, Giese eloquently responded to a reporter’s question with, “I don’t give a shit.”