Art and Culture

APR 2019

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38 art&culture A brief history of filming in Palm Beach County and where the industry stands today BY SCOTT EYMAN Reel Talk The movies came to Florida for the same reason as the population: the weather. Before World War I, the movie industry had been mostly centered around New York and New Jersey. But unpleasantly cold winters led early movie companies to begin looking to the south for winter production, specifically Jacksonville, which at the time was the biggest city (50,000 people, with an infrastructure to match) on the railroad line that was a straight shot from New York City. Between 1908 and 1926, about 300 films were made in Jacksonville. It was during the real estate boom of the 1920s that the movies came to Palm Beach. One of the first studios to arrive was Paramount, which shot The Palm Beach Girl, starring silent film darling Bebe Daniels, in and around The Breakers hotel in 1926. Some thought was given to establishing year- round studios, but that idea vanished with the sum- mers. The heat and humidity, unleavened by air conditioning that hadn't yet been invented, could actually melt the emulsion on 35mm film. So Flor- ida remained strictly a seasonal production center. That began to change in the 1980s, and since, Palm Beach County has hosted a plethora of films. There have been the excellent (1981's Body Heat, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, Delray Beach; 1980s FROM TOP: HEARTBREAKERS, STARRING JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT AND SIGOURNEY WEAVER, ON LOCATION AT THE BREAKERS; CADDYSHACK SHOT SCENES AT THE BOCA RATON RESORT AND CLUB; PARAMOUNT CAME TO TOWN WITH THE PALM BEACH GIRL IN 1926. RGR COLLECTION / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

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