Foto Friendly Florida Classic "Cypress Gardens" Closed
I'm going to be visiting Florida in a few weeks, that marvelous year-round playland. Here in Chicago, we're used to hunkering down for six months out of the year, so it's downright strange to think of being able to take a swim in these winter months. I'm excited to be visiting Disney World. Last time I was there I was 4, so I'll be really interested to see what has changed and what hasn't.
That part of Florida is so geared to tourists, I'm sure there will bo no shortage of things to do, but as you might guess I'm interested in undiscovered treasures. Those out-of-the-way attractions that seem unchanged by the passage of time. Cypress Gardens was one such attraction. They opened the in 1936 with their famous water skiing shows & other attractions. It was the site of many TV and movie shoots (portions of the famous "This Is Cinerama" lensed here), and of course miles of home movie film unspooled here.
In the accompanying photo you can see the photographer's pier - a special area reserved for shooters to get a great vantage point of the spectacular water shows. Note that there are even a pair of large exposure meters hanging out over the water - one for black and white, one for color.
I was really loking forward to seeing such a timeless classic in the coming weeks, but they closed in September '09 and the site is being developed into the world's fifth Legoland park. I was dismayed since replacing the magnificence I'd seen only in photos with a lot of plastic struck me as a bit of an affront, though the developers promise that they will maintain the gardens as they've always been. We'll just have to see.
So do you dear readers have any recommendations for must-see things in the Orlando area? Classics on the brink of disappearing? Anything that a retro-minded writer should be bringing to you in future editions of Retro Thing?