Beaches, Creatures and Cowboys: Florida Film Posters
June 1 - September 25
A new traveling exhibit is now on display now through September 25, 2021, at the Lake Wales History Museum. Beaches, Creatures, and Cowboys: Florida Film Posters is on loan from the Museum of Florida History, and features the colorful and eye-catching posters and lobby cards that advertised some of Florida’s most famous films from the early 1920s to the present. They are all part of the Museum of Florida History’s permanent collection of Florida movie memorabilia.
The Florida sunshine, coastlines and attractions provided the sets for many movies, while the palm trees and beaches provided a beautiful backdrop. Movie producers have been making films in Florida almost since the dawn of the industry. For a short time in the early twentieth century, Florida even rivaled California as a place for movie making. However, a lack of government support, money, and studio facilities hurt the industry here, and movie companies soon began leaving the area. In 1920, though, when many other studios were heading for Hollywood, Norman Studios set up shop in Jacksonville. Although white-owned, its movies featured all-black cast members, drawing from the large pool of African American actors and studio workers in the area.
Even after most studios had gone to the West Coast, many films still included some scenes shot in Florida. Tarzan swung through the Florida jungles, swimming champion turned actress Esther Williams frolicked on the beaches, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon lurked in the state’s dark and mysterious springs. More recently, major studios, like Universal, Disney, and MGM began moving to the state. Florida now boasts the third largest movie industry in the country.
“We thought this would be a fun, summertime exhibit as our movie theaters reopen, and we celebrate getting back to in-person activities,” states Jennifer D’hollander, museum director. The museum is hosting this traveling exhibit and other great events this summer.
View the exhibit flyer (pdf) – Summer Flyer 2021.pub
About the Lake Wales History Museum
The Lake Wales History Museum owns and preserves an estimated 20,000 items within its collection, offers self-guided tours of local history through permanent and changing interpretive displays, educational programming, special events and school programs throughout the year. The Lake Wales History Museum is open Wednesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Suggested donation: $5/person for admission. Parking is free and the first floor is accessible for persons with disabilities, wheelchairs and strollers. For more information contact the Lake Wales History Museum, 325 S Scenic Highway, Lake Wales, Florida 33853; 863-676-1759 or visit www.lakewalesfl.gov/museum.