Earl LeRoy Saffer was an entrepreneur and amateur pilot who, according to his granddaughter, "lived high" during the 1920s. In 1932, Saffer and his family moved from Miami to New York. The family narrowly escaped the 1926 hurricane, running from one building to another just before the first building crumbled.
Saffer’s home movies show a happy time in the family’s life, with ocean cruises, golf outings, beach excursions and trips to bathing casinos. Often, the women strike "still" poses in the movies, when according to his granddaughter, Mr. Saffer would yell, "It's a movie – move!"
Throughout the film, the family dresses up and wears various costumes. Footage of Pier 5 in Miami shows fishing boats at the dock, a masted ship and a large private yacht. The camera also pans across the Miami skyline. Women and men play golf at the Miami Beach Golf Club, formerly Bayshore. The footage includes an airship hanger along with the Goodyear blimp Defender landing and taking off again. The family spends time at what appears to be the Venetian pool in Coral Gables and then strikes poses and plays leap frog on the beach.
The footage shows a Curtiss Wright airplane at the airport as well as aerial views of the Breakers Hotel and Miami Beach. Of particular interest are shots of Curtiss Wright aircraft mechanics working on the plane and shots of the Eastern Transport Inc. sign on a building. The S.S. Seminole of the Clyde Mallory Line docks with the help of tugboats, and later the family swims at the Roman pools. Scenes include diving and swimming competitions and a group parading around at Miami's Spanish Village. Additional scenes include a sunrise Easter service on the beach and canoe “jousting” at the Deauville Casino. Footage shows a man wrestling with a chained bear, and the film ends with bears going down a slide and swimming in the ocean.
Florida Memory is funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida’s LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.