Sunday, February 14, 2010

More Florida movie minutiae

Here's some more tidbits about Marine Studios, which was home to much of the film production in Florida in the first half of the twentieth century.

  • The first dolphin birth ever recorded on film happened at Marine Studios in 1940
  • Clint Eastwood also made his film debut in 1955’s Revenge of the Creature filmed at Marine Studios
  • The Marineland property, where Marine Studios operated, is on the National Register of Historic Places
  • In 1927 Marine Studios c0-founder C.V. Whitney helped to establish Florida-based Pan American Airways and served as the chairman of the board until 1941. He was also a member of the Truman administration from 1947-50
  • Marine Studios co-founder Merian C. Cooper’s name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is misspelled "Meriam C. Cooper"
  • The idea for the movie King Kong reportedly came to Cooper in a dream. About the movie he was said tell the movie’s heroine, Faye Ray,You are going to have the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood".
  • Shark repellent used in WWII was developed based on research conducted at Marine Studios
  • Norton Baskin, husband of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, owned the Dolphin Restaurant in Marineland
  • When a deal to sell the technology created to make up the Marine Studios Ocenarium with a group in South Florida fell through, the rival operation simply hired away much of the Studios trained staff and opened the Miami Seaquarium. The Seaquarium’s trained dolphin “Flipper” eventually eclipsed Marine Studios’ Flippy as the world’s best known dolphin.

Productions filmed at Marine Studios included: “Sea Hunt” (1958) TV, “Benji Takes a Dive at Marineland” (1981) TV, “Creature from the Black” (1954), “Live a Little, Love a Little” (1968), “Marine Circus” (1939), “Port Sinister” (1953), “Revenge of the Creature” (1955), “Sea Dream” (1978), “Secrets of the Reef” (1956), “The Flamingo Rising” (2001) (TV), “The Sea Around Us” (1953), “Zaat” (1975) -From Internet Movie Database

The Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando currently has an exhibit called Lights! Camera! Action! that displays some of the history of film and television production in Florida. Included in the exhibit is memorabilia from Marine Studios, a movie poster from the “Creature of the Black Lagoon” and a re-creation of a movie set. Some of my other favorite artifacts were movie posters from Elvis' “Girl Happy” (filmed in Ft. Lauderdale), Esther Williams' “Easy To Love” (filmed at Cypress Gardens), and artifacts from the Norman Film Manufacturing Company of Jacksonville.

State Archives of Florida

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