St. Petersburg has welcomed Hollywood film corporations on quite a few events over the many years. Movies made virtually of their entirety right here embody Robert Altman’s H.E.A.L.T.H., Ron Howard’s Cocoon and Carl Reiner’s Summer Rental, which was John Sweet’s first starring car.
We’ve documented the manufacturing course of on all three of these big-budget motion pictures in our Vintage collection, together with an in depth story on Sun Haven Studios, the Despair-era facility on Weedon Island the place three early “talkies” had been made.
The St. Pete filmography doesn’t finish there, nevertheless. Movie buffs, and the in any other case sharp-eyed, will acknowledge St. Pete cameos in just a few different well-known movement photos. There are others, in fact – who can neglect the 1992 managed demolition of the Soreno Resort for Deadly Weapon III? – however these are the large ones.
As they are saying in Hollywood, location, location, location.
1940s: Noir revoir
Two-thirds of the way in which by way of 1947’s movie noir Useless Reckoning, Lizabeth Scott is driving a Lincoln Continental convertible by way of the nighttime streets of “Gulf Metropolis,” a southern city by no means recognized by state (the script additionally makes point out of a “Tarpon Springs Street”).
It’s really Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. Within the passenger seat: Humphrey Bogart.
Just a few moments later, the automobile is rushing over the Treasure Island causeway; in close-up, the 2 stars talk about some nefarious crime that’s occurred. Turning onto a rustic highway, their car is pulled over by a motorbike cop. The pair smooth-talk their method out of a ticket. The officer by no means is aware of there’s a lifeless physique within the trunk.
These scenes had been filmed Could 29-31, 1946 by an assistant director and crew from Columbia Photos. The director, John Cromwell, was not in St. Petersburg.
Neither, for that matter, had been Humphrey Bogart or Lizabeth Scott.
The crew was taking “lengthy pictures” that week, depicting the automobile rushing previous downtown buildings, pedestrians and policemen, over the causeway and thru the woods. Additionally lensed had been backgrounds, to be “rear-screen projected” behind the actors as they ran their dialogue, inside a dummied-up automobile, in a Hollywood studio. Pre-filmed seaside landscapes present the backgrounds for a later scene in a restaurant.
Within the function of Bogie-from-the-back was George Ford, the film legend’s physique double. There are a number of split-second profile moments the place it’s clearly not Bogart within the automobile.
Newly-minted St. Petersburg Instances reporter Bette Swenson was sitting in for blonde bombshell Scott. Swenson was solely advised, nevertheless, that she was doubling for “Bogart’s main girl,” because the actress within the function had not but been employed. It was later revealed that Rita Hayworth, simply coming off Gilda, was the studio’s first alternative for Useless Reckoning; when she proved unavailable, Scott bought the nod.
Swenson, who as Bette Orsini would go on to a protracted and distinguished profession on the Instances (successful a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for her expose on the Church of Scientology), wrote about her “Hollywood” journey in a narrative dated June 2, 1946:
Thus your reporter has accomplished what it most likely the shortest display screen run in historical past. You’ve seen Ingrid Bergman, Ida Lupino and Jennifer Jones within the motion pictures – effectively, in the event you take a magnifying glass and be very alert all by way of “Useless Reckoning,” you’re liable to get an opportunity to glimpse the Poor Man’s Judy Canova within the prize efficiency of her profession.
1950s: Army melodrama
The Glenn Miller Story, starring James Stewart and June Allyson, had simply completed its engagement on the Playhouse Theatre in St. Petersburg when the 2 stars, paired for what can be their third celluloid romp as a married couple, arrived on the town.
It was March 22, 1954. Stewart, Allyson, director Tony Mann and a small crew took over Al Lang Discipline to seize two brief scenes for Paramount’s Strategic Air Command. Within the story, Stewart’s character, former fighter pilot “Dutch” Holland, has simply signed a contract to play baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals.
August Busch, proprietor of the real-life Cardinals, agreed to let the movie firm shoot the film’s opening scene, utilizing his gamers, throughout precise spring coaching in St. Petersburg.
Preparations had already been made for a lot of the movie – a typical post-war melodrama in regards to the preventing males of the USAF – to be shot at MacDill Air Pressure Base in south Tampa.
Produced in VistaVision, the most recent stylish widescreen format, Strategic Air Command begins with a shot of the signal exterior Al Lang Discipline. Pan proper, throughout an excellent Technicolor panorama of downtown St. Pete, and a automobile pulls up with perky June Allyson on the wheel.
She and James Bell (enjoying her father) enter the stadium, and take seats to observe the Cardinals throwing the ol’ hardball across the bases. Stewart-as-Dutch is enjoying third. She calls out to him; he waves again.
And there’s Al Lang Discipline, in all its early 1950s glory, framed by palm bushes and Australian pines and azure skies and the blue/gray water of Tampa Bay. There’s the unique scoreboard, with its Coca-Cola signal.
There’s some dialogue between Stewart and Allyson, and a number of other different actors. It units the plot in movement (Dutch, who’s being recalled to energetic obligation, must put his budding baseball profession on maintain). The whole scene lasts about 4 minutes.
Later within the movie, there’s a a lot shorter scene depicting Stewart, in full Air Pressure uniform, watching a sport from the identical spectator seats (clearly shot on the identical day). And that’s it for Al Lang Discipline’s large second on the silver display screen.
The corporate spent roughly three hours in St. Petersburg, wrapping up at midday (the Cardinals had a 1 p.m. sport towards the Milwaukee Brewers).
Jimmy Stewart sat proper down on the bench beside us and talked up a storm. Uncle Al Lang was there too, so dialog was limitless. What was Jimmy Stewart’s favourite baseball crew? The Yankees, in fact, however he advised us confidentially he needed to change his favourite now and again to suit native preferences.
“College reporters” Nancy and Sally Stephenson, St. Petersburg Instances/March 27, 1954
1980s: Mob memoir
Safety was tight on the seaside behind the Don CeSar Resort on Oct. 15, 1982, as actors Robert DeNiro and James Woods shot a scene for Italian director Sergio Leone’s sprawling gangster movie As soon as Upon a Time in America.
In case you’ve seen the movie – the unique, heavily-edited launch or Leone’s four-hour “director’s reduce” – you recognize this scene. Noodles (DeNiro) and Max (Woods) are lounging on seaside chairs within the rear of a towering, opulent pink lodge (guess who?).
Max: A dream I’ve been dreamin’ all my life. Swear to God, Noodles, you and me collectively we will make it come true.
Noodles: What’s it?
Max: The Federal Reserve Financial institution. It’s the most important step we may take, Noodles.
Noodles (after a protracted pause): You’re actually loopy.
Max (exploding in anger): Don’t you ever say that to me! Don’t you ever say that to me once more!
Max storms off to mope alongside the surf.
The brief scene, which took two days to finish, employed 350 native extras, wearing 1930s seaside apparel, within the background. Roughly 60 Florida manufacturing folks labored with the Warner Bros. crew.
A neighborhood newspaper reported requested on-set publicist if DeNiro would consent to an interview. He was met with fun and this response: “He doesn’t discuss to God.”
2000s: All-star caper
George Clooney and Brad Pitt shot scenes for Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven in and round an unlimited circus tent erected within the Derby Lane parking zone Feb. 20, 2000. Contained in the tent, their characters, Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan, watch a efficiency by the Peking Acrobats, paying particular consideration to the nimble Yen, portrayed by real-life acrobat and contortionist Shaobo Qin. Yen is subsequently recruited for the gang of thieves Ocean and Ryan are pulling collectively for an enormous Vegas heist. He’s to be the crew’s “greaseman.”
Two teenage members of the acrobatic troupe, Li Dian Feng and Yang Chun Lei, collided whereas engaged on the “parallel poles” sequence seen within the movie. They fell 10 ft to the ground and had been taken to Bayfront Medical Heart, the place they had been handled for minor accidents and launched.
Clooney and Pitt had been additionally filmed strolling to their automobile after the “efficiency.” By three p.m., Clooney was finished for the day, and finished with St. Pete. Though he fortunately chatted and signal autographs for the extras contained in the (closed-set) tent, Clooney was saved away from the curious onlookers exterior the parking zone set.
Pitt was again the subsequent day to shoot with Carl Reiner, enjoying Saul, one other recruit. Soderbergh and his crew spent 11 hours at Derby Lane on the 21st, as Reiner’s character positioned a wager on the day’s canine races, and as he and Pitt sat within the stands and watched the race. There have been 600 extras on the canine observe, together with St. Petersburg Instances movie author Steve Persall:
4:26 p.m.: The celebs’ work accomplished, Pitt stands and excites the extras with a Rocky-style pose. Large spherical of applause. Reiner stands to go away, hears his title cheered and doffs his fishing hat. Greater spherical of applause.
2010s: Artwork of the dance
Director Soderbergh was again in St. Pete in October, 2011, to shoot scenes for Magic Mike, the based-on-fact film about male stripper-turned-actor Channing Tatum, a Tampa native. Tatum performed himself; his club-owner mentor was portrayed by Matthew McConaughey.
Tatum, Olivia Munn, Joe Mangianello and others from the forged shot exteriors at Wilson’s Bar on 4th Road (filling in for the film’s “Membership Xquisite”), exterior a Tierra Verde dwelling, on the Pinellas Bayway Bridge, at Caddy’s on the Seashore and on the Three Rooker Bar, a closely vegetated sandbar two miles off the seaside in Tarpon Springs (the latter was shot the primary day, with McConaughey, and was the Oscar-winning actor’s solely locally-shot scene.