Sometime after midnight, in the early morning of December 16, 1939—more than five hours after settling into their seats—the city’s elite flowed out of Loew’s Grand Theatre, overjoyed at the spectacle they’d just witnessed. Margaret Mitchell emerged, enormously relieved. Hollywood had not destroyed her story after all.
For Aaron, this is a season of big, round numbers: eighty years on earth, forty years since breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record. Big, round numbers tend to send reporters and fans scurrying to revisit legends and milestones to remind themselves that a figure of such Rushmorean proportions in American sports is still a flesh-and-blood man among us, and to beg a moment of his time. I was one such beggar.
In the forty years he has been in the public eye, Ted Turner has been called a genius, a jackass (by his father, among others), a visionary, childlike (a compliment), childish (not a compliment), a pioneer, a young maverick, an old lion, a straight shooter, egomaniacal, steadfast, restless, haunted, mercurial, brilliant, impatient, impetuous, insecure, generous, genuine, loyal, and cheap. Also nuts.