Movies and TV in Florida

Once referred to as "Hollywood East," Florida has been the location for countless films from the 1910s through to the modern era. Below are images from several of these films, from the classic gems to the soon forgotten, that helped rank the Sunshine State in third place in the nation for producing films

Ginger Stanley in the grip of the creature: Silver Springs, Florida (1954)

Image Number: RC13412

From Revenge of the Creature, the sequel to The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Filmed in 3-D.

Pictured here is Florida-native Ricou Browning, who played the Creature (better known as Gill Man) in all three pictures, and stand-in Ginger Stanley. Released by universal Studios in 1955. Silver Springs, Florida.

Motion picture scene from Strangled Harmony (c. 1916)

Image Number: PR07316

L-R: Bobby Burns, (?), Ethel Burton Palmer, (?), Walter Stull. Filmed in Jacksonville, Florida.

This was a production of Vim Comedy Company between 1915 and 1917. The small film studio was based both in Jacksonville and New York. It produced hundreds of two-reel comedies (over 156 comedies in 1916 alone).

Before going out of business in 1917, it employed such stars as Oliver Hardy, Ethel Burton, Billy Fletcher, Walter Stull, Pearl Bailey, Arvid Gillstrom, and Kate Price.

Advertisement for Bill Pickett movie (1921)

Image Number: PR07392a

Poster for a movie called "The Bull-Dogger". A Norman Studio production filmed in Jacksonville, Florida.

Pickett was discovered by studio head Richard Norman in the all-black Oklahoma town of Boley while working as a rancher. He later performed in other Norman productions.

Movie scene with Lincoln T.M.A. Perry (c. 1930)

Image Number: PR07280

Lincoln T. M. A. Perry (1902-1985) was better known as Stepin Fetchit. He was born in Key West Florida. His screen persona is often cited as an example of unfavorable black stereotypes, though his popularity opened the door for many future black actors. He acted in 54 films, was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and won a Special Image Award from the NAACP.

The photo is a still from Dimples (1936) starring Shirley Temple in the title role and directed by William A. Seiter. Lincoln Perry (Stepin Fetchit) plays Cicero, a servant. At left is actor Frank Morgan as Professor Eustace Appleby, a pickpocket and Dimples’ grandfather. Morgan also played the title role in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Mr. Perry befriended Muhammad Ali in the 1960s and traveled for a while in the boxer’s entourage.

Gary Cooper and Mari Aldon (1951)

Image Number: PR10431

Cooper and Aldon, the stars of Distant Drums, during filming at Silver Springs, Florida.

The film (directed by Raoul Walsh and released by Warner Brothers) was set in the Everglades in the 1840s, during the Second Seminole War.

Esther Williams' hair being prepared for an underwater sequence: Silver Springs, Florida (1955)

Image Number: RC13406

Jupiter's Darling, an MGM film directed by George Sidney and starring Esther Williams and Howard Keel, was based upon Robert Sherwood's play.

Lassie awaiting her cue in front of camera crew (1965)

Image Number: PR07250

Alexander Springs (Lake County, Fla.)

Filming an episode of the CBS television series Lassie (which ran from 1954 through 1974). Filming took place in 1965 for the episode entitled Lassie the Voyager, which first aired 16 October 1966. Though a female character, all the Lassies were in fact played by male dogs.

Three male actors from The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

Image Number: PR07265

Jimmy Stewart (left), Cornel Wilde (middle) and Charlton Heston (right) during the filming of The Greatest Show on Earth in Sarasota.

Filming of "Airport 77" underwater (1976)

Image Number: PR07279

This scene from Airport 77 was filmed at Wakulla Springs, Florida.

Film still from the motion picture The Flying Ace (1926)

Image Number: N041443

Produced by Norman Studios of Jacksonville, Florida.

The studio, owned by Richard Norman, specialized in films starring, and often written by, African Americans, a population that was generally ignored by much of Hollywood.

Script writers with Jackie Gleason (c. 1965)

Image Number: MS26113

Comedy actor Jackie Gleason working with his writing staff for the Jackie Gleason Show, which moved from New York City to Miami in 1964.

L-R: Walter Stone, Marvin Marx, Sid Zelinka and Leonard Stein with Gleason on the phone. Miami, Florida.

Ann Blyth being carried to underwater set during filming (1948)

Image Number: PR10452

Ed and Whitey McMahan carry actress Ann Blyth to the underwater set during filming of Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid at Weeki Wachee Spring.

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid was directed by Irving Pichel and starred William Powell as Mr. Peabody and Ann Blyth as the Mermaid.

Governor Bob Graham working as a grip on the set of Burt Reynolds' film Stick: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1983)

Image Number: N048746

Governor Bob Graham, left, is shown during one of his "workdays" with Burt Reynolds. His more than 180 jobs include policeman, railroad engineer, construction worker, sponge fisherman, factory worker, social worker, busboy, teacher and newsman.

Reynolds starred in and directed Stick. Filmed in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, it was based upon Miami-based writer Elmore Leonard's novel. It was released theatrically in 1985.

Photographed on November 22, 1983.

Motion picture set (1912)

Image Number: PR07339

Starting in 1908 with Kalem Studio, filmmakers from New York City began producing in films in Jacksonville (and later elsewhere in the state) in order to film year-round.

Over time, the focus switched from both New York and Florida to California, where it remains today.

Field Feature Film Company studio under construction: Miami, Florida (ca. 1915)

Image Number: RC03736

Field Features Film studio was a short-lived film company owned by New York filmmaker Charles Field, who later moved his operations to Hollywood, and a local agriculture mogul, Thomas Peters, who was widely known as the "Tomato King."

The studio was located on South Miami Avenue and 25th Street, Miami, Florida.

Decorated interior of Kalem studio (1914)

Image Number: PR07337

Kalem Studios was begun in New York City in 1907. It opened a permanent studio in Jacksonville in 1908- the first film studio to do so. And by doing so, became the first studio to film year-round.

The studio had made the first Ben-Hur and the first adaptation of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. In 1917, the company was bought out by Vitagraph Studios. Jacksonville, Florida.

Flipper the dolphin and crew (c. 1965)

Image Number: PR07257

The NBC television show Flipper ran from 1964 to 1968, and was produced by Miami-based Ivan Tors Studio. Pictured here is "Flipper" with animal trainer Ric O'Feldman and writer-director (and sometime actor) Ricou Browning.

Getting his start with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Browning produced-directed many movies and TV shows for Ivan Tors Studios, including Sea Hunt and Gentle Ben.

Lloyd Bridges (c. 1960)

Lloyd Bridges (c. 1960)

Image Number: PR10430

Sea Hunt was a syndicated action-adventure television show that first aired between 1958 and 1962 (filmed 1957-1961) and starred Lloyd Bridges (1913-1998).

Produced by Ivan Tors Studios (based in Miami) it filmed in large part in Florida (especially at Silver Springs, as in this image), as well as in California.

Newt Perry, Johnny Sheffield and Johnny Weissmuller during filming of Tarzan Finds a Son! (1938)

Image Number: RC13637

Newt Perry (on the left) was a popular swimmer who was instrumental in the production of several movies in Florida. A friend of Weismuller, Perry was at the time manager of Silver Springs and convinced MGM to film their newest Tarzan flick there. Two years later Perry managed Wakulla Springs where MGM filmed their next Tarzan film, Tarzan's Secret Treasure (1941). He also got FSU-student and Wakulla Springs lifeguard Ricou Browning hired as the Gill Man in the Creature from the Black Lagoon. In 1948, he opened Weeki Wachee tourist attraction. Tarzan Finds a Son was filmed at Silver Springs, Florida.

Filming of TV series Gentle Ben: Miami, Florida (1967)

Image Number: C671098

Gentle Ben ran on CBS from 1967 to 1969.

Produced by Miami-based Ivan Tors Studios, it starred Dennis Weaver as an Everglades park ranger and his family, and dealt with their relationship with an old bear named Ben.

Filming of "Jaws II" (1977)

Image Number: PR07275

The first sequel to the hit 1975 Stephen Spielberg film, Jaws, about yet another killer shark that terrorized Martha's Vineyard.

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc and starring Roy Scheider Lorraine Gary, much of Jaws 2 was filmed in Navarre Beach and Okaloosa Island. It was released by Universal Studios. Navarre, Beach, Florida.

Making the motion picture "Curdled": Sarasota, Florida (1991)

Image Number: N044138

A short film created by FSU's film school students Reb Braddock (director & writer) and John Maass (produced and writer) and starring FSU graduate of the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Angela Jones.

The film caught the attention of Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino, who financed a feature-length version, released in 1996, with the same director, producer, and lead actress, along with William Baldwin, Bruce Ramsay, and Daisy Fuentes, and a cameo by George Clooney. These images are from the making of the short film.

Robert Cummings and Terry Moore of Barefoot Mailman (1951)

Image Number: PR10437

Postmarked December 22, 1947.

Barefoot Mailman (1951) was directed by Earl McEvoy and written by James Gunn from the popular novel by Theodore Pratt.

Starring Terry Moore and Robert Cummings, it was released by Columbia Pictures. Much of the filming took place at Silver Springs, Florida.

A fan asking for an autograph by actors and actress of the movie Frogs: Panama City, Florida (1972)

Image Number: C679114

Frogs was directed by George McGowan and released by American International Pictures (AIP)

Pictured here (right to left) are the film's stars Sam Elliot, Joan Van Ark, and Adam Roarke with an unidentified autograph seeker. Panama City, Florida.

Theda Bara during shooting of film: Miami Beach, Florida (1921)

Image Number: RC01795

Silent film star Theda Bara in Fox Company film being shot at Collina and 26th street in Miami Beach.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (1959)

Image Number: C029189

Husband and wife Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, stars of numerous western films and television shows, appear as headliners at the annual Gaspirilla Festival. Tampa, Florida.

Frank Sinatra, left foreground, during filming of Lady in Cement (ca. 1968)

Image Number: MS26238

Directed by Gordon Douglas, Lady in Cement was released in 1968. Singer Sinatra played Tony Rome, a Miami-based detective investigating the death of a woman.

Billy Bitzer and D.W. Griffith (1919)

Image Number: PR07286

G.W. "Billy" Bitzer (acclaimed as among the first and greatest camera artists) with director D.W. Griffith on the set of The Greatest Question, also known as Idol Dancer. Starring Eugenie Besserer, Ralph Graves and Lillian Gish, the film was produced by First National Pictures.

Filmed in Fort Lauderdale, 1919.