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Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State
For Immediate Release
November 17, 2011
TALLAHASSEE – Secretary of State Kurt Browning today announced the opening of a new exhibit highlighting movies made in Florida. The exhibit, titled Beaches, Creatures, and Cowboys: Florida Movie Posters, opens tomorrow, November 18, 2011, at the Museum of Florida History and extends through January 16, 2012.
“Fans of movies and Florida history will really enjoy seeing this new exhibit,” said Secretary Browning. “For decades, the Sunshine State has been a popular destination for film crews and this exhibit showcases many of the most well-known titles.”
Beaches, Creatures, and Cowboys: Florida Movie Posters features original movie posters from the museum’s collection. The posters were created to promote films made in Florida, dating back to the early 20th century when Florida rivaled California in the industry. Colorful, eye-catching posters promoted films and helped draw people to the movies. By the 1920s, movie advertisers were producing a standard set of promotional materials to market films.
Posters and lobby cards featured in the exhibit depict some of Florida’s most famous films from the early 1920s to the present. Visitors can view examples of reproduction posters such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Greatest Show on Earth, Where the Boys Are, Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, and Follow that Dream. Several recently acquired posters, seen for the first time as part of the museum collection, and a variety of original posters also will be included in the exhibit.
An original three-sheet movie poster of The Flying Ace will be seen for the first time at the museum. This film was made at Norman Studios in Arlington, a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida. Richard Norman, who directed The Flying Ace, used an African American cast and crew to make the movie. The movie stars Lawrence Criner as a World War I fighter pilot who returns home as a hero. He, with help from Peg Reynolds, rescues Kathryn Boyd and her father from railroad thieves. The 1926 movie was billed as “the greatest airplane thriller ever filmed,” although it was filmed entirely on the ground. The Flying Ace grossed nearly $20,000, making it Norman’s most profitable film.
While most movie companies were moving to Hollywood, California, Norman Studios set up shop in the Jacksonville area in 1920 and became very successful for a time. The studio was a pioneer, not only in filmmaking but also in the making of African American films. Even as Florida saw a decline in film production, movie companies never completely ceased to film here. Today, Florida ranks among the top locations in film production in the United States.
About the Museum of Florida History
The Florida Department of State’s Museum of Florida History is managed by the department’s Division of Cultural Affairs and is located in the R. A. Gray Building at 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida. The site is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday and holidays, 12:00 noon to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, contact 850.245.6400 or go online to www.museumoffloridahistory.com.