Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"South Beach; a ghetto in the sun..."

Thanks to Rick Auchter for calling my attention to this incredible piece of local TV news history..

Below is part 1 and part 3 of a 1974 WPLG, Channel 10 documentary called "Momma lives on Miami Beach."

The film offers some fascinating glimpses of what life was like for many on South Beach over 37 years ago. A South Beach that was shunned by tourists. A South Beach before it became a magnet for models, photographers and beautiful people.

In one part of the film, investigative reporter Clarence Jones talks to an elderly woman who manages to live on just $35 a month after she pays $100 for rent.

It would be six more years before some of the people in this film would be terrorized by a wave of newly-arrived Mariel refugees.

And if any of those seen in the film lived another 10 years, they were probably forced out of their cheap, cramped apartments when investors bought many of South Beach's crumbling art deco buildings and turned them into trendy, boutique hotels.

Jones' film also shows elderly shoppers fighting for loaves of stale day-old bread at a Washington Avenue market.

Highlight: Watch at the 2:10 mark in part 1 as the camera shows Ocean Drive in mid-morning from 7th to 8th Street with lots of empty parking spaces. There's a glimpse at 8th Street of the buildings that would eventually become Wet Willie's and the News Cafe.

Part 1

Part 3


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